Primary Handwork

Primary Handwork

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION

In setting forth the plan and purpose of this little book the author wishes to lay equal emphasis on its limitations. The outlines and suggestions which follow are designed for the use of grade teachers who have had little or no training in handwork processes but who appreciate the necessity of making worthy use of the child's natural activity and desire to do. The outlines are arranged with reference to schools which are not provided with special equipment and which have scant funds for supplies. The projects require only such materials as empty goods boxes, and odds and ends of cloth and paper, which are easily obtainable in any community. No extra time is required for the work, and it may be successfully carried out by any teacher who is willing to devote a little study to the possibilities of things near at hand.

These outlines do not form a course of study to be followed in regular order nor in set lessons coming at a definite time. They are, rather, a series of suggestions to be used wherever and whenever they will serve a worthy purpose. They are not to be regarded as a special subject, having little or no connection with the regular class work, but rather as an illustrative method of teaching the regular subject matter whenever the teaching can be done more effectively by means of concrete illustrations. It is proposed to make greater use of construction as a medium of expression, and place making more nearly on a par with talking, writing, and drawing.

Any of the projects outlined may be modified to suit varying conditions, and the emphasis placed according to the needs of a particular class. All the suggestions are given in very simple form, chiefly from the standpoint of the first grade, for the reason that it is easier to add to the details of a simple problem than to simplify one which is complex.

It is not the purpose here to emphasize the training of the hand or the development of technique in handwork processes to the extent commonly expected of a course in manual arts, though considerable dexterity in the use of tools and materials will undoubtedly be developed as the work proceeds. While careless work is never to be tolerated in construction any more than it would be tolerated in writing or drawing, the standard is to be only such a degree of perfection as is possible through a child's unaided efforts. It is proposed to provide him with things to do of such interest to him that he will wish to do his best, and things of such a nature that they will please him best when they are well done, and so stimulate a genuine desire for good work. To this end the suggestions relate to things of immediate value and use to the children themselves, rather than to things commonly comprehended in a list of articles which are useful from the adult point of view.

The work is to be kept on a level with the child's experience and used as a means of broadening his experience and lifting it to a higher level. It must also be kept on the level of his constructive ability in order that he may do things by himself, and develop independence through feeling himself master of his tools....