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Why We Use Natural Materials

Offering the children natural beeswax and clay allows the children the experience of working with materials that both feel good and smell good. By using the warmth of their hands to work with the material, the children feel their way into the shape of the animal or flower that they are modeling, creating something that is satisfying and beautiful. These materials are reused when the child decides to create something new.

Handwork is introduced as a formal subject in First Grade. However, the Kindergarten children also learn how to finger knit and are able to create many different kinds of handmade toys and objects. The Handwork curriculum corresponds with the developmentally appropriate skills on which the children are working in their other subjects.

In Handwork, the children learn:
Kindergarten: Wet felting, finger knitting, simple embroidery
First Grade: Knitting plain stitches, creating beautiful animals
Second Grade: Knitting plain and pearl stitches and creating hand knitted dolls and animals
Third Grade: Crochet: creating scarves, hats and other articles, hand weaving
Fourth Grade: Cross Stitch: creating beautiful symmetrical patterns that they have designed themselves and going on to creating embroidered bags, doll clothes etc., hand weaving, felting animals
Fifth Grade: Socks with four knitting needles
Sixth Grade: Making a doll and or an animal. The children envision and create their own patterns for this project.
Seventh Grade: Sewing a backpack or bag, using a sewing machine
Eighth Grade: Sewing pants and a jacket

All these activities give the children opportunities:

  • to develop strong hand eye coordination
  • to practice fine motor skills
  • to develop a sense of aesthetics
  • to be able to create their own toys and articles of clothing
  • to enjoy working in a communicative and relaxed environment
  • to learn that the work that they are doing reflects their level of skill, focus and care

Handwork is taught through the medium of Spanish, thus allowing the children an extra opportunity to learn the language in the most natural way – simply by speaking while doing.

There is also the added advantage that the children are speaking Spanish every day of the school week.