Every Kindergartener starts the year by building a “no-measure” box. Beginning with this project allows students time to develop and practice newly learned skills at their own pace. The “no measure” title is slightly misleading in that students will use precut pieces of wood as measuring tools. I refer to the precut pieces of wood as units. Everyone starts with a 1 X 3½ X 34 inch board, which accommodates all five pieces when measured correctly. This process allows the children to see how units link together, the basic concept of how a ruler works. Successfully building a 3-dimensional box reinforces how measurement determines accuracy, balance and success.
The rest of the year focuses on individual and collaborative creations - except for our final boat project.
The goal for kindergarten woodshop is to try to build what ever is imagined. Sometimes I ask for a drawing of just the front view. The kindergartener typically thinks in 2-dimensions, so drawing the front view of their idea feels complete for them. For instance, if their idea is a birdhouse, their drawing will help me visualize their thinking. Do they envision a flat roof or a pitched roof? Will there be a door? In order to decide the overall size of their idea, they hold their hands apart to indicate how wide and then how tall. For each direction I use the tape measure to measure between their hands. After they cut their first piece of wood I literally stand up that piece of wood up on the workbench to introduce and talk about a 3-dimensional perspective. Understanding dimensions and perspective will continue to develop and strengthen as the students become comfortable working with the medium of wood.
The kindergarten year in woodshop establishes a foundation for all kinds of creative thinking and empowers independence. The finished work reveals a wide variety of understandings and creativity!
Some of the hand tools we use are: claw hammer, saw, coping saw, hand drill, brace drill, square, screw driver, sand paper, file, C-clamp, bar clamp and wood glue.