Posted by Mindy

Or “Why do you teach your piano students how to knit?”

BELOW IS A FASCINATING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING DISCUSSION of the integration of knitting education into the academic training of children at the elite Waldorf School in Boston.  Learning to knit has preceded training in reading and arithmetic for over 90 years now for kindergarteners at this educational institution.  Similarly,  my own knitting education began at the same age,  5 or 6 years old, at home sitting beside my mom even before I was a proficient reader!  I was so proud of my first knitting project:  a red acrylic blanket for my 8″ tall doll.   Since then, I have knit my way through elementary school craft projects, high school adjustments, romantic heartbreak, the sweater for the first job, my babies, stages of life ending and beginning.  I have since taught my daughter and son to knit.  My daughter still knits.  My son doesn’t, but what he learned from knitting, he was able to apply to a survival skill test which he did in conjunction with his military special operations qualifications testing.  What a different application!

But why do I as a piano teacher want my students learn to knit?

 

My goals for my students in learning to knit:

 

to develop fine motor skills

to read and follow written directions

to create their own variation on a theme

to experience the joy from the direct relationship between investing time and having a tangible product

to directly apply their arithmetic learned in their school setting

to know the joy of working with their hands

to understand that objects are made through a process

to practice service to others through making a product and giving it to someone else

 

See how these goals dovetail with learning to play an instrument?

 

  a class knitting
                                                                             sheep for wool 
                                                               Another variety of sheep and wool
boy knitting 

You will find this piece academic in tone, but not inaccessible. Well worth reading and mentally dialoging with the author, Eugene Schwartz. “Discover Waldorf Education: Knitting and Academic Development, The Role of Handwork in the Waldorf Curriculum.”

 

Schwartz Eugene. Discover Waldorf Education: Knitting and Intellectual Development: The Role of Handwork in the Waldorf Curriculum [Internet]. Version 1. millennialchild. 2009 Mar 6. Available from: http://millennialchild.wordpress.com/article/discover-waldorf-education-