Woodworking for the littles! How'd I get here?
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
A huge part of my life is dedicated to teaching little people how to do things.
I did not know that teaching would be something that would end up being a calling in my life when I was in college. A degree in Speech Communication led to jobs in sales that just felt wrong. I've always been a late bloomer and unfortunately this is one of the areas of my life that bloomed on its own time. I started my journey in teaching as a preschool teaching assistant. There's no degree in teaching required in most preschools (lucky for me), just a love of children and patience , lots of patience. This led to a position as a lead teacher. I found that I was really good at this! It was exhausting and I loved it!
After 5 years of teaching preschool, the Kindergarten teacher from my kids school was in need of a full-time instructional assistant. I made the leap and it truly changed my life. I had the opportunity to learn from an amazing teacher who ended up being an indispensable person in my life.
I watched and took in her amazing teaching practices while being her right hand and stepping up to teach lessons in math, reading, science, social skills and art. The process of watching a child grow and have those moments where the work pays off and they meet and exceed expectations and challenges is one of the most fulfilling things to experience.
After 6 years, i had to make the difficult decision to leave my position as I was needed at home. While home I worked more on my hobby/passion of woodworking. I love woodworking but I was missing children and teaching so deeply. The universe saw my need and brought "Little Steamers"(STEM with Art enrichment classes for preschoolers) into my life. This idea by 2 teachers who wanted to do something new was an opportunity for me to work with kids again and teach them something new and exciting. This also put a person in my life who is inspiring, kind and a natural born go-getter! She had asked me once what I wanted to teach the kids and I casually said that I would love to be able to teach kids woodworking. Well, this lady took that to heart. She is an extrovert who is not shy about sharing her ideas (every introvert needs one of these in their life!). Her "PR" work garnered a call from a local school who asked me if I'd be interested in teaching woodworking to the kids in their school as a part of their "Art of Living" curriculum. Hmmm, let me think, YES!!
Its amazing how much I have learned while teaching these kids about the joys of working with wood. One of the major take-aways I have had is how capable and brave children are. They haven't been jaded by the world (yet) to think that they can't do something because it is different or hard. The introduction of new tools or methods was easy and the need for this type of creation and agency was so obviously essential. With a great deal of research on my part I found tools that are great for the younger humans that allow them to do all of the things that they need.
My amazon list will provide you with links to the tools that I have tried with the kids and found that the children are safe and successful in using. (As an Amazon Affiliate I do earn a commission on the sale of these items when using my link.)