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Book review: The Guide to Woodworking with Kids


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The Guide to Woodworking with Kids
by Doug Stowe
Blue Hills Press
$24.95

Woodworker and teacher Doug Stowe brings 40 years of experience and thought to his wonderful The Guide to Woodworking with Kids, a book for those who recognize that young brains learn best through hands-on activities. Valuable to both experienced and prospective instructors, Stowe’s book provides the foundation on which to build a whole program or a single project. It includes basic knowledge about hands-on instruction, as well as valuable teaching methods, effective project types, and critical tools. Built on historical examples, personal experience, and contemporary pedagogy, the book revolves around tools: workbenches, planes, toolboxes, and, maybe surprisingly, knives. At a basic level, tools teach safety and trust. At a higher level, correct tool use enhances the growth of children’s brains. Stowe hasn’t written a step-by-step recipe book. He’s provided examples and expects the instructor will pick what works for them to create a lesson plan. He also expects that the object of the instructor’s craft will become the student, not the project.

Small toolbox, big ideas. For Stowe, a toolbox can teach organization and trust, as it conveys these tools are the child’s.
Small toolbox, big ideas. For Stowe, a toolbox can teach organization and trust, as it conveys these tools are the child’s.
Let the kids play. Some projects are intentionally simple so they can be a blank canvas for kids’ imaginations.
Let the kids play. Some projects are intentionally simple so they can be a blank canvas for kids’ imaginations.

—Joe Youcha founded and directs Building To Teach, a teacher-trainer program that reintroduces the building process as a context for math instruction.

Photos: Barry NM Dima

From Fine Woodworking #291


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