Perth Waldorf School: Primary School Woodwork

Primary School Woodwork provides students with an opportunity to create beautiful, functional pieces in line with their developmental stage. Each project is created through the use of hand tools and natural timbers and requires a high level of commitment and perseverance in order to complete. Many students make small mistakes along the way, which have potential to seem catastrophic, yet are overcome through creative thinking and of course a lot of hard work! 

My experience teaching wood work over the past few weeks since the outbreak of Covid 19 has been nothing short of an inspiration. We have started many of our classes with either a social circle, with a check in, project discussion and humour to lighten the mood, or where a class has been a little bit scattered, I have led them through short sensory meditations and grounding exercises. All students have worked hard and have welcomed the opportunity to put their head down and engage in a tactile dance between themselves, their tools and their wood. There is something very therapeutic about the sound of saws, chisels and rasps on mass in an open air workshop. It was also interesting to observe that most students were more efficient than usual, but also said they felt more relaxed at the end of each class. 

It is times like this where I feel truly blessed to be able to work alongside these wonderful young people in our beautiful open air workshop. Through the creation of their woodwork pieces, students not only develop their woodworking skills, but they also have an opportunity to develop and strengthen their will. For me the perfect metaphor for this inner discovery is experienced while making the effort to mill old slabs of timber. What looks dull and tired from the outside, often has the most incredible and uplifting inner life! 

Paddy Hocking

Apr 2020