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have you been good and true?

Natural Kids: have you been good and true?

Friday, January 18, 2008

have you been good and true?

a dear friend and woodworker i know wrote some years back this passage concerning the properties of wood:
"There has been much written about the soul of the tree, the mystical connection between a woodworker and his material, the religion of craft, etc. - so I won't attempt a clumsy repetition here. It is enough to say - wood is miraculous to me, and my greatest wish as a maker is to provide for others a profound sensory experience."

that paragraph has always rang true for me. last year my kidergarteners set about on a very important project. to make from pine their very own wooden swords. we cut the strips of pine and notched out the way for the hilt together and then all the children set about work at their own pace.
it was a task that started out as something the children could work on during free play and migrated even to outside time and even to story time(ever so quietly we work- we work).
we sanded our swords until "they were as soft as the skin beneath our chins" and the children worked delightfully at that prospect. you could tell much about a child by how and how often they worked on their swords. the will forces were particularly strong in some of the children and in others they took a much longer time and meticulously sanded each rough patch.
the next task was to rub them with beeswax until "they shined silken smooth". the smell of pine and beeswax warming in the hands of children is a wonder. you could just feel the living properties of the beeswax and wood creating such peace and pride in the work of the children.
at the end of the year our class parent came to help fasten the hilt to the sword, each child picked out a dragons tear (or marble) and we glued that to the place where the hilt and sword met.
we then gathered the children together for a "knighting ceremony".

"have you been wise and true?"
"have you heard the stars calling to you?"
"then here is your sword, use it for good and light and not for some silly quarrel or fight"

each child sat rapt with anticipation as miss sarah touched their new sword first to one shoulder and then to the next and i placed a golden crown on their heads. eachother child sat so still and reverent and waited until all 23 children had been knighted.
what a time with our swords we had then, a time i'm sure the children will carry with them always. i know i will.

check out these great resources for similar natural toys:
wooden play sword

dragon and knight

simple cape

rainbow silk cape

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Anonymous boo said...

what a wonderful experience for the children. i wish i could be in your class:o)

January 28, 2008 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger mosey handmade said...

thanks boo!

February 1, 2008 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger shelleycaskey said...

i love your post, mosey. what a beautiful experience for those children!

February 1, 2008 at 8:57 AM  

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