Special Subject: Handwork


Handwork fosters a strong sense of accomplishment and self-worth, and the experience of completing a beautiful and useful object supports a health sense of pride in one’s ability to have an effect on the world.


Handwork is taught in grades 1 through 5 in two lessons weekly. In grades 6 through 8, students have rotating blocks of handwork that alternate with art and woodworking. The handwork curriculum is a steady progression of skills that mirrors cultural development and individual capacities. Throughout human existence, people have been looking to the environment for materials and inspiration to aid with the challenges of daily life. In handwork classes, children are guided through an aspect of this process. The ability to observe a need and conceive of an object that might help to alleviate that need is fostered, along with the practice of developing the skills necessary to design the object, source the materials needed, and decide on the technique best suited for the project.

The handwork curriculum strives to meet the children where they are developmentally and also to align with the curriculum. The technique of knitting is introduced in first grade, and its rhythmic process complements the rhythmic movements of skipping and jumping practiced during movement time in the classroom. Knitting and crocheting also supports a child’s inner sense of numbers and movement. In second grade, students learn to purl, and the processes of counting rows and stitches and pattern-making also support the math curriculum throughout the grades. Throughout the years, students crochet, cross-stitch, doll-making, sew, and woodworking.