Five Rules for Setting Up a School Woodshop Centre/Program

1. Remember to start with the easy and slowly move to the more difficult.  There are a variety of tools and equipment that can be purchase specifically designed for children.  The proper sized equipment is much safer for smaller hands and bodies.  For example:

 Grip 9 Piece Children’s Tool Kit Child’s First Tool Set-All Wood  Grip 9 pc Children's Tool Kit
 Grip 53 Piece Children’s Tool Kit for $19.99.  Child’s First Tool Set-All Wood $ 9.75  Grip 9 Piece Children’s Tool Kit for $22.99.


2. Initially, create lessons to involve the senses, particularly touch, sight, and smell.  You could do a lesson on the senses and the differences between types of wood. E.g. How do the different pieces smell, feel, look? 

3. Design activities to reinforce the connections between the child, the family, the school and the community.  Host parent nights to build community within the school area.  These could take place at night, around dinnertime, so that working parents would be able to participate.  You could even build lessons that require assistance from home and the child will need to bring the project back the next day, after the adult assisted part has occurred. 

4. Plan your projects so that tools can be introduced one or two at a time. When starting in the early grades, you could have a workbench set up in the classroom with wood blocks and sanding paper to start.  Slowly introduce other tools, such as hammers and small (roofing) nails into logs.  You can also introduce gluing scrap pieces together.  Next you might consider introducing a hand saw for logs and scrap pieces just make sure that they are able to be secured in a vice.  Safety is most important at this point, so you need to ensure that you introduce each tool slowly and that students understand that these tools can be hazardous.  Don’t scare them, just make them aware.

5. Have fun!  If the least you do is to set up a toy tool centre for your child/classroom, they will still be learning about working with the idea of wood.