Kindergarten Sews

Sewing gives our students so many possibilities to create.  This quarter, our Kindergarteners have been learning the basics of sewing using burlap, yarn, and a big plastic needle.


Our Kindergarten teachers suggested sewing as the focus for the second quarter because they thought it would be an appropriate challenge for five year-olds and would help them with their fine motor skills.  After the first few weeks I heard how hard it was for students to thread their own needles, not go around the side of the cloth, and pre-plan a work of embroidery.  K_Sewing1

When I went to observe on Friday, I was amazed to see students overcoming all of these obstacles; they were still struggling, but they were cutting the frayed end of the yarn, licking it (which they thought was hilarious), and then squeezing it to get it through.  They were also remembering to sew back into the same side the yarn last came out.  They were starting to plan their designs as well; drawing what they wanted to make on the burlap before beginning to stitch.  K_Sewing4

What have we learned so far?  Early on, students were using embroidery hoops, but we quickly learned that the hoops just got in the way.  They’ve had a much easier time since they started using the fabric on its own.  Teachers also modeled the skills that were proving challenging for students, talking them through the important pieces.

Thanks to our Kindergarten teachers for your amazing perseverance and willingness to try new things in your classes.  I especially appreciate that you share your lessons learned – they are quite helpful!  Next up, we are hoping to practice empathy by having students interview each other about what they would like, and then designing and making a piece of sewn art for their classmate.

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About Aaron Vanderwerff

Aaron Vanderwerff is passionate about engaging students in making and independent inquiry in the classroom, particularly students underrepresented in STEM fields. Vanderwerff currently oversees design and making programs at Lighthouse, which includes coaching teachers and facilitating professional development. This effort came out of his making class, which culminates in students exhibiting their independent projects at the Maker Faire. Vanderwerff has taught high school science in the Bay Area for the past ten years. Before joining Lighthouse, he taught ninth-grade physics and was science department chair at San Lorenzo High School, and taught math in the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso.