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I've done a search and found some posts about using wood in the nursery, but I need to know, what wood is best to use, it obviously needs to be soft, what tools are best, where the best resources for small hands can be bought without being 'child sized' specifically and basically any tips about things you've tried and would/wouldnt do again.

Its for my tutoring role and since I havent done woodwork for years I'd appriciate your ideas.

Thanks folks :o

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I have always bought my woodwork equipment from B&Q. I have found when training that some students 'fear' the safety factors regarding woodwork, my comment has always been use real tools, ( child sized or child designed ones I have found to be quite dangerous, heads flying off hammers etc, and they don't have the strength to do the job the child requires them to, only good for 'role play' rather than real life experience).

Students have said, " Oh, you can't use real saws" I respond by saying, well yes you can, only real saws will cut the wood, and I've never known a child to saw a finger off, the child normally stops sawing before he/she gets to the bone" :o

 

Go to a timber yard to get off cuts, they will recomend the softest wood. I have used driftwood found on the beach, we hammer nails in, screw screws in, use 'plains' to 'shave' the wood and sandpaper too. Children of preschool age don't necesarily have to 'make' anything, just have the opportunity to explore all different types of wood, promotes problem solving to have a variety, which wood is easier to hammer nails into, which wood will split or is too hard etc.

 

We live in such a 'plastic' world it makes 'woodwork' a really successful activity for children because it's quite new to them, and can be used in all areas of the preschool, from physical manipulating tools to creative making a dinosaur den, to mark making doing bark rubbings, to PSE using large peices of wood, logs or planks that need a 'team' approach to building, moving , stacking them, to Maths, using smaller blocks to build circular towers usng rectangular block. KUW finding woodlouse and other creatures which habitate in wood, plus plants such as moss etc.

 

Woodwork is such a diverse commodity you could have a whole year ( well nearly) on the subject.

 

Peggy

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We keep the woodwork simple, sanding, knocking in nails then pulling them out. The more it is on offer the less the fear you have of someone getting hurt, when you observe the childrens skills you will be surprised at how well they can manage. To start with it was a mad rush but once the safety issues had been addressed it calmed down.

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As Peggy says "real" adult sized tools are safer (according to research and experience). We use any scrap wood we get donated by parents. I saw a large tree stump used very effectively in a school for the children to hammer nails into.

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Like most nursery activities, I have the idea, then I search our large and scruffy garage to see what I can pinch!! We did woodwork in November and I found last year's christmas tree base, a large circular piece of pine a bit like a 5 inch slice of tree. It had dried out and was ideal for the children to use, either on a table or on the floor. It was heavy enough to be stable and didn't need to be clamped in the work bench. Incidentally they liked the workbench for smaller pieces of wood but it was really a bit high for them.

I bought a small hammer from the pound shop, Poundland I think. The children liked this hammer as they could wield it but ultimately preferred the big real hammer as it was heavier and they found it made the nails drive in better. One boy in particular explored the claw on the back of the hammer endlessly and could get even the longest nails back out of the trunk! We bought a variety of long, big-headed nails and screws for them and I also bought a small fretsaw which they enjoyed and could manipulate on their own.

I 'borrowed' my husband's hand drill and bits which they loved, especially the boys currently in a rotation schema! Amazingly all the drill bits remained intact and all came home!

 

For the little ones don't forget the golf tees and mallet, in maybe a marrow at this time of year or maybe a large lump of clay??

 

Good luck, its fab!

 

Oh, I forgot to say that by accident I think, our screwdrivers were magnetic and would pick up the screws, again the boys were fascinated and it led to lots of exploration around nursery to see what else was magnetic. (They used a proper magnet for that, no, they really didn't walk around with the screwdriver!!)

Edited by Guest
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We use balsa wood mainly (nice and soft to hammer in to) but also find bottle tops fabric and paper get nailed to pieces of wood! The acrap sore sometimes has interesting things that can be used to saw and hammer too.

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  • 2 months later...
It is out all the time

 

Are you in a nursery / pre-school setting or a reception class? I'd love to introduce a woodwork area as part of continuous provision in my reception class but it wouldn't have an adult directly supervising it all the time - would it be safe? I'd really love to do it... :o

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I've almost completed my Advanced Forest School Leader course and completely agree with proper tools for the job. There is nothing more frustrating than being given something which to be quite honest is so safe it doesn't do the job properly.

 

However, please ensure you are fully insured. I checked out our pre-school insurance company and they wanted to increase the premiums if we were to use saws.

 

But a good way of smoothing wood is using a potato peeler and I found this a very satisfying way of making an effect on my wood!!

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Are you in a nursery / pre-school setting or a reception class? I'd love to introduce a woodwork area as part of continuous provision in my reception class but it wouldn't have an adult directly supervising it all the time - would it be safe? I'd really love to do it... :o

 

 

I'd say "go for it", do a risk assessment and remember the more practice children have at any skill the better they get at it. xD

 

If experiences are not provided as normal every day then children will be too enthusiastic and not think before they try, but if available everyday ( or often) then they soon learn the rules and boudaries for "safe play/exploration" :(

 

It doesn't matter what setting you are in, children are the same wherever they are, aren't they? Obviously stick to your settings policies and procedures though. :(

 

Any new experience will need initial adult supervision, but once 'learnt' children will supervise themselves. It's the same as any other activity that offers some risk, as long as children have opportunities to measure / recognise the risk, they will learn to 'be careful'.

 

Let us know if you decide to introduce woodwork, be assured, the experience and benefits are worth at least trying it. :(

 

Peggy

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I've almost completed my Advanced Forest School Leader course and completely agree with proper tools for the job. There is nothing more frustrating than being given something which to be quite honest is so safe it doesn't do the job properly.

 

However, please ensure you are fully insured. I checked out our pre-school insurance company and they wanted to increase the premiums if we were to use saws.

 

But a good way of smoothing wood is using a potato peeler and I found this a very satisfying way of making an effect on my wood!!

 

 

That's a new one on me, didn't even think to check this, thanks for letting us know. Mind boggling though, talk about underestimating risk management and being in a 'no risk culture' I think it is the litigation culture that drives against freedom of natural experiences. I've not yet known of a child who has seriously injured themselves with a saw, they normally stop 'cutting' before they cause too much damage!! ( in my experience anyway :o ) I wonder what the stats are for lost fingers / other injuries are?

Love the potato peeler idea, have to try it.

 

Peggy

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Are you in a nursery / pre-school setting or a reception class? I'd love to introduce a woodwork area as part of continuous provision in my reception class but it wouldn't have an adult directly supervising it all the time - would it be safe? I'd really love to do it... :o

 

 

I teach in a FSU so we have children from their third birthday up to the end of reception. The children access the area and materials freely and it only has an adult working in the area if it is a focused task.

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I'm so excited now - can't wait to try it! :o

Will obviously have an adult with it initially to teach children safe use of tools etc, and then I'll be brave and let children do things independently.

The trouble is that I've got lots of faith in children's ability to manage things like that, to offer them new and exciting experiences that may appear risky initially, but other teachers (and more significantly) my TA are less confident and tend to be negative and suggest that I'm offering experiences that are too risky. (For example, we're doing measuring in our maths at the moment and she was not pleased that I wantedchildren to build towers with lightweight but large plastic bricks that were as tall as them - instead she wanted them to do it as long as them lying down - same learning and process but kind of less exciting? Walking in sand trays with barefeet to role play / experience beach -'what about verruccas?' etc etc.) :(

So that's the background. I just wanted to ensure that other people thought it was a reasonable independent activity, once established with an adult, and that I'm not being reckless!!

The reason I asked about the setting was because the adult / child ratio is different so there is more possibility of closer incidental supervision in a nursery than ina reception class. :(

 

But now hooray - very excited - it will be great!! I think we'll start with hammers, nails and balsa wood, then introduce fabric and other junk modelling things, then possibly move onto saws when everyone more confident!! Or maybe saws only as a focus activity!! xD

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All our children are taught how to use tools safely (the nursery teacher does a horrific scenario of what will happen if they fool around and it seems to have the desired effect) then they can access the area independently.

 

Your TA would be a nervous wreck in our unit. Children use step ladders to build towers as high as they can and then fetch the head teacher to build it higher (he's well over 6foot tall)

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I have just introduced woodwork this week in my reception class.....no casualities as yet! I was quite nervous but i have been amazed at how sensible and careful the children have been - to be honest its the most engaged ive seen some children all year!

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Children use step ladders to build towers as high as they can and then fetch the head teacher to build it higher (he's well over 6foot tall)

Sounds fab - both from a confidence point of view and also from a mathematical point of view!

 

Maz

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I don't like heights and could only get as far as the WYKO box (standing on the cupboard) so we had to phone for the head to come urgently as they weren't happy until it touched the ceiling :o

And I just noticed the little girl wearing a bit of packaging as a hat! Absolutely fantastic... How old are these children Marion?

 

Maz

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They are 3 to 5 as we are a FSU with both nursery and reception children.

 

The packaging was used as space helmets and the boxes were constructed to build a rocket.

Edited by Marion
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The photo is fantastic Marion!!

I'm printing it out for my TA! Told her about my plans for woodwork today and she went a bit pale! :o But then said if we all thought it was good she would give it a go, so there we are. xD

Putting step ladders on my shopping list!!

 

Its so good to see people giving children exciting challenges with calculated risks - if only more settings were like this - and KS1 & 2 as well! -Has anyone read Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer?

 

Emma

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