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I have read a few mentions on here of people who have a wood work area with children using saws etc.. If we tried to do this is our classroom our health and safety co-ordinator would have a cardiac arrest for sure!!! How do people supervise this area? As much info on your wood work areas as possible would be great so that i can be fully armed when i go and approach him about including a wood work area in our classroom

 

Lola.

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Hi

 

Whilst we don't have a woodwork area permanently we do use wood and other materials and use 'real tools'. I have had 3 years olds using saws to cut wood to make a fence for a miniature garden :o but it was more or less one to one supervision purely for safety.

 

However, I visited a nursery that had a workbench, variety of wood, nails, screws etc and beside the workbench they had a wide range of real tools which were stored on a board. The shape of each tool had been drawn on the board to show where each one belonged.

 

I was amazed! I watched as a little boy wandered over, he took a pair of goggles that were hanging on a hook, proceeded to take a piece of wood and started sawing it. Having replaced the saw he started banging nails into the wood with a huge hammer. No he didn't saw or hammer his fingers but I did feel the whole area could do with a risk assessment if nothing else! There were adults around but not specifically in this area and he was working on his own xD

 

However, thinking about it afterwards he was very clear in his actions, knew to wear safety goggles, knew where the tools were, how to use them and how to put them back etc

No easy answers I suppose but personally I think such areas need an adult present at all times, accidents could occur so easily

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We also have a workbench with real tools and unless it is a focused task children are free to use it without an adult being present (without injury) Some of the best work has been produced independently to such a standard that one mum thought her son's wooden train had been 'stolen' from the unit it was so good. Lets be honest having an adult present doesnt stop accidents happening!I agree children need to be aware of safety issues and taught to use all equipment correctly not just DT tools.

We recently had a year 6 teacher visit us to look at good practice and he was horrified we had whisks in the water xD and left when he saw a child pick out a piece of ice and pop it in their mouth. :o

Edited by MARl0N
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Nice one!

Children can be amazingly competent. slightly off topic but I used the idea I got from here on hammering golf tees into a pumpkin. None of the children hit their fingers at all, and this was a vey popular activity.

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I totally agree that having an adult present doesn't prevent accidents but maybe it's a question of balance. Allowing children to work independantly is of course an important consideration but so is the age, developmental stage etc of the children. In my setting a woodwork area with no adult present and 2 1/2 yr olds free to explore tools and equipment would concern me. :o

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Surely the consideration is allowing children to take 'risks' after all we have produced a generation who have been so wrapped up that they are unaware of safety issues. That is why many countries are now removing safety surfaces in playgrounds etc. Riskrich curriculum :)

 

 

http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v7n2/new.html

Edited by MARl0N
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Oh dear :o hope you don't think I was being argumentative Marion as that was certainly not intended.

 

Yes I agree allowing children to takes risks, make mistakes etc is vital . For you, your setting and the children the woodwork area clearly works and is a great success but as with many things, what works in one setting does perhaps not necessarily work in another?

 

I wasn't for a second intending to criticise your provision in any way just trying to give my view and apologies if you thought otherwise.

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Sorry if I gave the impression I was offended (which I am not :) ) just I feel strongly that we over protect children at times so when they are faced with REAL risks they can't cope. We recently had a child transfer in from another nursery and on his first day he slightly injured another child's finger with scissors. It turned out he had never been allowed to use scissors before :o

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I agree with Marion and in some respects geraldine too,

 

Geraldines' example. the children would be more at risk because they haven't had as much opportunity to "practice a new skill".

 

When "risk assessing" an activity / experience, we look at the developmental stage of the children using it, however our role is to "promote" development, so, if the child has not developed the ability to use tools safely, rather than exclude them the chance to "learn" we offer ways to develop the necessary skills, thus enabling "safe use of tools".

 

Through experience, the children need to have access to "real" tools, not child sized copies, especially hammers. With copies the hammer head is liable to fly off and hurt someone.

 

I have never known a child to saw his/her finger off yet, they instinctively stop sawing as soon as the edge touches their skin. The injury caused by a hammer is less than the bruise on a childs head when they ran across the hall, trip and fall onto a peice of furniture. It is all about perspective.

 

Maybe, if we are honest, we don't use tools and woodwork because it is an activity, we ourselves have had little experience of ( my dad was a carpenter but it was my brother who spent time with him in the workshed, not me-showing my age now) Therefore we may not be so confident in offering woodwork activities compared to say, gluing, sticking and creative art activities. There is so much more versatility for the children to explore DT when provided with these additional resources to manipulate, change and construct with materials.

 

I have had more injuries caused by scissors in preschool than with woodwork tools.

 

The introduction of woodwork activities can be done gently, one or two tools at a time, gradually building the childrens skills in using the whole range over a period of time.

 

Go on, go for it, the children will enjoy and benefit from it. :D

 

Peggy

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I can see both sides of this issue too, but I can clearly remember spending time alone in dad's shed tinkering and I never came to harm. You could say it was luck, but I think it was because I, unlike Peggy :D , had always being a daddy's girl (brother was a mommy's boy, but sshhh) and was his shadow. I sprayed weed killer, creosoted the fence, helped change the spark plugs on the car, cleaned the car (for 10p!! :( ) and helped with wiring plugs, drilling and anything else needing doing. Strange but I cant cook for toffee xD Dad oversaw but never stopped me, and I think that's probably the way we should be with all children. You know their strengths, I have certainly worked with some who should never in a lifetime have access to anything sharp! Bit rusty on this, but didnt Vygotsky advocate providing the child with help until a skill had been learnt and then stepping back for them to work alone until they needed help again on the next step. I do admit that you have to be brave to put the nails and wood out though :o:(

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We got our woodworking equipment out for the first time this week. The children were able to saw, drill (by hand, I hasten to add!), screw, hammer and sand down the wood. We have a child-sized work bench with vice and 4 children can work there at the same time. [Naturally, I demonstrated the equipment first.] Personally I don't feel comfortable in leaving the area unsupervised because it is not just the children with the tools who have to be careful but all the other children too. Maybe when the children are more familiar with using the area I will have a rethink :D

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wood work in preschool....ummm never tried it? and wouldnt know where to start....

 

I agree that children of today are growing up in an over protected environment I went round a museum with my children last summer and there was a display about child labour children working in factories down mines and I remember thinking about the level of ability expected from a typical 5 year old and what is not expected theses days (Im not saying we should bring back child labour!!!) but it shows that children are quite capable of aquireing skills if given the chance.

 

so if I wanted to set up a wood work activity where would be a good place to start????

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Am having a bit of a funny moment as I have just purchased a tool kit for my group and cannot wait to go back after half term to get them having a go, so this has been really interesting. I obviously cannot comment on any of the safety issues as I have yet to see how they deal with it in practice and yes I will be there to get it all started off.

 

Can I jsut ask what sort of wood do you use? Thought I would get some balsa wood (but it is really expensive and not too sure if it is worth it) and some offcuts (probably pine) from the local timber merchants to start them off.

 

Any ideas would be great. I have actually bought a nail holder type thing - a small yellow plastic thing that just holds the nail secure whilst they hammer it. This is because I suppose I don't think I have very good hand eye coordination especially when it involves a hammer and often end up hurting myself - hammering a picture nail is a fairly dangerous activity for me - although I know I shouldn't allow this to reflect in what I do with the children or expect them to do/not do.

 

Interested in the "hand drill" that someone mentioned - I didn't buy one as I thought it might be too difficult - once again my experiences reflecting on my kids - how wrong is that then - but would like to know how they get on with this, saw a lovely little hand one = quite small and dinky. What do you think?

Nikki

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Just popped on before school so havent really got time for a full reply but.......... most of the major educational catalogues have tool kits suitable for even very young children think we bought ours from NES or Yorkshire purchasing. It contains hammers hacksaw screwdrivers handdrill bradawl etc. We also have a child sized work bench with 4 vices. We bought some wood from the same catalogue but now use scrap wood donated by parents and local businesses. A parent donated loads of nails and screws :):)

Edited by MARl0N
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Just a word - I looked at the catalogues but couldn't find a set cheaper than £60 - so I went along to my favourite little friendly DIY store run by shall we say older men, most of them of retirement age and they made me up a tool kit for two for less than half price. Brought a tool box for £1.99 from Woolies and hey presto - all done. I don't have the lovely display stand with hangers and labels to say what goes where but then I cannot store it like this so would have to put it away in a box, so for me felt that this was an unnecessary piece of equipment which I am sure costs dearly. So for anyone thinking about purhcasing a tool kit, find a little old traditional shop - my local one is actually much much cheaper than Homebase and you get a personal service and a good deal of entertainment too. The guys have all seen it, done it, been there, sometimes wear the t-short and can regale a 101 stories to go with it with a wicked sense of humour. Where have all those little shops gone who provide a personal service?

Nikki

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Am having a bit of a funny moment as I have just purchased a tool kit for

 

Can I jsut ask what sort of wood do you use?  Thought I would get some balsa wood (but it is really expensive and not too sure if it is worth it) and some offcuts (probably pine) from the local timber merchants to start them off.

 

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We have been using pine and cork.

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We recently had 'wood work' and apart from the noise, it was a huge success. We had a hand drill - takes a bit of practice, but after a short while most of the children had conquered it! The children sawed, screwed, hammered and drilled. We had 3 different sized vices to hold the wood, pliers, sandpaper, rulers, pencils, tape measure and most importantly goggles. There was always a member of staff at the table - I definitely wouldn't leave it unattended.

We don't have it out very often but I think we might in future.

 

Sue J

 

I also thought of balsa wood but it's too expensive. We use off cuts or just a large sheet of wood 3x3ft for the children to hammer into.

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I've observed woodwork benches in 3 nurseries (all very reggio inspired) and all were popular with the children and safe. None were monitored constantly by staff and the children behaved appropriately. The closeness of hammers to fingers did worry me slightly at times, but the children had very few difficulties using the equipment.

 

I'm trying to argue for a woodwork bench in my nursery but the fs coordinator is not easily persuaded! Any ideas for supporting my arguement?

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I've observed woodwork benches in 3 nurseries (all very reggio inspired) and all were popular with the children and safe. None were monitored constantly by staff and the children behaved appropriately. The closeness of hammers to fingers did worry me slightly at times, but the children had very few difficulties using the equipment.

 

I'm trying to argue for a woodwork bench in my nursery but the fs coordinator is not easily persuaded! Any ideas for supporting my arguement?

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But you can get wonderful nail holders/supports of various descriptions if you are too worried so that would be one risk away - I will let you knw how it goes next week when I get going with it all#

Nikki

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These are a few of the pictures of our children using tools indoors and outdoors last week. They had great fun and loads of learning experiences. As we have on average 30 activities on the go everyday and 4 adults it is impossible to be everywhere at once. We feel it is important for the children to have these experiences once they have been shown how to use the tools safely. Parents are very supportive and provide lots of resources.

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Marion, fab photos. Like the idea of using holey bricks as tool holders!

Barb

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The children took the tool box from our DT area and set up the bricks themselves. This was a totally child initiated activity with a couple of adults reminding them of safety issues from time to time (eg holding screwdrivers with blades pointing down)

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Thanks for sharing Marion, great pics. What I really like about woodwork is the emphasis on the "doing "( because it is so interesting and uses so many skills) rather than the end product. :D

 

Peggy

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Just to add to the debate I've been to B &Q with my partner today and picked up some hacksaws. When I said I wanted them for school he nearly had heart failure :o Darent tell him we already have some but I thought another couple wouldnt go amiss xD

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Hi. Was reading all the comments about woodwork areas in pre-school and was just wondering which sort of equipment we should be providing?

 

I have only ever worked in one nursery where a woodwork area was set up and always available and to behonest, it was so long ago, that I can't really remember!

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Our area has a child sized workbench with 4 vices for holding work. We have a purpose made tool rack with outlines of the tools so the children know where to replace them. Also we have a range of tools donated by parents in a toolbox a dad purchased from the local hardware shop.

Tools include hammers, screwdrivers, hand drills, spanners, pliers, bradawl hacksaws and sanding blocks.

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