New experiences

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Children gain new experiences building a tool shed

Hammer, screw, folding rule, drill – the children at the Star of the North, the German wortundtat partner project, have started an adventure: together they are building a large wooden shed for play equipment and garden tools. In doing so, they learn manual skills, why a construction plan is important and what it is about logistics on a building site.

Slowly feeling their way towards constructing

Asking the children, what they have learned building the shed, their enthusiastic reply is: “Everything!” However, to get slightly more information regarding their learning success, Susanne Keulertz, head of the Kindertreff, who was in charge of the project, provides some insight. “We started by drawing a house. The children realised that everybody was drawing a different house, even though I had told all of them at the same time what I wanted the house to look like” .Hence, the children understood why it is necessary to have a construction plan for such a project.

Next, the children were given a plan, based on which they had to build a house using building blocks. Here, the similarity of the emerging buildings was significantly greater. However, the children aged between nine and eleven realised that it is a challenge to build a house based on a plan. Some in the group were responsible for the logistics of the building block construction site. They too had plenty of new aha experiences.

Everybody gets the chance to screw, hammer and saw

Joy and enthusiasm grew even more when the children could start work on the “real” building site in the yard of the Star of the North. Many of the children were able to acquaint themselves and to use hammer, screwdriver, saw and other tools for the first time. Everybody wanted to join in and was visible pleased when a screw disappeared in the wood or when a piece of timber was sawn into two parts. Susanne Keulertz says: “Because their parents often do not have the possibilities for such activities, many of the children are not able to gain such experiences at home”.

The shed will probably be complete in autumn. The last joint action will involve painting it – again with the participation of the children. This time, nobody needs to explain to them what they should do: the Kindertreff made sure that they are more than familiar with paint and brush.