NEW YORK — A program that used to be a staple in schools across the country is making a comeback.
CBS2’s John Elliott took a trip to to PS 130 in Queens to check out the return of woodshop, talking to students and teachers.
“We need, as humans, opportunities to work with our hands together, And this engages students, all students, and especially the hard to reach students, in ways that working on tablets or worksheets never achieves,” said Michael Schloff of Maplewoodshop.
“I don’t think, as a sixth grader, I’d be able to work with wood like this, and having this opportunity is a cool thing,” one student said.
“This is so important. It’s so different from their normal schooling, it’s really nice for them to work with their hands and experience things in a very different manner then just sitting down all day in classes,” said instructor Steven Bates.
“The more you do it, the easier it gets,” one student said.
“They were very tentative and nervous at first. Now, they’re a little bit more outgoing, they’re friendlier, they seem to want to help each other out more. So as they get more experience, they’re opening up even more,” Bates said.
“Never give up, because it’s going to be hard. You’re going to be working hard, but it’s going to get easier the more you do it,” a student said.
“This is something that the kids need. It’s tactile. It’s engaging. It applies engineering, carpentry, mathematics, geometry. So all the things we teach in class, we actually apply it here,” said math teacher Michael Royer.
“It’s fun, because we can learn without looking at textbooks,” a student said.
“In math class, they’re writing it all out. They’re thinking about it, internalizing it. And over here, they’re applying it. So it’s great,” said school principal John Greggo.
“What I find fun is working with friends, cooperating with other people, to be able to, like, create new things,” a student said.
“It also increases their executive functioning skills because now they’re focusing more, and they have to manage their time because they know they only have 45 minutes a period,” said assistant principal Susan Monahan.
“It’s nice when kids can see things happen in real life. It’s something else to write and think abstractly and do things in theory, but when they get to apply what they learned in the classroom, it comes alive for them,” Royer said.
“Kids can’t wait to 11th grade to learn about the benefits of career and technical education. So we’re pushed it down to the 6th grade by making it safe, portable and easy to implement,” Schloff said.
Maplewoodshop is an East Orange, N.J. company. They’ve come up with woodshops on wheels and they have all the gear the students need to construct dozens of unique projects. To make it even easier for the schools, all the materials come stacked, wrapped and labeled, ready for individual projects.
“You have to come and see it. You have to feel the excitement in the room,” Monahan said. “It’s something that was missing in the school and now that it’s here, the kids just love it.”
Maplewoodships are currently inspiring kids in 23 New York City schools and over 120 total schools and camps from coast to coast. For more information, CLICK HERE.