Posted in Knitting
December 26, 2003

NJ schoolkids learn to knit

Read this article by Maria Newman in the New York Times: Half the Pupils in a New Jersey School Are Learning Knitting, and be jealous that schools weren’t doing these things when we were small.

An instructional aide at the school taught 85 kids and 20 adults how to knit when the weather was too severe to go outside for recess, and it just snowballed…no pun intended. Now more than half of the school’s 535 students take part, as well as parents, teachers and even the custodian! They call it “Knitting Together a Community.”

The school district has chipped in funding to keep the kids in needles and yarn. Knitter’s Magazine gave the aide who put it all together (Judith Symond) an award of money and supplies — all of which she plowed back into the program. Next year they’re planting a dye garden — at the kids’ insistence.

A spokeswoman for the South Orange-Maplewood School District, Michelle Loxton, said that Knitting Together a Community teaches children success through persistence, concentration, control, follow-through and mastery. Knitting itself, she said, improves fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination and brain development.

It’s enough to make you want to start your own program. Instead of the annual mitten and scarf drives, why not go into the schools and get them involved in knitting for others? Stress the educational and charitable aspects of both. Give a man a fish and he eats for one day, give him some knitting needles and he’ll be knitting a fishing net tomorrow. Or something like that. I’m tired, and mixing metaphors.

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