Child care providers, children learn hands-on skills

Child care providers explored “Block Play and Woodworking for Young Children” in a recent class at Columbia Gorge Community College.

“Students learned the stages of block play and woodworking for young children; different materials (including recycled items) to encourage more elaborate constructions; safety measures and strategies to explain the benefits and address common safety concerns with families,” said CGCC instructor Ashley Mickels. The class was organized through Child Care Partners, a college service that provides professional training for child care providers.

With donations from Home Depot, Tum-a-Lum Lumber and Child Care Partners, participants increased their comfort level in the use of basic tools. As a class requirement, child care providers participated in a free children’s workshop.

Mickels said students, all of whom work with young children, responded positively to the training opportunity. One wrote, “The teachers who attended the initial class got the unique experience of learning about the subject, putting the knowledge into practice, and then teaching others about the subject.” Another added, “The class allowed us to get hands-on experience with tools and materials that many wouldn’t have been comfortable using in their classrooms. We learned that woodworking and block play were quite essential to a child’s growth and development.”

Two children’s workshops followed, one in Spanish and one in English.

“I learned how easy it is to show children how to use tools safely,” remarked one participant. “Also, how to show parents the worth of woodworking and block play.” Another said that “Today’s workshop is a great experience for me. I will share this with my staff members and parents.”

 When the workshops were over the tools and leftover lumber were gathered to create start-up kits for the teachers so they could apply what they learned in their own early childhood education settings.