This is an exerpt from The Best of Making Things – A Handbook for Creative Discovery by Ann Sayre Wiseman.
The phenomenon of of learning belongs to the child, not to the teacher. We do not teach a child to walk – one of many skill potentials in all beginners. At best, we stimulate discovery, desire, and curiosity; encourage and whet the appetite; provide space; and anticipate readiness to exercise the inevitable.
Learning by experience is profound knowledge, more deeply recorded in the memory than theory or speculation. The most direct, immediate, and satisfying path to knowledge is visual and manual experience linked with the urgency of interest.
Learning by doing connects products with ideas and history. It breeds creative thinking, self-expression, and originality, the confidence to experiment, and the courage to make mistakes, learn control, and perfect skills.
This collection of discoveries and resources is a careful selection of simple and important concepts that have shaped the cultures of the world. These activities should help to seed and develop natural curiosity and self-esteem. The projects are explained in pictures so that children just starting out and grown-ups who have missed out can quickly grasp the ideas.
Parents and teachers hold the success of children in their tone of voice and generosity of understanding. By encouraging self-discovery, by respecting originality and individualism, we avoid the preoccupation with competition, allowing students to progress at their own pace. Creativity is the birthright of all children. Let us foster it rather than cramp or nip it in its most eager time for learning.