Developing a Child’s Initiative, Confidence and Ethical Behavior

This is the first generation of children who are growing up able to push a button here, and something happens over there! We are witnessing the effects of this phenomenon in the increased desire for immediate gratification, decreased tolerance for complex relationships, and a reliance on technology for answers.

At Caulbridge School, we teach fire building not because we expect that our students will be stranded in the wilderness and need to survive; rather, for the sense of accomplishment, confidence, and mastery it provides. Armed with a new skill, and sometimes one they can teach their parents, a child experiences their enthusiasm for learning come alive.

Activities such as carving, knitting, cooking, and building are essential to encourage children to work with their hands to create something practical. Working with the hands in rhythmical movements promotes the mental operations of logic, reaching conclusions, forming judgments, and comprehension. Working with the hands also calms the nervous system and further develops intelligence which is formed through activity, movement, and manual dexterity.

Practical arts also have a way of strengthening the inner initiative by bringing a warming balance to a child’s physical and cognitive expression. Our physics curriculum teaches us that everything is propelled by warmth: gasoline/combustion fuels our cars, the sun fuels the plants, and healthy food fuels our bodies. Intellect and thinking forces are cooling in nature. Pure intellectual thinking may bring about ideas or solutions that, without the warmth of the human heart, may not really work for humanity.

Integrating visual and practical arts throughout the day can help to open a child’s mind and heart in a balanced way. Making something beautiful helps children cultivate a deeper respect for both their own creations and the works of others.