Friday, August 16, 2013

Sloyd in the Danish school system

Gustav has just started in the 5th grade. That means that they are having lessons in sloyd. This is luckily still mandatory.
I am away on my job now, but I try to call home every night to talk with the family.
yesterday Gustav told that they had had their first lessons in Sloyd.

He told me that they were going to make "kill and eat". Which is a Danish television program, where they take to the nature and kill something and eat it. It could be a fish or a deer or something along those lines. The idea in the sloyd lessons is that they will have to make a knife, a fork and a spoon, and then they will make a meal in the nature and use their own utensils for eating it.

As far as I remember from my daughters lessons they start out with the knife which they whittle. They then make the fork by use of a small electric coping saw.  The spoon is made using a gouge and the outside is sawn with the coping saw.

Gustav said that he actually felt the first double lesson was quite boring since the teacher just explained the names of the different tools, and Gustav already knew those.
He then told me: Dad - do you know, we are not even allowed to use an electric jig saw or the lathe!
I tried to explain to him that most likely not all the other children had had the chance to use that kind of equipment, so it was probably a good idea that not everyone was just let loose in the shop.

He also told me that he had straight away suggested to the teacher that they could make a cutting block. but apparently the teacher had replied that such a thing could be difficult to make.

I just hope he doesn't get into trouble for wanting to move ahead too fast. But then I'll just have to make him use all his energy at home in the workshop together with me.

I'll post some pictures of the finished products once they are ready.


  1. I think that's awesome. When I was in school in the US, woodshop wasn't offered until 7th grade, and there with a more industrial approach; i.e. tablesaws and powered jointers and such.

    Nowadays, even that is rare in public schools.

  2. I agree with Brian, it's great (for the other kids) that kids there get exposure to tools so they all have a chance to know how to make stuff with simple tools. In the United States they wait too long and the kids already have a negative attitude in high school. Also industrial arts is sort of a blow off class in high school, That makes it hard for Students who are really interested. Fortunately our students learn how to make art with macaroni which comes in handy in real life…

  3. I wish that they taught Sloyd in the US. I follow Doug Stowe's blog and he a big practitioner of it. I think it gives a great outlet for young minds to experience.

  4. I am probably as thrilled about it as he is.
    I too read Doug Stowe's blog, and I really like the idea that children develops their brains through use of their hands.

    A thing that I find very appealing in Sloyd is the fact that children who might not be too well off in the mere theory lessons, can have a chance of being good at something with their hands.

    One of the best things I can experience in the workshop is when one of my children finish a project, large or small, and they look up at me with a really proud expression on their face. Then look down on the project again as to make sure that they actually did make it themselves.
    That is priceless.

    I am afraid though, that sloyd is on the way out of the Danish school system, since the politicians haven't really got any idea of the possibilities it offers in way of education.
    I read an interview with one of our former ministers of education, and she said that sloyd was outdated, since it was supposed to give pupils skills in mending small jobs at home, and that was no longer needed.
    The original theory was (as far as I have understood) just another way of teaching / learning. But that is hard to explain to a politician.
    I hope they will keep it in the school system.

  5. Hey Jonas. I've been trying to comment the past few days and I keep getting blocked. Hopefully it isn't my harsh language and vitriol being filtered. Talk to you soon.

  6. Hi Bill.

    I have no idea what is happening? There is no comments in my spam folder, so maybe it is BlogSpot that won't allow you to comment?

    Take care