Saturday, January 21, 2012

Benefits of knitting

Benefits of Knitting program at Waldorf School Jan. 21
ALBANY — Knitting is the perfect antidote to life in the fast world we live in. It offers a very tangible way to connect with yourself and to create something truly useful as well as beautiful. In a world where technological advances such as electronic books, food processors, bread machines, etc, have deprived us of many of life's tactile pleasures, the feeling of yarn and the steady repetition of stitch after stitch is a restorative tonic, producing not a virtual experience that can be altered with a single click, but a real and tangible something.
The White Mountain Waldorf School will host an open house on Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the topic of the benefits of knitting.
In Waldorf schools, knitting is one component of the first grade curriculum and kindergarten children are taught to finger knit before they learn to do math. Do you wonder why? First, it teaches them to follow patterns (in through the front door, once around the back, out through the window and off jumps jack). It also develops their fine motor skills, which will be put to the test in the coming years. Forms of handwork such as knitting, crocheting and sewing are critical to a child’s intellectual and emotional development. Knitting not only energizes children’s tactile senses but it is also instrumental in intellectual development. Students learn math, spatial and geometric skills when knitting and sewing. Whether it is first-graders counting stitches in each row of their squares or flute cases, or fourth-graders creating and embroidering geometric patterns, handwork gives them a concrete visualization of what addition and multiplication do; plus, they learn about problem solving and logic. Taking on a project like knitting a flute case also helps first-graders learn to manage frustration and understand that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process for everyone. The culminating project in fifth grade is a pair of socks — something that takes the students nearly the whole year to complete; imagine the sense of accomplishment!
Knitting is scientifically proven to increase right and left brain interaction. Because it requires two hands to knit, both sides of the brain are stimulated. Not only is knitting a great way to calm down and relax, but knitting also teaches patience. In fact, knitting is proven to initiate a “relaxation response” in many people; this can lower blood pressure, improve heart conditions, and even resolve insomnia. Knitting can also improve self-esteem. Creating something beautiful, no matter how simple, makes you feel good about yourself. It is a creative outlet that can be learned rather quickly. Knowing just the basics will enable the knitter to make something useful and lovely. Also, knitting can help you find companionship. It’s fun to knit and even more fun to knit with others. It’s a wonderful way to share what you know, learn a new skill, or just get support from other people who share your craft. Best of all, since there is always a new project that will prove to be more challenging than the last, there is always more to learn- even for the advanced knitter.
At the open house people can learn to knit, meet other knitters, take a tour of the school and learn about other aspects of the Waldorf Education and why it works. For more details on the open house, or the benefits of knitting call 447-3168, or email"

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