Posted in Colchester Middle School, Community, General

An Innovative (Or Retro?) Idea—A Productive, Close-Knit Approach With Vast Benefits

Knitting is relaxing, and it has no age boundaries and no language barriers. Anybody can learn to do it.
—Kathy Zimmerman

Educators all across our district are employing creative strategies and thinking outside the box to stimulate and diversify our students’ educational experiences—and sometimes those innovative approaches are actually borrowed from our history books.

Harbor House teacher Amy Kreiger works with a student

Colchester Middle School sixth-grade Harbor House mathematics teacher Amy Kreiger, who has been knitting for about ten years, has created and instituted a knitting club that has already been enthusiastically joined by more than twenty young men and women, and dozens more have expressed interest in participating. It is an excellent example of expanding our students’ learning opportunities and varying their activities in a way that not only introduces new interests but also utilizes a number of built-in benefits.

While CMS’s knitting club takes place during recess time one or two days per week, a number of schools around the country are implementing it into their curriculum. Why? Because it offers a unique and creative way of engaging students, and it also offers an array of cognitive, health, social, and neurological benefits, including but not limited to:

  • developing fine-motor skills, focus, attention, and concentration
  • increasing right and left brain interaction, engaging both sides of the brain simultaneously
  • teaching students to observe and follow patterns and directions
  • teaching logic, problem-solving skills, and patience
  • encouraging soothing relaxation and stress reduction similar to that found through yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxing practices
  • decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension
  • improving confidence, social interaction, communication skills, and behavior
  • providing a creative outlet and a sense of satisfaction and achievement, and
  • encouraging a greater understanding of the work involved in the process of creating something, adding value to the products as something to be valued and cared for.

Some of the students bring their own supplies to the knitting group, while other supplies are donated. (Interested in donating supplies? Please contact Colchester Middle School at 264-5800.) While the group—most of which consists of beginners—is currently focusing upon acquiring basic new skills and enjoying the camaraderie, future plans may include creating items like hats, mittens, and scarves to donate to area organizations, spreading warmth to those in need in our often snowy climate. And so, in addition to all of the other benefits already discussed, this endeavor to learn a relaxing, lifelong skill while also building human connections with others may also serve a very community-oriented, benevolent, and humanitarian purpose.

For more information, please e-mail Amy Kreiger.

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