Check-in with Santa’s Workshop
Students in the Years 7 and 8 Introductory Woodwork course have recently completed their first woodworking project – an animal desk organiser!
The project has been designed to provide students with a solid foundation of practical woodworking knowledge and skills, introducing them to safe work practices and the tools and equipment available for use in Santa’s Workshop.
This was an ideal first project as students had the opportunity to develop a ‘skills toolkit’ which is rich in both practical skills and soft skills. We anticipate that students will be able to draw upon the skills in this toolkit and apply them to many future endeavours. These endeavours may include DIY projects, household repairs or the creation of custom homeware or furniture pieces.
Practical hand skills take time to develop and require opportunities to be practised and applied. For our students who are interested in pursuing a career in industries requiring these skills, this first project has provided them with a quality starting point from which they can continue to progress and develop.
Students were first inducted into Santa’s Workshop, learning about the importance of PPE (personal protective equipment) and the correct techniques for how to use each tool and piece of equipment. Over the course of the project students have been able to add the following practical skills to their ‘skills toolkit’:
- Accurately measure and mark out timber to reduce waste
- Utilise a tenon saw and cutting jig to make precise straight cuts
- Adjust a coping saw blade to make angled, curved and internal cuts
- Set up a drill for making different-sized holes, adjusting the clutch to the correct setting and using the drill in forward and reverse settings
- Join components of a project together precisely using wood glue and nails
- Utilise a nail punch to countersink nails
- Fill nail holes with wood filler to ensure a seamless finished product
- Hand sand and detail finish all surfaces of a project, removing saw marks, excess wood filler and pencil marks
- Finish and protect a project with polyurethane clear coat varnish
The project encouraged the development of Connecting Learning to Life attributes, including problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. Each finished project is unique, representing students’ creativity. Students worked within size constraints to create individually designed nose and leg shapes. Our Years 7 and 8 girls have collaborated with compassion, helping each other with the skills required to complete aspects of the project. They have demonstrated the necessary level of maturity and attention to safety that working in Santa’s Workshop demands.
As the coordinator of Santa’s Workshop, I have thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on practical nature of the Beginner Woodwork course. Witnessing students building their confidence, capacity and knowledge working with hand and power tools has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. I am proud that each student is developing skills that they can utilise throughout their lifetime.
I have been impressed with the resilience, tenacity and compassion the girls have demonstrated throughout the learning process. Using tools and developing hand skills can be a frustrating experience at times. However, our students have persevered through the process. They have all been willing to try again when errors or mistakes have been made; students have helped each other through challenging aspects of the project and have shown that they are always open and willing to learn new skills.
Lauren Thompson, Santa’s Workshop Coordinator