Year 8 Santa’s Workshop

Santa’s Workshop allows students to try woodwork and learn various skills in a safe and adaptable environment. Woodwork is more than just a practical skill; it is a powerful tool for personal development, creativity, and career exploration. Introducing our students to woodworking will help them build a future where they feel capable, creative, and confident.

We were lucky to speak with Craig Jordan, who teaches woodwork here at Santa Maria College.

How can woodwork enhance a girl’s creativity and ability to think innovatively?

Woodwork is a form of artwork, and like most art, your work can be as innovative and creative as you let yourself take it. Like all skills, they are built up over time, so we have to learn the basics first, like what the tools and machines do and how to use them correctly. Once these skills are developed, we can design our work and create new products. I love giving out a design problem and seeing where the students take it. Some students will always take the safe road, but creativity and innovation occur when the idea stretches current skills and knowledge. Pushing the boundaries develops problem-solving, innovation and creativity.

How does woodworking diversify the range of skills girls can learn in school, and why is this important for their overall development?

You don’t have to have the inspiration to be a tradesperson to benefit from woodwork. Woodwork skills are transferrable life skills that come in handy for day-to-day life. Processes like measuring and cutting material, hanging a picture on the wall, and building some IKEA furniture are all things that most people will need to do in life, and all the skills learned in woodwork boost the confidence to do these things. Woodwork also provides an opportunity to apply other subjects in a practical sense. Mathematics and Science knowledge is regularly incorporated into woodwork procedures.

What unique opportunities for personal growth and self-expression does woodwork provide for the students in a school setting?

Woodworking is a process of patience and attention to detail. Woodwork projects often take a term or more to complete, so there is a real sense of achievement when completing the final steps of a woodwork project. The best projects are always those that have not been rushed, so in a world where we can just about get anything from anywhere quickly, woodworking provides an opportunity for self-growth through perseverance and patience. Woodworking can also be frustrating; mistakes can set us back hours of work, so self-determination and understanding that we all make mistakes are critical personal skills that we need. I will often tell my students that it is not about the mistake but what they do to hide it or make it a feature! 

How can learning woodwork help girls challenge and break down gender stereotypes in traditionally male-dominated fields?

Hands-on trade skills such as woodwork have always been considered a male domain, a sentiment I disagree with. I always aim to provide students with an opportunity to experience woodwork, which is the only way they will ever know if they like it!

A Student’s Perspective

“In Santa’s Workshop we are making a self-designed jewellery/ trinket tree. Some of the challenges we have faced were coming up with a design that suited the material we had available (like how thick the branches should be so they didn’t snap) and making it functional and visually pleasing. We overcame the challenges by creating a lot of different draft designs and checking each one and picking the best.”   Elizabeth, Year 8

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