Samford Valley Steiner School: Friday Vertical Lessons

Friday afternoons – the High School hardcraft workshop and the surrounds are a hive of activity as 33 eager students arrive for Friday vertical lessons. The idea of these sessions is for students of all ages to interact and work together on interest areas of their choosing ranging from art projects, aviation skills through to wood turning and renovation projects. In the hardcraft space we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with the knowledgeable men from Samford Men’s Shed. Every Friday these retired men generously donate their valuable time to supporting our young people improving and practicing technical skills with hardcraft tools. This helps students develop manual dexterity, hand-strength as well as developing multi-generational local community connections. To be honest, it is the community engagement aspect that makes me smile the most.

In the smithy, blacksmithing is in full swing with an enthusiastic bunch of students learning the art of forging metal using heat, a hammer and an anvil under the experienced watchful eye of blacksmith Martin. Apologies if your children are very dirty on a Friday afternoon!

Meanwhile in the main room expert craftsman Guy is patiently teaching students the art of woodturning. This is a highly technical craft of using a rotating wood lathe to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. This skill requires perseverance and concentration. Projects currently underway range from bespoke chess pieces for a year 12 project and class 8 student working on new handles for chisels as part of the tool renovation initiative.  Meanwhile other students are working on individual renovation projects including tools, a mower, a rocking horse and even a boat.

Within the Environmental Projects strand, a project supported by Mike from the Men’s Shed, is making animal habitats to add to the biodiversity of the school grounds be sited around them. Students have identified a species of interest to them ranging from sugar gliders to microbats and are tailor-making habitats to suit the requirements of their chosen species. Still within the Ecology scope, other students have researched initiatives from the University of Queensland Institute of Molecular Biosciences aimed at reducing populations of invasive cane toad species. Students have made traps and preparations using the pheromones of adult cane toads to attract tadpoles, trapping them before they can mature and reproduce. Watch this space to see how successful this is in reducing cane toad populations from the school next season

Another group of students are supporting our busy hardcraft teacher Andy Currey in renovating the outdoor classroom area, particularly the round house. Originating in the Northern European Iron and Bronze age, circular houses with conical thatched roofs were built as dwellings. This team are re-weaving the walls and re-roofing the conical roof to be used as an outdoor learning environment for the primary students

We are extremely grateful for the wealth of knowledge and patience of the Men’s Shed crew who willingly invest their time directing the energy of our eager young people to do meaningful work with their hands, hearts and minds.

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