Last week, while I was sitting working on a hat, Julien asked if I could teach him how to knit. He has been asking for quite a long time, but I know from my reading about development and the coordination needed that it was best to wait until closer to 7. He has been finger knitting since he was 4. He does it mindlessly now as he sits listening to stories in the afternoon. I taught him to 4 finger knit when he was 5 and we have an endless supply of bracelets, headbands, and rope. Now at 6.5, I figured the time had come.
I chose a rainbow skein of Chunky Mochi. It is thick, soft, and rainbow. Perfect. I set him up with some bigger sized needles, casted on 20 stitches for him (they learn cast on later down the road) and then we sat down. We used the verse:
In through the front door,
run around the back.
Peek through the window
and off jumps Jack.
I won’t lie and say it was easy for him. I saw first hand why waiting is so important. The coordination, the concentration was so intense and yet with each stitch it came, slowly, but it came. Fingers grew more comfortable holding all the stitches and the yarn. He grew better at finding that place in front of the needle to fit it into the stitch. I thought for sure he would get frustrated and walk away, but he didn’t. He finished a row, and I said that was probably enough for today. He agreed, but 30 minutes later he was back at it for another row.
This weekend we laid low as we fought the nasty flu going around (and won for the most part. Yea for homeopathy!!) He had only a slight fever, so not enough to make him sleep but enough to keep him on the couch. Much to my delight, he had his knitting with him. Oh how happy that made me feel!
As his fingers get stronger, so too will his writing. As the synapses in his brain make this newly learned connection, so too will his pathways for more complex learning down the road. Such a big step made with a simple pair of knitting needles!
For anyone interested in a really fantastic book on why handwork is so important and at what stages things are introduced and why, check out “The Will Developed Intelligence”. If you are Waldorf or not, it is a really great read and wonderful way to supplement your children’s education no matter what path you follow.