As H’s interest in tools grew, we sought to make connections with everyday real-life experiences. We started noticing tools being used all around us. Some of our experiences included:
- Visiting Lee Valley Tools (a tool store) to pick something up (our awesome purchase will be explored in the next post)
- Watching the Roof Hospital staff repair roofs in our condo complex
- Watching repairmen fix the door to the garbage shed in our condo complex
- Watching a man use a power saw just outside of H’s school to cut wood
- Watching city workers dig and excavate pipes in the alley that borders her school parking lot
- Watching repair men using ladders and tools to restore the heating system in my chiropractor’s clinic
While she is too young now to participate in children’s workshops, older children could benefit from the free monthly Home Depot’s Kids Workshops, participating in a local Habitat for Humanity initiative or contacting your local community association to see if they need volunteers to help with community maintenance (for example, painting, rink maintenance, trash collection etc.) Similarly, local community and school theatre productions, such as Storybook Theatre often need help with set building.
As I make this list, I notice that everyone we encountered in our experiences was a man. I know there are tons of women that use tools and I know that H hasn’t yet challenged this notion as she feels very comfortable donning her construction gear and playing pretend. But as an educator it is important to expose children to balanced perspectives, especially in light of some other people’s sexist attitudes , so I will aim to introduce her to (non-sexualized) female construction professionals through books and photos. I’m curious to see if it triggers a response.
*These images have been collected from various places on the internet.
The one construction professional I do know quite well is my brother. H has always had a special love for her uncle and when I told her that he has lots of tools, she was immediately interested. We arranged a whatsapp video date so that he could show her around his workshop, demonstrate the use of different tools and answer questions. It was a really cool virtual interactive field trip.
So just before our video call started, H fell off the couch and was in a bad mood. It took her a few moments to warm up but when she did, she was curious and excited to see my brother’s collection of real tools. She was also quite eager to show him her plastic versions excitedly commenting “I have that too!” She was especially proud when he admitted that she had one tool that he didn’t…a saw! I’m curious to see what emerges this summer when we go to visit my family and she can get a real life tour (and hopefully some more hands on experience).
If you live in the GTA, check out my brother’s newly launched facebook page for his company MADDA-WORX. He provides wonderful customer service and specializes in landscaping, interlocking and home improvements.