Occupations Using Solid Materials

Occupations Using Solid Materials: wool, beeswax, clay, mud, sand, and snow for children 2 to 13 and beyond.

Most children are born sculptors; they represent, imitate, create, and transform. It is the child's greatest enjoyment. They desire to produce forms with any type of pliable material. They knead it and mold it till it represents something to them. This fact did not go unnoticed by Froebel when he made the Occupations part of his educational philosophy.

The Occupations reflect the series of Gifts; recapitulating them as creative expression for the child. Solid materials are explored at first. These can be handled by the youngest of learners; toddlers. Damp sand, moist mud, snow when in season; these are tactile materials that engage the hands and senses. As the hand develops clay and beeswax modeling and wool are added.

The Occupations are not taught in a specific order, but as they complement the work with the Gifts. Unlike the Gifts, the Occupations cannot return to their original forms once they are used. This gives the child a sense of permanence. Also, Occupation work, no matter the materials used, teach not only to be creative and patient, but also many of the art forms are life skills for the future.