In the beginning of the year, first graders are introduced to the art of European knitting. The main objective is to introduce skills needed for the children to complete a variety of projects. First, the children listen to a complex story about the wool process. By using combinations of imagery and tactile experience, the children discover the wooly coats of sheep; cutting, washing and dying of the wool; carting and spinning; and making their own knitting needles. The skills that they learned include: making a slip knot, rolling a ball, casting on and off, knitting the knit stitch and adding a new color. All children will complete a knitted ball. Other projects include hats, water bottle holders, bags, bunnies, and guinea pigs.
Knitting is introduced to first graders for several reasons. By developing fine motor skills in the hand it strengthens development in the brain. The action of knitting establishes the eye’s control over the hand and arouses the power of concentration. It helps the child to strengthen numerical skills by counting the number of stitches and rows. Lastly the child feels a sense of self-esteem and joy through making something both beautiful and practical.