Learning to knit is a skill that will last a lifetime and will give children the ability to make their own woollens, have a relaxing and absorbing hobby and create home-made gifts for others. Young children can learn to finger knit or knit with large needles which helps them build many important developmental skills. Forest Hill vet, Joelene, had never learnt to knit herself and so was excited when her young twins, Amelia and George, came home from their Goodstart Forest Hill childcare centre with small knitted pieces they had made themselves.
The joy of creation
Turning a long piece of wool into a scarf, toy or doily is a wonderous achievement, even in the eyes of an adult. Teaching children how to make useful objects helps their mental health in the short and long term. As well as having an end product, the process of achieving a goal has been shown to have very positive effects on self esteem and emotional well-being. George was very proud of his knitted frog, and carried it everywhere, while Amelia loved her multi-coloured knitted bird that she hung from her ceiling.
Knitting requires the use of good fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Though not all children in the daycare were ready to learn how to manipulate the wool and needles, the educators at Amelia and George’s daycare made sure all children managed to create whether by finger knitting, cardboard knitting or with needles, depending on their individual development level. The children who chose to participate also practised their concentration and observation skills, resilience and perseverance in learning how to make stitches and even follow a simple pattern.
The daycare programme used knitting to incorporate educational concepts and skills into a play-based, creative activity. As the children learnt to use the needles and wool, they talked about colours, the texture and thickness of the wool and the size and shape of the needles. They counted stitches and rows as they knitted, introducing important number skills. The children also learnt language around the knitting they were making, such as long, short, fat and thin.
Resilience and Problem Solving
As any experienced knitter will know, dropping stitches, un-pulling and reworking your knitting is all part and parcel of the knitting process. Children learn how to seek resolution, solve problems and persevere as they begin to learn how to knit. Encouraging each other in the task helps children develop empathy and emotional skills, as they persist on completing a knitted item and feel the joy of achievement.
Forest Hill early learning centres incorporate knitting and other crafts into child care programmes to assist children with their educational and emotional skill development as well teaching them an enjoyable and useful skill for life. Knitting is not only a social activity, but can be used to improve fine motor skills, teach patience and persistence and is a useful and satisfying ability that allows you to make your own garments and accessories whenever you wish.