Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Passing through the eye of a needle......

As you will not know, I work as a "learning support assistant" - or using the current nomenclature, "teaching assistant" - at a primary school. This of course qualifies me to take part in endless discussions about children's learning, ability, behaviour, treatment etc etc etc.

The children were sewing. They had enormous needles with giant eyes I could have threaded their skipping ropes through. They had to sew about 30cm of running stitch using embroidery cotton in a colour of their choice. The plan was to make a purse.

Despite clear instructions, this seemingly simple task for a group of nine year olds proved to be a serious challenge for most of them. The main hurdle seemed to be needle threading - with more than half the class professing themselves to be unable/unwilling to succeed. Other howlers included - tying the needle on to the thread with a knot to stop it falling off and then wondering why it would not go through the material; leaving only a quarter of a centimetre of thread to secure the end of a line of stitches; making such mammoth stitches that any coins unlucky enough to find themselves in the purse would fall straight out; I shan't go on but I could.

Remembering visits to National Trust properties - there is always a sampler hanging in the nursery worked by some earnest Victorian child. The stitching is perfect, the extensive quotes from the Old Testament copied without error, and the careful needleperson is rarely more than four years old.

Sewing on buttons next week - I'll bring in my old Kaytel? Buttoneer.


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