Grade 3s Develop Fine Motor Skills in Quilting Club


Quilting may not necessarily seem like the kind of skill that a 21st-century learner would want to develop. It’s a really low-tech and finicky process, but a strong interest in sewing among a group of Grade 3 students led to Ms. Sharon Goodman and Ms. Lynn Porteous excitedly launching the new Quilting Club last week.

“It came from a presentation that I made in the Grade 3 classes on quilting because they were doing a unit on pioneers. The teachers asked me to talked to them about quilting in that time; why did the pioneers quilt and how patchwork was because you didn’t have enough fabric,” Sharon says. “The kids were fascinated and they loved seeing the quilt and designs, so I told them if they were really interested we’ll start a club. And low and behold, I had 12 students put their name on a list! Lynn is helping because she’s a great seamstress and the kids are loving it.”

Over the course of the after-school club, Sharon and Lynn hope the Grade 3 students learn how to thread a needle and sew a basic seam, so that by the end of the year they each can proudly walk away with a small patchwork square that shows off their handiwork.

“It’s kind of a lost art, and it’s really cool to see how into it they are,” Sharon says.

Of particular interest to the Junior School is the fact that the Quilting Club provides the students with an opportunity to work on their fine motor skills.

“We have a lot of fun toys and devices these days that are on screens, and they don’t require the same kind of fine motor skill. In order to be a good printer and writer and so many things involved in school, you need fine motor control,” Sharon says. “This is something that’s really important. We are distinguished from other animals as humans by our brains and by our ability to use our hands. … I believe in everything that we’re doing, and I believe we need to ensure that kids have fine motor skills. It’s really great that they can do something that’s an old-time skill that’s been passed down through the generations and it has a cool connection to what they’re learning in class, too.”

Student Reflections

“In Grade 3 we are learning about pioneers and Mrs. Goodman showed us how to quilt. Some of us wanted to learn how to quilt so she started Quilting Club. I joined because I wanted to make a patchwork quilt. It has turned out to be really fun and exciting. It was hard for me to cut straight, but that is the only problem I have had so far. It is fun seeing all the bright materials and working with my friends. I think Quilting Club is really great!” – by Emily

“I was really happy, and also nervous, about joining Quilting Club; so, basically, I was nervousited (nervous and excited). Quilting Club is good, but pretty tricky. It’s tricky because I haven’t had too many sewing lessons, and until this week I had no kit to practice with. Going to the fabric store was the best cause I got to pick different shades, colours and designs of fabric. I also had fun there. So, overall, Quilting Club is awesome and I love it.” – by Caitlyn

“Quilting Club is really fun because when you need any help, the help is always there. The teachers let you work independently, so that you don’t have to rely on them to help you each time. I’m really glad they picked Quilting Club to be a club, because it’s a good skill to know how to quilt and to sew. I like that if somebody does something that everybody might do wrong, they always stop whatever we’re doing and show us the right way to do it. It was very fun to shop for the supplies. With everybody collaborating and sharing fabric, it gave us a wider choice of fabrics to pick from. Quilting Club is always the funnest part of my Wednesdays, because it gives me some time to relax and do something that I love doing.” – by Chelsea

“I joined Quilting Club because it sounded like fun… and it is! Right now we’re just learning basic sewing. We’ll be starting just by making a small quilt, then we’ll add on to it to make it bigger!” – by Everest

“I really like the Quilting Club because I’ve never quilted before and it’s interesting to learn. We are studying pioneers right now and women quilted for their children to keep them warm, so I like learning to do what they had to do. We are lucky to have Ms. Goodman and Ms. Porteous to help us quilt because they are helping us to thread the needles and mark squares on the fabric to cut. I like watching the teachers show us how to quilt so I know what to do. I’m excited about finishing the quilt with my friends.” – by Cate

(photo by Kyle Slavin)


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