There's a difference between "dangerous" and "risky." Risky behavior is typically foolish (as in running across a busy street), while Dangerous work is often constructive (as in using a power saw to cut wood). The Tinkering Club at Girls Prep began in the fall of 2013 to get the girls working with dangerous tools, constructively. None of the scholars who joined the club throughout the course of the year had previously handled a saw, swung a hammer, or worked an electric drill. By the end of the year, all were eagerly, and safely(!), managing the tools required to cut and assemble the wood for birdhouses, bat houses, and a dollhouse!
Each trimester, 10-15 girls participated, from fifth through eighth grade, depending on their schedules. We began the year working on smaller projects to build trust and ensure the responsibility required to move into the more dangerous work ahead. We visited the work site of a private contractor, Lempira Interiors, who was renovating a local home to see the big tools in action. Then we got to work!
Our first project was the Bird House Project. The girls researched blueprints of bird houses online and found one that we all agreed upon. We received generous donations of wood from Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware and of tools from Lempira Interiors and from Donors Choose. After the Birdhouses we decided to support the New York City bat population by constructing Bat Houses. From there, the girls wanted to build a Doll House to donate to a child, or children, in need. We again researched blueprints, made sure we had the appropriate materials, did the math and made modifications where needed, and set to work. We are happy to report that we had zero accidents over the course of the whole year! And the doll house is fabulous!