Assignment: Education – Students have a ball knitting

After-school clubs like Lego League or Robotics are common options for elementary age kids looking to be involved in school activities.

But a new club at a La Crosse elementary school has students putting down the technology and picking up an age-old craft.

“It kind of developed into an idea that I had with one of my parents as we chatted on the bus during a field trip one day last year,” said Tina Thomas, Emerson Elementary teacher assistant.

Thomas said from there the idea just took off.

“When I sent the letter home with all of the students, I figured I’d get a dozen interested or so,” said Thomas. “I think I had 43 kids come the first night.”

“I love just basically talking with friends and knitting,” said Violet Nelson, Emerson Elementary student. “It’s really fun.”

This group of second- through fifth-graders has met every Wednesday after school since October.

“I wanted to go to knitting club to learn how to knit because I never learned,” said Ella Nustad, Emerson Elementary student.

“When I first started out, I was totally frustrated, and I thought it was impossible,” said Nelson.

But now these students are having a ball.

“I get to hang out with my friends after school,” said Jacelynn Lewis, Emerson Elementary student.

“I really like, just … I’m not in class with either of them. So we don’t get to hang out that much,” said Nelson. “And it’s just fun talking about stuff that we never get to in the school day.”

This activity has provided some of these young kids with a place to unwind.

I have seen some of our children take to knitting instead of making other choices that may not be as good,” said Thomas. “So I think it’s kind of helped them focus in a positive way with some of the things that they might need balance in their lives.”

It’s a skill that Thomas believes could provide children with a meditative outlet in a very busy world.

“It’s, I think, bringing more of a calm environment to the classroom,” said Thomas.

Outside of class, the craft is also helping to build character.

“It’s become the kindness community,” said Thomas. “And I just love seeing them so engaged in what they’re doing, and they’re all so excited about it. It’s really great to see.”

The yarn and needles for the club were supplied by the teacher, as well as donations. Some students have also brought in their own materials.