Ronnie's Awesome List is thrilled to present a guest article by Sophia, owner of The Poekie Nook. Join Sophia at her one-woman business teaching hand-sewing and beading to children of all ages since 1992. She is open Ski Week 9am-5pm
* Special Valentine's Treat: First two hours free for you and your friend if she/he is new to the Poekie Nook. Treat is valid only in the week of February 8-13, and for one friend per visit.
Almost every girl that walks into the Poekie Nook says, ‘I want to make those!’
So the parent signs her up and she immediately gets immersed in learning the basic sewing stitches to make a beginner’s Poekie. Some girls learn quickly and easily, others may take more time, but regardless of how long it takes to master the different stitching techniques, all students are proud of their progress and see that, with some patience, they too will be able to make the cutest animals living at the Poekie Nook.
Before long, parents come in saying, 'My daughter is obsessed with Poekies. She wants to be here every day.' Why is that?
Due to our drop-in format, at any time there will be girls aged 6 to 12 with varying degrees of ability and experience, all sewing away at their particular skill levels, inspiring those who are new to keep on practicing their cutting, tracing and stitching abilities as they move up through the different levels of Poekies. Since there is no “class-time’ (“Now we all must do this or that”), girls hang out in groups, chatting and laughing, while they learn without the stress of needing to accomplish something within a certain time frame. The true gratification comes when they bring their Poekies home and can play and sleep with them.
Playing with your Poekies
Everyone knows Poekies are super cute and super sweet and super innocent. There are no mean Poekies. They don’t like war or violence. They all love to swim and play and have parties. Through that innocent playfulness, Poekies help keep the natural innocence in our children alive and foster the imagination, which, as a former Waldorf teacher, I believe to be instrumental in raising happy, healthy human beings.
Why is learning to hand-sew Poekies beneficial in a child’s development?
Obviously, it improves manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination, but children also learn to think in three dimensions, as they see how a few two-dimensional pieces turn into a three-dimensional sculpture. Learning this in the world of real materials, helps them to better grasp the three dimensional world offered in the virtual reality of computers.
Many scientists are researching the effects of the arts and crafts on child development. They speculate that craft activities promote the development of neural pathways in the brain that help maintain cognitive health. Playing a musical instrument has already shown to be very beneficial. Cursive writing also has proven to connect synapses in the brain, crossing over from left to right brain, and that this is invaluable in many aspects later in life. A study done in 2011 shows that crafts like knitting diminishes the chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss in elderly people.
Even though the effects of hand-sewing specifically has not yet been researched, my premise is that ANY artistic and craft activity that includes hand-and-eye work will improve the function of the brain.
So, while your child is having a lot of fun at the Poekie Nook, she is, unbeknownst to her, working hard on acquiring all kinds of skills that will benefit her for the rest of her life.