Handwork Happenings at Commack Road


Handwork was a daily happening at Commack Road during the last month of classes. Every year, fifth-grade teacher Valerie Rivera invites her students to select and work on a form of handwork – including knitting, crocheting, rug hooking, braiding and sewing – for a block of time each day.

“The repetitive, sequential skills needed for handwork are relevant to helping children with skills needed for reading and writing,” said Rivera. “It helps increase focus, concentration, patience, endurance, perseverance, fine motor coordination as well as eye-hand coordination.”  

During a visit from a second-grade class, the fifth-graders explained to the younger students that handwork is becoming a “lost” skill. One student eagerly volunteered to mend a torn seam in the second-graders’ classroom pillow, while another noted that he had learned how to crochet from his lunch monitor. Many explained that they were taught their handwork by a grandparent, specifically for this activity.  

“It was wonderful to see how engaged these fifth-grade students were in their projects, and how proud they were to talk about their experience,” said fellow teacher Patricia Austin.

“In a fast-paced life, handwork is one of the slower, more meditative, confidence-building pursuits that can relax and still the mind,” said Rivera.