Teaching a Child to Crochet - Setting
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Tips for Teaching Children Crochet

Physical Setting and Class Size

Select a pleasant space with minimal distractions and a relaxing ambiance.

Ideal number for a crochet teacher would be 5 or 6 children all working on the same project.

The more children involved, the more organization and structure is needed.

Example: Small groups may sit on the floor and be more informal, getting up to come to the teacher. Larger groups may have assigned areas to work and be told they should remain in these areas and the teacher goes to them.

Large groups may be sub-divided. More adept children may help others, but adult aides are most helpful.


Teaching Teenagers

Teach them as adults are taught, but recognize their interests are different.

They should be treated as adults and not like "large children".

Avoid "dumbing down" the class. Involve them in measuring and planning projects.


Keep It Fun

Children are our future crocheters and worthy of our time. Children want to have fun and will not tolerate too much seriousness. They may or may not be interested in "doing it right". Be grateful they are trying. Don't expect or demand perfection from children. Let them enjoy learning to the extent they are interested and don't make them feel like failures if they don't accomplish much. Often, just being exposed to the techniques and understanding the principles is enough. If it has been an enjoyable experience for them, they may come back to it later in life; if it hasn't, they won't!

Boys may be more interested in these skills than some girls, so do not leave them out.

Associate knit and crochet with their interests: caps and leg warmers for outdoor sports, writing a pattern for themselves with the calculator and tape measure.

As you probably well know, most children do not have a very long attention span, especially when it comes to doing something that is not very active like knitting or crocheting. The challenge may be just getting them to sit still long enough to teach them, so the key is to KEEP IT FUN. Go with the flow and don't dwell too long on how to hold the yarn and hook. Once they feel comfortable, form will come. Just keep them going. At first, work around mistakes and don't rip them out. Keep the lessons short enough so as not to lose the child's interest, and before the lesson ends, get them excited about what they will learn on the next lesson. If the lesson is too long and becomes too difficult or boring for the child, they may lose interest altogether.

Children often like to compete. Explain to them that this is an individual learning event and how fast or slow one is does not matter. What's important is how much they are enjoying it. (This can also apply to adults.)


Be Patient

Patience is probably the main ingredient for success in teaching, and this is especially true when teaching children. So when scheduling your lessons, set aside enough time that can be devoted exclusively to the child/children. Children love attention and the quality one-on-one time you spend with them is very important.

For instance, one instructor who enjoys teaching children suggests that when teaching young people, always dress comfortably. Why? One successful technique she uses is she sits on the floor with the students standing behind her. This enables the students to see the correct way to hold the needles or hook. Some students may still need additional help. If so, try putting the child in your lap and while you hold the crochet hook, have the student put their hands over yours. It may be time consuming, but children seem to really like this method.

Also, give them plenty of PRAISE!! (Also applicable to adults.) If you make them feel good about their work, they will practice more and progress more quickly.

If you are teaching in a class setting, some children may interrupt others or demand constant attention. Help them, but no more than others in the class. Be polite, but firm, not allowing them to "take over" all of your time.

The physically challenged will impress you. Most are able to learn from you with few adjustments to your usual teaching style. If they have problems hearing or seeing, they may request a seat nearer to you. Wit h patience, you will learn more about teaching from these students. The physically challenged or disabled are eager to learn a new skill and are often omitted from those we would ordinarily seek as students. Don't leave them off of your list of those who deserve to learn to crochet.

There are many blind and hearing impaired who teach others. Those with learning handicaps can be remarkably talented in ways not readily apparent. Use these hidden talents to develop effective needle workers. Many prefer repetition and do very well learning a needle art.

It can be more difficult to teach family or close friends. They may not take you as seriously as other students and may only want to know specific techniques. Keep your sense of humor and do not feel obligated to give them the whole course. If they want more information, they will indicate that. They may want no structure at all. As long as they learn, the teaching method is not important. The most important thing in teaching anyone at any age is that it be fun for both you and the student, so be creative.


Time To Start . . .

One expert suggests to always REVIEW before beginning a new skill or technique. It is important that you be prepared and have available all the teaching aids you need for that teaching session. Pre-class preparation will also help refresh your memory on techniques you may not use very often. Pre-class preparation is important whether you are teaching a large class or one-on-one. Be sure you are ready before you start a class!!

Many have found it easier to begin by giving beginning students a crochet hook with a few rows of crochet already completed. By using this method, students learn the basics of single crochet more easily. Creating a foundation chain in crochet can be tricky for beginners because of their tension. Once they feel comfortable with the basic stitches, you can go back and teach them how to begin a foundation chain.

It is extremely important to include as much "one-on-one" teaching within a group session as possible. Some children may not want to ask questions in front of others because they don't want others to know they don't understand you. By walking around the room while students are working on an assignment, you can pinpoint those who need individual assistance. However, NEVER embarrass anyone by saying, "Why didn't you tell me you didn't understand?". Patience and tact is imperative!

According to another expert, one very important aspect of teaching is giving lots of affirmation. Always find something positive to say to your students. Whether it's "I like t he color of your yarn" or "You hold your crochet hook well," you will find that saying something positive will help them to receive correction better. Keep telling them they are doing fine. This will build confidence in the child. They will feel that they "can learn to do this," if you give them encouragement and positive reinforcement.

We've all heard, "A picture is worth a thousand words." It's easier for your students to see what you're talking about instead of just hearing about it. That's why it's good to always bring plenty of samples or completed projects to show your students. These visual aids can also be used to help children see what other techniques they will be learning.


Listen to Your Students

Listen with more than your ears to what your students are telling you. If their actions are cold, bored, or indifferent, the reason may be they are just not getting your message. They may be having problems understanding a stitch, pattern or terminology that is new to them. A little extra help could get them to a point where they feel comfortable.

Get students working with their hands as soon as possible. Discussion can take place while they work. All handouts should be as informative as possible. When students must constantly stop to take notes, they lose track of what's going on in class, and fall behind with their hand-work.

After each class, summarize what was taught in class that day, ie, casting on, knitting, single crochet, etc. You may then want to "whet their appetite" by telling them what will be taught in the next class. Always emphasize that practice will make them more comfortable with the yarn and hook which will ultimately help them to progress more quickly.


Project Suggestions

It is very important that projects be appropriate for the skill level of the students you are teaching. The projects that are offered should capture and keep the interest of your young students. Follow their lead as to what they would like to create a gift, toy, or garment.

Beginners will need assistance in choosing a pattern that is simple and appropriate for their skill level. Remember it's better to end up with a completed simple project than an unfinished difficult one. Simple is best. Make the projects colorful and appealing to the age group you are working with. Know their interests and offer projects that will inspire a desire to create the project.

There are two different approaches you may take in guiding your student toward a project.

  • You may want to select one specific project for all your students to work on.
  • Another approach is to let your student select their own project. If you choose this method, have projects that match their skill level and the type of yarn that you will be working with (worsted or bulky weight for beginners).

Once you have decided what technique and what projects you will use to teach a skill, you are ready to begin your teaching sessions. The following sample class outline can serve as a model for you. Remember, adjust your teaching sessions to the age level of the children that you will be teaching. Use the methods that proved to be most successful. And most of all . . . enjoy sharing your talents and skills with a new generation!

The teaching of children is a most important task. We do it every day in so many ways, without even contemplating the fact that we are teaching. When they see us doing something, they want to imitate what they see. Let them see how much you enjoy crocheting and what "fun" things you can create. Allow them to use their creativity.

One important fact to remember; they are learning a skill that can become a libeling treasured art. You have the opportunity to share the gift of knowledge with coming generations. Because you spent the time to teach a child now, they in turn will be able to teach another generation. Therefore, you will have imparted knowledge, not just to the child you teach today, but the children of tomorrows to come. What a grand gift to share the love for the beautiful art form that is crochet!


Objectives for Beginner Crochet Classes

Objective: To introduce students to basic crochet techniques including the slip knot and chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet, and triple crochet. See Basic Crochet Techniques for instructions.