At the in Mill Valley, children partake in a group of activities that school director Debra Lambrecht calls the "practical arts." Citing recent research findings related to brain development, Lambrecht says practical arts such as knitting and cross-stitching develop cognitive capactiy.
According to Lambrecht, when children practice rhythmical operations with their hands, it promotes the mental operation of logic and reasoning, and expands intelligence.
"There's a lot of research that shows that we get info through our senses and our fingers," she says. "Math information comes through the digits on our hands. There's new research that talks about how we process information and that an aptitiude for math can come through working with the hands, which is pretty amazing."
With that theory in mind, Greenwood is hosting is partnering with Fibershed, a non-profit collective of fiber artisans, to host a free "fiber fair" on Saturday, Aug. 18. The event hopes to encourage kids to explore locally harvested fibers and plant dyes. The fair takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greenwood School and is free to attend.
The event will feature local fiber-bearing animals, such as angora rabbits and lambs, plant dying, felting projects that children can take home, as well as spinning.
Sustainability and engagement with the local community is a key part of the event, Lambrecht says. The 40 pounds of knitting yarn for the fair will be harvested locally and dyed with only natural plant and insect dyes, all of which will be sourced from within a 50 mile radius of the school.
"At Greenwood, being part of the community is important to us... we really value environmental stewardship and use local, natural products," said Lambrecht.
If a student you know needs help with fractions or geometry, getting them interested is cross-stitching could be the answer. They won't even know they're practicing math.
The 411: The Fiber Fair takes place on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greenwood School, 17 Buena Vista Ave. Free.