In the Making: Slöyd Experience

January 12, 2024


In the Making

“The hands-on, authentic, real experience of doing is one of our core beliefs… Our children, our future generations need more opportunities to make things, because they’re so capable of doing it.”

On Thursday, January 11, 2024, we hosted a virtual conversation with Luke and Allison Johanson of Slöyd Experience, a nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen children’s character through woodworking. Their sole aim is to foster self-reliance, nurture concentration, coach perseverance, encourage neatness, and instill an appreciation for labor—all of which will prepare them for their future.

In fall 2022, Slöyd Experience became an official Community Partner of the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado. In this capacity, their organization funds and supports the school district by offering hands-on programs integrated into the curriculum. Every 2nd and 5th grader at Louisville Elementary School participates in an hour-long Slöyd session each week. The students, parents, and teachers have discovered and embraced the value of this unique educational experience.

Luke and Allison detailed the ways they’ve taken the original slöyd methodology and are applying it to educational opportunities today. North Bennet has a long history with sloyd: this manual arts training movement known in Sweden as Educational Slöyd (slojd means ‘craft’ or ‘manual skill’) was brought to this country in large part through the efforts of the school’s founder, Pauline Agassiz Shaw. It is still part of our educational philosophy today.

By using the very natural and human activity of “working with your hands,” Slöyd Experience believes it’s possible to educate both the mind and body and overcome current gaps in our educational system. Through the use of traditional woodworking, they aim to cultivate resilience and grit in each student, which will set the stage for a lifetime of learning.

Books mentioned during the talk:

“In the Making” is a public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of events on the series homepage.

With thanks to our underwriters

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Holt & Bugbee
Adams + Beasley Associates

Feinmann, Inc.
Platt Builders

Columbia Contracting Corp.
F.H. Perry Builder
Firestone & Parson Inc.
Inland Underwriters Insurance Agency

New England Design & Construction