The Power of Hands-On Learning (Doug Stowe)

Season #1 Episode #13

Powerful learning happens through creative hands-on activities. How can schools better promote learning beyond eyes and ears? Doug Stowe, an expert in both Sloyd and Froebel methods, shows us how.

Doug, master woodworker, developed the Wisdom of the Hands program at Clear Spring School, a small independent school in Eureka Springs, AR. He's written over a dozen books on woodworking, including a Guide to Woodworking with Kids, and advocates for environmental stewardship. Check out his Wisdom of the Hands blog.Support us at:


Doug Stowe: I’ve just seen so many times when children go home proudly with something that they make, you find that spark within the child and you nourish that spark until it becomes a flame, that flame then the allows that child to become passion. Find something that makes contribution.

John Pottenger: Welcome to the Path to Learning podcast where three ordinary guys explore the world of education,

Jay Irwin: what’s working, what’s broken,

Scott Bultman: and what we can do to best advocate for children.

John: I’m John Pottenger.

Jay: I’m Jay Irwin.

Scott: And I’m Scott Bultman. And you’re listening to the Path to Learning.

John: So who’s on deck today, Scott?

Scott: Today we’re talking with Doug Stowe from Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He’s a master craftsman and woodworker who has written a number of books on some of these beautiful boxes, he specializes in doing these exquisite wooden boxes. But, but more than just that inspiring woodworkers., he is a teacher at Clear Spring School. And he teaches children how to do woodworking and really encourages them to use their hands. And he’s also an expert on Sloyd and Froebel. And so we went down to visit him a few years ago and interviewed him, but he’s just recently written a book, a guide to woodworking with kids, which I feel is just so timely right now for parents that are looking for things they can do with their children. Yeah. Not only does it show you how to introduce the tools, but also some projects and toys and things that they can make to really give them the competence and competence. Without further ado, let’s get in with the duck stone. All right.

Scott: Doug, welcome to a Path to Learning.

Doug: Well, thank you, Scott. And thank you, Jay and John, I’m glad to be with you.

Scott: So Doug, tell us more about how you got started doing all this. What brought you to woodworking and teaching and …

Doug: you know, to really start with the basics. My mother was a kindergarten teacher. So I knew at a very early age that my mother was a little bit different from a lot of other mothers because my mother was actually had actually been trained to engage children in learning. And so all of my friends were very anxious to come over to our house because we always had very special things to do. And then later, when I was in high school, I was rebuilding a model a Ford, under the guidance of the only craftsman I’d ever met in my life. He was a gunsmith and an antique car restore. And I intended to become a lawyer. That was my parental ambition for me because my grandfather had been one. And my friend asked, “Doug, I don’t know why you’d be studying to be a lawyer when it’s so obvious to me that your brains are in your hands.” Hmm, that was kind of an odd thing to be told. But then over a period of years, I began to understand that it was absolutely true.

Doug: And that it led me to make some changes in my direction instead of pursuing academics. I took a class in pottery and a class in creative writing, and I started to reassess whether or not I wanted to become a lawyer and face more years of schooling when it was obvious, and did it become obvious to me that I really enjoyed the process of creating things as a craftsman working in my own shop. Not always quietly, but almost always alone. I began to observe that there wasn’t just true for me that my brains were in my hands, but that it was very likely true for everyone else. And so that led me to devise my wisdom of the hands program. Which was intended to reawaken an interest in woodworking education.

Doug: And in the meantime, you know, wood shops were being closed all over the United States, they were no longer considered relevant to children’s education because their idea was that every child has to go to college, even though they weren’t going to make it available to every child. That was the ambition. So woodworking was no longer something that would add into that educational mix. Because we were no longer to be in a manufacturing nation, we would become a service economy and in an information age. And so the idea of there being value and being trained to become the tool worker of some kind, has seemed to have fallen at the wayside. And so as I started our wisdom of the hands program at the Clear Spring School was the idea that we should reconsider. woodworking is something It should be added to schools.

Scott: Now, how long have you been at Clear Spring School?

Doug: I started there in 2001 as a teacher, prior to that I’ve been a parent for many years. And prior to our having a child, I was involved with Clear Spring School because I was close friends with the school founder.

John: So was the school very receptive when you wanted to do this idea? I mean, if the schools are moving towards a more academic college prep kind of model where they like, “uh, you’re crazy,” or did they like it?

Doug: They like the fact that I was able to secure funding for it, and it would add to, it’s always the key. You know, when a teacher comes free, that that’s a good thing. But they also the school itself and always been what you would call a progressive school, not meaning progress, but the progress of the child the way the child would unfold, from its own roots and follow its own the child’s own interests. So it was, you know, a place that I fell in love with when my daughter was there and seeing the kind of education that she was getting. That was very much values-based. And it had to do a lot with not only learning the lessons of reading and math, but also learning how to get along with each other, how to find creative solutions to problems, always a very strong emphasis on exploration of nature. So in many ways, Clear Spring School was kind of an evolution of the ideas that had come to foible at an earlier age.

Scott: When did you first discover Froebel?

Doug: I was actually in a library in Sweden, the library that belong to Otto Salomon, who is a creative creator of educational Sloyd. And educational Sloyd was … excuse me for the shaggy dog story … but educational Sloyd was a system of woodworking education that was widely promoted throughout the world there were in Boston, there was a North Bennett Street school that was the center for the dissemination of for the training of Sloyd teachers for a period of time. It came to the United States about the same time that Kindergarten did. And when I was there in that library in Sweden, going through books that had been in Otto Solomon’s original collection. There was one particular set of magazine articles that I was interested in from a magazine called “Hand and Eye.” In all my research, I found that there were only two places in the world where there are any copies of it, and one was in this little library in Sweden, and the other was in the British Library. And so I’m looking at that book thinking it has to do with Sloyd and discovering that it was also about Kindergarten, and Froebel Kindergarten and also in and about this integration of hands on learning that was embodied both in Froebel Kindergarten and also in educational Sloyd.

Scott: We were really fortunate to be able to visit you in Arkansas and interview you in your workshop. But also was very impressed with Clear Spring School and one of the things that I remember very distinctly was watching these small little children walk up to a wood lathe and just start using it, with you kind of looking on admiringly. And I was freaking out because I thought for sure something bad was about to happen. And so this whole idea of working with, you know, fairly young children and some pretty powerful woodworking equipment. I just … I found it to be so impressive. If you could tell us a little bit more about how you do that. … how does that work? It just seems miraculous to me.

Doug: Well, there’s a there’s a very natural progression and how we learn and it was described in the theory of educational storage, you start with the easy and move to the more difficult, it doesn’t happen like, I’ve done this. So now I’m going to jump way across the room and do something that’s totally beyond my skill level. But you, you move from the easy to the more difficult and from the known to the unknown, and from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract. And so, teachers designing lessons for children would really do well, by understanding this model, even though it’s, you know, it appears unlikely that most academic teachers would adopt something that came from the manual arts but in any case, it’s a very valuable tool. So if you understand how children learn, and then you build upon their skill level by level and tool by tool and your own confidence as you watch them work, and then there’s another Part of that theory that says you must start with the interest of the child. And so we’re really lucky at Clear Spring School that I have small classes and that I can actually assess what the child’s interests are. And if you know what the child’s interests are, then you know, how to shape their learning. If you know how to shape their learning then it’s just a matter of following these basic principles from the simple to the complex known to the unknown from the easier the more difficult.

Jay: What was it about woodworking particularly that you doubled down on that when everybody else was doubling down on academics? Is there something magical about woodworking?

Doug: There’s a lot this magical about woodworking. First of all is concrete. You know It invites the hands when something is a real substance and you’re able to produce something that’s useful and beautiful and tangible. It’s a little different from putting your name at the end of a record. Yeah, and so it really is grabbing. And I learned that from my own relationship with woodworking which I’ve been a woodworker for quite a number of years before moving into the teaching realm.

Doug: I teach adults as well as children and, and so I can assure you that children and adults all learn in the same way. The problem is in school that we expect children to learn differently. And we follow our interests and we follow our inclinations we build upon what we knew last to learn something new. We’re driven by a sense of discovery, and yet we will stick children in a classroom that may be as much for their management as it is for their learning, but what what in particular was there about woodworking so you know, there are lots of crafts that I just really love and I’ve been a potter before I became a professional woodworker. And yet there’s something very special about woodworking you know, you can make something from something that grew in your sight. It’s not like you have to dig a hole and get clay or, or mine for metals or send off for paints it can all come right from where you are. And you can be a part of every single step in the process of creating useful beauty.

Scott: So what have you learned about children by teaching them woodworking?

Doug: Well, one thing I learned is that they love it. And so that’s real rewarding. You know, you you put the tools in front of a child and trust them to mature into their youth and they love it. I’ve also just seen so many times when children go home proudly was something that they made, and I don’t see children going home proudly with the report.

Jay: Yeah, yeah.

Doug: And so it. There’s something that the thing, though, is quite real, you know. So there are lots of features that Clear Spring School. One of them was we have traveled school where as Friedrich Froebel would take his children on walks, and they would explore their community and they would do all these wonderful things, to bring themselves out of the classroom and the learning into the child’s lives. We do that at Clear Spring School. We have annual camping trips in the fall and in the spring, so we go to state parks, we study nature, we talked to rangers, the kids are organized into patrols so they take responsibility for preparing their own food, cleaning up the camp site, setting up their own tents. It’s a wonderful thing to watch these kids walk out into a field, carrying their tents and sleeping bags and to set up and then to have a community forum.

Doug: So in addition to woodworking, we have a sewing studio, we have a new hands on learning center that we’re just really, really developing but we have dance, we’ve got culinary arts, a large art room, and we attempt to put the hands in place for all their academic learning as well. So when they’re studying civics, they go to the courthouse, you know, and when I when I speak of the hands, I’m not just talking about these appendages at the end of our wrists, you know what I’m talking about the hands that are represented by the call “all hands on deck,” and you’re not asking for hands necessarily looking for the presence of the whole being complete with all the strength and intelligence that we can bring

Scott: You sold me on it. So I guess the question is I’m assuming this is a private school, right? Do you have like a waiting list?

Doug: Yeah. It’s a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. And we are we receive our accreditation from the local branch that’s called ISACS. And there are hundreds of ISACS schools across the midwest. And so we are fully accredited by ISACS. We are one of the smallest schools accredited by ISACS and we’re very dependent on parent participation and support wherever we can find it.

John: You talked about the school has all these different, you know, sewing studio and an art studio and all these different I’m going to call them environments, which is a word you use in your book, and you even talk about kind of five steps that are taking you know, an environmental stimulus or stimulation, maybe and moving their brain forward or what how that process really develops their brain? Can you talk about how working with the hands can affect so many different areas, whether it be confidence or just the ability to learn faster?

Doug: Well, you know, Froebel had some, some concepts in mind. One was called “gliedganzes.” And it was that every individual was a part of a larger whole. And that the member of that organized structure is like … I’m like, I’m a body right? And I am also a member of a family and my consciousness can expand to encompass the family and its needs. And the family as a part of a community and a single member, that child can be come brought up to understand his or her place, not only within the family, but within the community. And as the child grows, they come up of its position and place within the culture. And simultaneously the small child is a, in a body that’s quite like an animal and has animal needs, but it’s also within an environment and within that environment, you’ve got plants and you got rabbits. But the point here is that we’re talking about raising the whole child. And the whole child is one that can see his or her place in a larger scheme of things and, and develop empathy and understanding of others and to see the other ends yourself. So for example, was disregarded by some as being very mystical. And yet what he was describing was very much what my mother was taught as a kindergarten teacher, you know, you find that spark within the child and you nourish that spark until it becomes a flame, and then that that flame then allows that child to become in passion and part of a community and to find something that makes a contribution. So those are things that that kind of drive me and make me think and wonder how we can make the world a better place.

Jay: Yeah, yeah, in light of everything that’s going on in the world. Those are obviously some characters and values that would be very well received right now. But I’m wondering how you overcome to enter into an education like this. You have to embrace risk, and we live in an incredibly risk adverse society. So how do you how do you overcome that?

Doug: Uh, like parents being concerned about their children’s handling of knives? You know, is that what you’re thinking about?

Jay: Right. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you’re talking about just being being more hands on. I mean, I guess there’s even emotional risks involved when you’re talking about bringing your whole self to the education process, and then kind of involving yourself in a community. So everything from …. yeah, when we came to your shop, it was amazing to see how empowered those kids were. And they’re, you know, wielding knives very appropriately and what we would call very dangerous tools. But but they were powered. And you could see that confidence. How does that play out? How can you encourage other parents to be willing to maybe take some of those risks? What are the what are the outcomes of taking those risks?

Doug: Well, you know, a number of years ago, Porter Cable tools started packaging nail guns and in compressors and selling them at Home Depot and Lowe’s and the consequence was they had an upswing in the number of nail gun injuries because a lot of school never operated a nail gun before and that tool was put in their hands that presented a real risk. And so my question is “Do we want our children to engage in some level of small risk when giving them the opportunity to learn about it?” Or do we save it all for when we put them behind the wheel of a car with their cell phone, and texting? You know, we can be so concerned about a child injuring themselves with a knife, for example, but kids don’t want to cut themselves. They don’t do that on purpose. Unless there’s some, you know, just real serious disturbance going on. You can trust them.

Doug: And this is you know, back in the early days of educational Sloyd. The knife was a tool of choice because every kid that went to a Swedish school already knew how to operate a knife safely. They’d been trusted by their parents to to use the knife around the farm to do various shoulders. And that was just part of what they grew up with and they were expected to understand They did and they were successful at it. And now we’ve become so risk averse that, you know, the kids are given all kinds of weapons that they use in these video games and computer games. And they’re always looking for a more powerful weapon that they can turn against some kind of thing you know. So, knives have become a symbol of something that is dark and evil, but try to talk to a culinary artist about the use of a knife, or are we then going to say, well, we will only allow our children to get takeout? Was there food prepared by someone who was trained in the safety of a knife?

Doug: You know, a friend of mine had gone on on a flow trip with her family and they pulled up on a sandbar and they got to know this other family and and they were really enjoying themselves and they have an older boy and so it got time and they were gonna have a little picnic lunch. And so Jessica brought brought out the watermelon and suggested to the other family son that he cut it up. And the other families mother was having a fit, “I can’t let my son use a knife.” So we’ve never know we live in a world where there are risks involved. So would you rather have your son or your daughter taught to widow with a knife by someone who is capable of sharing with them the safe technique for using a knife? Or would you rather just wait until later and and go to the emergency room and learn in retrospect and and you know, I’m personally in favor of training kids how to manage risk.

Scott: Well, I just want to say briefly, I love your new book. You’ve written a lot of other books. You’re a master craftsman, and you’ve shared that work with readers in the in the Taunton Press books. This one is in Blue Hills Press just came out and I was there. A lot of projects in here for kids and I and as I was paging through it, I noticed I recognized a lot of these projects or things that I saw in your classroom there in the school. But it’s it’s really kind of a beautiful combination of some of the stuff we’ve already talked about sort of the process and the philosophy behind it, but but more of a real hands on way to acquire some of the skills that we’re talking about. So what was the motivation for writing this book now?

Doug: You know, when I when I started my Wisdom of the Hands program, I thought it was so obvious that schools needed wood shops, and I thought that there would be a kind of a groundswell that would develop. And then I began to realize over the years that in order to really understand the value of hands-on learning, you’ve almost had to be a hands-on you had to come to an understanding of yourself as a hands on learner. And so I really began to focus on on training woodworkers, to train them to become teachers of their own children. But there’s always this obstacle that was there, you know, other woodworkers. I have some ideas about how they would introduce their children to woodworking and the joy and the value of it. Well, someone had done some research and said, only 38% of millennial men own a screwdriver. You know. And I …

Scott: I shouldn’t laugh but I know it’s true …

Doug: With all of that there’s a lack of empowerment, you know. And I want, I want to empower parents to have confidence in allowing their children to do something that that they will love. And if I can get the my earlier book for a couple books ago, I did a book about Friedrich Froebel. And it’s called “Making Gifts of Childhood,” but it’s about Froebel and Froebel Gifts and how to make them because I knew that people needed to know how to do that and that there was joy in making things that helps your children learn.

Scott: It would make my life easier too if they would make their Gifts themselves. You know, it’s a lot easier for people to do that. Do you think parents and and teachers will be able to … uh, there’s been a couple of generations here where we’ve kind of lost woodshop and we’ve lost some of these skills. Do you think millennial parents and teachers can can feel comfortable acquiring those skills or they can begin to help children with them?

Doug: I think so. And I think that there’s, you know, one of the things that’s changed is that YouTube has made the making of things really exciting. So I have a YouTube channel, it’s Mr. Doug Stowe, where I show some kids at work, but YouTube has stimulated and the maker movement of course, is helping to turn the tide. I think that people when they try to make something and find out that maybe it’s a little harder than it looks on YouTube, they may start thinking about other tools and things that they would like to master. I’ve had my son-in-law and his brother here are part of the Corona problem, and they’ve been in my woodshop because they wanted to know how to do it. And so they’ve made things. My son-in-law is working on a box to give his dad. And I think that there’s a … I think there’s a natural inclination to come to an understanding of your own empowerment. You know, it’s just like you can, you can … someone says, once you go get that degree and then you work real hard for you get that degree, and you feel some satisfaction in having attained something. And yet, a lot of people who have degrees are kind of just a little bit helpless in the world where they can’t find someone to do it for them. So I’m of an age that if, if I can change something in the household that makes me feel empowered, I’m going to do that. And it’s more empowering for me to do it myself. And then wait for the plumber to arrive.

John: Another thing I’ve observed, sadly, is that the attention span to do certain things is shorter and shorter. And so to do some of the projects that you do in your woodshop I assume you don’t get it all done in one day, and you have to kind of stick with it come back, you know, glue something, let it dry. Put another piece together, there’s an element of perseverance and diligence and as well, right?

Doug: Yeah, and there’s also the thing of, “well, that didn’t so I think I’m gonna have to try that again.” And that’s something that the kids really learn when they’re on the lathe. Because often things don’t come out the way they’re expected. And so either go to plan B, and make a modification of what your intention is. Or you start over and then starting over, you often learn that it’s a little bit easier because the last time you practiced and now you’ve gotten better, and so. It kind of frames things that way, you know, that you do this today and tomorrow, you’re better at it. The next day maybe even better still. And so you’d begin to understand yourself as a learner not as a fixed point in time who came up against an obstacle and failed or succeeded.

Jay: I would imagine in doing that you’re also gaining a value for things that have been created an appreciation.

Doug: Yeah, I’m hoping, hoping that’s the case because our museums are full of beautiful things that are inspirational. You know, I have a favorite Museum in New York City is called the Cloisters and it’s part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it’s on the way north side of the way north end of Manhattan. And in there, you find medieval chests and carvings that were done 900 years ago, and you begin to realize that you can make something out of wood that could be so lovely, and so useful and treasured that it can last that long. Don’t watch it. It took me two weeks to make it last 1000 years. You know, that’s not a bad week’s work, you know?

Jay: It’s pretty good ROI.

Scott: Yeah. Your stuff, Doug, I know, is gorgeous. I’m curious about using working with the spark that children bring a spark. And I’m, that’s I know a lot of people out there, the kind of the wheels are turning in their mind. They’re thinking, How can I do this? Well, how do I take advantage of this? So these children come to you and they’re in the woodshop for the first time. How do you really engage them? How do you get that spark that you can work with you can fanned the flames?

Doug: Whether the first thing is that they’re very curious about tools, and they’re very curious that you’re going to put a plane in their hands and it’s something they’ve never seen before. And it does these things that takes these pin shavings of wood or almost thin enough that you can see through them and they’re so you know, and so there’s a there’s a martial engagement that happened. When you present someone, something new, and sustaining that spark, though, has a lot to do with the shaping of your lessons so that you are introducing new uses for that tool, and you’re introducing projects that appeal to them. And you listen to them. So we’ve made trains. The first trains we’ve made were made because one of my students just had this thing about trains and he wanted everything, whatever book he read, it had to be about trains. And so we made trains. And so that’s just following a student’s inclination. And then if you have one student that’s interested in something like that, you certainly have his attention, but then the making of it will lure along those who may be thinking, “well, maybe I wanted to make a doll instead,” and then they find how much fun the train is. And then of course, leaving that door open to their own personal creativity. So I try not to just say, “this is what is gotta look like.”

Scott: Well, it’s great. In the book, you have a lot of search. First of all, you start out the book with the tools, I you said introducing the tools. And then there’s a lot of toys that children can make. They can make their own thing and they can add their own creativity they can, they can redesign it the way that they would like to have it. So I think it’s really wonderful.

Doug: Thank you.

John: Is there something that you would could give our listeners, you know, whether their parents or teachers, something that they can be doing to advocate for either the students in their class or their own children to, to maybe take advantage of some of the principles that you’ve been talking about today?

Doug: You don’t want our head of schools one time, gave us all a challenge and she said, “I want you to visit each other’s classrooms and simply note the things that are where you see a very clear hand and brain connection.” And in doing that, she was asking us each to plan our lessons so that that was the the truth of them. You know, if everyone understood what my friend had told me early on that our brains are in our hands and would then start looking for opportunities to engage the hands. And whatever their children do, we’d have a revolution on our hands.

John: Yeah, we interviewed somebody, George Stiny from MIT, and he is huge on just the spatial relations and all the stuff you do with your hands. So it’s people at MIT are fully celebrating what you just said, you know?

Scott: Yeah, those ideas have been percolating under for a while. You’ve read the Frank Wilson book the hand, obviously, right?

Doug: Yeah. Mmhm. Yes. Frank and I are friends and have visited each other in person a few times.

Scott: So I know we kind of dealt with it a little bit in the beginning of the conversation about how this stuff and went away in favor of academics. And we’ve also kind of talk a little bit here towards the end about, you know, how do we get it to come back. What are your thoughts on that? Obviously there’s a maker movement, there’s some things kind of percolating under but, what what are some easy steps that we can take to get this revolution that we’re talking about restarting?

Doug: Well, you know, if when I mentioned revolution, I’m thinking the whole thing top to bottom. One of the big mistakes that we make is to put people into the theoretical first rather than the practical first. And so you, a student wants to become a teacher. So instead of putting this potential teacher in the classroom, you put them in, in the lecture hall where they’re received lectures, instead of hands on personal engagement, and then people are promoted throughout their academic careers by their academic success than not by their practical attainment. And so, you know, we have to, to really look at the whole thing now, but the people, one of the reasons why I found woodworkers to be an attractive audience for what I have to share, is that they work with their hands. They they understand what I’m talking about.

Doug: The person who has been so gracious as to support my program at Clear Spring School for all these years, is an artist so she understands what I’m talking about. And so some of this is that some of this can be hard to explain to those who have not taken the time to explore their own relationship with their hands. But there are lots of ways they can do it. You know, gardening is one, cooking is another. Nursing is one that certainly comes to my mind these days because the some of the operations that nurses do to keep people alive can’t really be explained very well. You know, we music is another way. So there are all these different ways that we can come to a better understanding of the significance of our hands. How they help us learn, but not only how they help us learn, they help us learn how to be human, you know, to connect with broader issues and to be of service to each other.

Scott: Well, I really hope that people just get out and start doing some stuff. You know, earlier you were talking about in the classroom, how many professors have we all had who know their subject matter, but they don’t know how to teach. You know you’re there to learn. They’re there to teach you but you know, that the professors themselves are, are distant from the work they’re supposed to do. But if we can just all kind of get our hands dirty in one way or the other, either through woodworking or gardening or cooking or nursing. I think we’ll, we’ll learn through our hands. So I really appreciate your time. Doug.

Doug: Well, you’re welcome.

John: Well, thank you, and what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they wanted to or To find your book, is it on Amazon or what’s the best way for people to connect?

Doug: The book is on Amazon and it’s called the Guide to Woodworking with Kids. I am on, um … I have a blog where I write semi-regularly. It used to be every day but right now I’m just doing it every other day or so. And it’s called the Wisdom of the Hands and it has so much information in it about research has been done, hands-on learning and you know, just like to like everyone to know that what I’m talking about is, is not something I made up, it’s something that they can observe themselves is something that’s scientifically proven that we learn best when we learn hands on. There’s research to back it up. The Frank Wilson said the hands in the brain comprise a learning system that co-evolved with the origins of man. And so you know, the brain without the hands is an empty vessel. The hand without the brain is a pretty sad thing as well.

Scott: I highly recommend the blog I thought I had some wonderful old pictures of Froebel Kindergarten and then I saw Doug’s blog and I got jealous. I don’t know where you found all those photos, Doug, but well, hopefully we can include some in our documentary series. So

Doug: Well, I I really want to encourage your podcast readers to get involved in the Kindergarten Movement and learn more about it. And Kindergarten was not just an empty word that was wrong upon us. It was something that was well planned, well designed to serve and to make us all better people living in a better society.

Jay: Well said.

Scott: Absolutely. Anyway, thanks, Doug. We appreciate your time today, and we’ll talk again soon

Doug: Carry on the good work.

Jay: Thank you, sir.

John: But that was really encouraging. And there’s so many good nuggets in there.

Jay: I thought it was really profound that he made the comparison in this time of, we’re seeing a lot of destruction that maybe the antidote to all this destruction is remembering how to create,

John: Again, if you haven’t been to his workshop, like we had to see the kids doing this, just like you said, the confidence level and the, you know, empowerment empowerment that these kids had. It was incredible to watch.

Scott: Yeah, well, if you’re following some of the clips that we’ve made, especially someone like the risky play stuff that we’ve done, we have shots of those seven- and eight-year-olds, we’re using a lathe and you know, whittling with knives and things.

Jay: Yeah, it’s still sweat a little bit every time I watch some of those clips.

Scott: So if you guys were wondering where was that happening? It was happening. Doug Stowe in his class at the Clear Spring School in

Jay: Eureka, Arkansas.

Jay: Eureka Springs.

John: I think they fed us some really good pizza when they were too.

Jay: They absolutely did phenomenal.

Scott: Yes, I had forgotten, now I’m hungry. Dang it.

John: So thanks for the pizza, Doug. Well, thanks for everyone for tuning in today. Jay, if people want to find out more about our documentary project, what website you remember the website?

Jay: they would go to and tell me if I’m wrong, right. But they would go to You got it. I nailed it. Thank you.

John: And what’s our podcasting website, Scott?


Jay: Nice, nicely done … or “us,” depending on what mood you’re in.

John: Or if you’re in a really generous mood, you can go to and become a supporter. And thanks, everyone for tuning in and we’ll catch you on the next podcast. All right.

Jay: Take care.



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