Jeroen Rabenberg was associated with the primary school for almost 20 years. First as a group teacher at Bos en Vaartskolen in Haarlem, and then within special education (van Gilseschool). Rich in experience regarding the perception of children, he independently started a unique project two years ago. ‘Workshop Jeroen’ (link to the website at the bottom of this article)
Text Charles Duijff / quotes website Jeroen. Pictures Charles Duijff (click on the pictures below to enlarge)
Recently I visited Jeroens Werkplaats at Delftlaan 327 in Haarlem. A versatile workplace where young and old can fully indulge themselves creatively. In the opening image, you see a girl ‘twisting’ sheep’s wool, but this is just one of the many materials that can be worked with. There are also many options for, for example, woodworking. What immediately struck me was the enthusiasm of the children present, in this case a group of girls who, in addition to being free to choose what they wanted to work with, also immediately dared to create something personal. The children can use all kinds of professional tools in a safe way. In addition to Jeroen Rabenberg’s expert guidance, parents’ help is sometimes also appreciated with larger groups of children. Jeroen: I have been working for myself for almost two years now, with the knowledge and experience I have gained in my backpack, to give children the opportunity to have fun, but also challenging experiences, through which, in consultation with the parents, they can possibly practice on skills that go beyond simply making a piece of technique.
For almost a year, I have also worked again at a (free) school, the Rudolf Steiner School. Last school year with various tasks such as guiding students and a teacher, RT, taking over classes and shelter during the shutdown in December/January and this school year I started as a woodworking teacher at the Asiaweg location. I think independent entrepreneurship is very nice, challenging, valuable, but I also missed working in a team, going after something together, learning with and from each other, and I also noticed that I just like ‘school life’ (besides the workshop). Text Jeroen continues after the picture…Vision
The will to develop stems from a secure base. Children are born with a will to develop, a will to learn. Not infrequently, this will disappears in some or more areas. Touch often uncertainty with a large spoon in the porridge. By paying close attention to a comfortable and safe place to be, children feel safe to take on new things, seek challenges and learn to deal with mistakes, for example, simply because they know that ‘It is permissible to make mistakes’.
Persistence pays off!
My experience in recent years is that many children are more than average motivated to continue with technical projects, simply because it is so much fun to make something that you want to succeed at!
Technology has thus become a means to achieve a development that can go much further than simply measuring, sawing, drilling, screwing and probably also has a positive influence that has a greater reach than just the technology space.
Interested in learning
In addition to my knowledge of and experience in working with children with many learning disabilities, in recent years I myself have discovered that working with children who have lost the motivation to learn a little suits me well. By looking together for interesting subject matter and suitable teaching methods, children often succeed in learning again. Engineering tasks are suitable for this, for example, but more theoretical programming or challenging calculations can also be very suitable!
My two children can regularly be found at the workshop, with or without friends, which in addition to fun experiences also helps to further strengthen the concept through their feedback and my observations! My wife, who works in the elementary school, not only helps me to think about the concept, including thinking about the interior design of the room, to get and keep a nice balance between a ‘man cave’, an orderly classroom and a bit of a homely atmosphere. The text continues after the pictures (below: can also be painted) Boys are more often interested in things like soldering and electronics at Jeroen’s workshop. Among other things, Jeroen showed me an example of the installation of LED lighting in the Dollhouse.Workshop Jeroen may very well encourage children to choose a trade, a profession that requires special expertise and where there is already a shortage of skilled workers in today’s society.
Click here for the website
Below is a further photo impression