K-8 Partnerships

As part of the school's commitment to life-long learning and advocating the value of hand-skills training, a middle-school program was established in partnership with a Boston Public School.


Education in the crafts has been part of North Bennet Street School's (NBSS) mission since the 1880s when the school was founded and began teaching Boston’s North End children and adults woodworking and other manual arts. Woodworking programs were developed for Boston public school children and were so successful they became regular Boston public school programs based on the NBSS model.

The goal – PROVIDE ACCESS TO HAND SKILLS TRAINING TO Boston public school studentS

An important objective toward reaching the goal of reintroducing woodworking in Boston’s public schools is to build on the successful, grant-funded pilot program with the John Eliot K-8 School.  The Eliot School pilot program focuses on middle-school students and we are currently seeking additional partners among Boston’s middle schools. Our goal is to increase the number of students who benefit from the program, both by enriching the school’s core curriculum and widening students’ career and educational options in their high school years and beyond.  

Read more about the John Eliot School partnership here.

"Woodworking in schools provides a cutting edge for the engagement of the mind in learning. Students who may be disinterested in academic learning are more deeply engaged in schooling when they get the opportunity to find success working with their hands. On the other hand, students who are already successful in formal education acquire qualities of character in wood shop that make them better citizens, and more appreciative of the contributions made by others."

Doug Stowe
Woodworker, teacher and author. Read more on Stowe’s blog Wisdom of the Hands.  

The partnership model

NBSS provides Sloyd-based woodworking instruction to students, preferably during their school day when we can most effectively make connections between the manual arts and course work in the arts, science, technology, social studies and mathematics. In addition to woodworking skills, students increase teamwork and collaborative experiences, learn time management, patience, persistence and accountability. They receive prevocational training that gives them the experience of hand work should they decide to pursue additional training or career in the trades.

In addition to middle schools, we are interested in exploring partnerships that provide woodworking training to students in high schools. And, the master teacher has experience teaching younger students making partnerships with K-5 schools possible.


In 2013, North Bennet Street School launched a pilot middle-school book arts program with the St. John School. In the program, taught by Erin Sweeney and Colin Urbina, students complete projects that teach paper folding, sewing techniques, text layout, paper decoration and pop-up structures. The plan is to build on the success of the pilot program by adding more middle-school partnerships.

Contact us

Write or call to learn more about these program, explore partnership opportunities or to share your love of woodworking and book arts. Write to middleschoolprogram@nbss or call 617-227-0155. 


We offer occasional workshops for children. They are listed with the other continuing education workshops,
Click here !

Programs for the public

Two programs for middle-school-age students are scheduled for 2015. Introduction to woodworking for the home schooled and Summer 2015 Introduction to woodworking.  

Photos of John Eliot School students