Origami in Education
Abstract: Origami is an educational tool of great value. A partial list of these benefits includes: visual sequential memory, ability to follow directions (visual or auditory), eye hand coordination, spatial perception, and fine motor skills. The child also develops associative thinking skills, improves patience, concentration, and attention to details. Most of all, it involves emotions, which can calm down the hype-active children and excite the bored ones in the class.
When a child is faced with a piece of blank paper he/she has an urge to draw on it, which is one type of creative activity. But very rarely does the child think of folding this piece of paper into something, another type of creative activity.
Origami can be defined as the art of creating recognizable objects by mean of folding a sheet of square paper. Origami can be learned by almost anyone. In recent years, Origami has been used by educators and therapists in many applied setting. Teachers have discovered that Origami is an activity that fits ideally into interdisciplinary and multi-cultural programs.
2. Why Do I teach Origami ?
First of all, it does not take much time in the lesson and it is a very good recreation for our children. Secondly, it improves the communicative skills in a natural social setting. Doing origami can be a hard work at the beginning. However, it is worthwhile when we consider the benefit in the long term.
Paper folding combines the advantages of being instructive and attractive. It appeals to the creative, inventive and constructive abilities of children. Friedrich Froebel (1782 – 1852), the German educator and founder of the kindergarten, who dedicated most of his life to the exploration of the learning process of young children, realized that a game for children is an educational tool of a great value. Origami in that sense has the characteristics of a game. It is an enjoyable activity that follows certain rules, it involves emotions, it excites, entertains, and at the same time teaches through doing. To the child, the transformation of the flat sheet of paper into a three dimensional form, using only two hands, seems almost magical.
In this learning by doing activity, (in which co-ordination and motor control play an important part), there is a continuous interaction of the action and thought process. Children watch how each fold leads to a more advanced one and how together they all progress to create a life-like pliable material, which they, the children, duplicate or, use their creativity to form a new one on their own. In that aspect, Origami is a method of “active research”. There is a gradual progression, a sequential order, research into new relationships of folds, and creative possibilities which encourage the advancement of new ideas.
While doing origami, the child is exposed to speaking, listening, seeing, observing, touching and doing. In the process of learning a new model and duplicating it on his own, the child has an opportunity to improve multiple cognitive skills in an enjoyable way. A partial list of these skills includes: visual sequential memory, ability to follow directions (visual or auditory), eye hand coordination, spatial perception and fine motor skills. The child also develops associative thinking skills, improves patience, concentration and attention to details.
Paper folding can be used as a technique to achieve vital academic objectives. One of the most obvious applications is mathematics. Origami provides a highly engaging and motivating environment within which children extend their geometric experience and the skill of spatial visualization. With its richness in mathematical topics, students literally manipulate the concepts that they are learning. Origami demonstrates the fact that mathematics is a subject that can involve exploration. When a student, for example, folds a piece of paper in half and opens it out again, the nature of one half is shown to him/her.
The seeds of geometric thinking are implanted when children are doing origami.
Origami strengthens the intellectual skills. And it makes one happy, youthful and positive.