compassion. curiousity integrity respect



Richard Parks

Mr. Parks joined the Bright School faculty in 2014, continuing the long tradition of shop instruction at the school. A woodworking hobbyist in his spare time, he previously taught middle school math.

Believing in acquired knowledge application, Bright School’s woodshop offers hands-on experiences...literally! Each child has an opportunity to experience the process of taking raw material and creating a work of art. Through this step-by-step process, students develop math skills and learn to use mechanical and spatial relationships. Students are introduced to shop in Pre-K with basic, developmentally appropriate projects. As students grow and move from one grade to the next, their projects in shop also grow in degree of difficulty. Each year, students are introduced to new wood woodworking skills through a hands-on, project-based approach. There is strong integration between the shop projects and classroom curriculum. Through the projects they create in shop, they are building habits of attention, perseverance, patience, and self-control.

The value of the child’s work is not in the work itself, but in the child… in the development of character, skills, and sense of beauty and form. The object made is merely a symbol of these intrinsic effects.

by Otto Salomon, educator


• Begins to develop an understanding of the process of refinement; “make it better”
• Demonstrates number recognition and observes the use of a logical sequence of operations
• Develops fine motor skills and manual dexterity through hands-on projects


• Awakens the senses of touch, smell, sight, and sound unique to a woodshop
• Experiences and learns the importance of preparation for all steps in a construction process
• Learns responsibility for personal projects, workbenches, and storage cubbies

First Grade

• Learns the steps involved in assembling projects with multiple components
• Uses plane geometry (straight edge to make diagonal lines to find the center of a rectangle)
• Connects cross-curricular subjects to woodshop projects

Second Grade

• Learns the importance of accurate measurement
• Understands that the graduated scale on a ruler represents fractions on the standard measurement scale
• Uses the metric scale when measuring material as an introduction to additional systems of measurement
• Constructs three dimensional projects and recognizes the importance of symmetry
• Explores additional hand tools required to “sculpt” wooden animal figures

Third Grade

• Examines basic wood joinery
• Uses fasteners required for the assembly of projects (dowels, nails, wood glue)
• Measures in ¼ inch increments
• Uses senses to recognize the unique characteristics of different types of wood (grain, configuration, aroma, density)

Fourth Grade

• Experiences sculpting with an awareness of symmetry
• Incorporates projects into language arts, science, and math curriculums
• Makes traditional projects, such as the Bright School “Santa”
• Uses miter boxes to hold and saw parts to make angles

Fifth Grade

• Incorporates skills to become an independent and cooperative worker
• Applies mathematical formulas in the construction of projects
• Learns to make and use patterns in the construction of projects