Over the centuries, from generation to generation, paper-folding (aka “origami”) has developed from a pastime into a creative art, a therapeutic activity, an aid to mathematics and a source of inspiration for the worlds of artistic, creative and scientific design as well as high fashion! These days, paper-folding is not only a leisure time activity or a creative art but also a means of educating people.
Since 2006, the International Convention for Didactics of Paperfolding for Educators has been run every year by a voluntary team in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. The idea behind this non-profit event is to share folding skills and encourage others. What is interesting is that of the 120 or so attendees, less than 20% are what might be called “recreational folders”. The rest use it within their workplace. As a member of the organising team, I have long wanted to offer this type of event within the UK.
So, starting small, I organised a one day event in Sheffield to offer an introduction to paper-folding for educators, volunteers, health workers and anyone else who can see potential for the subject in their area of expertise. The day presented a series of classes, aimed at complete beginners, to show how they can adopt paper-folding into their work.
Origami is an intensely popular and stimulating activity for children – I have taught in dozens of local schools over the years and it has always been a great success. It aids concentration, creativity, dexterity, sharing and co-operative skills, following of instructions, decoration, presentation, maths & geometry (where appropriate), art and above all, a sense of pride in achievement!
We will be holding another convention in 2016 and it is hoped that a small team can be brought together to further our aims and to present resources for others. In addition to the teaching and learning of paper folding, we also study the history, philosophy and development of the subject, but those areas are best saved for further down the line.