Sierra View Coyotes have found themselves in stitches thanks to the guidance of Resource Aide, Nancy Ropecka, who is sharing her passion for crochet for a second year at the elementary school.
First invited to speak with a fifth grade class reading a book about a grandmother who crocheted, Ropecka shared some of the students expressed an interest in learning the skill.
The first year, she began small, working with a group of fifth graders before school, during recess and each Wednesday at lunch time. She taught the students the basics of the craft with simple projects.
This year the Resource Aide made the decision to open the Sierra View Crochet Group to both fifth and sixth grade students.
“I had 35 kids reply,” she said, noting many of the kids come every day at recess as well as during the lunch meetings.
“They’re welcome to come every day before school and first recess,” she shared.
During their time with Ropecka they are given projects and encouraged to work at their own pace. For some, now in their second year they’ve taken on additional projects, many recently creating Christmas gifts for friends and family members.
“Now it’s gotten to the point where they work on what they want to work on,” she stated. “They have their own yarn. They’re all moving ahead. They’re all working at their own pace, doing things they like.”
The instructor shared she’s been both pleasantly surprised, as well as encouraged by the participation not just of the students, but the parents helping them shop for hooks and varying yarn types.
“I wanted to spend more time with my friends and it was cool that you would end up with something that looked pretty cool,” sixth grader Gracie Stephens shared.
“What I did was each project taught them something new,” the instructor said. “Each one is built on adding to their experience.”
Ropecka also noted she’s encouraged students to YouTube techniques, patterns and projects, pointing out that the on-line source can be their “best friend” as they learn more about the craft.
“My favorite project is this beanie, because you can wear it,” Brody Lev, 12, said of the cap on his head. The project took the student five to six days to complete. His father took him shopping for crochet hooks and supplies.
“They’re all helping each other now. They’ve all learned enough skills to help people who aren’t as far,” the crochet enthusiast said of her students. “I was shocked when 33 kids came. I’m really thrilled that this many kids are enjoying it and want to keep doing it.”