Spain | Netherlands | Germany | Portugal | Summary
- Introduction
- Dutch school   system
- Good   education
- Gender   aspects
- Recent   history
- Domain   description
- Organisations   + ETE
- Standard   materials
- AXIS and VTB
- Curriculum

- Summary


the state of the art 2003


§ 1.Introduction

This part will describe the state of the art of “technical education” as a subject in primary education in the Netherlands. As far as “technical education“ is concerned we can just say, “it has started”. And with this statement we say that there are a lot of good initiatives, structured initiatives with support of many participants in this area like the Ministry of Education, companies, publishers, schools for primary education and teacher training colleges; all organise din networks all over the country. So, there is a basis.

However these initiatives concentrate on the upper grades of primary education. So far incidentally there are initiatives for younger children, but not systematically.

And there is another “however””. This refers to gender. When we look at the activities then many are yet concentrating on boys, though initiators are very aware of this gender problem. They are trying to have their initiatives and activities equally divided for boys and girls.

Here after we will start with an introduction to the Dutch education system with its characteristics related to education in schools for primary education, this is of importance to understand nowadays and future embedding of technical education into the education system. After that we think it is important to explain a little bit more of one of the philosophical ideas with which Haagse Hogeschool; Department for teacher training is working. This philosophy is also the basis for our work within the subject of “technical education” and how we train our students.

A description of the domain of technical education and the aims and learning lines are put in here to explain more about the way in which the subject is executed in the Netherlands.

To give a better idea about the reality of technical education in primary education we will explain more about supporting organisations and available materials in order to end with the future and the curriculum in this respect of the Teacher training college in the Hague. Finally there is a list of literature, mostly with literature in Dutch.    


§ 2. Dutch school system and the policy on Technical education


Hereafter we will explain somewhat more about the Dutch education system esp. for those ages, which are of importance for the “Flaschenzug” project i.e. age 0-12.

We start with a long quote from the Ministry of Education about the official school system. After that there is a short introduction to the voluntary education system before the compulsory primary school age, which is 4 years.  


“Organisation and administration


2.1. Historical overview

"Schools dispute" and the "Pacification"

The statutory equality of public and private schools is an important feature of the Dutch education system. This equality of status, which dates from 1917, was achieved after a long

political dispute, which began in the nineteenth century and continued into the early part of

this century.

The first piece of educational legislation in the Netherlands, the Elementary Education Act,

was passed in 1801. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, elementary

schools were divided into public schools funded by the government and private schools

maintained from private sources. The unequal treatment of public and private education led

to the "schools dispute", a political battle to achieve complete equality under the law for both

types of school. Catholics and Protestants wanted their own schools with a pronounced

Roman Catholic or Protestant stamp but with equal state funding. The Liberals too wanted

the freedom of education guaranteed by the Constitution to be reflected in equal financial

treatment of public and private schools. This was finally achieved in the 1917 Constitution, in

what is known as the "Pacification of 1917".

After 1917, the principle of financial equality was extended to secondary and higher

Education. There are now nearly twice as many privately run as publicly run schools.



The history of compulsory education

The first legislation making education compulsory was passed in 1900. It prescribed 6 years

of compulsory education (between the ages of 6 and 12). The Act was repeatedly amended

and eventually replaced by the Compulsory Education Act 1969, under which it was

compulsory for children to attend school full time between the ages of 6 and 16. In 1985 the

lower age limit for compulsory schooling was lowered from six to five. Children must now

attend school full time from the age of five for at least 12 full school years and, in any event,

until the end of the school year in which they turn 16. In 1971, the Compulsory Education Act was extended to include an additional period of part-time compulsory education for

young people who have completed their period of full-time compulsory schooling. Under-18s

must attend school at least one day a week until the end of the school year in which they

turn 17.

As from 1 August 2002, the school starting age is due to be lowered to four.


2.2. General principles and legislation

The Constitution and freedom of education

One of the key features of the Dutch education system, guaranteed under article 23 of the

Constitution, is freedom of education, i.e. the freedom to found schools (freedom of

establishment), to organise the teaching in schools (freedom of organisation of teaching)

and to determine the principles on which they are based (freedom of conviction). People

have the right to found schools and to provide teaching based on religious, ideological or

educational beliefs. As a result there are both publicly run and privately run schools in the


Publicly run schools­ are open to all children regardless of religion or outlook; are generally subject to public law; are governed by the municipal council or by a public legal entity or foundation set up by

the council; ­ provide education on behalf of the state.

Some publicly run schools base their teaching on specific educational ideas, such as the

Montessori, Jena Plan or Dalton method.

Privately run schools

­-are subject to private law and are state-funded although not set up by the state;

­-are governed by the board of the association or foundation that set them up;

­-base their teaching on religious or ideological beliefs; they include Catholic, Protestant,

Jewish, Muslim, Hindustani and anthroposophy schools; ­

-can refuse to admit pupils whose parents do not subscribe to the belief or ideology on

which the school's teaching is based.

Some private schools base their teaching on specific educational ideas, such as the

Montessori, Jena Plan or Dalton method. Some are non-denominational.

Some 70% of pupils attend privately run schools.

The freedom to organise teaching means that private schools are free to determine what is

taught and how. This freedom is however limited by the qualitative standards set by the

Ministry of  Education Culture and Science in educational legislation. These standards,

which apply to both public and private education, prescribe the subjects to be studied, the

attainment targets or examination syllabuses and the content of national examinations, the

number of teaching periods per year, the qualifications which teachers are required to have,

giving parents and pupils a say in school matters, planning and reporting obligations, and so


The Constitution places public and private schools on an equal financial footing. This means

that government expenditure on public education must be matched by spending on private

education. The conditions, which private schools must satisfy in order to qualify for funding

are laid down by law.


2.3. Compulsory education

The obligation to attend school is laid down in the Compulsory Education Act 1969. Every

child must attend school full time from the first school day of the month following its fifth

birthday; in fact, however, nearly all children attend school from the age of four. Children

must attend school full time for 12 full school years and, in any event, until the end of the

school year in which they turn 16. Young people are then required to attend an institution

providing courses for this purpose for two days a week for another year. Those who have a

practical training contract in a particular sector of employment attend classes one day a

week on a day release basis and work the rest of the week.

If a child of compulsory school age is not enrolled at a school or stays away from school

without permission, the parents can be fined up to 2,250 euros or, in extreme cases, even

sent to prison. Young people aged 12 or over who stay away from school without permission

can themselves be fined between 2 and 2,250 euros. An alternative measure is usually

imposed instead. For pupils aged 14 and over who are experiencing problems with full-time

education, a special programme can be devised combining general education with some

form of light work that is carried out in conjunction with their schoolwork. This is intended for

a small group of pupils only, who cannot be helped in any other way.

The municipal authorities implement the Compulsory Education Act. The municipal

executive checks that children below school leaving age who are registered as resident in

the area is enrolled as pupils at an educational establishment. The municipal authorities

ensure compliance with the Act in both public and private schools through the school

attendance officer appointed for this purpose. The Act requires each municipality to have

one sworn attendance officer with specific responsibility for this matter, although in smaller

local authorities such officials frequently carry out other duties in addition.

Since 1995 the municipal authorities have been responsible for registering early school

leavers under the age of 23 and coordinating regional policy on this matter. In 2001 the

Regional Registration and Coordination (Early School Leavers) Bill was adopted by

parliament. This bill contains amendments to educational legislation designed to prevent

and tackle early school leaving in ordinary and special secondary schools, secondary

vocational education and adult general secondary education. The municipal authorities will

in future be responsible for ensuring an integrated approach to the issue of early school

leaving. Schools and colleges will be required to report all cases up to the age of 23, i.e.

beyond school-leaving age. The main aim is for all young people to leave school with a

basic qualification.



2.4. Structure of the education system and key moments

There is limited formal educational provision in the Netherlands for children under four. In

June 2000 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare

and Sport and the Minister for Urban Policy and Integration of Minorities published a policy

letter on early childhood education (…). It outlines government policy and lists concrete

measures. Early childhood education is geared to children aged 2 to 5 who are at risk of

educational disadvantage. The aim is to partially integrate this policy with urban policy and

municipal policy on educational disadvantage (see also § 3.10 under New developments).

Most children start primary school at the age of four, although law does not require them

to attend school until the age of five. As from 1 August 2002, the school starting age (…) has been lowered to four. “1)

Children leave primary education in general at the age of about 12 (after eight years of

primary schooling).


Pre-primary education

Within the frame of this education material referring technical education for young children it is important to note here, that before compulsory education, there is a structure for the education of children younger than 4 years.

First there are the day care centres. These centres just look after children age 0 until 4. Parents bring their children early in the morning and can take them home again when they want. Sometimes (especially in bigger cities) they are open until late at night. The staffs are educated at a certain pedagogical level and know how to deal with children in this age.   

The same centres several times also offer “after school care” i.e. when parents are not at home children can go there and will have a place where they can do their homework or can play together with adults who keep an eye on them.

Day care centres have an economical basis: parents can wok or study during the time children is in the centre.

A specific feature in the Netherlands is the “peuterspeelzalen”, places where children in the age of 2 – 4 can stay only for pedagogical reasons. Each individual child can stay there only for 2 to 3 times a week for some hours. The idea is that children learn to meet other children and get acquainted to a lot of toys. Furthermore these children learn to play in structures and in an unstructured way.

In former times these centres stood alone. Nowadays they are many times combined with the day care centres. 

The education structure for the ages 0-4 and the “after school care” is paid by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, so not by the Ministry of education.


The philosophy of the Dutch education system

When the revised compulsory education act came into force (1984), several ideas were at the background.

This act brought together the ages of 4-6 and 6/7-12 under one system. It was based on the idea that the gap between playing and learning was artificial (two separate schools) and that it would be much better for the continuous development of children that it would be one long line of development from 4- 12. Children would go from learning while playing to learning and sometimes playing. The consequence of that was that teachers had to change their ideas about strategies of learning and that the role of emotion while learning became very important. At least in theory. After so many years we must conclude that in several schools the background theory has been realized, but that in the majority of the 7000 schools fro primary education in The Netherlands have not been successful or never tried to change their system. They stacked to the system of: for the ages 4 and 5 it is playing and after we start the serious work of learning.

Beside the idea of the continuous learning it was at the same time that Frea Jansen-Vos developed her ideas (“basic development” in translation) about good education for young children (age 4- 8).

To characterize Dutch education for young children and to understand the basis for the principles on which technical education in The Hague and in the Netherlands is based, we will quote somewhat longer from a paper of Frea Janssen-Voss. In the paragraph here after we will explain more (§ 3).  

Some essential principles of the theory of basic development are:

“     - Both children and adults play an active role in developmental processes.

-          Children learn the best, or have optimal development chances, when they operate in significant situations and are involved in significant activities.

-          Stages in developmental processes show a sequence of interrelated dominant activities and motivations: material activities, role-playing and learning activities.

-          Initiation and involvement are crucial factors in child development.

-          Emotional freedom is a prerequisite for sound development.

-          Young children show large differences in development.

Principles like this lead to an educational concept, which we call: development-oriented education

The intention of development-directed education in general is to improve personality formation; including goals like taking action, verbal communication, reflection and independence. In short: broad development. All kinds of necessary knowledge and skills are part of personality formation: they are no goals in itself.

A second characteristic is the important role of adults, or teachers; they are playing a very active role in developmental processes; they provoke development.

And a third core idea is the need of significant situations, activities and materials; significant for children at one side and for educational intentions at the other side. Teachers have to intermediate between both.”


►Basic characteristics

A sound development needs some characteristic, which can be seen as developmental prerequisites, as well as educational goals:

  • emotional freedom
  • self-confidence
  • curiosity

►Broad development

Goals in the area of broad development are long-term goals; they cannot be reached in course of early childhood education or even in primary education. The aims show the direction in which we want to stimulate and guide the children’s development.

These are the main goals:

  • action and initiation
  • verbal communication
  • expression and representation
  • playing and working together
  • imagination and creativity
  • exploring the world
  • reasoning and problem solving
  • reflection
  • self direction
  • independence

►Specific knowledge and skills

Development of young children includes a series of specific knowledge and skills. They serve broad development, as has been stressed already. Even though it is possible to mention many detailed knowledge and skills, we again prefer not to do so. Instead we point at key-goals:

  • motor skills
  • perception, observation and sorting
  • words and concepts
  • tools and technical education
  • social skills
  • outlines and symbols
  • written and printed language
  • quantities and calculations.”  2)   


In Belgium Ferre Laevers (University of…) developed his ideas (“experience based learning” in translation) for the same group of young children and further and during the same years. For some time they operated together and later more as opponents. Nowadays there is a large group of teachers in The Netherlands working with the young children who are supporting the ideas of Frea Janssen-Vos, while in Belgium people do support the theory of Ferre Laevers. Though in the same language area they were not able to convince across the borders.


For a longer time the ideas of Frea Janssen-Vos only concentrated on the younger children, though she already emphasized in the earlier mentioned paper “development-directed education is a concept which applies to the whole area of primary education”. 3)

It is from some 5 years ago that Dutch primary education is slowly influenced by the adherers of development-directed education, that these ideas have to influence also the higher grades of primary education. During these years some schools for primary education were re-writing their curriculum based on this theory.

It is during the last few years that the protestant “Free University of Amsterdam” has shown interest in the concept and is busy to work on the scientific side of it.  Furthermore a foundation has been established (Academy for development-oriented education) to disseminate the (applied) theory and the ideas in schools and teacher training colleges like the one of Haagse Hogeschool. 


At the same time (already some 15 years) for higher grades (esp. in the area’s of biology and technical education) subject methodologists had developed a practice oriented theory: discovery learning.

This methodology is widespread in The Netherlands and esp. linked to the above-mentioned subjects.



§ 3. Good education for young children; Development-oriented Education (OGO)

3.1. Introduction

Haagse Hogeschool, department for teacher education has chosen for development-oriented education. It is an approach in which people have an idea about good education for young children. It is important to pay attention to that, because it is the philosophy of Haagse Hogeschool, department for teacher education and technical education, as a subject will be embedded within the curriculum with this philosophy.


Here after we will give a short explanation of the beginning of the ideas, the characteristics and the aims of development-oriented Education for young children.


3.2. Development-oriented education; “a third road”

According to the tradition there are two approaches of education for young children (age 4-6) in the Netherlands: a method based approach and a child based approach.

The method based approach focuses on the future possibilities of children. The teacher is preparing is preparing learning environments, adapted to the individual child in order to achieve pre-fixed goals. The risk of this method is that the child itself is subordinated to pre-fixed programs and consequently will not be motivated enough anymore.    

The child-based approach is focusing upon the present possibilities of children. Along this concept children need especially play activities, which meet their interest and every-day life. Based on observations the teacher strong learning environments. This has the risk that education is becoming more of following the child and it is in this way that education relies on the power of the self-development of children. It is possible that by these children are missing chances to get the right support at the right time. (Janssen-Vos, F., Basisontwikkeling in de onderbouw, (Assen) 1997)


Development-oriented education is integrating the advantages of both approaches. It is for this that we speak of a third road. It is not a method but an educational concept.

Development-oriented Education is for teachers a curriculum strategy, which is providing teachers with a lot of instruments to link as close as possible to the capacities of children.

Basic rule when organising the curriculum (form early years to older ages) is that all new learning processes are embedded in meaningful “wide scoped” activities (van Oers, B., 1998, Magazine “De Vernieuwing”).



3.3. Inspiration sources for development-oriented education

These are e.g.:

- experience-based preschool education (EGO; Prof. F. Laevers). He points out that social welfare and involvement are of vital importance for good education. A healthy pedagogical climate and rich experiences make that children can concentrate on what to do.

- situation based education (German Reform movements): The right choice of education themes  (e.g. living, working, hospital) can connect and produce cohesion between school and the world outside.

- development based education (Vygotsky): His theory points out the continuity in development and education. It is because of this that in The Netherlands pre-primary educational and primary education are concentrated in one school. The late psychologist Van Parreren has translated the ideas of Vygotsky for Dutch education.

- adaptive education: education that is adapted to the needs of the differences of children. There are three basic needs of children, which have been met in education: relation, competence and autonomy, as Stevens is stating.


3.4. Education framework


Vygotsky distinguishes between two levels of development: the actual one (that which a child is able to do independently) en de zone of the future development (that which a child will be able to do in future with support


He connected the previous with the concept of  “imitation”  (i.e. joining already existing socio-cultural activities, through which imitation is more than only steps to go further: children develop their own interpretation of activities. It is because of this that they learn all kind of new specific acts in a meaningful conceptualised way. The support they get is helping them to behave independent.

The role of the teacher is very important especially as the one who knows more and who can stimulate and can offer individualized activities.

The teacher has a kind of “ hidden agenda”, based on the knowledge of the development of the children. This knowledge helps to offer the right activities at the right moment.

In relation to technical education this means, that activities should offer a lot of room for creativity and input of children themselves*. The teacher should know which activities are fit for this moment and which for the future. *.

A description of a sequence of activities can be supportive without being put into a method. Further implications are described in chapter 2.

Based on the ideas of constructivism future knowledge and skills are centralised around the level and interest of each individual child.


3.5. Key activities: from playing to learning


Development is carried out along activities and leading issues in a certain period of the development of a child. As known, key activities start with playing activities (age two and three) and gradually change over to learning activities (age seven and eight).

For young children playing activities are the major basis for further development and for learning.

The development of the playing activity into a purposeful learning activity must be seen as a unity without any break by the age. *

Development is a cohesive process. of physical and psychological elements which are connected to each other and which influence each other. Beside that they are linked to the key activities. This means that major development processes (e.g. communication, speech and mental language) are stimulated by key activities.


Objectives of development-oriented education

In this circle of development-oriented  education three levels can be identified (see the circles here next). 

Inner circle: basic characteristics

In between circle: broad development;

Outer circle: specific knowledge and skills. 


Basic characteristics:

-          emotionally free;

-          being curious;

-          self-confidence;

These basic characteristics are objective and contain at the same time for development and learning during primary school age and actually for the entire learning process.


The competences form the in between circle are necessary for children to start their personality development and increasing independency.

We distinct:

A.         being active, taking initiatives, making plans

B.         communication and language

C.         playing and working together

D.         discover the world

E.         express yourself and designing

D.         imagination and creativity

G.        understanding symbols, signs and meanings

H.         reflection

I.          investigation, arguing, and problem solving.


Specific knowledge and skills are different for each age. They are very important, but the learning of this knowledge and skills is only optimum when the inner circles are complete. The following areas are distinct.

A.         Motor skills

B.         Observation and ordering

C.         Words and concepts

D          Social skills

E.         Tools and technical education

F.         Conceptualisation

G.        Quantity and adaptation

H.         Written and printed language


Key activities

The development of children is a coherent entity. The objectives described above cannot be separated and to achieve them it is important to have a cohesive education offer.

Activities must be executed in meaningful situations, because then motivation is at its highest level.

This means that working with themes is highly appreciated. For the choice of the key activities there are four criteria:

*These must be activities, which are relevant for children and which motivate them to create an active and high level of involvement. 

The key activities and motivations of young children age two and three up to the ages of seven and eight show us the interest of playing activities, construction activities and purposeful learning activities.

*The activities must be foster the development. This means that they contribute to development and learning processes which are necessary for development –oriented education, e.g. the development of communication and language, to express yourself and designing and coping with symbols and meanings. 

They are important for the “young ages” while the starting learning processes are taking place during these ages. Starting and functional literacy (reading and writing) are in this respect of very high importance as are starting numeracy and mathematics.


The activities are related to contents and issues from the socio-cultural world and the world of nature.

Children must have the feeling they can participate on their own (or with the support of others) in these activities.


From this there are 5 key activities, which need to be represented:


Playing activities;

Construction and art;

Interaction activities;

Reading and writing;


(see scheme)


By the way: a practice activity can consist of more than one key activity.


Consequences for technical education


In this paragraph we paid more than usual attention to  development-oriented education.

The reason is the important implications for the pedagogical and methodological concepts for technical education with young children.


§ 4 Gender aspects

So far gender was not an issue within technical education in the Netherlands. Though in classrooms teachers noticed fear for technics by girls, their first concern was to introduce technical education in their school and in their classes. Furthermore the idea is/was that all children should become curious about technical phenomena. Technics are seen in a wide perspective – as described here. The consequence of that is that technical education in this respect is a challenge for all children, whether they are girls or boys.

Research on this aspect for the Netherlands looks to be restricted to the extended worldwide PATT research (Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology). ¹)

For the Netherlands the research was focusing on the ages 10-12. This research also investigated the attitudes of boys and girls: “Boys seem to have a more positive attitude towards technology than girls. However , there is little research available to support these assumptions.” (p.2)  Interesting is that from this research it also appears that boys AND girls associate technics with “making something”and here comes the differences: boys concentrate on: transportation and computers, while girls focus on “electrical equipments”.   

Further conclusions can hardly been drawn because of the date of research being the 80’s.


This does not mean that investigation and research are needed to support the implementation of technical education nationwide. Results can also support the implementation of strategies for technical education for young children, boys and girls e.g. age 4.

It might be of interest to have students and /or teachers doing already simple work in this respect like doing structures observations and taking consequences.     


¹) Falco de Klerk Wolters, A PATT study among 10 to 12 –year-old students in The Netherlands in Journal of Technology Education,



§ 5 Recent history of technical education in The Netherlands ¹)


The start of curriculum development for technical education in The Netherlands was a rather late one.

It was in the ‘90s that the National Organisation for Curriculum Development  was asked by the “Jenaplan” foundation (organisation for the development for Jenaplan education ²) to develop a course for world-orientation in which in the subject area of technical education “making and using” together with other aspects within society were explicitly incorporated.

The way in which this course was developed (with many practical suggestions and “wide”) was very much appreciated elsewhere. In the ‘90s in several schools people experimented and got experience how to cope with the subject.

Several Colleges for Teacher Training offered schools for primary education their so-called technical education discovery classrooms for use. Others experimented on their own with parts of technical education education within their schools.

Outside schools some foundations like Ontdekhoek, Techniek 10 en Jeugd en Techniek (JeT) had started their activities.


From I993 on  the Steering Group “Techniek Primair Onderwijs” gave new impulses for some four years. Examples are: schools for primary education could get education packages, publishers developed new materials for schools. More classrooms for technical education were furnished and schools for primary education started networks in this area.

From the external organisations new materials were offered to primary schools. Schools could and can consult the (via the internet) Vademecum Techniek 1998. In here they will find the latest materials and all kind of lesson suggestions.


The National Organisation for Curriculum Development published a lot for the subject “technical education”. A list of publications can be found at the end of this Part

For primary education there are two major publications for technical education courses:  Zo doe je techniek in de basisschool (I997) and the activity book: Maak 't maar! (I997).

Both are concentrating on the process of technical education and the products of technical education. This results in a combination of investigation and problem solving activities.

The lesson examples show that the curriculum needs not to be changed. It shows that several subjects can be enriched by technical education.


The steering group “Techniek Primair Onderwijs” has changed over now into Axis (see also § 9). This organisation is the beneficiary and responsible for the budget the Ministry of Education has provided.


¹) It must be pointed out that in the Netherlands Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has never been part of “technical education” . ICT has been developed as a stand-alone subject. People see both subjects as complete different areas especially in primary education.

A somewhat older investigation (age 12 –1 5) year 1985 and 1997/8 between France, the UK and the Netherlands ¹) confuses still “computing” and technical education and concludes e.g. that both sexes are equally interested and enthusiastic.  Isabelle Correard, Twelve years of technology education in France, England and the Netherlands : how do pupils perceive the subject. 


²) Jenaplan education is a pedagogical way of teaching and educating children in The Netherlands. The movement is one of the five pedagogical movements in the Netherlands, which developed ideas about education. It is analogue Montessori education and Montessori schools, though with a different system. The plan for this education was developed at the University of Jena in the city of Jena (Germany) by Dr. Peter Petersen during the years 1923-1924. Nowadays there are some 220 Jenaplan schools in Holland of which some 10 are schools for secondary education 



§ 6. Domain description of technical education in Primary education

5.1. Core aims Technical Education

In 1998 the second version of the core aims for Primary education came into force. The core aims are the aims, which have to be achieved by children at the end of primary education (age 12). As from then on Technical education is one of the major subjects.   


Core aim 1:

“Children are able to design solutions and use these when technical problems are there. They will use some basic technical understandings of which the following are at least part of:

principles of construction, (use of materials, firmness, connections), principles of movement and principles of transmission (lever, pulley, gear-wheal)  


Core aim 2:

Children are able to investigate some technical products from within their own experiences at their level. They can do that according to functionality, use of materials and design. Furthermore they can explain how it works. The products are examples from the area’s of construction, transportation, communication and production.


Guidelines are produced for the education itself (“Maak ’t maar!”, SLO,  Bouwmeester, T. e.a. Enschede 1997). as for the curriculum development (curriculum plan: “Zo doe je techniek in de basisschool”, SLO, Enschede 1997).

Recently the tests were designed and made ready (Citogroep, Arnhem 2002.)



5.2. A description of the subject area of technical education.
For the curriculum a narrow description is used:

Technical education is an area of activities of people (in which only materialized products and processes play a role) based on the grouping of knowledge and capabilities, through which they provide in means to adapt the environment to the needs of themselves as of the social group. This also means that they are responsible for their environment (Ploegmakers 1986)  


In this figure you will see back the definition as a model  (Ploegmakers et al., 1994)


De Vries (1986) is mentioning 5 characteristics of technical education:

1. Technical education is work of human beings

2. In technical education it is always about a process of designing, making and using products.

3. Three pillars of technical education are: matter, energy and information.

4. Technical education and science are influencing each other reciprocally.

5. Technical education and society are influencing each other reciprocally.



2 and 3 can be shown in a technical circles, see figure   

With this technical education can also be discriminated from arts and sciences.














The general aim of technical education in primary education is described as follows:


The education of Technical education concentrates on those aspects of technical education, which are of importance

for a good personal development of children in the age of 4 – 12, including getting a good idea of what technical education can be. With this children learn to produce technical education and to work practically. They obtain knowledge and get understanding of how technical products were realized. Children learn to cope with technical products and the opportunity to discover their own possibilities and interests. Technical education need to be attractive and useful for all children. 


There are two domains: A en B. These run parallel to the core aims. Se here after:

Domain A: self producing of technical education (designing, making, using)

Domain B: investigation of technical education


a circular process: after the phase of using, the realized product is improved. Each time the process is concentrating on the next phase.

Attention for one of the steps. Further investigation for the next step.








Within the subject of technical education 4 technical areas or systems can be identified.(Todd, McCrory & Todd, 1986; Dugger, 1993):

1. construction, e.g.. bridges, buildings, roads

2. transportation, e.g. vehicles, transportation via tubes

3. communication, e.g. computer, fax, alarm signal

4. production, e.g.. articles of consumption, clothes, utensils


In relation to knowledge and understandings technical principles are often divided like (Hutchinson en Karsnitz, 1994):

1. Structures: construction- en connection principles, like balance, firmness, power, and connections

2. mechanics: movement- and transition principles, like lever, slope, wheels, axes, gear wheel, and pulley. screw

3. electricity/electronics: use and adaptations of electric stream circles and electronics, like conductors, insulators, sensors, switches, illumination, noise, electro engines, changing of ways of energy.

4. pneumatics/hydraulics: transition of movements via air or liquids; cylinders, pressure.


5.3. Domain description of technical education for primary education (by the national test institute)


The national test institute identifies in her development of domains competences for children and contents for technical education for primary education, in order to develop aims.  









Knowledge and creativity; design of a product

Adaptation: making of the product

Reflection: analysing and evaluating the product

Means (tools, computer)




Materials and characteristics of materials




Science- and technical principles









Steering control
















The four work principles in the domain description are pointed as basic understandings:

1. constructions.

  • With profiles strong and yet light constructions can be made.
  • Constructions become stronger when supported by triangles, bows and by building in contact and by making the basis wider than the top.
  • By connections parts are connected to a bigger entity. There are connections with which the parts can easily be disconnected and yet permanent.

2. transitions.

  • (Gear)wheels and levers provide in the transition of a movement or a power from one part of a machine to another.
  • A transition can enlarge the power, diminish it or change the direction. It can speed up a movement, slow down or change of direction.

3. Steering control.

  • A steering control system makes it possible to have a machine been working without the interference of human beings.

4. transmittance of energy.

  • Fuel, streaming water, wind and sun are sources of energy. Human beings use these sources  for the generation of several ways/shapes of energy: movement, light, heat and electric energy. These shapes of energy can be transformed into each other.
  • Electric energy is aroused in electricity factories. Accumulator and batteries also make energy deliver electric energy.
  • If an energy source is connected to an electric circuit an electric stream is starting to run. The higher the pressure the more electric energy there is.



5.4.Accents for each age.

In the Netherlands mostly we divide the ages in three groups during the primary school age:

youngest (4 tot 6/7 jaar)

middle ages (7-9/10 year)

upper ages (10-12/13 year)

This is sufficient to develop a learning line. A learning line is


Each stadium in the development of a child has its own characteristics. The consequences for technical education are in general:


Younger children:

Children in these ages experience technical objects as entities, with which you can play. They have no idea how something has been made end for what purpose. Their world of fantasy’s all kind of objects gets a different task. Technical problems are put into a story or in the context of the environment. While working the teacher is steering the design tasks via questions and influences in that way the order of activities


Middle ages

At this age it is already possible to have children confronted with construction problems. They can make drawings of solutions. Via research with technical toys they discover what a pulley is, a gear wheel and so on. They can combine partial solutions. Children recognize technical aspects in their environments.


Een rij windmolens.Upper ages

Children are able to transfer questions form a situation into another/ a new one.

They are able to do tasks autonomously with use of resources. They are able to make work drawings. They are able to make connections between needs and product. They can finds out how this problem was solved in the past. They can find out the principles, which are used in this product. They recognize the transitions of energy.

They are able to execute a working schedule step by step.


5.5. Learning lines for the subject tehnique (1.4 Leerlijn techniek voor de basisschool)

(uit: Techniek in het primair onderwijs zoals het kan, SLO, 19…)


The general objective for technical education in primary education is known: content and activities are chosen form the areas of problem solving in technical education and research on products

These are the 2 domains of technical education.


In this paragraph we will describe these two domains and the way in which teachers can cope with this and organise activities

Here after some descriptions of lessons will be presented. Questions and tasks are proposed to show what technical education can be and how children get more understanding of and get skilled in the process of designing, making and using.


5.5.1.Two domains


Domain A: Making technical education.

In lessons belonging to this domain one concentrates first on the producing of technical education.

Children solve all kind of technical problems. They are meeting with the process of designing, making and using.

The result is a product, e.g. a car for transportation, a bridge, a tower (construction, a simple alarm system (communication) or a useful bin (production). 


It depends on age, level of development, kind of school education, at what level children are meeting the stages of designing, using and making.

For the youngest children (age 4, 5 and 6/7) the teacher will just concentrate on talking about “a problem” and an indication for a solution.  Together with the children the problem is analysed and several children will get the opportunity to talk about a possible solution. After that the children are going to make the solution of which they thought of and in the evaluation teacher and children will talk about several solutions, which they see in practice.


Also for the ages 7, 8, 9 and 10 problems are solved either as a group or in smaller groups. There is one difference: the teacher will spend more time on the designing.


Supported by a sketch and short instructions children make their own design. They explain that to their classmates and /or the teacher and will start.

When explaining there is extra attention for:

-          Is the design OK? Or have things to be changed?

-          Explanation of alls steps? What was the order of the steps?

-          Are the materials and tools fitting?

-          How did you connect all pieces?


For the upper grades (ages 11 and 12) so far the phases are not ready and people are working on that. At this moment they pay attention to:

-          The program of demands:

+ constructing the lift you are supposed to use construction materials like Lego, Fischer or Meccano;

+ In the construction children have to put in a moving principle (in the lift pulleys must be used);

+ Children learn to use materials based on characteristics of the material;

+ the design must be clear described and understandable for other people (they must be able to make a copy) 

- The steps to be made by teacher and children are now described. During the use (= the evaluation) it is tested if the program of demands has been put in. Have they seen their own solution earlier in a different product? Which solution is also possible? 


Domain B: Research on technical education


Within this domain children understand in products, which they meet in daily life.

They are supposed to do research on products. This research will also arouse reflections on the processes, which are underlying designing and making. Moreover children learn to use technical education in a safe and proper way.

Examples of daily life products are:

-          simple toys like a crane;

-          utensils like a pincher, boxes, spoons, brushes, kitchen utensils;

-          means of transport like a bicycle, pneumatic post, playing cars;

-          chemical products like soap and tooth brush;

-          simple electronic circuits: the use of sensors;

-          means of communication like an alarm installation, a telephone, a computer;

-          building constructions: bridges, locks and so on.


Also in this kind of research it is important that children – depending on their age, level of development, primary education or school for special needs - ask questions to the material 

And about the underlying processes.


For young children (age 4-8) the questioning will be restricted to:

-          how do you use this article and for what (e.g. a brush)?

-          what is made of; did you ever see another brush?

-          what surprises you looking at this brush?; why this shape?

-          Which parts can you identify?


Beside questions about parts, use, functions, materials and shape for the ages of 7-10 there is also attention for the manufacturing in order to get this product, for solid and flexible connections (how is this moving);

Furthermore there is attention for the usefulness of the article (this is a wooden pincher: is it possible to use another article for this function?). If it is out of order would you repair this or do you throw it away? What kind of waste is this? (environment education).


For the upper grades questionnaires are ready (= printed).

This is an example of such a questionnaire:







Questions about the design:

1. What is the function of it?

2. Why was it made like it is made/

3. Which demands are applicable for this design?

4. Which materials are used?

5. Which constructions and moving principles have been used?

6. What kind of energy resource has been used?


Questions about the making:

  1. Of what parts the product is made?
  2. What connections are used?
  3. What kind of adaptations of the materials has been used?
  4. What kind of materials and tools has been used?
  5. Can we make a copy in order to understand how it works?


Questions about the use:

  1. A show of the use of the product;
  2. Is it a useful product? Is there need for it? Are there environmental objections and what did people use in the past and what is people using in other parts of the world?
  3. What is a proper way to destroy the product, what materials can be recycled and what to do with the waste itself?





§ 7. Organisations introducing technical education inside and outside schools


Several organisations develop activities for children inside and outside schools.


In this paragraph you will find the state of the art of the providers in the area of technical education, with a short description and an internet link.


7.1 The discovery place


Stichting Ontdekplek
Zoetestraat 11
2011 PP Haarlem

tel: 023-5312595
fax: 023-5343469

contactperson: Harry Valkenier


The foundation “discovery place” started in Haarlem and has establishments in Amsterdam, Heemskerk, Landsmeer, Den Helder en Beverwijk.

Each Wednesday afternoon, when Dutch schools are closed, a room (e.g. a physical education room) is changed over into a workshop with all kind of “corners” where children can make a piece of technical work and play with it. Examples of this are: boots of foam, solder, flying with paper, making construction materials and use it, burglary alarm, set bricks, etc. Children can make use of simple visual instruction forms. Part of these examples is published in “Techniek, de eerste stap” door Harry Valkenier. These are materials, which are tested extendedly, are not difficult and extremely inviting. Can easy be used in primary school age.

Low costs because of volunteers helping. E.g. for children one afternoon including everything: € 2,50.

1.7.2 The discovery corner

Pannekoekstraat 55
Tel: 010 - 4143103
Onderwijsboulevard 3
Tel: 073 - 6215335
Campus 2 - 6 Hogeschool Windesheim
Tel: 038 - 4699975

The discovery corner is for boys and girls age 4 to 14 jaar! It is learning by doing: discovering how things are working, how technical constructions are working. All materials look very simple. When constructed it was only of importance that children could play as much as they want with it. In The Netherlands it is not so common that children can start themselves to investigate and execute. Most of the principles of the ‘Science’ approach can be found back in this. From the educational point of view it is interesting to see how a broad age range like 4 - 14 all are playing at their own level with the same materials and are really interested from the very first moment until the end.

Children are free to design and to make things in the discovery corners as they learn at the same time several skills. The activities are comparable to those from the “discovery place”.

7.2       NEMO, science and technical education museum

NEMO, discoveries voyage from fantasy to reality.
Oosterdok 2 (next to Amsterdam Central Station)
1011 VX Amsterdam

Postal address
P.O box 421
1000 AK Amsterdam

tel. 0900 - 91 91 100 (€ 0,35)
fax 020 – 5313535

In the heart of Amsterdam the NEMO museum is located. It the shape is of a big vessel. Four floors with all kind of theme’s, like: brains and the internet, microscopes, chemical processes and distribution, magic of metal, water cleaning, flying, chain reactions and a lot of self activity’s.


7.3 Technical education museum Delft


Techniek Museum Delft
Ezelsveldlaan 61
2611 RV Delft
Tel: 015-2138311
Fax: 015-2134976


The technical education museum is connected to the University of Technics in Delft. They take charge of the heritage of the research and education materials of the old School of higher technology and the nowadays-existing University (TU).

Throughout the year there are changing exhibitions, workshops and lectures for education or separately for children. Annually the technical education project is organised for schools for primary education by teachers and students of  “Hogeschool Domstad” (Domstad Schoorl for Higher Education)


7.4 De Spelerij – De Uitvinderij

(The play and invention garden)


De Spelerij/Uitvinderij

Veldweg 5

6952 GX Dieren

tel: 0313 413118

fax: 0313 450447



De Spelerij, the most wonderful play and discovery place of The Netherlands

Is a park full of technical playing instruments. In the wood there are fanatsic objects, mostly made of usd materials.

They contain all kind of mechanisms which can be started to move by children; examples: a self service crane, a fountain,  boats, step vehicles and so on. From each instrument can be seen how the mechanism is working.

In the park there is “The invention”: a workshop where children and their parents can make things themselves and start activities like bowing plastic, sawing images and work with metal. While playing children learn to know technical education.

For schools there are full day programmes.



7.5 BTA: Bedrijfs Tak Adviesproject, Metaal- en Elektrotechnische Bedrijven

(BTA; Organisation for the Branch of Industry of Metal and Electro Technics)


Bedrijfs Tak Adviesproject,

Metaal- en Elektrotechnische Bedrijven

Overgoo 13

Postbus 407

2260 AK Leidschendam


About 50 pensioners from this brach of industry are guest teachers at schools for primary education for free throughout the country. They serve annually some 90.000 pupils. I

In each guest lesson there are 13 activity tasks with beatiful professional materials. Examples: measuring with a marking gauge or connecting electricity in a show house. Especially by the challenging materials children get excited  about technical education.

For teacher training colleges they do have separate lessons and materials.



7.6 Technika 10

(Technica 10)

Technika 10 Nederland
Faustdreef 181
3561 LG Utrecht
Tel: 030-2625980
Fax: 030-2615348

Technical education is for everybody! The best proof for this statement is the blooming of the “Technika 10 Nederland” clubs.
”Technika 10 Nederland“ has been established in 1986 with the aim to have girls met with technical education in a non-intentional way, to stimulate them to develop technical education skills. Nowadays “Technika10 Nederland” has fully developed and is a network organisation with some 300 “Technika 10” locations all over the country and makes annually contact with some 10.000 girls age 8 – 15 and with a non-Dutch ethnic background.
This happens by organising technical education clubs and technical education courses. All courses are under responsibility of women who at same time are role models for the girls.


7.7 Stichting Kindermusea Zo&Zo

(Foundation for children’s museums Zo&Zo)

Stichting ZO&ZO

(museums for and of children)

Obrechtstraat 36

2517 VV Den Haag

tel: 070-3236175

fax: 070-3236175


contactperson: Rita Baptiste


De museums of  Zo&Zo are made by children themselves under supervision of adults. Once made the museums are travelling along schools for primary education. Children (age 8-12 ) are the museum employee doing the tours for other chidlren of the school.

In the museums each time there is a uniqe combination  of technical education , creativity and art.

Examples of musea are:

Flying with a strange bird: kinetic museum, chain reactions, transmission

Zo&Zo boils over: old and new kitschens. cooking, kitchen chemistry

Zo&Zo is building a robot: stream circles, pneumatics, sensors, fantasy animals



§ 8. Standard materials for technical education (age 4-12)


At this moment more and more education publishers have found out that this is a market for them, though they are careful. As the position of the internet in Dutch education has an increasing role, teachers are careful to use the web as their main resource in relation to technical education. The traditional teacher in the Netherlands is very much pleased by a ready-to-use method (a kind of “plug and play”).


A short investigation learns that for the ages below 8 there are hardly any standard materials. Teachers have to make that for themselves, which might be a good thing.


Some further materials:

  1. First there is the important and already longer existing resource book: “Zo doe je techniek”. Beginning of the 90’s. Re-edited in 1997
  2. For young children age 4 – 6/7 there is construction material, like wooden blocks and materials with which the children can build. .
  3. Sometimes Education Televsion pays attention to technical education.
  4. Incidentally a parent is invited to tell something about his/her job which is in the area of technical education.
  5. Some museums  (NINT; Amsterdam) for technical education have also education packages (with ready-to-use lessons).
  6. Then there is of course in all kind of languages the materials from LEGO-Dacta (see the philosophy page her after. They do have a page for the “pres-school” children, which really give not any information.



As can be noticed, we have left out ICT. Though for Americans Technical education IS ICT, we see this as a separate education domain, which has strong connections to technical education, but in essence is not identical.    


Finally there is an important website of the Ministry of Education called “Kennisnet” (

Kennisnet (Knowledge net) is used more and more by schools and organisations related to education. This page is divided in two parts. One part is about background information e.g. on a digital technical education classroom, about tools, about inventions and so on. The other part has a lot of links to education materials: 13 science tests, 41 working sheets for children (can also be used until the age of 6) also, explanations of machines, suggestions for lessons for teachers (e.g. about levers, about a bicycle  and so on.


As in general there are not so many materials for children esp. the younger children, it is important that teachers AND student teachers can develop their own materials.

At Haagse Hogeschool, Department for teacher training for primary education there are some approaches which are used as the theoretical basis for the design and development of materials. These approaches are: the storyboard approach, the development-oriented approach (see § 1.0 and 1.1.1.) and the self-discovery method.

According to these principles students develop materials and indirect support children to work in the same way (annual activity in the Central Hall as part of a regional technical education activity and promotion).


§ 9 Development projects AXIS and VTB


8.1. AXIS

Already for a longer time the Ministry of Education and education organisations were worrying about the state of the art of technics esp. in primary education, knowing how the population at the Teacher training colleges had changed over the years and along with that how the popularity of technical education had decreased.

In the beginning of the 90’s there was a national initiative to support teacher-training colleges, which intend to start a technical education classroom. Colleges were supplied with lists on which they could cross which supplies they would like to have. There was a minimum. It was in this way that also Haagse Hogeschool PABO could start in their new with such a classroom.


Other initiatives were taken and one came from AXIS. “Axis” is, what they describe in their own words:

“For many years promotional campaigns have been used in an attempt to encourage more young people to consider technical studies and careers, but with only limited success. Axis Platform for Science and Technology in the Netherlands was given the task of developing a structural and

unorthodox approach over a period of five years (1999-2004). Founded by   representatives of the business community, the education sector and the government, it has a broad spread commitment 

Main objective:
to interest more young people in choosing educational paths in science or technical studies and stimulate them to pursue a career in technology.

Primary approach: to get all parties involved to jointly work on a solution for this challenging issue.

Main activities: projects and research on the subject of science and technology (studies and careers).

Conducting studies
To gain a better insight in the underlying causes of this lack of interest amongst young people in opting science and technology, several studies have already been conducted which provided several valuable insights.

With the insights generated from the research results, Axis has initiated projects to alter the image that sciences, technical studies and professions currently have. At the same time plans are being made and implemented to improve the content of the studies themselves. To date Axis is co-financing over seventy projects, initiated by both schools and companies. Most of these projects are unorthodox and new in that they manage to work on creative solutions not traditionally applied in the past. Furthermore the projects focus on working practical and theoretical “chain”, from kindergarten through to university level.

On line database
Axis has set up an on line database with "good practices" from educational institutes and companies that can provide examples for solving the challenging technology/science issue. Our Research and Evaluation-team also conducts research abroad, hoping to encounter interesting initiatives from which we could learn or which could be implemented in The Netherlands as well.
The information in the database is unfortunately written in Dutch. If you require more information about it's content, please do not hesitate to contact Axis: tel.0031 15 219 14 61 or “

As might be noticed “AXIS” does want to have an unorthodox approach. What they mean is this:

Axis Chain Approach Model:  Which crucial factors have to be tackled, and in what way, to contribute to solving the low interest of youngsters for the technical and science field?

The segments show in what areas policies of the government, schools and companies can be changed for the better. At the same time it shows that these parties should work together towards improvement.

How to use the model?
It is possible to create an approach in which solutions for the problems in all segments are combined. Activities that concentrate on one of the segments are a start, but not enough to create a strong base for an overall long-term solution. Obtaining personnel and keeping them interested in the profession is only possible if all parties are involved. “

8.2. VTB

VTB as an abbreviation and means: Dissemination of Technical education in primary education. The expectation of this project (established in 2000; actual start 2001) is to create positive attitudes amongst children in the age of primary education towards Technical education. In this project 130 schools for primary education (out of some 7100) are working together with 11 colleges for teacher education for primary education (out of some 35) and regional industrial companies.

The Ministry of Education subsidizes the VTB project.  


These regional development centres will create and develop materials for all schools for primary education in The Netherlands during 4 years. This means that the project will end December 2004.


One of the starting-points is that technical education must become an integrated part of existing subjects in primary education e.g. geography, history, health education.

Examples are: Energy as part of history. In biology how to build a nest-box.

Another important development is the attention for testing in relation to the aims of the education. The national Institute for the development of tests (CITO) has been asked to make tests esp. for technical education as it develops itself now.

Another starting-point is to have a far more clear profile of technical education in the core aims for primary education. Within primary education each subject has its own core aims, which must be achieved, at the end of a child’s career in primary education. For each year derived from the general core aims, there are sub-aims. The Ministry of Education has stated now that “science” is one of the 6 learning areas, which belong to the heart, the core of primary education.

The result of this statement is that it includes a lot of consequences on which has to be worked e.g. descriptions of the explanations of the core aims for technical education, descriptions of sub-aims, tests, curriculum lines, examples and so on; furthermore a description of the necessary schooling of staff members (professionalisation), support form the education support organisations, and so on, and so on.


On the proposals of the Ministry AXIS had the following comment: in order to have a full connection to secondary education, the program for technical education in primary has to be wide. This means:

AXIS wants that technical education as a subject

  • arouses creative interest and competences amongst large groups of young people,   
  • is making a connection to other subjects in Dutch primary education via “designing”.

AXIS is really concerned about the connection between what has been developed for primary education will be continued at least in the first 2 years of secondary education. These first two years are the so-called years for “basic education” in which youngsters have a lot of subjects in which they learn how to cope with daily life. Subjects are e.g.: home economics, cooking and also technical education.


The final results of the VTB project in 2004 are the following:

-          Technical education must be integrated in the curriculum of the selected 110 schools for primary education and in the curriculum of the 11 Colleges of Teacher Training for primary education.

Results will be measured and evaluated.

-          Schools and Colleges of Teacher Training for primary education have developed networks aiming at further extension.

-          The program results in the development of materials and methodologies for the integration into the regular curriculum. This must be obvious when seen from the way in which technical education has been described in terms of core aims; the level of the technical education tests and in the way the Inspection will inspect technical education.


8.3 What at are the results so far (2001-2002):

  1. 10 regional projects have been settled and are implemented;
  2. CITO (national organisation for test development) has started to develop test materials;
  3. Networks are exchanging their expertise and exchanging their knowledge about good and cheap materials;
  4. Connections with national organisations and the Inspection have been settled.


Aims for 2003-2004

  1. Strengthening the networking. So far it is weak and “thin”. Designing is one action, implementing is more difficult and getting good results asks even more action. The commitment cannot be voluntarily. 
  2. There is the fear that the core aims will be described that vague that it becomes to open.
  3. Project managements are now investing too much into the content, while advertising is also important. It is too restricted now.



§ 10 Curriculum Haagse Hogeschool; Teacher Training Department

Overview of learning line “technical education” from the curriculum of the Department of teacher training of Haagse Hogeschool (university of professional education).


In the restricted time to spend on technical education of the teacher training college we try to have students to meet with the objectives of the skills required for the starting teacher. These are described in the annex.


1st year:

a. Basic test

Students are tested on their basic knowledge at the “8+ level”. This means that a student have the disposal of the knowledge of technical education, which children learn in primary education.

Students prepare themselves by study primary school methods and a theory book at an academic level.

b. Introduction technical education

Basic concepts for technical education are presented within the subject of “Man and Nature”

Core objectives are presented, areas of interest, technology cycles.

Students learn how a story and pictures can present the technology challenge.

c. creative designing

Students make kinetic boxes. They learn  a technical education principle (crank-shaft/pneumatics) and to combine a creative environment with a working product full of fantasy. Core-based technology.


2nd year

a. Making lessons according to the technical education cycle

Students are going through a process of an example of a lesson: the eggs experiment.

They have to make a falling equipment (with restricted materials) in order to descend an egg without any crack. From this example they learn the technical education cycle: designing, making and using/repairing; a cycle to be used in each technical education lesson. 

b. electricity

Basic principles of electricity and a circuit. After that they are going through practical work from simple closed circuits to more open and applicable ones. This practical work is at the same time a preparation for a guest teacher lesson of the advisors of the branch of industry of Metal and Electricity. These are pensioners form the branch that is doing these guest lessons.

The issue they are presenting is a copy of a lesson for hundreds of schools for primary education but at the level of higher education. It is practice work on: electronic circuits, pulleys, solding, a walking lamp, measuring resistance etc


3rd year

a. designing

Students design and make cardboard chairs for fantasy persons supported by teachers and students of the department of Industrial Designing. They concentrate on all phases of the designing process.

Our teacher students are supposed to apply this knowledge during their work of making a musical for children and making a technical product for this subject (see here after).

b. Module TEBO (technical education for primary education)


1st lesson: introduction

- What is technical education?

- video “Techniek in de basisschool”.

- core objectives, technical cycle (designing, making and using), areas of interest, etc.

- oriëntation-task  “Technical education in your own environment”.

- principles of transmittance with the use of models of Lego

- explanation of the self-study task


Lesson 2: Legodacta

Introduction Learning line Legodacta

Students learn to know this material and how to work with it according to the method.

By working with these materials they will recognize several ways of working with it at several levels.

They learn that working with beautiful Lego material is attractive for children.

This lesson is combined with the activities of VTB (see § 8.2.)


Lesson 3: technical education with the use of cheap materials


Students learn that though sometimes more attractive materials need not to be expensive. They can use two books: “resource book technical education: Maak ’t maar!” (SLO) and “Techniek, de eerste stap” of Harry Valkenier. They are informed about a selection of simple and practice – oriented technical education activities.

Lesson 4: Presentation of products


Students are presenting their products of technical education machines. They observe their work and are supposed to give

They have the opportunity to do the final improvements.

Final task:

Design and make a machine with which children can play and at the same time discover technical education principles. It is supposed that there are at least two transmittance principles in it.

Design an activity for children to make a product with inexpensive materials, based on a machine.

Students have to add a written justification in which there is

+ a theoretical part with relations of the handbook on technical education;

+ drawings and descriptions.


Theme:  Man, Nature and Technical education

It is one of the optional themes for 3rd graders. It last for 10 weeks. Students are free to decide what they think most important out of the entire range of learning areas within technical education.

Students work on this independent from teachers in their own project groups. At the end they have constructed a product.


4th year (final phase of the study)

Students are can choose for a final paper I the area of technical education. One of the expert teachers will supervise.




Skills required for beginning teachers in the area of technical education

A Characteristics of the task of a beginning teacher


Education in technical education in primary education is focusing on contact with technical education phenomena and products.

Technical education is about things made by human beings as means to survive and to make life easier en to enrich it.

It is related to old and new technical education. Two aspects are of importance: the technical education process of designing, making and using and the diversity in technical products being a result of the process.

Technical education has a close relationship with education in science and arts (drawing and handicrafts).

Beside technical understandings, it is also about the application of scientific knowledge (knowledge about matter, energy and information), as about the designing of a product.

Within technical education information technology is of big importance. Children can make use of special computer programs when they are solving problems.

The beginning teacher has his learners focused on elementary understanding and skills related to constructions (e.g. bridges, buildings), transportation (e.g. cars), communication (e.g. telephone), and production processes (making of shampoo).

He has his learners confronted with a combination of activities: he is presenting them a problem. They design solutions on paper and start to work on it in practice in order to solve the problem.


B The academic level of the beginning teacher

Qualification 1:
The beginning teacher has an overview on meaning and position of technical education in society. He has the disposal of a relevant repertoire of understanding of technical education and skills related to constructions, movement and transmittance principles, functionality (use of materials and design) and the effect of technical products.

C Subject content and subject teaching method for primary education

Qualification 2:
The beginning teacher has the disposal of teaching methods and skills to support children in the process of designing, making and the use of technical products in a safe and a strong learning environment for younger and older children. He can organise materials, tools and media within this learning environment.   

Qualification 3:
The beginning teacher can demonstrate his teaching methods and abilities in a cross-curricular theme: the environment. In this theme the following aspects are of importance:

·         to do research on technical products (investigate why, how and of which these are made)

·         organising excursions to industries in the neighbourhood (e.g. to investigate how a conveyer in a dairy factory is working) and to examples of industrial heritage

·         mention and describe a problem which can be solved with technical means (e.g. putting traffic lights at a busy corner, see how car tyres can be recycled)

D Cohesion of the general qualifications

To teach the subject technical education a teacher also needs general beginning skills.

To teach technical education a teacher also needs general beginning skills. We will mention them shortly and will give a short description. With this we offer a context in which contents and skills will become clear and especially the relation between both.


Characteristics and development
Esp. in the phase of designing differences between children will become clear. Te teacher is supposed to take his time for this, not only to have children been working with a lot of concentration but also to observe the way in which the children are managing their task. The teacher will especially focus on the possible differences between boys and girls and between younger and older children. Especially for younger children it is important that the teacher will notice the motor development.

Preparation of the teaching
During technical education activities the classroom will change into a workshop. For technical education activities a lot of organisation is required: where are all the materials and tools, where in the classroom is room to work and how (in groups or individually).

During the preparation the teacher will use contents from other subjects like science education and handicrafts. He will also use information and materials from external organisations. He will also use information technology.

Creating and organising strong learning environments
Materials brought in by children will get a place in the permanent technical education corner. A box in which machines are put in to be taken out are part of this corner. The learning environment is becoming a workshop: the classroom is a laboratory, print shop, garage etc. Technical education activities need a lot of materials and tools and consequently a lot of space and an effective use of the room. 

Instructional designs and the use of the media
Children must also be able to use multimedia programs.

Adaptive support
When designing, making and using the teacher tries to have as many children as possible working independently.

Observations will learn the way children start a task and from that he can supervise the children. When copying children get if necessary alternative ways of working from the teacher

Teaching practice
Teachers are serious when children ask questions and propose ideas for designing. The learning environment needs to be safe and challenging.

The home situation is embedded into the learning process in which children develop an eye for positive and negative sides of technology.

Products are assessed in a positive way in order to motivate children to do new tasks.

Professional growth
the teacher is following INSET courses, is participating in networks and improves his work by reflecting on these teaching methods.

External relations
He concentrates on an adapted realisation of the core objectives. He is taking care of contacts with external experts, e.g. the Techika 10 clubs.




1.   Information Dossier the Dutch Education system 2001;

  1. Frea Janssen-Vos, Early childhood education in Primary schools; APS; Amsterdam, 1991, p.15-16

      3.)  Idem, p.16

Literature “Technical education in primary education (Dutch).

(“from: Praktische Didactiek voor Natuuronderwijs, Vaan, E. de en J. Marell, Bussum 1999)


  • Allen, R.E. en S.D. Allen (1996) Winnie-de-Pooh en het Oplossen van Problemen.  Sirius en Siderius, Den Haag
  • Bleijerveld, C. e.a. (1995) Techniek in de Basisschool; Basisdocument Leerlijn. SLO, Enschede
  • Bleijerveld, K. e.a. (I995) Een goede (na)scholing, ook voor techniek!  SLO, Enschede
  • Bleijerveld, K. e.a. (1995) Geen modulen maar bronnenboeken.  SLO, Enschede
  • Bleijerveld, K. (red.) (I997) Handboek PABO techniek; voorlopige versie.  SLO, Enschede
  • Both, K. (1989) Oriënt techniek.  LPC-jenaplan/CPS, Hoevelaken
  • Boogaert, L. (1998) Kids-paspoort techniek.  Schoolsupport, Vijfhuizen
  • Bouwmeester, T. en P. Hugen (I995) Techniek in het primair onderwijs, zoals het kan.  SLO, Enschede
  • Bouwmeester, T. (red.) (I997) Maak 't maar!.  Meidenhoff Educatief, Amsterdam
  • Bouwmeester, T. (red.) (1998) Handboek Nascholing techniek.  SLO, Enschede
  • Dinther, E. van en M. Kemps-Vermeulen (1996) Techniekwerk; een handreiking voor het invoeren van techniek in het basisonderwijs.  Technika 10 Eindhoven, Eindhoven
  • Doornekamp, B.G. en F.M. Stevens (1989) Techniekonderwijs in de basisschool.  Universiteit Twente, Enschede
  • Doornekamp, G. (red.) (1997) Zo doe je techniek in de basisschool.  SLO, Enschede
  • Doomekamp, G. (1998) Techniek en informatie- en communicatietechnologie; primair onderwijs.  SLO, Enschede
  • Duyvejonck, G. (1998) School- en klaspraktijk, aflevering 156; thematisch nummer Technologische Opvoeding in het basisonderwijs.  Van In, Lier (B)
  • Hagenaar, F. (1995) Spelen met hout en beweging.  Technika 10, Rotterdam
  • Hagenaar, F. (1997) De eerste Wiegende Ketel; techniekpakket metaal voor het basisonderwijs.  Technika 10, Rotterdam
  • Huijs, H. (1996) Ontwerpen en probleemoplossen in techniek; basisvorming. SLO, Enschede
  • Inno Techniek Oosterhout (1996) Hoezo veilig?  Veilig werken aan techniekopdrachten in het basisonderwijs en het speciaal onderwijs.  Stuurgroep Techniek Primair Onderwijs, 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Klerk Wolters, F. de (1988) Groep zeven en acht van de basisschool over techniek.  Technische Universiteit, Eindhoven
  • Klinkhamer, S. (1997) Ontdek het ABC...        Techniek (boek + cd-rom). Schoolsupport, Utrecht
  • Klinkhamer, S. (1998) Ontdek techniek... natte voeten, droge voeten (boek + liedjes-cd).  Schoolsupport, Vijfhuizen
  • Laan, J. van der (1988) Kind en Techniek.  Van Loghum Slaterus, Deventer
  • Leisink, J. e.a. (1997) Met een automaat ben je slim; techniek in het primair onderwijs, bovenbouw 11-12jaar.  SLO, Enschede
  • Macaulay, D. (1988) Over de werking van de kurkentrekker en andere machines.  Van Holkema & Warendorf, Houten
  • Makiya, H. & M. Rogers (1992) Design and Technology in the Primary School; Case Studiesfor Teachers.  Routledge, London Marell, 1. (1996) Voor de zon uit je dak; handleiding voor het onderwijs bij de solarset van Fischertechnik.  Heutink, Rijssen
  • Marell, J. (1996) TacTic, het educatieve constructiemateriaal.  Heutink, Rijssen
  • Marell, J. (1998) Verdraaid handig in beweging.  Lego dacta / Heutink, Rijssen
  • Marell, J. (1999) Lego junior Techniek; Uit de startblokken.  Lego dacta, Heutink, Rijssen
  • Marell, J. (1999) Vormgeven aan bouwwerken.  Lego dacta / Heutink, Rijssen
  • Marell, J. e.a. (1997) Met je toren in de wolken; techniek in het primair onderwijs, onderbouw 5-7jaar.  SLO, Enschede
  • Marell, J. e.a. (1997) Een speelmachine voor jantine; techniek in het primair onderwijs, middenbouw 8-lojaar.  SLO, Enschede
  • Natuur aan de basis (1992) Themanummer Techniek, nummer 3. Bosch & Keuning, Baarn
  • Natuur aan de basis (1995) Themanummer Huis-tuin-en-keuken-techniek, nummer 3. Bosch & Keuning, Baam
  • Peijen, J. (1998) Lessuggesties Techniek lezen, kijken, doen.  Prov.  Bibl. Centr.  Nrd.-Brabant, Tilburg
  • Ploegmakers, B. e.a. (1994) Techniek in de basisvorming.  Coutinho, Bussum
  • Ploegmakers, B. e.a. (1996) Techniek in het basisonderwijs; mogelijkheden voor aansluiting in de praktijk; techniek 4-12 en 12-15jaar.  SLO, Enschede
  • Projectgroep WO-jenaplan o.I.v. T. Bouwmeester (1995) Wereldoriëntatie in het jenaplanondenvijs; mappen ervaringsgebieden 'Maken en gebruiken in 'Techniek'.  SLO, Enschede
  • Raat, J. en M.E. Siegers (1990) Techniek op de basisschool.  Bastec, Leeuwarden
  • Raat, J. e.a. (1993) Techniek als schoolvak; Techniekonderwijs in België, Denemarken, Duitsland, Engeland en Frankrijk.  Stichting Technon, Delft
  • Revet, J. (1997) Basisboek Didactiek.  Landelijk Steunpunt Technika 10, Utrecht
  • Richards, R. (1990) An Early Start to technology.  Simon & Schuster, London
  • Rovers, S. (1998) Boekje open; deel 3 over Techniek in Kinderboeken.  De Inktvis, Dordrecht
  • Stuurgroep Techniek Primair Onderwijs (1998) Vademecum Techniek 1998.  Infodesk Techniek Primair Onderwijs, 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Talens, G. (1992) 'Na-apen en afkijken, zwemvliezen, vleugels en flaporen'.  In: Natuur aan de basis, nummer 4. Bosch & Keuning, Baarn
  • Vinke, D. e.a. (1997) Techniek in de Pabo's.  Stuurgroep Techniek Primair Onderwijs, Den Bosch
  • Watts, M. (1991) The Science of Problem-solving.  Cassell Education Ltd., London
  • Zagers, M. e.a. (1998) Musical Een wereld vol techniek.  Pabo Groenewoud, Nijmegen



Haagse Hoogeschool, SectorOnderwijs, Sport en Talen, Afdeling PABO,Pedagogische Academie
PO Box 13 3 36
NL-2501 EH The Hague