Danny Montoya runs The Butterfly Joint, a woodworking studio for children 18 months and up, on one of the few streets in San Francisco's Mission District that hasn't yet been fully gentrified. On any given day, the large, bright space is filled with small children wearing denim aprons and protective eyewear while wielding large-handled saws and wooden mallets.
Before the creating starts, the stage is set. Classes begin with kids punching in on an old-fashioned time clock and tying on their deep-pocketed aprons. Only then does 39-year-old Montoya sound the steam whistle signaling that it's time to get down to the making business. He got the idea for this set up during the 15 years he spent teaching Kindergarten in some of SF's best private schools. "I noticed that kids love the idea of having a job and working," Montoya says. "They are constantly observing us and what we do, and they want to feel like they are entering our world."