What Is Tinkergarten?

Picture children and their special adult laughing and galloping through the grass as they wave a simple homemade flag on the wind, their senses alert to their feet pound-ing on the earth, the sound of the leaves blowing in the trees, the feel of the breeze and the sun on their skin.

Picture a rainy day with a toddler intent on stirring in just the right amount of acorns to make his pot of mud soup delicious, while two others are gleefully engrossed in the feel of the mud puddle under their feet and a third feels happiest having a quiet moment running her stick in snaking paths through the mud with her dad.

A baby sits in the grass mesmer-ized listening to the sounds of a mo-bile full of colorful ribbons and metal household objects while another baby turns to grin at his mother as he clangs the mobile enthusiastically with his stick.

If these are the sort of early child experiences you value and seek for your family, then you should come to Tinkergarten.

Tinkergarten is the leading provider of outdoor early child-hood education offering unique family-based classes. Since launch-ing its platform in spring 2015, the fast-growing, technology-enabled education start-up has grown from serving a handful of families from its one class in Brooklyn, N.Y., to reaching thousands of families in all 50 states.

Tinkergarten’s curriculum is in-tended to bring families together in their community for classes where kids learn through play. Each class becomes a tight-knit group of children and adults who, with the support of specially trained Tinkergarten leaders, develop, grow and gain confidence while they enjoy fun, engaging experi-ences in the physical freedom of their local green space.

Tinkergarten’s core classes are intended for children ages 18 months to 8 years and they have now launched a Tinkergarten Babies class for chil-dren from 6-18 months. Classes run in sessions of varying length, from one-week-long camps to once-a-week programs that last 6-12 weeks. Each Tinkergarten class is about 60-90 minutes long and takes place in a local park.

The Tinkergarten curriculum is based on core educational values The expert-designed curriculum adapts to region and season, is age appropriate, and spans a broad range of skills. Activities progressively build week after week, season after season.

Tinkergarten sessions take place in a local public green space. Our curriculum of activities is designed for learning. To kids, they are just having fun!

The leader guides the group of children and parents through one or more activities that tie into Tinker-garten’s progressive curriculum. All activities are hand-picked to develop skills that are critical to early child-hood development. They nurture a host of important core life capabili-ties in children, including empathy, collaboration, creativity, persistence, and problem-solving.

Outdoor play-based learning is a proven way to give children the

best foundation

Spending time outdoors provides children with a wide range of health benefits including social and emo-tional well-being. Research shows that time outdoors supports improved relationship skills, and reduce stress, anger, and aggression.

 80 percent or more of brain devel-opment occurs before the age of five. Children build foundational skills in their first five years that will affect the rest of their learning and life.

Outdoors is the best classroom — when children play outdoors under the right conditions, it inspires unique learning opportunities. They open up, push limits, tinker, create and problem solve.

n In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, parents need to balance the screen time with outdoor time to raise healthy, well-adjusted kids.

At Tinkergarten, outdoor play is celebrated as an essential compo-nent of the curriculum: the benefits as well as the sheer joy of healthy, fun, engaging experiences outdoors. Through having nature provide a supporting role and offering activi-ties with creative use of natural re-sources, Tinkergarten works to instill a love and sense of stewardship for our natural environment. Tinkergar-ten embraces getting a little (or a lot!) dirty and exploring all the wonder-ful sensory experiences the world of nature has to offer.

Tinkergarten empowers parents to be the most powerful

educators for their children

Through guided play techniques, parents help kids “learn how to learn.” We work as a group and learn togeth-er about how to lend support while letting kids truly drive their own play. It’s the most important thing we can do for children in the critical first eight years of their lives.

In all Tinkergarten activities, regardless of the core skills being learned, the focus is kept on trust-ing children’s innate drive to learn through play and to have fun fol-lowing where their play takes us. The curriculum is designed to leave plenty of room for spontaneity and the leaders are there to offer guidance to caregivers who are new to this style of engaging. They also provide insight into developmental pro-cesses and skills caregivers might see emerging as they and their children engage in the play.

Jessica Vulte is a Tinkergarten leader in Brattleboro. She can be reached at 203-843-7458 or la-dyj1031@gmail.com. There will

be Babies classes continuing on Wednesdays this summer and both Babies and Core (18 months through 8 years) classes this fall on Wednes-days.

Join the movement of thousands of families learning outside together! Follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Find a Tinkergarten® class in your community at tinkergarten. com/classes, nominate a leader to start one, or use our free DIY activi-ties to enjoy some well-spent time with your kids.

Parents can find a local class in their area, nominate or apply to become a leader at tinkergarten.com. In addition, a DIY version of every activity is free on the site, completed with how-to instructions and an explanation of the developmental benefits of each.