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Tinkergarten: Learning in the great outdoors (rain or shine)

Photo: Tinkergarten/Jennifer Johnson

Have you heard of Tinkergarten? It’s a learning program for kids 18 months to 8 years old and its held outside – rain or shine. We’ve been hearing great things about it lately from local parents so we decided to learn more about the program.  We sat down with Jennifer Hierons with Tinkergarten to get details!

Tell us what to expect at Tinkergarten?

Tinkergarten classes take place in public green spaces and engage children in activities that foster a sense of joy and wonder, all while developing important skills. Each class follows a loose structure that includes an opening circle, main activity, closing circle and snack. The main activity focuses on open-ended exploration and play where kids actively engage in imagining, exploring and/or problem solving. While this activity is planned and guided by an adult, the interests of the children play a large role in shaping the way it unfolds. Snack time then allows children and their adults to relax and reflect on their learning and experiences.

Is there class rain or shine? This is Seattle after all!

There is a lot to learn and much fun to be had in the rain, therefore most classes still run if it rains. This same "game on!" policy holds true if the weather is hot, cold, snowy, or windy. With the right clothing, kids will typically have a great experience learning outside. There are, however, certain conditions that we deem not conducive to safe, productive learning- if weather is dangerously hot or cold, or if there is a threat of lightning, leaders are trained to postpone the class. On the day prior to each class, the leader will text or email parents with announcements about weather, any changes to class and suggestions for clothing.

How does Tinkergarten help children learn and grow?

Tinkergarten’s curriculum both engages and delights a wide range of kids ages 18 months-8 years old. As a season unfolds, unique themes and challenges build lesson to lesson. These themes and challenges evolve one season to the next as children progress through the program. In each lesson, an engaging scenario unfolds that allows kids to launch and direct their own play. No two kids ever have the same experience, because it’s the process that matters. Adults play a role, too, as they observe, honor and support their child’s independent exploration and playful learning.

Is this a popular service in Seattle?

Yes! Seattle families value outdoor learning and are always looking for high quality enrichment activities for their kids. We’re recruiting new Leaders in the area so we can offer more classes!

What are the rates?

There are many factors involved in determining the cost of classes, such as the geographical area, number of sessions in a season, and length of each class session. As a result, the cost of classes can vary. Pricing information is provided within each individual class description. These can be found by visiting www.Tinkergarten.com/classes and using the drop-down menu to select your location.

What's it like to be a Leader?
Our Leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wealth of rich experiences to bring to the role of Tinkergarten Leader. To hear Leaders describe their experience in their own words, check out this video: https://vimeo.com/119725613. If you are interested in becoming a Leader, we would be delighted to receive your application and learn a bit more about you and your interest! Our application can be completed here: https://tinkergarten.com/become-a-leader.

To learn more visit, https://www.tinkergarten.com/

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