Tinkergarten represents a whole new way of conducting outdoor play classes for kids. Founded in Brooklyn and backed by a host of private investors, the company describes itself as on “a mission to elevate childhood.” And now, it’s headed to Center City Philadelphia.
The first Tinkergarten classes in the city will take place this month. The local leader, Shiya Furstenau, will host three free classes, all in Washington Square Park: March 23rd at 4 pm, March 25th at 10:30 am, and April 6th at 4 pm. All of the free classes are presently full, but waitlists are available.
The first paid classes will be offered April 20 running through June 8, and classes are $180 per student for eight sessions.
Other upcoming classes will be offered in Clark Park in West Philadelphia and Mount Pleasant in Fairmount Park. In the suburbs, Tinkergarten leaders were already established in Ambler, Glen Mills, Media, Lansdowne, and Coatesville, as well as in several places in New Jersey. Click here to see the times and dates for all the area Tinkergarten classes.
So what is Tinkergarten? Each class is taught outdoors, and is described by the company as “a tight-knit group of children and adults who learn together through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities.” A variety of skills are taught, with a specific emphasis on “empathy, collaboration, creativity, persistence and problem solving.”
Tinkergarten borrows concepts from the Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia approaches, while also incorporating technology. Each session’s activities differ, but all classes have three things in common, the company says: “optimal learning conditions, design for engagement, and skills that matter.”
The classes are available for kids between 18 months and 5 years. The classes are held weekly and led by a “leader,” a vetted and trained facilitator who is often a parent.
Tinkergarten was founded by Meghan and Brian Fitzgerald, with an additional staff of eight. It now operates in 43 states with over 500 leaders and more than 35,000 kids participating.
For more information about classes, see the Tinkergarten homepage at https://tinkergarten.com/classes.
Photograph courtesy of Tinkergarten.