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Tinkergarten Schools FAQ

  • What is Tinkergarten? Tinkergarten is the national leader in outdoor, play-based learning. We help your teachers and students expand the power of self-directed, play-based learning into the outdoors. Our experts deliver live online training and coaching to teachers and help them to deliver a year-round, play-based outdoor program that fits to your existing curriculum for 1-8 year olds.
  • What are the benefits of Tinkergarten? For kids, teachers and parents?
  • We design each Tinkergarten lesson to inspire wonder, activate the senses, leverage brain science, and engage parents, too. Tinkergarten lessons are engineered to help kids develop essential physical, cognitive and social-emotional skills, all in a stimulating outdoor environment. Our training equips and inspires teachers to facilitate our play-based curriculum and to facilitate more play throughout the entire school day. We also provide meaningful content and do it yourself activities to share with families. With Tinkergarten, kids become ready to learn, ready to thrive and ready for anything.
  • What’s the Tinkergarten curriculum like? Tinkergarten develops a new, research-based curriculum (set of lessons) each season for each of the following age ranges: 6-18 months (Tinkergarten Babies) and 18 months-8 years (Tinkergarten). Each lesson directs a teacher in how to create and launch an outdoor play scenario that inspires children to initiate and lead their own play. In our 18 month-8 year old program, each curriculum is designed to support the development of 12 skills. Each season, our curriculum also focuses heavily on one skill in particular, making sure that both adults and children learn about that skill in depth. Our season curricula are also developed around themes that connect to the season and natural phenomena that help connect children to nature.
  • What type of support is provided to implement the curriculum? Schools who work with Tinkergarten receive four hours of initial training for teachers and ongoing training each season and year to follow. That training supports teachers at understanding the science and approaches behind Tinkergarten lesson design. It also includes practical support with how to implement the lessons and integrate the program into the existing school program. Each season, Tinkergarten Schools also receive an overview of lessons for each season, detailed teacher lesson plans, and supplementary materials needed to lead the season’s lessons with their students.
  • What age groups does Tinkergarten serve? Tinkergarten creates learning programs for children ages 6 months-8 years old. Our curricula are designed to support children in both mixed age and single age group settings.
  • How does the teacher training work? Our expert developed training prepares and inspires your teachers to effectively deliver Tinkergarten lessons in their outdoor space and to facilitate outdoor play throughout the school day and week. In year one, teachers participate in an initial four hour training course comprised of live, online group sessions, social learning opportunities with other educators, and self-directed online coursework including slides, videos, and other rich content. After the first year, teachers access four hours of additional training annually. Teachers also have access to a searchable help center full of resources that support them with implementation in addition to email-based support.
  • How much does it cost to license Tinkergarten? In licensing Tinkergarten, your school receives training, curriculum, materials, and ongoing support. Total annual cost is set on a per school building basis. Networks of schools must purchase one annual Tinkergarten license per building. The license in year one costs $1950 and in years two and beyond the cost is $1700.
  • What’s included in the Tinkergarten license? In purchasing the annual Tinkergarten license, your school receives:
    • Training: Expert developed training to prepare and inspire your teachers to effectively deliver an engaging, outdoor learning experience and facilitate play beyond the program. Teachers participate in eight hours of online training in year one. Beyond year one, teachers access four hours of training annually.
    • Curriculum + Parent connection: Four seasons of curriculum, comprised of 32 lessons in total, with teacher lesson plans as well as corresponding parent materials to share via your web platform, email and social media to engage families in play outside the school day.
    • Teacher Support: Email-based coaching for individual needs and a searchable knowledge base with written and video instruction for teachers on how to implement the program.
    • Materials: Eco-friendly, high quality materials to implement the program. Each school receives a Materials Starter Kit which can be used to conduct Tinkergarten any time of year. Schools also automatically receive Seasonal Materials Kits including additional materials teachers use to bring the curriculum to life. Schools share one annual kit and four seasonal kits to serve all the children in a building. For schools seeking to offer more than two simultaneous classes (eg. Wednesdays at 10 a.m.), additional kits can be purchased.
  • What if I have a specific question about how best to implement the curriculum? Our expert learning team is here to help you. School staff can access our searchable help center full of resources (articles and videos) designed to support teachers with implementing Tinkergarten. You can also connect to our Schools Support Team at schools@tinkergarten.com.
  • What are the payment options for schools? Schools commit and purchase an annual license for the program, and will be billed in one initial installment. Schools will be notified before a new annual license period starts, and can cancel the service for the following year.
  • How do we access the training, curriculum and materials? You will access the training, curriculum, and family connection tools in your schools interface by logging in at Tinkergarten.com.
  • How many teachers in the school can access the curriculum and training? Up to twelve teachers in the building can access the curriculum, training, materials and support. If your school wants to include more than 12 staff in the program, please email us at schools@tinkergarten.com to let us know.
  • Does Tinkergarten take place in all weather? 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 consider not conducive to safe, productive learning- if weather is dangerously hot or cold, or if there is a threat of lightning, teachers can adjust their schedule to fit Tinkergarten time in on another day/time. Visit our Weather Watch page, if you would like some general guidelines around what weather may be considered either too hot or too cold for safe and fun learning.
  • What type of outdoor space do you need to offer Tinkergarten? At Tinkergarten we define nature as access to earth, sky, and other living things. That means schools have a lot of flexibility in terms of how they can implement the program. Our curriculum is designed to take place in a variety of outdoor spaces from urban blacktops to a small patch of grass to lush greenspaces. The key is maximizing learning through play in whatever outdoor space you have to work with!
  • Does Tinkergarten shift family behavior? Yes, according to what parents report. From our internal post-class surveys, parents have reported to Tinkergarten that 87% of families spend more time outdoors, 85% of parents believe that their kids improved their attention and focus through the program, and 93% of parents learned how to support their child’s development. Many schools identify the chance to forward Tinkergarten content to families a great way to help parents and guardians include more nature and play into their family life, and a powerful way to deepen the connection between school and home.