Giving Compass’ Take:
• Children & Nature Network interviews Meghan Fitzgerald, the co-founder of a program called Tinkergarten, which gets kids ages 18 months to 8 years old into the outdoors to learn and play.
• Though it sounds simple, Tinkergarten has a research-based curriculum and has a definitive structure. Other early childhood education initiatives should study its methods to see how they can be applied elsewhere.
As awareness of the benefits of outdoor early education has grown, so has the number of “nature-based preschools” (at least 500 percent since 2012). One approach among many to early childhood education in natural settings is Tinkergarten, a nation-wide movement that provides educational and fun classes for kids ages 18 months to 8 years old, in the healthiest classroom of all — the outdoors. Co-founders Meghan Fitzgerald and Brian Fitzgerald created the network to bring families together in a natural place in their community for classes where kids learn through play. We sat down with Meghan to learn more about the growing movement.
C&NN: Tell us about Tinkergarten: what is it, who is it for, where is it?
MF: Tinkergarten is a network of community leaders, many of whom are parents themselves, who provide a play-based early learning program to children aged one through eight and their parents or caregivers in local parks and green spaces across the country. The classes meet once per week for 8-10 weeks, four seasons a year, rain or shine.
We use technology to find, train and support our Leaders with training, curriculum, materials and coaching so they can engage families and facilitate learning for children, adults, themselves and their peers in the Tinkergarten Leader network.
Read the full interview with Meghan Fitzgerald about Tinkergarten and how it works at Children & Nature Network.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Early Childhood, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Early Childhood.
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