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What is Tinkergarten?

By Staff | Jan 16, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Owen Herr, Finley Hickoff, Harper Hickoff, Weston Smith, and Xander Heyes are hollowing out mini-pumpkins to determine if they would float in a nearby stream during a fall Tinkergarten class at Muncy's Heritage Park. A free trial class is scheduled for this Friday, Jan. 18 and again on Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the park. Adults are Kesha Herr and Nicole Hickoff.

MUNCY – This winter the Heritage Park in Muncy will be offering a place for young children to come and experience some well-guided, play-based learning activities, meet others and share those foundation skills that matter most for development.

Tinkergarten is an early childhood education program that was founded in 2015 by Brian and Meghan Fitzgerald and first offered them in the New York Metro area. Soon the program spread to selected communities across the eastern part of the country, and later became nationwide. Classes are offered in the outdoors and targeted for ages 18 months up to 8 years.

Two trial Classes will be offered on January 18th and January 25th for 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at Muncy Heritage Park with Alicia Colonie, the project leader. Colonie is from Turbotville and holds a Master of Science degree in environmental education from Slippery Rock University and a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife and fisheries from Penn State. She also is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and loves to back pack long distances. She hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011 and the Vermont Long Trail in 2014.

“The Tinkergarten helps children develop in a wide range of areas, including social and emotional skills, creative thinking and problem solving,” she said. “We nurture connections to the natural world.”

Colonie is inviting parents and caregivers to come to Tinkergarten’s Frozen Treasures class to find out what TInkergarten is all about!

PHOTO PROVIDED Tinkergarten students enjoy making mud pies during the fall class at Muncy Heritage Park.

This free class is open to the first 15 children ages 2 and up with their caregiver. Winter Tinkergarten class will consist of a 6-week session starting February 8th and meeting once a week on Friday’s from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Classes will be held at Muncy Heritage Park. and will run from Feb. 8 through March 15.

There is a wide variety of activities to keep children involved. Examples may include searching for tiny critters, making stone soup, exploring mud, making nature paint, or hunting the wind with a handmade flag. Winter Tinkergarten includes new rituals of shelter building and tea time according to Colonie. This winter the theme is “Wellness.” Last fall, it was “Focus” and each child earned a badge.

Engaging scenarios allow children to create and direct their own play.

Each class has 5 parts. There is an opening activity followed by circle time, an activity, guided play and ending with a snack. It is “powerful learning” child directed and adult-supported. “Nature is the most refreshing classroom we could imagine,” Colonie said. Each lesson is different offering songs, rhythm and movement to build community and support early learning. “This type of learning and play is just plain fun!”

Sign up online at www.tinkergarten.com/leaders/alicia.colonie or email Alicia Colonie at alicia.colonie@mail.tinkergarten.com