Tinker Time is a program for preschoolers ages four and up who love to create! At Tinkertime, each weekly class meeting will have a focus, such as “sound,” providing us a context with which to work together on a class project, then have time to apply those principles and freely create using materials provided in a “Tinkertray.” The whole class instruction format at the beginning of the class gives students an opportunity to structure their thinking by learning about a concept or skill (such as, for example, how the membrane of a drum conducts sound/vibration).
The premise for this class comes out of the “Maker Movement,” but with early childhood principles applied. This class is loosely structured on Nicholson’s (1972) theory that “in any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.” Tinker Time seeks to meet children where they are and provide them with exposure to lots of variables and materials with which to create and learn. Tinker Time also creates a platform for children to learn about concepts in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) because they will experience in real time STEAM-related as they create. Through these authentic experiences, children will ask questions and be guided by a teacher to perceive these concepts as they work.
Through participating in Tinker Time, children will avoid ever having the inhibition to create that so many adults have because they lacked the opportunity, as children, to just create! Instead, this opportunity will foster the “creativity mindset” by giving children enrolled in the program a chance to explore, invent, design, experiment, make mistakes, revise and grow!