Tinkering School

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A typical monday at Tinkering School

Sean Murray

Every monday starts the same. First we gather in the dining area for before care. There are board games, legos, art supplies and plenty of stimulating conversations.9129144617<em>a42a6006ca</em>c.jpg

From there we gather on our giant cork floor in a massive circle where the new tinkerers meet the staff. We break into small groups to talk about how we want to treat each other and treat the space. We brainstorm how we might keep ourselves safe from the dangers of tools we've never used and make a community with people we've never met.

When we come back we take a few of the most important rules and responsibilities and put them on paper. Then we sign them. 9129145285<em>c34ed9de8f</em>c.jpg

A collective agreement (straight from my favorite pre-school teacher).

Then we do our safety training. We learn about how to properly drill holes with 1/8th in bits (essential for pre-drilling) without having the wood spin and hit us in the knee. We learn how to drive screws without having the screw stick out the other side. We learn how to use a hand saw (and we struggle with keeping our eye's on the tools). Then we use the chops saw. 5 year olds on up all are trained on how to safely use this amazingly powerful wood-destroying machine. It spins at 4,000 rpms and demands respect like few other tools in the ship (it is important to note that this is never used without direct adult supervision). 9129145921<em>379bc0475f</em>c.jpg 9131356844<em>91dde173a6</em>c.jpg 9129147465<em>09c92e1e44</em>b.jpg

Then it's off to lunch. While the collaborators take a break and the kids eat lunch I tell stories to help everyone focus on the important task of actually eating the food in front of them.

With full bellies and plenty of energy we head off to the park. We often play one large group game then break into smaller groups for free play. Everyday we head out and get lots of sunshine and do lots of running.

In the afternoon we anounce the theme of the week. This week it's Forts. We will be making a collective fort city to shield us from some oncoming storm or other imaginary hazard. Some forts will be made of clay, some of cardboard, some of pvc and some of wood. All of them will fit kids inside (yes, even the clay one), be open to everyone and possibly even be interconnected by "tunnels".

We start with designs. Charts, blue prints or scribbles will do as we attempt to communicate our hopes and dreams as clearly as possible to our co-builders. 9129151207<em>f55d93a0fb</em>b.jpg

Then we start making. 9129153169<em>14039774a8</em>b.jpg 9131364714<em>15d37f286c</em>b.jpg 9131365388<em>62cab21d80</em>b.jpg

Today we were gifted with the most amazing problem. In the afternoon we were all so engaged that no one, collaborators, tinkerers or me, noticed the time flying until 4 minutes before parent pickups. With no time left we did our best to clean up and say goodbye.

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Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.