Little scholars invited to nature’s classroom this fall at Tinkergarten


BURRILLVILLE – Experts agree: outdoor learning plays an important role in early childhood development.

And now, Burrillville’s youngest scholars will have the chance to learn and explore the world in nature’s classroom, through the sun, rain and snow.

This fall, Burrillville-based educator Alyssa Iadarola will launch Tinkergarten, a 10-week program that gives kids the chance to engage with one another outdoors, and even get a little messy, while they build skills like communication and problem-solving.

“It’s become an interest of mine to introduce families and children to the benefits of outside play and learning year round,” Iadarola told NRI NOW.  “As a teacher, I see Tinkergarten’s curriculum as supportive of healthy child development.”

The curriculum, designed for children ages 18 months to 5 years, aims to help kids to connect while learning through outdoor activities.

Iadarola has been working in the early childhood field for some 15 years, serving as a kindergarten teacher aide, preschool teacher and the assistant director of a daycare facility.

It was her studies of nature-based learning programs a that led Iadarola to Tinkergarten, a program started in 2015 in Northhampton, Mass.  The classes allow children to explore nature with guided help from an instructor.

Classes in Burrillville will be held at  White Mill Park in Pascoag during all four seasons. Accompanied by an adult, the young learners will enjoy lessons such as outdoor story time, followed by an activity that corresponds with it using common outside items.

“It seems so simple, but the children are learning creativity, imagination, and teamwork,” said Iadarola.

Proponents say they are also developing physical, cognitive and social-emotional skills.

Iadarola will hold a free class for parents who might want to check out the program on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. After that, classes will be held at the same time on Sundays beginning Oct. 13 through Dec. 15, and on Saturdays beginning Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. through Dec. 21.

The cost for the complete 10-week program is $175 per student.

“The program is rain or shine, so the children get to play and learn in the rain and snow,” said Iadarola.

It’s all in hopes to let nature, fun and social interaction lead the way in healthy development.

“Tinkergarten is a great program to get your children outside and exploring, all while learning important life skills and lessons,” Iadorla said.

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