Tinkergarten provides high-quality early childhood learning in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. Families connect with trained leaders in their local community for play-based kids classes that help develop core life skills, all while having fun!
Hello, Friends! My name is Jo and I'm having a blast this spring leading my first Tinkergarten season! I am a nature enthusiast, a Reggio-inspired early childhood educator, and Mama to a wonderfully curious toddler/scientist. After almost 25 years living and teaching in Ann Arbor and then Chicago, I decided to return to my hometown of Toledo, Ohio. My fondest memories of growing up here involve playing outdoors - digging in the dirt, catching and releasing toads, and spending hours behind the low branches of a huge, lightning-split weeping willow in the meadow across from my parents' house. It was easy to keep an eye on me through the front windows, but as far as I was concerned it was my own little nature kingdom! The meadow is now one of my daughter's favorite places to play, and I love seeing the exhilaration on her face as she runs ahead of me, enjoying the feeling of power that comes with mastering a "wild" space. Both as a parent and as an advocate for the dignity and rights of all young children, I am passionate about cultivating our innate connection with the natural world. Especially now, with so much time spent in virtual environments, it's easy to forget how restorative and grounding it can feel simply to step outside! In the words of Loris Malaguzzi, “Our task is to help children communicate with the world using all their potential, strengths and languages, and to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture." I hope you'll join me in the meadow this summer to do just that!
- Johanna Davis Ross