Gever Tulley is a big-time hero of mine. He did one of the earliest, best Ted Talks: “5 atdyytrdia
Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.” He also founded the Tinkering School in San Fran (and elsewhere now, too), where young kids are given power tools and encouragement. Then he and his wife Julie Spiegler wrote “50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).” And then, in 2011, he went whole hog and founded the Brightworks school in San Fran.
I visited that sunny school set in an old Best Foods Mayo factory, and it blew me away. When kids weren’t reading on their own, or writing, or playing, they were building chairs — not clumsy, clunky chairs. Chairs that will last a lifetime and look good. They don’t even wobble. (My local bakery could use some!) The kids seemed as sunny as the space.
Now Gever has a simple but grand plan to create more tinkerers — kids who don’t distinguish between thinking, playing and problem solving. He just has a little problem of his own he needs solved: A financial boost. So here’s his video. I love it. And here’s where we can contribute.
And here’s how Gever explains it:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I meet with hundreds of educators and parents a year, and sometimes it seems like the greatest challenge they face when trying to create unscripted learning is figuring out where to start. Well, it took us a while, but I think we’ve finally answered that. We don’t call these items “kits,” we call them “catalysts,” because that’s what they do. They get kids engaged — without scripts or textbooks. Real tinkering, in a box.
But the box just gets them started. It’s the ideas and the habits that really matter. Tinkering is a way of engaging your mind, and seeing possibilities everywhere. These boxes open the world. – G.T.
Fun and learning should never be considered opposites. These kids are smiling so much, they must be learning a ton. – L.