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Everyone Belongs in Tinkering

Everyone Belongs in Tinkering

This is one in a series of blog posts about our current Tinkering Studio projects and initiatives shared at the Exploratorium's 2022 Trade Show. 

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Tinkering in Early Childhood

Tinkering is more than a collection of activities. It is a constructivist approach to learning based on the premise that all learners are competent and capable of making meaning of the world. As such, everybody belongs in tinkering, and everyone can contribute their own unique perspective to learning through making.

In the last three years, we have focused on the youngest learners by working with early childhood educators throughout California to co-create a set of online professional development modules called STEAM Starters. The course will support center and home-based educators who want to implement a tinkering practice, and will be administered by the California Department of Social Services.

The Tinkering Together multimedia festival and conference was a field building effort aimed at surfacing future research recommendations related to tinkering, making, and STEAM in early childhood. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation.


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Guiding principles

Tinkering Pedagogy

Tinkering is a versatile whole-learner approach, employing informal learning practices to serve parents and the community ecosystem that support young children.

Whole Child Approach

Fosters all areas of child development and sets children up for lifelong learning. Considered best practice in PK-3 education in California.

Tinkering = equity

The tinkering approach is inherently equitable and benefits both children and educators


Two projects

Each project had several components that articulated the principles of tinkering as an inclusive practice.


STEAM Starters

  • In Person Workshops

  • Activity Development

  • Online Professional Development

  • Communities of Practice


Tinkering Together

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