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Tinkering Tinkerer: Paul Tatter

Paul Tatter

“We should develop a culture of inserting a ‘thoughtful pause’ between an enthusiastic idea and its execution.”

Paul Tatter grew up in a dairy-farming town. His parents were Czech immigrants. He had jobs shoveling snow, delivering newspapers, clerking at a grocery, swabbing throats in a clinic, helping a veterinary, hauling milk, building barns, babysitting, setting type, and operating a press. He played sports and music. He rode his bicycle to the pond or the woods. In a small town, nobody knew exactly where the kids were until they came home for supper. They were out learning about the world. He hopes kids and parents can regain that place, respect, safety, comfort, and freedom. He wants to create public alternatives to schooling. Paul has been a lifelong educator in homes, public parks, streets of cities, and other opportune places of learning. He was a Head Start field worker, an elementary teacher or principal in six public and private, rural, urban and tribal reservation schools. He taught for four colleges and universities and was director of science centers in Colorado, Connecticut and New Mexico. He now helps museums and educators in North and Central America try out new ideas.


A sampling of Paul’s writings

Paul has been thinking very deeply about informal learning, and how to set up environments that are educative. We find his writings to be very enlightening, and so we offer here a selection of PDFs, in chronological order: