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Rhythms for Communication


Summer Tinkergarten with MOLE is all about communication and we are making it extra joyful by framing our lessons around a fun Camp Tinkergarten theme. Communication is that symphony of skills kids activate in order to receive communication from others, process that communication, and express back out their ideas. Throughout our summer series of classes, we gently highlight a different aspect of communication and attune explorers and their grown-ups to how important class rituals help kids strengthen their communication skills.


Designed With Learning In Mind

While our classes this week will center around how we communicate through storytelling, our focus rhythm for this week will be the three parts of Guided Play: The Invitation, Getting Started, and Supporting Play.


The Invitation

At the beginning of Guided Play, we create wonder by holding up a bag full of objects that will give us clues to help guess how we will be invited to play today. Explorers encourage our invitation bag to open by asking together “I wonder how we’ll play today?” using words and ASL. As we wonder and guess together, I use facial expressions, non verbals, and a gently elevated tone of voice to engage explorers. This helps families to experience how we communicate our feelings and get people’s attention in many different ways.


Getting Started

Once we know our play invitation, we talk through the question and we model a way or ways to get started. This week, explorers will be invited to tell a story about the night sky and guides will be invited to share what they see and imagine as their explorers tell stories. They’ll also be invited to create stories with their explorers! We’ll model different ways to use our materials and wonder what from our outdoor classroom we could add to our night sky stories. When we describe and show ways to engage in play, we provide added support for kids of various ages/stages and communication styles.


Supporting Play

Throughout play, we narrate what we see kids doing. This attunes kids to what others are doing and reminds kids that we see their work in action. We also try to know when to engage kids in conversation by looking for key indicators such as eye contact or a child handing us an object, and when to say nothing at all. Engaging in the “communication chain” requires a lot of cognitive function, so we look for signs that explorers are open to talking, and we are careful not to disrupt explorers who are focused on their play. When we ask questions, we try to keep them open-ended, inviting explorers to think and communicate their ideas.


Join a Class

Our Tinkergarten rhythms are designed with intention and with your child’s learning and developmental needs in mind. We would love to have you join our community! You can learn more about current and upcoming classes, or you can register for a class anytime during the season.


Hope to see you outside soon!



(Quote in image from Rudine Sims Bishop, communication in Tinkergarten rhythms notes from Highlights for Kids - Tinkergarten)


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