“Oh how we love Austin Tinkering School! This is where my son thrives. If all of our days could be Tinkering School days, I’m quite sure we’d simply float on air (using some contraption created while there!). We had the fortune of joining Kami’s ventures in Tinkering when my son was just shy of 3 years old. We were hooked. Kami has a wonderful way of touching the spirit of her participants. Her nature has certainly influenced my parenting and teaching styles and my kiddo recognizes her as the ultimate facilitator of what’s really important; making, doing, creating!
ps. Tinkering School Bonus: pass on by 80% of the”‘store bought toys” with a wink and a “we can MAKE that”!)”
“I liked that you could make ANYTHING! I liked the field trip. I liked making the toys. And I liked everything! The teachers were super nice. When Austin Tinkering Camp ended I almost cried, it was that good!”
- Finn, age 7
“Kami’s classes are THE BEST!! My girls have taken several classes and camps with Kami, and they are always so sad when they come to an end. Always such a nurturing environment, fostering creativity and adventure. My girls have learned so much with Kami (like how to build a go cart!) and have had a great time doing it! We plan on continuing her classes and camps for as long as we can.
P.S. She also has the best backyard ever in Austin! So fun!”
Andrea Dalhouse, mother of 2
“Our ﬁrst Austin Tinkering School experience was a one day lashing workshop. I loved that kids would lash a while then run off and swing or investigate materials strewn about. I loved that parents were interacting or sitting at the edges knitting. The structure of the workshop was organic and the interactions authentic…exactly the right speed for my then 6-yr old homeschooled son. I really appreciate Kami’s commitment to having the experience be interest motivated, process oriented, and playful! I also love the level of trust extended to her students. This is not a “child proofed” environment or “listen and learn” class. It is a rich and challenging environment where investigation and experimentation is the mode of learning. Kami’s patience and respect of her students allows them to try new things without fear of mistakes. So my now 9-yr son continues to take classes and camps with excitement, and my 2.5-yr son has been taking Art for Toddlers and also loves his experience where painting on himself and getting bubbles all over are part of his favorite activities. I also have taken classes and workshops for adults. The company is always great and the artists that work with Kami are wonderful! Expect to get messy, to laugh, to have the space to work at your own pace, to use new materials, to be inspired to take chances, to be inspired to MAKE.”
“We’re huge disciples of Kami Wilt and her big vision at Austin Tinkering School. Our 8 year old, Max, has attended for three summers. And he’s expressed interest in becoming a counselor when he’s old enough.
We love the creativity + problem solving at work here. While the ATS team provides a framework and guidance for all projects, there’s a whole lot of creative wiggle room for kids to interpret projects their own way. At the end of a task, I’m frequently surprised at how each kid’s particular vision comes out in the work. So the open-ended nature of Tinkering School really allows kids to explore who they are as creators and helps them develop confidence that there’s more than one solution to any task.
Collaboration is a big part of Tinkering School. While our Max prefers to work alone, there are lots of group projects, demos and expos to keep him aligned with the group. As parents, we particularly enjoyed Art Camp’s last day, where the kids created their own art galleries and shops to sell their individual works.
Play is important. And sometimes kids just need to take a break and goof off. Kami gets that and has tire swings, water to play with, things to climb…plenty of resources for just being.
Tinkering School helps kids build confidence as creators. After a couple of days of his first camp, Max was eager to help with simple household TO DOs like tightening the screws on cabinet doors and removing baby proofing from the house. More recently, he’s constructing his own projects. mostly from things found around the house- drum kits, light sabers, Lego public restrooms, you name it. We give credit where it’s due for his continuing interest in free-building.
We couldn’t be more excited about the future of Austin Tinkering School and know great things are coming for everyone who’s interested. If you’re looking for an experience that genuinely feeds the minds and souls of young people, this is certainly at the top of our family list.”
” I can’t thank you enough for giving me and my entire family this amazing experience. We have all learned so much and I know the conversations and lessons learned will just continue to grow and flourish.”
“In the short time I have known Kami, I have come to think of her as a collaborator in the Tinkering School program. Her creative input, insightful observation, and passion for working with children will ensure the success of Austin Tinkering School. I look forward to working with her for years to come.”
– Gever Tulley, founder of Tinkering School and author of Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).
“She introduces activities that are age-appropriate and creative. Her approach is to encourage the freedom to move throughout activities that are well-planned and completely fascinating from a child or adult perspective. The interaction of small groups of kids introduces important lessons of peer group interaction, working independently, or being a thoughtful observer. The only way I can get my son to leave is if I promise that we will return soon. I can not recommend her classes enough to people. “
– Michelle Matallino, owner/director of Olive Tree Learning Center
“ Kami is a unique combination of creative, thoughtful, insightful, curious, respectful, courageous, and pioneering. She creates an environment where children are encouraged to fool around with things, to tinker and to follow their curiosity wherever it may lead. Discoveries of all sizes are noticed and celebrated. Her class is exciting, inspiring, and downright fabulous. With her encouragement, tinkering for my son is fast becoming a way of life. It is a true fit for him. I can not recommend Kami and her classes enough to people.”
– Christie Shore, homeschooling mother of three
“I tell every Mom I meet about Kami’s classes. My toddler took Art 1 and asks to paint every day now. Her teaching style is calm, creative, thorough and full of Mama love. In short, she rocks with real rocks.”
– Catherine, mother of two
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