"We're not supposed to get more than one injury a day. I usually get three or four."
August 5, 2008 10:28 AM   Subscribe

The Tinkering School. "A 'real project' is where you make a thing that isn't a pretend something else. If the kids want to make a boat, that's fine, but we're going to take it down to the harbor and put it in the ocean." [via NPR, no transcript yet] posted by fantabulous timewaster (14 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I absolutely applaud the school's mission, but I don't understand the wrapper they so often put around the message, which seems to be "the only way to make stuff is to risk fiery death". At the very least, it tends to attract the "kids today have it too easy, TAKE OFF THE SEATBELTS AND LIVE A LITTLE" morons rather than people who want to encourage their kids to...just build stuff.

Granted, exploring boundaries is inherently somewhat dangerous. But that seems like it's more a side-effect than a selling point.

Anyway, I'm glad to find a source for the stickers I saw in Make some time ago.
posted by DU at 10:38 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Excellent. This is how I have been and am hoping to raise my kids, for now with legos and blocks and other open-ended toys, and as they get a little older, with full-scale things and full-scale experiences. Awesome.
posted by davejay at 10:38 AM on August 5, 2008

It kills me that my kid won't be old enough to go next summer, but that gives us an extra year to save up the hefty fee.
posted by padraigin at 11:04 AM on August 5, 2008

I'm sending my daughter off to learn to be a rock star next week.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:05 AM on August 5, 2008

That is ten kinds of awesome. Do you have to be a kid to play along? I hope not.

In any event, I can't wait to do some serious rocketeering with my niece and nephew. (they're a bit young now...)
posted by Freen at 11:34 AM on August 5, 2008

I bookmarked the site yesterday after I heard the NPR story. My little girl is the pinkest pirate princess, so I have hope that, when she's old enough, she'll be interested in the kind of activity.
posted by lekvar at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2008

I hope he understands that the things like choking hazards aren't there because the companies think people are too dumb to not choke on them, but rather that there is case law saying they'll be culpable should someone choose to sue them after choking? It's litigation nation, not fear mongering of objects themselves, to blame here...

The concept -- some rules are stupid and should be fought -- yes, absolutely. That a kid should be able to handle physics problems, sure, absolutely. The video and the stickers just make no sense to me since he seems to think that it's parents worrying about things that has caused the gentrification of the world.
posted by cavalier at 12:32 PM on August 5, 2008

I don't know cavalier, I read the stickers as more of a don't-let-your-imagination-be-limited-by-your-toys kind of mentality, which would fit pretty well with efforts to get kids to experience things which fall outside of the what some might categorize as 'completely safe'.
posted by quin at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2008

Similar to The Children's School, which is a real grade school with a projects based education:
posted by Outlawyr at 12:58 PM on August 5, 2008

Ok, granted the stickers themselves are more innoculus, but when you look TED presentation for example..
posted by cavalier at 1:04 PM on August 5, 2008

cavalier, according the NPR story, the release form for the summer camp requires the parent to write out in longhand the sentence "I understand that my child may be injured or killed while participating in this school." Also a big chunk of the expense apparently goes to his insurance.

I think Tulley has the "litigation nation" angle pretty well covered. I was glad to learn he had done so with a finite amount of effort.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2008

I like how he stresses in the TED talk to go do these things with your kids, not send them to his school.
posted by figment of my conation at 4:44 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I saw that TED talk back around January, from stumbleupon, and watched it again today. The stumble review is gushing about how awesome it is and how kids need to be exposed to risks, but I thought he relied far too heavily on humor and the virtue of pain. I also thought a talk entitled "5 Things..." with six elements was a big cheat, but that is neither here nor there.

The idea that children need to have a fundamental understanding of how things work is a very important notion, and Mr Tulley may well be doing great things in this direction. Based on his TED talk what strikes me the most is how trapped he seems to be inside of his own "outside the box" box. Sure, letting kids take stuff apart is great. When I was a kid I took apart almost everything I owned that had "electrical stuff" inside of it. But I learned a lot more about how things work when I learned anatomy from Thanksgiving dinner, or from my Legos, or even from learning to build a PC. It seems like Mr Tully doesn't notice the less supposedly shocking stuff, because he is too determined to be counter-culter, or counter-intuitive, or something like that.

The whole idea that if kids aren't scraped/cut/bruised/bloody and outdoors, that they cannot be having a real childhood strikes me as incredibly reactionary, and just as wrong as the notion that kids must never be allowed to become bloody or go outside.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:05 PM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to make a few corrections. Hopefully a mod will be able to clear up that horribly superfluous apostrophe in the post.

My apologies to fantabulous timewaster and DU for misattributing a previous post. I should have been more careful.

Also the Rush Limbaugh links seems to have stopped working since earlier today. Here is a cached version of it.
posted by Telf at 1:50 PM on August 25, 2008

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