IN WHITE COUNTY
After close to 10,000 in Searcy celebrated, six small businesses get down to business of makeovers, filming for the online reality show “Small Business Revolution — Main Street.” Article, Page 4. Photo by Al Fowler
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FEATURE: Learning in nature... PAGE 6 MAY/JUNE 2019 VOLUME 4/ISSUE 3
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Contents 4 8 12
FEATURE: Getting up in their business FEATURE: Preparing the next generation FEATURE: Bringing history to life at Harding
THE PLAYGROUND: Games for children, young at heart SPOTLIGHT: Newhope Thrift Store
Getting up in their business BY SHA JOHNSON When ARganic Woodwork was chosen as one of the six businesses to be featured on Season 4 of “Small Business Revolution — Main Street,” owner Coty Skinner said his first thought was, “My wife is never going to let me live this down.” According to Skinner, his wife Meghan kept questioning if he had applied for the online reality show until he finally did on the very last day of the deadline. “She pretty much was giving me a stern talking to,” he said. “The whole reason why I applied was because she was very determined for me to do it.” Skinner’s business was among 215 that signed up to take part in $500,000 in makeovers on the online reality series, after Searcy won a national competition to be the featured city. The six winning businesses were announced March 22 by co-hosts Amanda Brinkman and Ty Pennington at a Beats and Eats kickoff on Spring Street attended by close to 10,000. Skinner said filling out the application was almost laughable to him because he didn’t have a traditional store front. He was convinced there was no way he would be chosen, but applied just to appease his wife. Making the top 30, Skinner said he was shocked and also felt bad because he thought Deluxe Corp., the Hulu-based series’ producer, didn’t understand how much he didn’t have to offer. Going into the top 12, Skinner said, “At this point, this is just a cruel joke. They chose me to narrow it down quicker.” On the day of the reveal, Skinner said he was the last time slot and was expecting to be told he didn’t get picked. “Ty and Amanda snuck up and told me I won and I have no idea what I said or what my expression was. I was like, ‘You do know this is my garage?’” The other five businesses selected for the series were the Zion Climbing Center, El Mercado Cavadas, Nooma Life, Savor + Sip and Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant. Sean Hudkins, executive director of Zion Climbing Center, said he was humbled upon finding out that his nonprofit was one of the six chosen from the final 12. “Every one of the 12 businesses were very deserving of the opportunity and we are grateful that Zion was chosen as one of the six,”
Photos by Al Fowler
“Small Business Revolution — Main Street” co-hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman announced the six businesses selected to take part in $500,000 in makeovers on Season 4 of the online reality show at a Beats and Eats kickoff event in March attended by close to 10,000.
Hudkins said. Leah Cook with Nooma Life shared a similar sentiment of honor and humility at winning. Amelia Brackett of Savor + Sip, Catrina Mendoza with El Mercado Cavadas and Whilma Frogoso of Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant all expressed excitement when they found out. “It took almost 48 hours for the news to fully sink in,” Brackett said. “It seems so surreal, even now sometimes, and at this point we are in the middle of it!” Deluxe Corp. and the production company Flow Nonfiction have been filming since March, and all six business owners said they feel the team truly cares about Searcy and the work being done here. Along with that, Brackett said it stood out to her “how much footage it takes to get one episode of a show! We will only have one episode about us, but there will be hours and hours of footage to sort through —we were here for almost seven hours the other day filming!” Frogoso said she was surprised by the difficulty of the process. “There are a lot of interviews and meetings we have to attend. It’s like a way of earning the Please see BUSINESS | Page 16
Learning in nature
BY AMANDA HOURT Teaching children the importance of spending time outside enjoying nature, both during class and at other times, is the purpose of a program called Tinkergarten. “Just no matter the weather, you go out,” said Angie Wrye, who started holding Tinkergarten last summer after finding out about the program on Facebook when a friend of hers put a “like” on Tinkergarten. Wrye decided at that moment Searcy needed to have a Tinkergarten class. Typically, Tinkergarten holds a class every season, even in the winter. “Our goal in the winter [in terms of teaching a habit for outside of class] was to get outside every day,” Wrye said, “even if just for a few minutes.” Wrye mentioned the heat was also a bit of a challenge last summer, but was manageable by staying in the shade, experimenting with water/ice and visiting the Searcy Public Library, which borders Spring Park, as soon as class adjourned to get cooled off. Tanya Shackleford, the mother of Tinkergarten student Elly, 7, said the program has been greatly instrumental to her daughter’s learning to enjoy spending more time outside. “Since Tinkergarten, she’s just loved it. Every day she waits until she can go outside now,” Shackleford said. “Before then [Tinkergarten the first time], I would just about have to make her go outside to play.” The Shacklefords first participated in Tinkergarten during the winter session, and she said prior to Tinkergarten, Elly would usually just stay with her when she was outside while her siblings played, unlike now. “It got us outside more when it rained, when it was windy,” Shackleford said. “It was really amazing in the winter, in what I would consider bad weather, we would still meet. We always just went prepared and had a lot of fun.” For example, Shackleford said there were times when the rain was just incorporated into the class, and the children would collect the rainwater falling from the eaves of the pavilion. Wrye said waiting for “perfect weather” to spend time outside typically means you never, or hardly ever, get outside, and it is better to just dress appropriately when the weather is cold, keep water handy when the weather is hot and enjoy nature in all circumstances. Wrye said there was a day in winter when
Photos by Amanda Hourt
Angie Wrye of Searcy reads the book “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown aloud to a group of children March 25 at a free trial of Tinkergarten, a nature-based teaching program for children ages 18 months-8 years held in Spring Park. Children attending the session included (pictured individually) Abraham Haugh, Ryland Curtis, Ethan King, Merrick Valentine, Emmerson King, Landry Mitchell and Layton Choate (with Ashley Cowgill).
the class met and it was about 17 degrees, and everyone just dressed up very warmly, and the children hunted around for “ice treasures.” “It [Tinkergarten] was a highlight of our week,” Shackleford said. “She [Elly] kind of delights in her surroundings now rather than being oblivious to it.” Andy Ferren, 6, of Searcy has participated in the fall and winter classes, and planned to return for the spring class. He said Tinkergarten
has grown his appreciation for nature. “I learned about just being outside a lot,” Andy said.
Treasures of nature With the start of a class, the children roam the park searching for “nature treasures,” such as flowers, interesting leaves, acorns, feathers, etc. Anywhere in a park’s “green space,” that is areas outside of the playground, are suitable for searching, unless Gin Creek is running too high through the park, in which case people are warned the creek is unsafe for play that day. Each season has a theme of study, as well as just the general subjective of “connect to nature, be outside,” Wrye said. The spring season was to feature a theme of “empathy,” such as thinking the way others do, and trying to understand the feelings of others. “Making sure everybody feels included,” Wrye said, “and that is something we all have to work on.” The Tinkergarten Summer Camp’s theme will be “communication.” The class starts each time with an “opening activity,” going into “circle time,” which is mostly singing, followed by the “launch activity,” meaning telling the children what the special activity for the day is going to be, followed by
the official “play time” segment and finally wrapping up with the “celebration,” which is what the program calls cleaning up again and eating the snacks. Before signing up, each child has the opportunity to attend a free trial class, which features a lesson on the children’s book “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown. In the story, three hungry soldiers enter a village looking for food, only to find the townspeople unwilling to share their meager provisions, so the soldiers build a cooking fire and decide to make stone soup by pitching three rocks into a pot of water. The villagers, eager to try a new recipe and make their own food additions for the best flavor, start bringing out vegetables and a slab of beef so there will be enough food to go around. After reading the book at the free trial class
March 25, Wrye asked the group of children, “Can we make stone soup here in the park?” The children then choose how to recreate the soup, whether that means finding sticks to start a fake cooking fire, filling the pot with their nature treasures as food for the soup, getting the water to cook the soup in or stirring the pot. “It’s hands-on, it’s child-led,” Wrye said. “I try to let the kids lead it and go with it.” Wrye said she noticed the children really Please see LEARNING | Page 18
Preparing the next generation BY TARYN BROWN Being one of only two psychiatric residency programs in the state, the Unity Health Graduate Medical Education Psychiatric Program has seen significant and rapid growth from the time it was implemented in 2015. Dr. Ron Wauters, medical director of Behavioral Health, started at Unity Health in June 2015 with the task of helping Dr. Herman Clements and the health system create a psychiatric residency program to teach incoming residents. The GME program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, launched July 1, one month later. After a year and a half, the Clarity Health and Wellness Clinic was full of patients and residents. The program was designed with a focus to train residents not only to serve small, rural towns, but also let them thrive in a larger metropolitan hospital as well. The psychiatry program also has a heavy focus on research. All residents present research that is published before they graduate from the program, an area the staff feels is important to incorporate. Wauters and Clements, along with Dr. Greg Wooten and Dr. Alex Powell, psychiatry resident program director, all have a desire to train residents and aid in the next generation of psychiatrists, according to Wauters. “Everybody is involved in teaching in some way,” Wauters said. “Everyone understands the vision we have and wants to train residents. … This job has allowed me to continue to work one-on-one with patients, but also train the next generation of doctors to ensure there are compassionate psychiatrists practicing in rural Arkansas. “I love the patients, plus having the opportunity to teach a group of doctors how to treat patients in a nonjudgmental and calm manner, that is why I am here.” Wauters said the vision is to improve mental health care for the region through teaching, providing the appropriate service and finding caring individuals who want to do the same, and the program’s purpose is to make things better for the patients. Clarity Health and Wellness Clinic serves
Dr. Ron Wauters
Dr. Alex Powell
Dr. Greg Wooten
Dr. Herman Clements
all populations — child, adolescent, adult and geriatric. Unity Health has inpatient facilities for children/adolescents at Courage, adults at Compass and seniors at Clearview.
They provide mental health evaluations, individual and family therapy, psychological testing, medication management and more. The physicians in the behavioral health
unit are working continuously at both inpatient and outpatient facilities. If a patient comes into the Clarity Health and Wellness Clinic and needs to be admitted to the inpatient unit, the same physicians will be with them throughout their stay. The same goes for if a patient comes into the hospital first and then needs to go to the outpatient clinic. “We are blessed with a number of providers working in the clinic who can see patients the same day they come in” Wauters said. “We have 16 residents a year in our psychiatric program who are supervised by board-certified psychiatrists. Other than the front desk, the physician is the first person a patient sees when they come into the clinic. The residents help with being able to say yes to new appointments.” Because of the number of physicians available seven days a week, the behavioral health unit does not have to rely on telemedicine to treat patients, but rather meeting with patients face-to-face. In emergency situations, the option of telemedicine is convenient and used, but they prefer to see
Because of the number of physicians available seven days a week, the behavioral health unit does not have to rely on telemedicine to treat patients, but rather meeting with patients face-to-face. In emergency situations, the option of telemedicine is convenient and used, but they prefer to see patients in the clinic or hospital and know them. This is also due to the collaborative effort between the physicians and the therapists. patients in the clinic or hospital and know them. This is also due to the collaborative effort between the physicians and the therapists. “There has always been a stigma about mental health,” Wauters said, “but the more people talk about it and bring awareness, the more we can get them in the door and help them.” On average, the Clarity Health and Wellness clinic sees around 1,200 patients a month but knows there is more that can be done. The providers in the behavioral health unit work in a team-based environment and
are continuously looking ahead to address the needs in behavioral health of those in the region. Wauters said they look at what is needed, what they can do to make it happen and if they cannot do it today, then how can they get in a position to do it tomorrow. “We want people in all of the Unity Health region to be able to have access to mental health care where they live,” Wauters said. Those who would like to learn more about Unity Health Behavioral Health Services can visit www.unity-health.org/psychiatricservices.
CLARITY HEALTH & WELLNESS Providing a wide array of
testing for all ages including: • Therapy • Counseling • Medication Management • ADHD and other testing Ron Wauters, M.D. Herman Clements II, M.D. Greg Wooten, M.D. Cathy Staton, Ph.D. Becky Dexter, LPC Mary Hobbs, PA-C
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 2908 Hawkins Dr. | Searcy, AR (501) 203-0055 | Unity-Health.org
KATHY LIGHTLE Animal Lover Cardiology Patient Grandmother Searcy Neighbor
HOSPITALS • CLINICS • SPECIALISTS We are friends, neighbors and caregivers. Together, we share a common bond. We love our community and those who make it what it is.
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Many booths were set up in the McInteer Bible and World Missions Center rotunda for Harding University’s second annual History Faire, which was held at the end of March to get children in the community “excited about history and different cultures,” according Dr. Julie Harris, a professor with the History Department at Harding and sponsor for Phi Alpha Theta, a history honor society which started the event.
Bringing history to life at Harding BY ALLY RANDOLPH While attending a national conference in Texas in January 2018, a group of Phi Alpha Theta students at Harding University heard about an annual History Faire held at Texas Women’s University for a number of years. One of the students, Hannah Clifton, loved the idea so much that she decided to implement it at Harding after the group returned.
On March 30, Harding held its second annual History Faire. Sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, an honor society for undergraduates, graduates and history professors, and the Clifton J. Ganus Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science, the History Faire invited children from ages 3 through third grade to participate Please see LIFE | Page 17
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While attending a national conference in Texas in January 2018, a group of Phi Alpha Theta students at Harding University heard about an annual History Faire held at Texas Womenâ€™s University for a number of years. One of the students, Hannah Clifton, loved the idea so much that she decided to implement it at Harding after the group returned.
THE TRADITION OF
Back: David L. Staggs, M.D. | Daniel S. Davidson, M.D. Middle: Michael North, M.D. | Brenda Frisbie, M.D. | J.R. Davidson, M.D. Front: Melissa Creameans, APRN | Abby Rice, PA-C | Vivian McElyea, APRN
3130 E. Race Avenue, Suite 100 | Searcy, AR Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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1: Tree trunk end design incorrect. 2: Bottom right rock missing. 3: One of three bees missing. 4: Backpack straps changed to green. 5: Additional bee in the center.
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Newhope Thrift Store
Who: Newhope Specialized Industries Inc. Where: 309 Lawrence St. Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Friday Proceeds: Benefit individuals enrolled at Newhope, a nonprofit that offers vocational rehabilitation, including job training and employment for the physically and intellectually impaired More information: (501) 268-5852
days a week
Hours: Monday – Friday, 4 p.m. – Midnight | Saturday & Sunday, Noon – Midnight
2902 E. Race Ave. Searcy, AR 72143 (501) 268-5433 Unity-Health.org
BUSINESS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
prize,” she said. “I have to close my restaurant because of the schedule.” Skinner said the process is “all new” to him because “I’ve never done any type of TV or production.” “It’s a lot of hurry up and wait, which I’m used to from the military,” he said. “The production company Flow Nonfiction are amazing people. You can tell they’ve been working together for a long time. It’s very smooth. “Them being who they are makes it that much easier for me. I’m most surprised about how very fast-paced and almost like a whirlwind it is, and at the same time there is a unique peace in it.” As part of the process, each business owner was surprised with an expert to give advice and troubleshoot ways to improve their businesses. The owners also will be going to Minnesota, where Deluxe Corp. is headquartered., in May. “I’m most looking forward to the trip to Minnesota,” Mendoza said. “They’re going to take us to Minneapolis and we’ll do training.” According to Frogoso, the business owners also will meet with financial advisers while in Minnesota. Even though filming and the makeovers aren’t finished yet, the business owners said they are already seeing the benefits of being chosen. “The revolution has challenged Zion on an organizational level,” Hudkins said. “We are currently reevaluating everything. This has been a very cleansing time for us. The recognition has also increased our customer traffic flow.” Brackett also noted an increase in business since the announcement. Frogoso put it this way: “Before the revolution, it was hard to reach out to the local community. But because of the [announcement of the] winners, my restaurant became busy. A lot more people come to the restaurant.” Skinner said being selected “didn’t change the goals, but it moved up the timeline.” “It was a family decision to go full time in January. The three-year time frame is shot,” he said. “We started this to fill a need. That was good, but I wasn’t doing anything to solve the problem. “In my five- to 10-year window, I want to invest in foster children that age out. Maybe offer them a job or soft skills or teach them a trade.
Because of the revolution, my five- to 10-year plan is now a one-three-year plan.” Mendoza said she has noticed an internal change because of winning. “For us, the revolution has been re-energizing,” she said. “We’ve been open for two years and just poured ourselfves into the business. I was getting to a point where I didn’t know how much longer I could continue. Seeing that other people have a passion for what we’re doing is very validating. It’s re-energized every part of our lives.” “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” not only has helped the business owners be more excited about what they do, it also amplified what they want to give back to the community. Frogoso said she thinks the tools she learns can be used to make the whole community successful. “I hope I can share that blessing with all the people of Searcy and help the town continue to progress,” Frogroso said. Cook said, “We hope to be able to share Nooma as a whole with our customers and other business owners. “Our hope is to be able to reach out to different dynamics within the community,” Cook said. “Nooma is a place to reconnect yourself with you. In our busy world it’s hard to find time to just be still and be. Our hope is to help others find that mind and body connection at Nooma.” Similarly, Hudkins said, “We hope that we are able to better clarify both who Zion is and
what Zion is about. Such a simplistic concept, but one that Deluxe is helping us to achieve. Zion intends to provide true community opportunity to our customer base as well as to other business owners through what we have to offer. “In the community, I’ve never seen so much community in this community. The bubbles are kind of meshing into one big one. I love what it’s doing. That momentum is really driving people. It’s encouraging to the community as a whole to see such unity in a time where everyone is portrayed in such a divisive manner.” Mendoza agreed, saying, “It’s given Searcy the ability to say we can work together and everyone isn’t competing against each other.” Hudkins said the spirit of unity needs to continue. “Searcy needs to stay aggressive in seeking both knowledge and relevance,” he said. “We need to seek true community and relationships. “I think [it is] a great idea of starting the revolution fund [for the six other small businesses that made the final 12]. This is an incredible way to keep the energy moving and pay it forward to other businesses. I think continuing to promote shopping local and supporting local business will be what keeps the momentum going.” As with the kickoff event, there will be a finale event held in June. More details will be released closer to the date. Season 4 will air on Hulu and the Small Business Revolution website in the fall.
LIFE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12
in a free interactive event. Many booths were featured in the Jim Bill McInteer Bible and World Missions Center rotunda. These included booths from Arkansas State Parks, as well as several from departments across Harding’s campus such as the Brackett Library, the Black Student Association, and Chinese and Caribbean students. Many of the departments dressed up to go with the theme of their booth. “Our purpose is to get kids excited about history and different cultures,” said Dr. Julie Harris, a professor with the History Department at Harding and sponsor for Phi Alpha Theta. Hannah Wood and Jean Waldrop, librarians with Brackett Library, oversaw a booth on the history of the book. They both participated in 2018, and Wood said that there were twice as many booths this year compared to last year. “We had about 40 kids who signed up,” Harris said. “We’re expecting at least 50 and we’re prepared for a 100.” Several activities were offered to the kids,
including a sandbox as an “archaeological dig,” as well as coloring sheets, painting, word searches and other interactive activities. Riley Mayo, a senior history major, and Gabrielle Hood, a junior nursing major and member of the Black Student Association, manned a booth on African-American civil rights. They focused on the 1950s and ‘60s, and Mayo said they wanted to make kids better aware of what people have been through in history. “Black history is American history,” Mayo said. According to Mayo, it is important that children are educated over these matters starting at a young age. Harding students Kuma Qu and Louis Wang operated the Chinese Student Association booth. With their booth, Qu wanted to show the children a Chinese style of painting. “It’s really easy,” she said, “because most of our audience is kids and you can see I’m painting it with my finger, so it’s really easy for them.” While the kids painted, they could listen to Wang play the erhu, a Chinese stringed
instrument. Many participants expressed their excitement for how the History Faire involved the Searcy community as a whole. “I think it helps for Searcy to bring people together and to see that Harding does care about Searcy and that we want to be involved,” said Leah Price, a senior social science major who ran a booth on the Civil War. Many hoped that the kids would take something away from the experience and want to learn more about history. Larisa Pulley, a history major at Harding and director of this year’s event, said that she hoped the event would “spark something” in the kids and show them that “history can be fun.” Jessie Smith, a senior journalism major and president of Harding’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, said she wanted the children to take away from the History Faire the desire to learn. She said she hoped the kids learned that “learning is not just about sitting in a classroom but it’s something that you can touch and you can feel, and that history in particular is something that’s alive and around us and that they start to have a love for that.”
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Mon. - Fri. | 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. 711 Santa Fe Dr. | Searcy
LEARNING said there are not usually a lot of materials, and some of them, like the miniature stainless steel buckets for children to collect nature treasures in, as well as the stainless steel cooking pot used for the stone soup, she received from Tinkergarten when she signed up as a class leader. “It doesn’t require a lot of toys,” Wrye said. “It’s open-ended natural play items.” Another Tinkergarten technique that makes things simpler for parents is having a broad range of ages in the classes, instead of dividing children by age. “It’s not age-segregated,” Wrye said. “The youngers learn from the olders, and the olders got to be leaders.” Wrye said the age-variety teaching method closely resembles what is done in homeschooling families, and is special to her because she homeschools her children.
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took to stirring the pot of stone soup, which, of course, nobody was destined to eat. (After play time, the stone soup, made of just natural ingredients found in the park, was “returned to the trees and plants,” meaning it was poured out for the plants to utilize as best they could wherever each child deemed best.) “I noticed a lot of stirring today,” Wrye said. “They really got the stone soup spinning.” Wrye said the program encourages a lot of “big movement,” such as stirring a large pot, and schema movements that each child learns, which in turn should help to categorize new information. “We are not trying to get them to sit in a line and be still and quiet,” Wrye said. “If you stand back, you see how the kids kind of handle it.” In the past, Wrye said she noticed children taking the initiative to search for firewood for the stone soup, so different groups of children have different ideas about how to solve the “problems” posed in each class, such as how to best make the soup. After crafting a batch of stone soup with his classmates that contained quite a few blooming daffodils and various wildflowers, Andy said he had a good time and enjoyed seeing the signs of springtime. “There’s a lot of pretty things and pretty colors,” Andy said, noting that the flowers were particularly vivid that day. Open-ended options The children at Tinkergarten are not all forced to sit through the lesson or do what the other children are doing, Wrye said, but are left to learn in the way that best suits their desires. At the free class, a garter snake was spotted under some shrubs. While the children were encouraged to go and watch the snake to learn about it in its natural environment, the children were not required to monitor the snake slinking through the underbrush. Another couple of children opted to look down from the bridge in the hopes of spotting crawdads in the shallow water, while others continued to select flowers for their nature buckets. Most of the enjoyment of the outdoors and learning of Tinkergarten should be experienced when the children are at home, not during the hour per week the children are at class, Wrye said. Although, the summer camp will feature a one-hour Tinkergarten class every
day for one week. “The one-hour play time in the park is not enough to be outside,” Wrye said, “but it makes kids want to do more.” Tinkergarten does teach lessons, but one lesson the program does not really focus on is requiring children to stay clean while playing outdoors. Wrye said what she believes is lesson two actually has the children playing in mud, and parents are alerted via email to bring extra clothes for their child to put on at the conclusion of the lesson. “I think usually the second lesson of the season is mud play,” Wrye said. “Some of the kids just get right into it and make a big mess.” While some children who are accustomed to playing outdoors and getting dirty have no trouble letting themselves enjoy the mud, Wrye said other children, particularly those not typically allowed to get dirty, just try to have as much fun as possible using the tools provided, and trying not to touch the mud very much. The materials to do the activities are always provided by the leader, Wrye said, so parents do not need to remember to bring things with them, clean them up afterward and take them home again. “All the materials are brought for you,” Wrye said, “And then you just get to leave.” While all the materials are provided, Wrye
Explorers and guides The standard Tinkergarten class is for children ages 18 months-8 years, Wrye said, though there is a separate Tinkergarten curriculum and class for children ages 6-18 months, which is not currently offered anywhere locally. She said, given she is expecting another baby herself, she may start a class for babies next year. In the standard class, Wrye said the young children have said they appreciate getting the chance to spend time with the older children. “They end up just having a bond,” Wrye said. While the official Tinkergarten website says classes are for children up to age 8, Wrye said there are some older children from homeschool families who attend with their younger siblings, and she is happy to have them. “I would even call them our ‘Junior Guides,’” Wrye said. The children enrolled in Tinkergarten are called “explorers” during the classes, while their guardians, be that a parent, grandparent, near-adult sibling, etc., are called “guides.” Every explorer must have a guide who stays at the park; people cannot drop children off for class. One guide can bring up to three explorers. The Tinkergarten website does mention older siblings that are not near adult age attending classes, saying they may attend as a classmate would, with the same fee applying. “Officially, they are welcome to enroll,” Wrye said. Please see CLASS | Page 19
CLASS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18
Wrye said she has never charged an older (e.g. 9-12-year-old or teenager) sibling to attend, though several have, and she tells parents she is happy for them to bring their older children if their younger children are already enrolled in the class and they want Tinkergarten to be a family activity. Wrye said there would not necessarily always be supplies for older children to participate in the classes, and they should enroll if they want to be certain to have supplies. Wrye also mentioned she has always been impressed at the number of fathers who attend Tinkergarten with their children, saying she did not expect that originally. Thus far, every season has had at least one guide who is a father, and often more than one. Officially, the maximum class size for Wrye is 12 children enrolled, with classes of 15 for the free trials, and Wrye said as of late March nobody had registered for the summer camp, which she said was not surprising given it is still in the future, and slots remained for the spring session as well. Tinkergarten corporate has ruled Wrye’s
classes to have a minimum enrollment of four children. Children can be enrolled into Tinkergarten at any time, even if a season is already underway, and the fee will be pro-rated for the remaining class periods. For information about pricing and to register for Tinkergarten, go to tinkergarten.com. Wrye said she does not ever handle the money, though she is paid a portion of the money Tinkergarten makes off of her classes. People must register for the free trial classes online also. The summer free trials will be held from 1011:15 a.m. June 3-6. (People can only sign each child up for one free trial class.) “I think pretty much everyone I know with kids have come to the free trial,” Wrye said. The summer camp is $62.50 per student for five sessions, with a 30 percent discount for siblings after the first one to register, and will be held from 10-11:15 a.m. June 17-21. Shackleford said she would recommend joining Tinkergarten to any family that has a hard time getting outside to play, or is looking to meet new people in the area. The Searcy Tinkergarten classes are always
held at Spring Park, Wrye said, which works well for the program since a park needs to have natural areas for Tinkergarten, rather than just a playground. “I’m doing Spring Park, and it’s a great park for it,” Wrye said. “We’re getting in the green spaces, not just the playgrounds of parks.” Wrye said she hopes more Tinkergarten classes are started in the future, and more people choose to be leaders. As of April 1, Wrye was the only Tinkergarten leader holding classes in White County, though Alicia Diaz leads classes in Cabot and Jacksonville, and there were only seven Tinkergarten classes in Arkansas. Becoming a Tinkergarten leader took about six weeks, Wrye said, and required things like videoing herself doing a sample class and sending it to the head Tinkergarten office. She said she thinks many people who try to be leaders do not make it through all the levels of screening to become leaders though, and she did it because she wanted her children to be able to attend a Tinkergarten class. Also, Wrye said there is no initial out-ofpocket expense to become a leader or try to become one.
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