How we use technology for Online Circle Time

What technology do I need to participate in Tinkergarten Online Circle Time?

All Tinkergarten Online Circle Time sessions take place on the video platform Zoom. Once you have downloaded the free zoom app, you can join class from anywhere you have an internet connection on a computer or device with a microphone and webcam. You can review system requirements for using the zoom platform here.

Where should I participate in Tinkergarten Online Circle Time?

You can attend your sessions anywhere inside or outside that has a reliable internet connection. To support your child’s engagement during the sessions, we recommend choosing a location where there is room for your child to freely move about and that you position your device so that your child can see and be seen while moving.

How will I know how to attend Tinkergarten Online Circle Time?

Before the first session, we’ll email you a zoom link to connect to your particular class.

What do I do if I have technical difficulties with zoom?

Before the first session, we’ll email you a quick tutorial on how to set up and use the zoom application as well as some troubleshooting tips. Additional support can also be found in the comprehensive Zoom Help Center. Unfortunately, our team is not equipped to provide technical support. If you have questions, please refer to the zoom tutorial and/or contact Zoom support. 

What happens if the Leader has technical difficulties during class?

Though rare, there may be times when the Leader needs to reschedule a session due to technical difficulties experienced on their end before or during the session. The Leader will make every effort possible to choose a day and time that works for the majority of families. You can read more about our rescheduling policy here.

How will zoom features be used during Tinkergarten Online Circle Time?

  • Muting/unmuting: In order to ensure that all participants can hear the Leader, everyone will be muted upon entry into the zoom room and will remain muted for most of the class. Your Leader will prompt families or the whole group to unmute at points during the session to support particular types of interaction. 
  • Video: Your Leader will invite children to use visual cues (i.e. giving a thumbs up, waving a hand or showing an object to the group) throughout the class to support interaction. To ensure the most engaging experience possible, we encourage families to keep their video on throughout the session. See safety policies below for more information.
  • Chat: Your Leader may use the Chat feature to provide lyrics for songs or other resources. 
  • View: You will be able to choose whether to participate in the zoom sessions with “gallery view” or “speaker view” and can switch between the two views during a session as feels supportive for your child. “Gallery view” will allow you to view all of the participants in the room. “Speaker view” will enable your child to more easily see the Leader. 

How many families will be in the Circle Time sessions?

Circle Time classes will include anywhere from 5 to 20 families. No matter the size, the feel is intimate and personal, designed to make children feel seen and connected to the Leader and one another.

Do adults need to be present for the zoom sessions?

Adults are welcome to participate alongside their children during sessions! Tinkergarten Online Circle Time is designed to support kids and adults in playful learning together and your Leader will provide ideas that can inspire play for families after the session is over. If you do plan to step away during class, we recommend that you are available at the start of the session to ensure your child is all set up and that you practice using Zoom! with your child beforehand. Prior to your first session, you will receive some tips on how to do this.

What should I bring to the zoom session?

Each week, children will be invited to bring an item to share with the group. For some sessions, families will also be invited to bring certain household materials to support children’s engagement in the play activity. At the end of each session, your Leader will let you know what materials to have ready for the next session. We’ll also send an email the day before with a reminder about which household items to have on hand, if any.

What is your safety policy?

The safety of our community is a top priority. We recommend that all participants leave their camera on so that Leaders and children can interact fully. For the safety of participants, our online sessions will not be recorded by the Leader and we require that families do not record or photograph the zoom sessions.

Another critical step to maintain the security of our online sessions is to ensure that each participant is, in fact, one of our enrolled families. To confirm that only our enrolled families join our online sessions, we require that families either participate with their video enabled (recommended) or, as a minimum, connect by video with the Leader at least once at the beginning of class before electing to participate with the camera disabled.