Our story begins in 2012 when our founder and his wife moved from New York to Croatia with their 3-year-old daughter to start a business as franchisees. After four years of successfully running their business, and years of planning and research, they decided to create their own franchise system to fill a giant hole in the market. In 2016 Tinker Labs opened its first Learning Center in Osijek, Croatia.
After years of extensive research into various global systems of education, we noticed that there is one common factor that can be found in all institutional systems of learning: they all separate knowledge into different categories which are then taught as self-enclosed subjects. We also noticed that children’s natural aptitude for questioning the world around them would much better be served if they had a free space where they could go to examine, explore, and ask questions about the phenomena that interest them most. We realize the importance and necessity of a bottom-up approach to learning (you need to learn math and physics if you are going to build a bridge), but we also recognize a need on the part of our children that can be filled by setting their innate curiosity free (imagine allowing a child to build a real bridge and learning along the way, through trial and error, about concepts in math and physics). It is with this goal in mind that we designed a set of programs that are meant to act as a metaphoric bridge between a child’s natural affinity for play and the structured demands of traditional systems of learning
Since opening, our team has grown to include program developers, teachers, teacher trainers, graphic designers, and sales and marketing administrators. All of them are working together to build a franchise system in hopes to bring Tinker Labs to countries all over the world.