BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A new class in Bismarck allows students to go outside and become one with nature, learn self-reliance, creativity and problem-solving.

Tinkergarten classes are held once a week, typically over a 10-week period during the spring, summer and fall seasons. They take place at local parks and include expert-designed curriculum geared toward children from 18 months to 8 years old, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

The program was originally founded in 2012 by Brian and Meghan Fitzgerald. Nikki Bushaw decided to start the classes in Bismarck to provide a new option for parents that they can also engage in.

Each class has five parts: an opening activity and song, circle time to discuss the day's lesson, a main activity, clean-up time and snack time.

The classes aim to get children engaged in the environment through sensory integration and to get them to socialize more with peers and less with parents, said Beth Heyne, another Tinkergarten leader in Bismarck.

"We want (parents) to really just help their kids have a sense of wonder and awe for nature and just to ... really think and engage and challenge themselves a little bit with free-thinking," Heyne said.

Bushaw said some parents have noticed differences in their children after classes. Parents during her last summer class this past week told her their children play outside and at home differently, and bring home some of the Tinkergarten activities.

"I think it's been really impactful, and parents see that especially at the end of the season," she said.

___

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com