Sprocket was founded in 2017 with the goal of creating spaces where children and their parents/caregivers can learn and thrive.
Sprocket was founded by Mr. Cork Hardin a 15-year veteran educator in Baltimore City. Mr. Cork started his educational career at Port Discovery Children's Museum where he first realized his love of teaching. While there he met Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen the creator of Mother Goose on the Loose. It was her guidance that propelled Mr. Cork into education. She continues to be a mentor and friend.
Mr. Cork went on to teach at Head Start and local schools. He has taught in classrooms for 3rd graders all the way down to 2-year-olds. Mr. Cork eventually found himself at the Village Learning Place, a non-profit organization in Charles Village. There he honed his organizational management skills, learning all he could to eventually open his own organization.
Mr. Cork started out with a wagon, felt board, and a dream. The idea first came when he was asked to collaborate on the book Mother Goose on the Loose: Here, There, and Everywhere. Collaborators were asked how they are using storytimes in new unique ways. Mr. Cork knew that one of the challenges to any program was getting participants through the door. This gave birth to a simple solution; stop asking them to come to us, instead go to them! He began popping up in a local park with all the supplies for storytimes. He soon grew a large following of parents and nannies and was quickly asked to expand to nearby parks. Over the course of the first year, he grew from one weekly program in a single park to six programs in eight different locations. Eventually, this grew to ten programs across multiple locations throughout the city serving an average of 350 kids per week.
Mr. Cork has become synonymous with storytime in Baltimore. Through his storytimes, Mr. Cork had unique access to a large group of parents and caregivers from across the city. He listened to their needs and realized the city needs more safe spaces for these groups to gather. This gave way to the idea of an indoor play space.
Our partnership with St. Luke's Church on the Avenue has been critical to the success of our indoor play space. With space that was otherwise not being used, we were able to create the perfect place to urban families to gather and play. We are located in the heart of Hampden on the Avenue.
We will continue to grow and change as the needs of our families grow and change. Mr. Cork and our team are dedicated to serving the families of this city. We hope you will join our community!
"Mr. Cork is a passionate early childhood literacy advocate and promoter. I have been taking my young toddler to his pop up program since she was three months old, and we love it. I am a professional librarian, and I have learned a lot about early childhood literacy from Mr. Cork that I have been able to incorporate in both my professional and personal life. I fully support the work of Sprocket and look forward to having an easily accessible play space in the city. It is much needed, and I have full confidence in Mr. Cork and Sprocket’s vision and ability to carry it out."
Our Guiding Principles
We are governed by our principles. These guiding principles are at the core of all we do.
Each child is unique and learns differently. The child is a whole human being; therefore, a complete education develops the child in multiple domains: mental, social, natural, emotional, creative, and physical. We inspire and empower through discovery, using experiential learning, inquiry learning, and real-world opportunities. Learning from failure teaches problem-solving and perseverance.
Community and Individuality
A strong community is diverse, supportive, and cooperative. Within our strong community, each child is treated as an individual. Their unique interests, talents, and learning styles are nurtured. Social and emotional learning builds competent adults.
Love of Learning
Fostering a love of learning is the key to creating motivated learners. Our programs are designed to introduce skills at key developmental windows (while allowing flexibility for differences among individual children) and inspire children to challenge themselves.
Harmonious Learning Environment
Children learn best in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe. Love and respect underlay all that we do. The more children are engaged and on-task, the more they learn. We provide a secure learning environment by giving children the structure they need to feel grounded, with the flexibility to drive inspiration.
We strive to make our programs accessible to all regardless of their ability to pay. At our core we believe education should be free to all. We understand the finanicial needs of running a buisness but we will always put our families needs above the business. We only ask that you pay what you can when you can.
The relationship between parents, caregivers, teachers and children is the heart of education. Collaboration between children fosters ideas and social skills. A parent is a child’s first teacher, and we will honor you and communicate with you as such while supporting your growth as a parent.
Creativity and Critical Thinking
Developing imagination builds critical thinking skills. While there is a place for memorization and rote skill-building, critical thinking is the foundation for building the future. Therefore, time for children to build hypotheses, observe and evaluate fosters curiosity and problem-solving. Furthermore, children learn decision-making and leadership skills by exercising thier voice during play.
Research and Innovation
Our pedagogy adapts and evolves according to the current, applicable research and our own rich experience and innovation. We are free to borrow best practices from great learning models such as Waldorf, Montessori, and others, to create a hybrid model that adapts to contemporary needs, brain research, and practicality.
The most important component of our program is gifted teachers. Our teachers are trained in the best conventional practices in order to provide a balanced approach to teaching. Educators must be excellent role models and be passionate about life and have a lifelong love of learning. Education is a sacred calling: Our goal is to make a positive difference in the life of your child, our community, and beyond.