Early Science Lesson Plans Developed by Delaware Museum of Natural History
Are Part of New Online Resource for Teachers
May 12 Event with Gov. Markell and PNC Celebrates Achievements in Early Science Education
When Delaware Governor Jack Markell is joined by pre-schoolers, their teachers, and PNC Bank executives at the Museum on Monday, May 12 at 1 p.m., they’ll celebrate a generation of children who are significantly more science-savvy. Their success is a reflection of the Museum’s pre-K science instruction, which has singled it out for inclusion in a new, online Lesson Center created to assist early childhood education teachers.
“The Delaware Museum of Natural History’s program is a success story in so many ways - for helping children develop an early interest in science, instilling confidence in teachers in their ability to teach science and engaging families and the community,”
said Nicholas Marsini, PNC regional president in Delaware. “The Lesson Center website will allow teachers to access high-quality science activities from nationally recognized science centers, such as the Museum, and implement them in their classrooms.”
Online Lesson Center Includes Programs Developed by the Delaware Museum of Natural History
The instructional website (www.pncgrowupgreat.com/lessoncenter) was developed through Temple University and Professor Barbara Wasik, Ph.D., PNC Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education, and assistant professor Annemarie H. Hindman, Ph.D. With content based on PNC Grow Up Great-funded projects in science and the arts, the site is designed to be used with any preschool curriculum in the country and to foster children's language and vocabulary development.
The May 12 event marks the 5th anniversary of the Museum’s Seeing Science Everywhere program, funded by a $500,000 grant from the PNC Grow Up Great with Science initiative, and part of the $350 million Grow Up Great program. Developed specifically to teach pre-school teachers how to incorporate science into their existing curriculums, the Seeing Science Everywhere program consists of lesson plans, supplies and other resources, outdoor learning environments, and a new website geared to enhance science education for pre-school children nationwide. In addition, families have participated in on-site Family Fun Nights and Free Sunday Mornings at the Museum.
“Through this program, we’re having a major impact on teachers’ abilities, confidence levels and ultimately their success with introducing and teaching science to very young students,” explains the Museum’s Executive Director Halsey Spruance.
New Castle County Head Start students participating in the program have made significant gains in understanding scientific concepts as a result of the program. There was a 277% increase in pre-K students scoring “meets expectations” in science and technology between Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. Throughout the state, Head Start teachers have incorporated Seeing Science Everywhere concepts in their classrooms and as a result, brought science aspects that had been difficult to teach or not taught at all to life in ways that excite pre-school students.
In addition, the Seeing Science Everywhere program is having a primary impact on teachers themselves. In response to the program’s resources, teachers are reporting:
- A 52 percent increase in their confidence, knowledge and science skills (now exceeding their comfort levels with math, language and creative arts).
- A 55 percent increase in the use of equipment, natural objects, plants and animals.
- A 35 percent improvement in quality of lesson plans, among other positive developments.
Since his election in 2008, Gov. Markell has stressed the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (often referred to as STEM) throughout all level of Delaware schools. Through the extension of this grant, PNC and the Museum leaders share the Governor’s vision.
“In this 21st century economy, so many good jobs are and will be based on science principles,” Spruance says. “Together, we’re so pleased to lay a foundation in our children that surely brightens their future.”
1:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Halsey Spruance, Executive Director, Delaware Museum of Natural History
1:10 p.m. Business Perspective
Nicholas M. Marsini, Jr., Regional President, PNC Bank, Delaware
1:15 p.m. Importance of Preschool Education
Governor Jack Markell
1:25 p.m. PNC Lesson Center
Barbara Wasik, Ph.D., Professor and PNC Chair in Early Childhood Education, Temple University
1:35 p.m. Lesson Center Demonstrations and “Dig It” Preschool Activity
New Castle County Head Start Center
IN THE NEWS
WDDE - "Delaware Museum of Natural History helps blaze trail for pre-K science educators"
Jill Karlson, Director of Public Programming
302-658-9111, ext. 307
Download the full press packet here.