The Science and Nature Program enhances children's understanding and respect for the natural world, as well as teaches the initial skills of scientific inquiry. This innovative program, offering weekday classes during the school year, is designed to educate children ages 3 through 11 and their parents about the wonders of the Museum. Based on the premise that young children attain deeper levels of understanding when significant adults in their lives are involved, the Program requires that each child be accompanied in class by a parent or grandparent.
The staff of experienced science educators works with Museum scientists and specialists to create age-appropriate curricular themes that reflect the Museum's disciplines, including life sciences, earth and planetary sciences, anthropology, and paleontology. The Program's classrooms provide stimulating environments that contain artifacts and specimens from the Museum's collections, live animal habitats, a children's science library, scientific tools, and educational materials for hands-on investigation. These classrooms serve as "base camps" for in-depth studies and guided "safaris" to destinations in the Museum such as the Hall of Biodiversity and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Excursions to special exhibitions, such as The Butterfly Conservatory and Whales: Giants of the Deep, are also part of the Program.
In addition, The Science and Nature Program works with early childhood educators to help them strengthen their science curriculum through professional development programs. Ongoing partnerships have been created with public and independent schools and community organizations, including day care and their Head Start programs. Teachers, parents, and children from these collaborating organizations participate in The Science and Nature Program's workshops and guided class visits to the Museum.
Early Childhood and Family Learning at the American Museum of Natural History provides exciting science learning opportunities for young children and families through OLogy, the Discovery Room, the Science and Nature Program, and Public Programs.
Support for Early Childhood and Family Learning has been provided by the Filomen M. D'Agostino Foundation and Mona and Ravi Sinha.
Additional funding has been provided by Joyce and Bob Giuffra, John and Amy Griffin, and Valerie and Wright Ohrstrom.