The New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences - together with the Philadelphia Zoo, The Franklin Institute, and the Academy of Natural Sciences - has launched Families Exploring Science Together (FEST), a family-based science education program targeted to underserved children and their parents.
The Academy, as the lead institution, received an award from the National Science Foundation for this three-year program.
The NSF review panel applauded the application for both its involvement of parents and as one of the few proposals nationally targeting low income families. FEST is a critically needed model. Informal science education, the type of education that occurs in museums, is a crucial component in achieving equity in learning opportunities between majority and minority audiences.
The purpose of FEST is to increase parental involvement in the science education of their children through multi-level science programming for children and their parents at the four science museums and in partnership with ten community-based organizations that serve low income families in economically distressed neighborhoods in Camden and Philadelphia.