Wait, You Go to Schools?
“Wow!” “Cool.” “Awesome!”
A group of students gather around a model tidepool, exclaiming at the treasures they see inside. One reaches out to touch a hermit crab, and pulls their hand back when the crab quickly hides inside its shell. Other students gently touch a rock crab, clam, and scallop. They compare their observations, pointing out features and adaptations of the animals in front of them. An educator stands nearby, guiding students to make deeper connections to their local coastal fauna.
In another classroom in another school, students work together to design a system to keep sand on a model beach as waves erode away the sand. They debate different ideas, testing materials such as rocks, sand bags, and sponges to help keep their beach together. Their first test is a success. An educator issues them a challenge – now there is more water in their model, to mimic a higher tide, storm, or sea level rise.
On the floor of an early childhood center five towns away, toddlers squeal in delight as they get their first chance to touch a snail, a hermit crab, and a mussel. They stretch their bodies into the shape of a seastar, clap their hands together like a clam, and scuttle sideways like a crab. Their teachers help them touch the animals gently, and an educator shows them that these animals have bodies like their own.
On any given day, year-round, as many as 16 program educators are out visiting schools throughout New England, providing high-quality classes to students from toddler through high school and beyond. While the majority of our time is spent presenting our tidepool programs (available at all grade levels), we also offer classes on topics from whales to engineering to leading students into the field to experience the coast first-hand. (See our full program listing.)
Outreach programs support and supplement school curriculum by bringing immersive hands-on experiences to match what students are learning in class. While science connections are a clear fit, students also draw on these experiences for writing prompts, art projects, and research. Our goal is that our programs enhance students’ love of science, while connecting children to the natural world – growing the next generation of ocean stewards.