School Enrichment Program launches September 8

To help support families embarking on virtual learning this school year, DMNH has launched a School Enrichment Program to provide a safe place for students to complete their remote learning requirements while also providing space for learners to socialize safely and foster the spirit of being in a learning environment filled with curiosity and wonder as they are missing that valuable aspect of being in a school.

The program is currently scheduled for six weeks, and could be extended depending on whether school buildings reopen or remain virtual. During this time, the Museum is closed to visitors on weekdays. After Labor Day, our building is closed to the public on weekdays, making it a large location with a significantly reduced exposure risk.

Why DMNH is offering this program:

“Our goal in creating this program was not just to support children and their families, but also to support the incredible work being done by schools and their teachers to create a safe learning environment this year,” said Megan Stern, the museum’s scout & camp coordinator. “We recognize the logistics of remote learning is not easy for families for many reasons, and we are in a unique position to help provide a safe alternative.”

Additionally, Stern said, the museum hopes the program helps support schools and teachers. “We support the difficult choices schools have made to ease into the year with virtual and hybrid models for learning,” she said. Stern’s background includes time as an elementary and middle school science teacher and an educator at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. While the School Enrichment Program does not include instruction, she has a strong understanding of supporting children in learning environments.

Questions? Contact education@delmnh.org.

School Enrichment Program

Monday-Friday, beginning September 8.
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Before and after care available from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5 p.m.
Grades 3 and up. Maximum 14 students.

This program provides students a place to complete their virtual coursework and other independent learning requirements. Our staff is present, helping learners stay engaged in their virtual courses. After requirements for school are fulfilled, DMNH staff offers programming to inspire curiosity and questioning in a fun, hands-on environment.

DMNH Members: $40 per day, $180 per week
Non-members: $45 per day, $205 per week

Register by the week
Register by the day

Safety and engagement are priorities

During the summer, the museum hosted several camps that included safety protocols recommended by the CDC, the State of Delaware, and the American Camp Association. That experience, along with the school day off programs the museum has offered for years, helped Stern create the new program.

“Our priority is safety, and right behind that is to provide an engaging and supportive environment to help children start this year in a positive and productive way,” she said. “We have staff with a variety of backgrounds who can provide a wide range of experiences for our participants exposing them to new and fun potential interests – some rooted in science and nature, and some completely unrelated.

The program also offers downtime opportunities for participants for exploration of the world around them through the museum’s resources. “This opportunity for spontaneous learning and self-exploration are valuable aspects of a classroom that teachers create for their students every day, but are also the hardest to provide virtually,” Stern said. “We are so fortunate that we can support that work by providing physical spaces for this type of growth to happen.”

 What we provide:

  • A relatively quiet, independent work space for students to complete their coursework
  • Staff to help keep them engaged, on-task, and troubleshoot technical issues
  • A safe social experience when not working on school work
  • Fun, hands-on, science based activities when not working on school work
  • Before and after care for an additional cost

What we do not provide:

  • Virtual learning tools such as computers, headphones, tablets, charging cords, etc.
  • Tutoring – our staff is available to support your learner but we are not providing a tutoring service or classroom content-specific learning activities
  • Comprehension assessment – our staff is available to support your learner but we are not responsible for ensuring comprehension or providing reports on their progress
  • Meals – Participants will need to bring any snacks and lunch they will need throughout the day.

Two primary areas are designated for students:

In the School Zone, museum staff is available to help keep students on their schedules and encourage communication between participants and their teachers. We help them manage their workplan for the day and build in productive downtime to maintain the stamina and motivation required for remote learning.

The Exploration Zone where staff have created both independent and guided experiences to inspire our learners’ curiosity and creativity when it comes to exploring the world around them. These activities cover a wide range of experiences and interests from science experiments to crafts. Examples include learning about native and non-native plants and how to make paper replicas, drawing or painting tutorials, and animal groups and helping care for the live animals who call DMNH home. Our staff is prepared to support the curiosity of our participants by helping find resources or guide their exploration through hands-on experiences with topics our participants bring to the table.