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Santa Cruz County Part of National Partnership for Afterschool Science Program

The Issue

Research in formal education indicates that occasional or one-shot training has little impact on the way teachers present science material to their students. With this in mind, the Santa Cruz County 4-H youth development program is engaged in a three-year research project with after-school providers in Santa Cruz and Soquel to measure how participation in on-going science training impacts the ability of after-school providers to successfully deliver science in after-school settings.

What Has ANR Done?

Each month, after-school providers from the Campus Kids Connection INC. spend three hours in training with UCCE Santa Cruz County 4-H staff learning how to facilitate open-ended and guided explorations of science and engineering topics. The trainings give after-school providers an opportunity to gain experience being “learners,” as they actively engage in chemistry, physics and electricity lessons, as well as get instruction about hands-on learning, lesson plan development and questioning strategies.

The Payoff

Afterschool Providers Improving Science Impacts with Children

During the initial five months of the project, providers participated in 15 hours of training and they delivered 115 hours of hands-on science education to 240 kindergarten through fifth-grade youth at 7 after-school sites. In assessing provider confidence in teaching and explaining science content to students, 18 providers were asked to rank their confidence levels before and after the trainings. Sixty-four percent indicated an increase in confidence from either “only a little confident” or “somewhat confident” to “very confident” or “extremely confident.” When providers were asked to rank their confidence levels in the area of facilitating longer-term science projects with students, 92 percent of the providers indicated an increase from either “only a little confident” or “somewhat confident” to “very confident” or “extremely confident.” Ninety-four percent of providers ranked student enjoyment in the “some” to “a great deal” range. Eighty-three precent reported doing "more" hands-on science activities with students as a result of this project.

Clientele Testimonial

•“I’m glad our organization is involved with this project. It is rewarding to watch the children get excited about science.”
•“I think the program is fabulous! I am very excited that we are involved in this program because I am a science major. Nowadays it is very important to implement science early on.”
•“This project is a wonderful opportunity to train our staff in science and to have science centers at all of our after-school sites.”


Supporting Unit: Santa Cruz County

Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, 4-H Youth Development Advisor, UCCE Santa Cruz County, 1432 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, CA 95076, (831) 763-8040