Since 1984, the Community Educational Engagement Program has been a link between the Exploratorium and community-based organizations that work with underserved children, teens, and their families.
The program offers Exploratorium exhibit-based educational activities via ongoing partnerships with these organizations. Community Educational Engagement staff go out to neighborhood programs on a regular basis, as well as inviting participants to the Exploratorium for special field trips and, in some cases, extended study. We also provide a variety of resources to some of these organizations, including free educational materials, professional in-service workshops for staff, and access to other Exploratorium resources.
The Community Educational Engagement Program currently works with San Francisco and Oakland organizations including the following:
- AIM High
- First Graduate
- San Francisco Unified School District
- Children's Hospital Oakland
- UCSF Hospital's Child Life Services
- Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
Members of SHPE generously volunteer with us from time to time, assisting us with Family Science Nights and translating for Spanish-speaking families.
Regular staff are assisted by on-call staff, members of which are either currently working in or recently "graduated" from the Exploratorium's High School Explainer Program. These young, ethnically and culturally diverse team members serve not only as educators, but also as role models for children. They are an integral part of the program's success.
Our workshops and activities are always hands-on. Children learn to manipulate materials, use hand tools, and sometimes even operate simple machinery. They engage in a wide variety of projects, from constructing zoetropes, spectroscopes, and kaleidoscopes to wiring circuits or creating armloads of musical instruments to take home with them.
All program services are provided free of charge.