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ERIC Number: EJ762945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0009-4056
School in the Park: Bridging Formal and Informal Learning Environments
Mathison, Carla; Wachowiak, Susan; Feldman, Linda
Childhood Education, v83 n4 p206 Sum 2007
In San Diego, California, 800 public school students from the inner city are attending a program called School in the Park (SITP), for approximately one-fourth of their 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade education. This unique program blends rigorous academic standards (formal learning) with hands-on, experiential curricula (informal learning), using community resources at 10 institutions within San Diego's famous Balboa Park. From 6 to 9 weeks a year, these students study at the park's museums (and the San Diego Zoo) with museum educators. This dynamic teaching/learning context fosters students' active engagement in authentic, multi-sensory, purposeful exploration and study, and is carefully articulated with state education standards. Since the inception of School in the Park seven years ago, SITP students' standardized test scores have consistently risen. This article explains the guiding learning principles that drive its success. These are: (1) where there is meaning, there is learning; (2) there is no learning without emotion; (3) movement facilitates learning; and (4) making multiple connections between new information and prior knowledge enhances memory. Two SITP activities, The Scientific Method and the Principles of Aerodynamics (Grade 5) and Properties of Sound (Grade 3), are also presented.
Association for Childhood Education International. 17904 Georgia Avenue Suite 215, Olney, MD 20832. Tel: 800-423-3563; Tel: 301-570-2111; Fax: 301-570-2212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California