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Leap into Science: Cultivating a National Network for Informal Science and Literacy

The Leap into Science Project is helping to change who has access to learning over their lifetime by examining best practices for engaging underserved children and families from urban and rural areas in science and literacy. Leap into Science is a national scale-up project to create and study a sustainable national model for engaging urban and rural communities in science and literacy through state and regional partnerships between informal learning institutions, such as museums, libraries, and out-of-school time organizations. The program originated in 2007 through a museum-library partnership in Philadelphia designed to engage urban children and families in science and literacy learning by integrating children’s books with hands-on science activities. Since 2011, Leap into Science has expanded to a total of 12 cities in partnership with 29 informal learning institutions and has collectively reached over 85,000 children and adults representing diverse populations across the United States. In the current scale-up effort, the Institute for Learning Innovation is partnering with the project team to study how families with young children develop science-related interest pathways through participation in the Leap program. The study will deepen the field’s understanding of science interest development during the formative preschool and early elementary years and explore how these interests connect to other science learning resources in both rural and urban communities.

Leap into Science is funded by the National Science Foundation as is a collaboration between The Franklin Institute, the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the Institute for Learning Innovation. For more information about Leap into Science, see the project website: https://www.fi.edu/leap.