The Wonder Years: The Science of Early Development (WY), funded by the
National Science Foundation, is a collaboration among the Science Museum of
Minnesota (SMM) and University of Minnesota’s Extension Children Youth and
Family Consortium (CYFC), the Center for Early Education and Development
(CEED), and the Institute of Child Development (ICD). The WY project includes a variety of elements. Public forums bring together
community members and experts to discuss scientific findings and implications
for families and communities. Citizen dialogues convene a diverse mix of interested
citizens, state and local policymakers, and early childhood advocates to
discuss society’s role in supporting young children. CYFC’s qualitative research
study examines the usefulness of informal science education settings, like museum
exhibitions and citizen dialogues, in enhancing state legislators’ knowledge
and decision-making in early childhood policies. This is a completely new
way of thinking about how policymakers might learn and integrate information
about the science of early childhood into their decision-making, and how the
University can best facilitate the useful translation of research for policymakers.
CYFC has hosted WY field experiences for students. CYFC also recently
developed a virtual tour of the exhibition that gives viewers insight into what
they might learn when visiting the WY exhibition. In this poster presentation,
CYFC staff will engage conference attendees in learning more about this collaborative
and innovative project and how they might utilize it in their Extension
Langworthy, Sara; Benning, Sarah; Jordan, Catherine.
Wonder Years: The Science of Early Childhood Development.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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