Aquarium Opens Programs To Home School Groups

October 28, 2008

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has opened all of its education programs to include home school groups this year. Sean Nolan, Aquarium Academic Programs Coordinator, announced the change in response to increasing numbers of home schooled students in the Pacific Northwest. “Home school parents often don’t have access to the same kinds of educational resources that public schools have,” said Nolan. “This is one way we can close the gap by offering the Aquarium’s marine science programs to the increasing numbers of home schooled students and their families.”

Home school groups are made up of several home school families that get together to take advantage of specialized educational programs. Typically, a group consists of 10 to 70 students for an Aquarium on site program. Nolan said the home school groups will receive the same discounts as public school groups and are required to meet the same criteria as public school groups including student-to-chaperone ratios and advance scheduling.

“The Aquarium is committed to providing the highest quality educational experiences to students of all ages and is excited to open its doors to this important group of students, which is increasing in numbers,” said Nolan. “We can reach more students with quality programs that cover topics from food chains to shark biology, conservation and ocean science.” Nolan said the programs also offer self guided materials for all school groups. These materials offer a more structured educational experience while they visit the Aquarium.

All of the Aquarium’s educational programs and materials have been designed to address Oregon's Common Curriculum Goals and specific Benchmark Standards, offering over 25 different theater and laboratory programs, self-guided tours with pre and post visit materials, Home School Days and statewide outreach. Nolan said all Aquarium exhibits and programs focus on coastal habitats, from the forests of the Coast Range, through rivers and estuaries, to the shoreline and the open sea. “It is a complex story that we tell—what makes the coastal ecosystem special, how the habitats work together and what can affect them,” said Nolan.

Last year 18,189 students participated in on site education programs and 28,777 students from 103 schools in Oregon benefitted from Aquarium outreach programs. Over ten million visitors have taken in on site educational exhibits and programs since the Aquarium opened in May of 1992. Those visitors came from Newport, from all over Oregon, all over the nation and many other countries. Through programs and exhibits, the Aquarium creates high-quality, innovative, enjoyable educational opportunities, using diverse approaches.