GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History has received a $397,298 federal grant to expand its “Marvelous Explorations through Science and Stories” program in Marion County Head Start classrooms.

The Administration for Children, Youth and Families grant will allow the museum to double the number of classrooms it reaches to 32 with the science-centered literacy curriculum initially developed by the museum in partnership with the Alachua County Public Schools and the Alachua County Library District. The program began in 2001 and has touched more than 5,000 children and their families and teachers.

“We are pleased that with this year’s grant we now have the opportunity to work with all of the Head Start classrooms in Marion County,” said Shari Ellis, co-principal investigator and project director.

This is the third year the museum has received an implementation award for the Marion program, allowing it to continue working with Childhood Development Services Inc. of Ocala, Marion County Public Library System, Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center and Marion County Public Schools.

The project seeks to integrate the Marvelous Explorations through Science and Stories curriculum into the Head Start program, further develop teacher training and mentoring, and expand programs to engage families in children’s learning.

Florida Museum Center for Informal Science Education Director Betty Dunckel is the principal investigator for the program. For more information, call (352) 273-2066.

Writer: Jessica Thurmond
Media Contact: Paul Ramey, 352-846-2000, ext. 218,