Partnering with Nature to Teach Kids Science!
To Inspire Enthusiasm for Science
and a Love of Learning
YSI’s vision is ambitious: to reach every child in Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley with hands-on science education, and to reach them multiple times each year.
One key strategy of our vision is to continue to increase the number of Title One schools and financially and academically at-risk students we serve.
Youth Science Institute, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, is a Silicon Valley leader in nature-based science education, Since our founding in 1953 in Alum Rock Park, more than 1.5 million children have experienced the wonder and excitement of a YSI program.
YSI teaches physical, earth, life and social sciences to pre-school through 8th-grade students throughout Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley. 90% of the 30,000 children we serve each year come to us with their classroom teacher from September-June.
YSI school programs, after-school programs, and summer science camps address the science education crisis and fill the gap in classroom science education to inspire enthusiasm for science and love of learning, while forging connections with nature that foster personal health and earth stewardship.
YSI’s hands-on, small-group programs develop the critical thinking skills that are necessary for a child’s academic success, which ultimately impacts his or her opportunity for economic success.
YSI’s programs take place at its three Science and Nature Centers in Vasona Park in Los Gatos, Sanborn Park in Saratoga, Alum Rock Park in east San Jose, and in schools, and at community events. Centers feature live mammals, birds, insects, amphibians and reptiles in some combination, and educate about the ecosystem of each YSI park location. YSI maintains a native plant trail at Vasona Park, an organic garden at Sanborn Park, and a raptor aviary at Alum Rock Park.
The aviary is home to injury-recovered but non-releasable birds of prey who become our teaching ambassadors. YSI is committed to the life-long care of all of its animals.
When it comes to science education in Silicon Valley, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”:
In 2009, 40% of 5th graders in Santa Clara County fell “below proficient” in STAR testing for science; thus, failing science
16% of Bay Area elementary school teachers say they teach NO science in the classroom
Nationwide, students spend an average of only 16 minutes per week on science
Children studying hands-on science score higher in math, reading and writing proficiency than their peers who do not receive hands-on science instruction
Lifelong Learners are Born When Curiosity is Sparked!
YSI reaches 30,000 students annually
33% of students in YSI programs are at-risk students from Title 1 schools, and 28% are English Language Learners
YSI subsidizes the cost of every YSI School and Group Program. YSI raises funds to partially or fully underwrite the cost of all classroom science programs, which particularly allows us to increase the number of Title One children we reach and inspire.
YSI raises Camp Scholarship Funds for financially and academically at-risk students. An average of 40 camperships are provided each year.
YSI reaches 10% of Santa Clara County students – almost enough to fill “The Shark Tank” (HP Pavilion) twice!