About 12 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, young students examine insect larva among the remains of a decomposing log, wade through a creek as they search for salamanders, and test water percolation in forest soils. At The Outdoor Classroom, situated in a 475-acre park, students participate in outdoor field trips where they gain opportunities to connect with the natural world—a new experience for many of these preschoolers and third- to seventh-grade students. The field-trip curricula, such as introductions to ecosystems or examinations of relationships in natural communities, are designed to reinforce the national curricula modules followed by many school districts. In addition to field-trip opportunities, The Outdoor Classroom also sponsors summer day camps and community education programs about topics that reinforce the connection between people and southwestern Pennsylvania's environment, such as backyard gardening.
CSCF’s Learn2Swim Program allows children and their families to wade into a heated pool in medically supervised swimming lessons that keep them active and provide a relaxed social outlet. CSCF ensures that the water stays a warm 84 degrees Fahrenheit during lessons with certified swim instructors, under the supervision of medical professionals. Warm towels, snacks, and drinking water await on dry land. Many families cannot afford swimsuits for their children to participate in the program, so CSCF hopes to provide free suits to remove this barrier to their children's participation.
ASSET draws science class out of textbooks and places it squarely into student hands in the form of educational experiments and a curriculum designed to motivate student interest in the subject. In addition to promoting a deeper interest, hands-on scientific learning employs critical-thinking skills that can foster lifelong learning. ASSET currently works with 150,000 students in 140 Pennsylvania school districts to increase their exposure to science education. However, ASSET is still in need of donations to fund a kit of mentally stimulating science materials for a class of 30 elementary and middle school students in the Pennsylvania school system. Kits contain enough science materials for children to conduct between 9 and 12 weeks of scientific experiments and investigations.
Dr. Dennis Hurwitz and the team of skinsmiths at Hurwitz Center for Rejuvenation rewind face clocks to an earlier time with a dizzying array of skin-revitalizing treatments. During the doctor-supervised microdermabrasion treatment, a steady-handed aesthetician removes the outermost layer of skin, revealing a face that's as brilliant as a glow-in-the-dark copy of The Republic. The exfoliating technology can stimulate collagen production, fade fine lines and scars, even out skin tone, and give faces enough confidence to play hide-and-seek with the Invisible Man. Meanwhile, 20 units of Botox injected into the facial muscles behind crow's-feet or frown lines can calm nerve impulses, relaxing wrinkles and leaving faces smooth and sleek.
The informational packets explain how using specific symbols, sounds, and gestures can help youngsters to experience the world and build language and literacy skills from birth. Print resource guides explain early language development using images and English text with online access to Spanish translation, and an instructional DVD offers an introduction to sign language. Print and video practice guides also come with the pack to illustrate reading and drawing techniques. The PEAL Center requires additional funding to meet its goal of distributing 1,000 language-and-literacy resource packets to families across the state, focusing on low-literacy and underserved regions.