NtN is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- Increase students’ knowledge and understanding of the natural world through a curriculum developed and administered by Rutgers University faculty and students.
- Enable students to apply their language arts and mathematics knowledge while answering questions and experimenting with natural/environmental science issues.
- Allow students to actively participate in the creation of a neighborhood urbanscape that includes organic gardens, ponds and water features, butterfly and caterpillar gardens, birdfeeding stations and more.
- Increase parental involvement in students’ academic life through family participation in projects focused on healthy eating/nutrition, water/air quality and neighborhood ecosystems.
- Transform unused vacant space into vegetable/butterfly gardens to serve as learning laboratories and community meeting spaces.
- Increase entrepreneurial opportunities for NtN parents and neighbors
NtN is built on the following principles:
- Introduce children grades 4 through 6 from at-risk groups to hands-on experience in science.
- Meet the community’s need for afterschool and summer programs that support public school education.
- Provide student access to educational resources at the college/university — especially faculty, staff and students who are willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for science and learning.
- Build neighborhood norms of trust and reciprocity, anchored around vibrant natural gardens and open spaces.