The Nurture thru Nature (NtN) program introduces elementary school students to the wonders of nature and natural science. NtN is a partnership between Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson Worldwide, New Brunswick Public Schools and the New Brunswick Education Foundation (NBEF).
The NtN program opened its doors to rising 4th graders from the Paul Robeson Community School on July 6, 2010. The program uses a randomized experimental design and selected 20 third graders randomly to participate in NtN, with the rest of the rising 4th graders from the school serving as a control group. Nurture thru Nature is offered as a summer program on three days a week during July and August and continues as an after-school program in fall and spring during the regular school year. Since 2010, the Nurture thru Nature program has expanded to other schools. There are 18 students from Woodrow Wilson School, 18 students from McKinley School, 15 students from Redshaw School, 15 students from Roosevelt School, 16 students from Paul Robeson School, 15 students from Lord Stirling School, and 15 students from Livingston School who participate in the NtN program.
The program design for Nurture thru Nature calls for a rigorous evaluation of program impact on student test scores and knowledge of science/nature. Systematic data collection for the evaluation has begun and will continue over the program’s three year period to track the progress of this group of NtN participants. Nurture thru Nature’s original site is located at the corner of Pine Street and Jones Avenue in New Brunswick. The program site consists of an outdoor learning area that features a butterfly garden, an organic vegetable garden, a pond and a fountain. Indoor learning takes place in the J.B. Smith classroom that is located right behind the outdoor area. Since its start the program has designed and built learning gardens at Lord Stirling school, the New Brunswick Middle school, Woodrow Wilson school and McKinley school.