As co-learners with their children, parents are critical to the success of the program. Parents attend two orientation sessions to better understand their four year commitment to participate in the program, and two community fairs each year of the project featuring engineering activities and information on engineering careers. Parent training is designed to upgrade their science and technology awareness with their children. Parents utilize digital technology to document their experiences and share them with students’ classrooms and with their families and communities. In addition, the family support team, made up of professionals from the fields of psychology, counseling, and social work, provide parent training and support.
The teacher training component prepares instructors to deliver quality program instruction. Teachers and administrators with experience in the DAPCEP program designed and implemented teacher training in Chicago. Teachers participated in 90 hours of professional development during two summer sessions and two school years. They were trained on the program and activity-based focus, and on the specific activities for the fall and spring Saturday program. They also helped to revise the curriculum.
ChiS&E teachers must be both certified and highly qualified, with a record of good attendance. Teachers must be creative, flexible, dedicated, highly motivated and able to demonstrate knowledge and application of best practices in teaching science to both young children and adults. The first group of teachers successfully completed the first fall Saturday program during the month of October 2009 at the Museum of Science & Industry.