Fifth Dimension Program

Established in the 1980s, the Fifth Dimension program began as a partnership between community centers and local colleges to establish an educational after-school program. Today, it has grown to a network of (mostly) after-school programs that connects community children with undergraduates from local colleges and universities in a mixed activity system that combines education, play, peer interaction, and work.

A 1997 report on the 5th Dimension. Produced by UCSD TV.

The 5th Dimension has four overarching goals:

  1. To deepen our understanding of how the social and individual create each other in culturally organized social practices.
  2. To provide activities within which children and undergraduates are provided rich opportunities to acquire knowledge and a wide range of skills we believe important to their lives;
  3. To provide settings in which undergraduates from a range of disciplines including communication, human development, teacher education, biology, physics, and the arts, have opportunities to connect theory with practice and connect with the everyday lives of children from struggling communities.
  4. To understand the combination of social processes that constitute sustainability of successful social innovations; and the even more likely cases in which good intentions founder on the hard rock of reality.


Mike giving a seminar via Skype to a graduate seminar in Learning Sciences at Indiana University.

Extensions to the Fifth Dimension

Additional Resources

Spencer Reports

Read more in Chapter 7 and Chapter 11
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