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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Afterschool programs are an indispensable form of support for many families. In addition to ensuring that children and youth are in a safe and supervised environment while school is out, afterschool programs provide academic enrichment opportunities, offer students a space to socialize with peers, and link students to supportive mentors. As society expects children and youth today to explore content-area topics in-depth and to develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, afterschool programs are increasingly important resources to round out the learning experiences of children and youth.

Harvard Family Research Project dedicates the summer 2015 issue of the FINE Newsletter to exploring how, and in what ways, afterschool programs can effectively engage students. We focus on the research supporting positive engagement and on promising practices from providers in the field who do it well. 


Leave Them Wanting More!: Engaging Youth in Afterschool Publication Cover 

Leave Them Wanting More!: Engaging Youth in Afterschool
Afterschool programs are a powerful influence in the lives of young people, but their benefits can only be realized if youth are engaged. This commentary explores the different dimensions of youth engagement in afterschool programs and offers promising practices for those seeking to promote and foster youth engagement.

Voices From the Field

Photo of the foosball table at Everett Boys & Girls Club

“This Is Their House, Too”: An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers
Engagement in afterschool programming is one way to keep middle and high school youth engaged in their education. Learn about how the Everett Boys & Girls Club located just outside of Boston, uses intentional informality to keep students coming back and wanting more.
Graphic stating Q & A With S. Craig Watkins: Family Engagement in Connected Learning Q & A With S. Craig Watkins: Family Engagement in Connected Learning
In this Q&A, S. Craig Watkins discusses the family’s role in the connected learning model, and how students can link what they learn in schools, afterschool programs, and their communities using digital technology.
photo of Ellen Lettvin Federal Collaborations: Bringing Authentic STEM Experiences to High-need Communities through the Nation’s Largest Out-of-School Program
Ellen Lettvin from the U.S. Department of Education highlights how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is collaborating with various federal agencies to bring STEM into out-of-school time learning.

SNAPSHOTS! Anywhere, Anytime Learning

MAKESHOP at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Make Your Own Maker Space
Looking to create an engaging maker space for children and family groups? MAKESHOP, at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, offers some helpful tips to bring your maker space to life.
Picutre of a boy on an iPad at an architecture station of a mobile classroom Full STEAM Ahead: A Mobile Classroom for Students and Families to Explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math
Providing children with access to high-quality STEM experiences is challenging—sharing those experiences with parents can be even more difficult! Check out how one Texas school district is bringing family engagement to a whole new level with a STEM career-focused mobile curriculum!

HFRP Research & Resources

Graphic for STEM Resource Guide Explore More: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Resources
Children can develop 21st-century skills, even outside of the classroom. This resource guide offers hands-on, maker-inspired activities, along with advice from museums, libraries, and afterschool programs, for educators and families to use when exploring STEM topics with children.

HFRP Interact

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Web Chat: Engaging Families and Youth in Afterschool and Summer Learning
Join us on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, from 1‒2 PM (EDT), when we talk with some of the authors from this issue of the FINE Newsletter about ways to promote youth and family engagement in afterschool spaces.

Family Involvement News

Family Involvement News: Summer 2015
Discover who is thinking about families in the reauthorization of ESEA, how home visits support engaged families, and why collaboration among schools, communities, and families is important for student success.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project