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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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Dear FINE Members,

In this issue of the FINE Newsletter, we highlight new developments in early childhood education (ECE). We explore what current research and practice are telling us about the importance of involving families early on, and we look at how organizations such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Head Start are reshaping the way ECE programs across the country are thinking about the role of families.

This issue’s Commentary explores how these new developments reflect a national “coming together” around the importance of early childhood experiences and their role in later school success. Voices from the Field features contributions from three authors who represent perspectives from the areas of ECE policy, practice, and research. From the policy standpoint, Jacqueline Jones from the U.S. Department of Education discusses the recent Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grant program. In the practice area, Kiersten Beigel from the Office of Head Start shares how programs are using research-based tools to engage parents and families. And, from the research perspective, Anne Duggan from Johns Hopkins University discusses the importance of organization- and individual-level factors (such as home visitor–family relationships) in the delivery of effective home visiting services.

As part of our ongoing commitment to highlighting leaders in the family engagement field, we feature an Emerging Leader profile of Ken Smythe-Leistico, from the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development, who discusses Ready Freddy, a transition program for incoming kindergartners that brings together children, families, teachers, and community members.

We also highlight related HFRP Resources & Research including an ECE resource guide for Early Learning Challenge grant recipients, a collection of teaching cases focused on early learning, and a review of a new book on community organizing. And we feature a new research digest from Susan Landry about her work with colleagues at the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas on a study about a responsive parenting intervention.

As always, we invite your feedback on the topics we explore in this FINE Newsletter and encourage you to pass on this issue to interested friends and colleagues. We've made it even easier to share FINE content with your social networks: Find the "share" button on the left of every page and send interesting articles via email or through other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. And join the conversation about this issue on our Facebook page.

Harvard Family Research Project Commentary

New Offices, New Programs, New Interventions: A Look at Developments in Early Childhood Education

Christine Patton
In this Commentary, HFRP’s Christine Patton explores how new developments in early learning research, policy, and practice reflect a national “coming together” around the importance of early childhood experiences and their role in later school success.

Voices From the Field

Now is the Time: Helping States Prepare Students for Success from the Very Start

Jacqueline Jones
Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor on Early Learning to the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, highlights the Department’s new Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge competitive grant program and the decision to make family engagement an integral part of the grant criteria.

Giving Children and Families a Head Start: Research-based Tools for Parent and Family Engagement in Early Childhood

Kiersten Beigel Kiersten Beigel, Family and Community Partnerships Specialist for the Office of Head Start, discusses the recent work by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement and the Center’s research-based tools designed to help Head Start and other early childhood programs reach out to parents and families.

Service is Everything: How Home Visiting Service Delivery Impacts Family Outcomes

Anne Duggan Anne Duggan is Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Duggan reflects on what she has learned from nearly 20 years of evaluative research on home visiting—particularly looking at what factors influence service delivery and family outcomes—and how that research can be applied to practice.

Emerging Leaders

A New Approach to Transitions: Welcoming Families and Their Ideas into Kindergarten Classrooms

Ken Smythe-Leistico
Ken Smythe-Leistico is the director of Ready Freddy: Pathways to Kindergarten Success at the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development. In this profile, Ken discusses the Ready Freddy program, which was created in collaboration with Pittsburgh Public Schools, families, and community partners to increase the likelihood that children will have a successful kindergarten year.

Resources & Research From Harvard Family Research Project

The Effects of a Responsive Parenting Intervention on Parent–Child Interactions during Shared Book Reading

Susan Landry

This latest installment in our Family Involvement Research Digests series features Susan Landry discussing a recent study—conducted by Landry and her colleagues at the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas—about a mother–child intervention aimed at improving the use of responsive parenting techniques.

Teaching Cases on Family Engagement: Early Learning (Ages 0–8)

HFRP's teaching cases involve real world situations and consider the perspectives of various stakeholders, including early childhood program and elementary school staff, parents, children, and community members. This handout provides a detailed list of our teaching cases on family involvement, focusing on the earlier years of a child's learning and development.

Family Engagement in Early Childhood: A Resource Guide for Early Learning Challenge Grant Recipients

Family Engagement in Early Childhood: A Resource Guide for Early Learning Challenge Recipients

To support Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grant recipients, HFRP produced this selective list of resources about engaging and supporting families with young children. This list of journal articles, practical guides, webinars, and presentations may also be helpful for any other states, districts, and local programs interested in expanding their family engagement work.

Book Review

A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform

A Match on Dry Grass Justina Wang, a graduate research assistant at HFRP, reviews a new book by Mark R. Warren and Karen L. Mapp that offers a glimpse at six communities across the U.S. where families, youth, and local organizers have reshaped the educational landscape in their districts.


Family Involvement News

March 2012 News

Father and daughter reading together We are committed to keeping you up to date on what's new in family engagement. View our list of links to current reports, articles, resources, and events in the field.

Contact Us

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The FINE Team at Harvard Family Research Project

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