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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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Web Conference: How Families, Schools, and Communities Are Reshaping Family Engagement to Reach All Learners

In our expanded definition of family engagement, we at Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) acknowledge that children and youth learn anywhere, anytime, not just in classrooms during school hours.  So, how can families, schools, and community organizations—like afterschool programs, museums, and libraries, to name just a few—join together to share responsibility for children’s learning throughout days and over years?  What are the three key principles of the expanded definition of family engagement in the context of anywhere, anytime learning?  How does one successful program put these principles into action?  

Presenters Margaret Caspe, HFRP senior consultant; Betsy Nikolchev, executive director, Family Engagement Institute (FEI); Carmen Ponce, director, FEI’s Stretch to Kindergarten and Early Learning Programs; and moderator Christine Patton, HFRP senior research analyst, join a diverse group of educators to discuss these important issues during the 60-minute September 23, 2014, web conference, How Families, Schools, and Communities Are Reshaping Family Engagement to Reach All Learners. This event is part of our year-long strand of work exploring the idea of family engagement in anywhere, anytime learning. 

Tips from the web conference include:

Three principles of the expanded definition of family engagement

  • Family engagement is a shared responsibility among families, schools, and communities to support children’s learning.
  • Family engagement takes place anywhere children learn.
  • Family engagement is continuous from birth through adulthood.

How programs can put these principles into action*

  • Create a community in which all generations are learning from one another—children, families, and professionals alike.
  • Conduct ongoing, open communication between teachers and families; meet families where they are and be as flexible and responsive as possible.
  • Engage families in contributing ideas for curriculum enhancement.
  • Offer families weekly information on local library offerings and activities that they can do at home with their child.
  • Acknowledge many forms of family leadership, including families sharing their stories, knowledge, and occupational skills with children in a classroom setting.

You can access the recording of the web conference at any time. And, to stay informed of future HFRP Interact events, sign up for our mailing list.

*These tips were provided by Betsy Nikolchev and Carmen Ponce of Family Engagement Institute’s (FEI) Stretch to Kindergarten and Early Learning Programs.

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