You are seeing this message because your web browser does not support basic web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing and what you can do to make your experience on this site better.

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.

Terms of Use ▼

Families play an important role as the primary bridge between the multiple learning settings where their children learn and grow. For this reason, there is an increasing need for expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), including afterschool and other out-of-school time programs, to engage families in more meaningful ways to better support children's learning and development.

In Families and Expanded Learning Opportunities: Working Together to Support Children’s Learning, the second brief in our series with the National Conference of State Legislatures, we explore the ways that families and ELOs must work as equal partners in order to ensure ELOs are contributing to children's learning in meaningful ways. These include:

  1. Understanding children's learning needs
  2. Ensuring that program goals and activities align with children's larger learning goals
  3. Facilitating communication with other settings where children learn to better coordinate learning supports (e.g., tutors, books, and other learning materials)
  4. Sharing key data and results regarding children's learning progress

This brief discusses these elements in more detail, supported by evidence from recent research.

What are expanded learning opportunities?
Expanded learning opportunities offer structured learning environments outside the traditional school day: before and after school; in summer; and through extended-day, -week, or -year programs. ELOs provide a range of enrichment and learning activities in various subjects including arts; civic engagement; and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). ELOs are part of a range of supports that can help youth succeed, along with positive influences from family, friends, school, and other enrichment activities.

This series by Harvard Family Research Project and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)—a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths, and territories—addresses topics in expanded learning opportunities (ELOs). This series aims to highlight research evidence on ELO best practices and effects on youth and to discuss the policy implications related to this research.

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