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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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FINE Newsletter, Volume VI, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Expanding Opportunity: The Potential of Anywhere, Anytime Learning


Family Engagement in Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Family Engagement in Anywhere Anytime Learning Spanish pub cover

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Children learn anywhere, anytime. These learning experiences outside of K–12 schooling—whether online or offline or in early childhood centers, afterschool programs, summer camps, libraries or museums—give children the skills and experiences they need to develop to be successful in school and life. However, a growing body of research shows that there are increasing inequalities, driven by income, between children who have access to these out-of-school opportunities and those who do not. Now is the time to address these gaps. Research shows that children spend only 20 percent of their waking time annually in formal classroom education, leaving 80 percent of their time for exploring and enhancing their learning interests in nonschool settings.

In this Commentary, M. Elena Lopez and Margaret Caspe explore the important and yet understudied role of family engagement in anywhere, anytime learning. They investigate how families, schools, and communities can come together to help close out-of-school opportunity gaps. They also highlight how programs across the country are innovating and partnering with families to ensure that children and youth get the skills and experiences that they need to succeed, regardless of their economic background. Continue reading to learn about the three processes by which families, schools, and community institutions can achieve this vision of anywhere, anytime learning.


This resource is part of the June FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit

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