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Research Spotlight: Families and Digital Media in Young Children's Learning

These resources look at issues related to digital media and learning in early childhood and focus on such topics as children’s media use in the 21st century, family perspectives on children’s media use, and research-based guidance for practitioners and parents.

Harvard Family Research Project (February 19, 2014) Research Report

Bridging Worlds: Family Engagement in the Transition to Kindergarten

Five-year-old Maya is struggling as she makes the transition to kindergarten, and her mother, teachers, and others in the school work together to help identify the causes of her difficulties and to find solutions so that Maya can succeed.

Margaret Caspe (2014) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Preparing Educators to Engage Families: Case Studies Using an Ecological Systems Framework, Third Edition

Incorporating the use of HFRP research-based teaching cases and theoretical perspectives, this revised book looks at family engagement issues from the early years through pre-adolescence.

Heather B. Weiss, M. Elena Lopez, Holly Kreider, Celina Chatman-Nelson (October 31, 2013) Research Report

Data Sharing Resources for Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs and Systems

This resource highlights tools, publications, and reports that provide examples of promising practices for and guidance on data sharing for afterschool and expanded learning programs and systems.

Harvard Family Research Project (March 2013) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Partnerships for Learning: Community Support for Youth Success

In this paper, we draw on the experiences of national organizations and a set of community schools that have built learning partnerships, and examine seven key elements that we find to be essential in building them. Our paper serves as a guide to school districts and their partners as they consider whether and how to implement a partnerships for learning model. It also informs those who have already established these partnerships and wish to reflect on how to maximize partnership—and student—success.

Erin Harris , Shani Wilkes (January 2013) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Year-Round Learning: Continuity in Education Across Settings and Time Through Expanded Learning Opportunities

This brief provides examples of year-round learning programs along with recommendations for policymakers looking for ways to increase youth engagement in learning,

Erin Harris , Ashley Wallace (December 2012) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

We Were a "Hard-to-Reach" Family

Former Head Start parent, Nikia Parker, started out as a “hard-to-reach” parent but developed a strong, positive relationship with her family’s Early Head Start home visitor, which enabled her to not only effectively support her own children, but also take on advocacy and leadership roles within the larger Head Start community.

Nikia Parker (September 20, 2012) Research Report

Creating Conditions for Effective and Ongoing Family Engagement

In this Commentary, Harvard Family Research Project’s Senior Research Analyst, Heidi Rosenberg, looks at the ways in which schools, programs, and other community institutions can help facilitate continuous family engagement to help children succeed.

Heidi Rosenberg (September 20, 2012) Research Report

Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten

Because early social performance and academic achievement are predictors of later school success, ensuring that children get off to a good start in kindergarten is critical. This brief, by Harvard Family Research Project's Christine Patton and Justina Wang, examines important elements of high-quality kindergarten transition strategies and profiles promising practices from six states that take an integrated and collaborative approach to helping kindergartners enter school ready for success.

Christine Patton , Justina Wang (September 20, 2012) Research Report

Joining Forces: Families and Out-of-School Programs as Partners in Supporting Children’s Learning and Development

Harvard Family Research Project’s Senior Research Analysts Heidi Rosenberg, Erin Harris, and Shani Wilkes explore how the relationship between families and afterschool is shifting from a focus on increasing afterschool program participation toward a focus on parents’ supporting children’s learning and development in afterschool settings.

Heidi Rosenberg , Erin Harris, Shani Wilkes (June 28, 2012) Research Report

MAKESHOP: Family Engagement in Exploration, Creativity, and Innovation

Jane Werner and Lisa Brahms, from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, discuss the Museum’s innovative MAKESHOP studio space, which invites children and families to co-create projects and transforms the traditional museum visit experience.

Jane Werner , Lisa Brahms (June 28, 2012) Research Report

Raising Expectations for Out-of-School Time

Samantha Grant, a program evaluator at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development, and a parent, offers guidance to families looking to make good decisions about their children’s out-of-school time activities.

Samantha Grant (June 28, 2012) Research Report

Book Excerpt: Promising Practices for Family Engagement in Out-of-School Time

This new book on family involvement in out-of-school time (OST), edited by former HFRP staff members Holly Kreider and Helen Westmoreland, includes information on promising practices, benefits, and concerns related to family involvement in OST, and features a chapter written by former HFRP staff members Suzanne Bouffard, Kelley O’Carroll, Helen Westmoreland, and Priscilla Little.

Suzanne Bouffard , Helen Westmoreland, Kelley O'Carroll, and Priscilla Little (December 5, 2011) Research Report

Partnerships for Learning: Promising Practices in Integrating School and Out-of-School Time Program Supports

This new report from HFRP is aimed to help out-of-school time (OST) program leaders, decision-makers, and funders to understand and implement effective OSTschool partnerships for learning.

Harvard Family Research Project (March 2010) Research Report

Reframing Family Involvement in Education: Supporting Families to Support Educational Equity

This research review, part of the Equity Matters research initiative at the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, argues that family involvement in education is a powerful but neglected tool to support children’s learning and development.  Disadvantaged children are both more likely to benefit from increased family involvement and to come from families who face the greatest barriers to such involvement.  To reframe public understanding of the benefits of family involvement in children’s education, this paper lays out a research-based definition and more equitable approach to family involvement and positions it as a key cross-cutting component of broader comprehensive or complementary learning systems.

Heather B. Weiss , Suzanne M. Bouffard, Beatrice L. Bridglall, Edmund W. Gordon (December 2009) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Expanded Learning Opportunities — Pathways to Student Success

This paper highlights research on the promise of expanded learning approaches — including after-school, summer, extended day, and community networks—for education reform.

Priscilla M. Little (October 2009) Research Report

The Federal Role in Out-of-School Learning: After-School, Summer Learning, and Family Involvement as Critical Learning Supports (Voices in Urban Education, Summer 2009)

Our article in Voices for Urban Education makes a research-based case for the federal provision of out-of-school complementary learning supports.

Heather B. Weiss , Priscilla M.D. Little, Suzanne M. Bouffard, Sarah N. Deschenes, Helen Janc Malone (Summer 2009) Research Report

Complementary Learning Connections With Out-of-School Time Programs in Nebraska

When families, schools, and out-of-school supports work together, children are more likely to succeed. Lisa St. Clair writes about how the Nebraska State Parental Information and Resource Center is using a complementary learning approach to link family support programs with schools, early childhood programs, and out-of-school time programs.

Lisa St. Clair (August 2009) Research Report

Family Involvement Across Learning Settings

Families play important roles in supporting children’s learning not just in school but also in the many out-of-school contexts in which they learn. Harvard Family Research Project’s Helen Westmoreland talks about how families and nonschool learning settings, such as out-of-school time programs, museums, and libraries, can work together to promote student achievement.

Helen Westmoreland (August 2009) Research Report

A Day in the Life: Family Engagement in Citizen Schools

Emily Schneider-Krzys, the Deputy Program Director of Citizen Schools in Texas, explains how the Citizen Schools program’s focus on creating networks, building intentional relationships, and establishing consistent communication helps to engage families and support student learning.

Emily Schneider-Krzys (August 2009) Research Report

Featured Teaching Case: After School for Cindy

Harvard Family Research Project’s Teaching Cases support teacher training and professional development by highlighting challenges that schools, families, and communities may encounter in supporting children’s learning. In this month’s FINE newsletter, we feature After School for Cindy, which explores the roles that family members, school staff, and community organizations play in one child’s out-of-school time and demonstrates the importance of family engagement across learning contexts.

Harvard Family Research Project (August 2009) Research Report

From Periphery to Center: A New Vision for Family, School, and Community Partnerships

Written by Harvard Family Research Project's Heather Weiss and Naomi Stephen, this chapter presents a comprehensive, integrated family, school, and community partnership framework that can help level the playing field for disadvantaged children and ensure that they have access to the parental involvement and community engagement practices of their more advantaged peers in order to enhance their learning.

Heather B. Weiss , Naomi Stephen (May 2009) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Strengthen What Happens Outside School to Improve What Happens Inside

This article by Harvard Family Research Project in the April 2009 issue of  Phi Delta Kappan offers research-based recommendations for federal education legislation.

Heather Weiss , Priscilla Little, Suzanne M. Bouffard, Sarah N. Deschenes, Helen Janc Malone (April 2009) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

The Federal Role in Out-of-School Learning: After-School, Summer Learning, and Family Involvement as Critical Learning Supports

Four decades of research demonstrate that it is necessary to redefine learning—both where and when it takes place—if the country is to achieve the goal of educating all of its children. This report from Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) makes a research-based case for federal provision of out-of-school complementary learning supports, so that all students gain the skills necessary for success in the 21st century.

Heather B. Weiss , Priscilla M. D. Little, Suzanne M. Bouffard, Sarah N. Deschenes, Helen Janc Malone (February 2009) Research Report

Supporting Student Outcomes Through Expanded Learning Opportunities

This paper looks at the role of after school and summer learning programs in supporting student success. The paper explores how to bridge the divide between out-of-school time programs and schools by offering research-derived principles for effective expanded learning partnerships. It was commissioned by Learning Point Associates and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS) as part of a report on school reform and expanded learning.

Priscilla M. Little (February 11, 2009) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project