STEM Next Opportunity Fund’s lead researchers, Linda Kekelis and Kara Sammet, muse on some of the ah-ha moments and key take-aways from The Family Engagement Project.
Imagine if family engagement was deeply tapped into during Hour of Code™ and Computer Science Education Week. Family Code Night was developed by Executive Director, John Pearce, to include parents in sustaining children’s learning and passion for computer science. Pearce shares, “To truly overcome the digital divide we must do so in the K-5 years and in this effort we must engage the most powerful influence of K-5 children’s self-belief: parents and family.”
Public libraries have a unique opportunity to expand the reach of STEM. “Public libraries provide a ‘third space’ beyond the formal classroom and home that can unite schools and communities around STEM education and complete the community’s STEM learning ecosystem.”1 What’s more, public libraries are accessible and trusted spaces in the community; these elements help to increase access for youth and parents who are underserved and underrepresented in STEM. In celebration of National Library Week April 8-14, we showcase one library that expanded its mission with a new program to support families and help close the opportunity gap in STEM.
Can we reimagine family engagement? If we did, how might more families benefit and how might impact be longer-lasting? How can we make it more possible for parents to engage where and when they can? Here we detail three ideas from organizations that don’t ask families to come to programs, but instead support family engagement at home.