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The Power of Families and Community

Over the years, many Connected Science Learning authors have shared program designs and research related to the role parents, caregivers, and other significant adults play in developing the STEM-related dispositions, interests, aspirations, and knowledge of young people. This issue features some of the latest thinking on that evergreen topic. Once you’ve explored these new articles, I encourage you to add some “oldies but goodies” from our online archives to your reading list.

For example:

  • Creating Pathways for Equity in STEM Through Family Engagement shares research findings on the important roles that parents play in developing children’s STEM identity when they expose them to STEM and STEM role models, affirm their STEM interest, provide access to STEM-related learning experiences, and connect them with STEM-related resources.
  • Trust the Process reminds us that learning is a cultural experience that incorporates multiple ways of knowing and grows out of the lives of learners. It also stresses the importance of the everyday family activity of play to learning, and how a playful approach encourages us to think differently about what engagement in STEM looks like.
  • Head Start on Learning emphasizes the importance of thinking about families as learning systems. It also stresses the value of a holistic approach to family learning that supports parents and engages not just children but all family members.

This is just a snapshot—if you are looking to do a deep-dive into this topic, there are many other worthwhile reads you’ll find in past CSL issues!

Beth Murphy, PhD (, is field editor for Connected Science Learning and an independent STEM education consultant with expertise in fostering collaboration between organizations and schools, providing professional learning experiences for educators, and implementing program evaluation that supports practitioners to do their best work. 

citation: Murphy, B. 2022. The power of families and community. Connected Science Learning 4 (4).

STEM Informal Education

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