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Families 101: Engaging Multi-Aged Audiences
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Families 101: Engaging Multi-Aged Audiences

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Your program serves families, but does it really? Are your programs aimed at children while the parents mostly watch – or...

Your program serves families, but does it really? Are your programs aimed at children while the parents mostly watch – or
vice versa? What if your program could truly engage family members of all ages in learning together?

This program highlights what the research tells us about the characteristics of strong families, family leisure behavior, and family learning in nonformal settings and provide strategies for strengthening your approach to whole family learning.

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    Families 101: Engaging Multi-Aged Audiences Families 101: Engaging Multi-Aged Audiences Presentation Transcript

    • Families 101 Engaging multi‐age audiences Kathleen Olson, Family Relations, kaolson@umn.edu Andrea Lorek Strauss, Environmental Science Education, astrauss@umn.edu Nate Meyer, Environmental Science Education, meyer179@umn.edu
    • The role of Extension
    • Collaborating across fields
    • Building nature‐engaged families [phil_h], Flickr.com
    • What is a family? Mance, Flickr.com
    • Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model Macrosystems Exosystem WORK Mesosystem FAMILY Microsystem MEDIA CHILD NEIGHBORS PEERS SCHOOL Chronosystem Changes in persons or environments over time IDEOLOGY, LAWS, CUSTOMS
    • Characteristics of strong families • Appreciation • Democratic Decision‐Making • Flexibility • Communication • Shared Values • Quality Time Together • Connections with Others
    • Family Leisure   Strong Families • Co‐participation in leisure activities is positively  related to family satisfaction, family interaction,  and family stability. (Orthner & Mancini 1990, Freeman & Zabriskie 2002, West & Merriam, 2009)  • Through leisure activities, families establish  meaningful traditions and routines, which  facilitates the transmission of values. (Friesen 1990)
    • Adventure Model Kind of environment Level of Structure TODDLER Risk Perception TEEN Risk PARENT PARENT Competence Skill & Experience Frequency of Participation -Ewert & Hollenhorst
    • Leisure is challenging • Families have gatekeepers. Mothers actively  screen or qualify the program opportunity before allowing the child  to become involved in the final stage of the purchase decision.  (Howard & Madrigal 1990)  • Leisure is more difficult for Moms.  Mothers have a harder time enjoying family leisure, while fathers  may find it easier to use this time for diversion and self‐expression.  (Larson, Gillman & Richards 1997) • Reasons to participate vary. Parents may  perceive museums as places to learn and spend quality time with  children . (Dierking, Luke, Foat,  Adelman 2001)
    • Cohesion is fostered when all family  members are getting needs met. ‐ Iso‐Ahola 1980
    • Families become stronger when there is  a dynamic equilibrium
    • Home is where it is… Home and Community Family 53% Sleep 33% School 14% -National Research Council How People Learn
    • Family involvement: • Many programs lack a family involvement  component. • Programs face challenges in involving families. • Programs use a variety of strategies to involve  families. • Family involvement in programs leads to family  involvement in schooling. • Family involvement adds value to programs.
    • Effectiveness of family involvement  depends on: • Levels of family participation in programs. • Programs’ success in communicating and building  relationships. • Improvement in families’ engagement with  program.  • Value added to programs by engaging families.
    • Reaching disengaged families “The difference between parents who  participate and those who do not is that  those who do have recognized that they  are a critical part in their children’s  education.” (Delgado‐Gaitan,1991)
    • Designing for families • Families don’t follow lesson plans • Design services for whole families • Provide opportunities for families to “break away” from  main activity flow • Support adults/youth in mentoring each other • Design opportunities to facilitate social/physical  interactions • Let adults know about resources and ideas for  continuing learning at home
    • Self Assessment: Engaging Families • Consider the ways in which you engage  families. • How can you be more effective in the  future? • Describe 5 action steps to reach out and  support families.
    • Thank you! Kathleen Olson, Family Relations, kaolson@umn.edu Andrea Lorek Strauss, Environmental Science Education, astrauss@umn.edu Nate Meyer, Environmental Science Education, meyer179@umn.edu