This article formulates a way of organizing learning opportunities in which children are broadly integrated in the activities of their families and communities and learn by attentively contributing to the endeavors around them, in a multifaceted process termed “Learning by Observing and Pitching In.” This form of informal learning appears to be especially prevalent in many Indigenous-heritage communities of the USA, Mexico, and Central America, although it is important in all communities and in some schools. It contrasts with an approach that involves adults attempting to control children's attention, motivation, and learning in Assembly-Line Instruction, which is a widespread way of organizing Western schooling. This article contrasts these two approaches and considers how families varying in experience with these two approaches (and related practices) across generations may engage in them during everyday and instructional adult-child interactions.

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