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How rural schools support the early years


Johns, SM, How rural schools support the early years, International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, 2, (2) pp. 115-124. ISSN 1939-5965 (2009) [Refereed Article]


Background The growing focus on early childhood intervention has seen a range of service providers enter the field, including schools. While research has been undertaken to inform the development of school-based models, very little focuses specifically on models for rural communities. Objective The purpose of the study reported in this paper was to document the roles of rural schools in two Tasmanian sites in relation to the early years, and to identify factors that might influence the nature and extent of these schools’ responses. The paper presents preliminary findings from the study. Study group Interviews were conducted with three groups of participants from each site: (i) senior managers from government and non government agencies; (ii) staff from government, non government and community groups engaged in service provision, and (iii) a sample of parents of 0-4 year olds. Methods This qualitative study uses multi-site, multi-method techniques, and a case study approach. Data were collected from three sources; interviews, written documentation, and observation. Data were analysed using NVivo data analysis software. Results Rural schools support the early years in three main ways: service provision; brokering of services, and building capacity amongst service providers and the wider community. School activity is determined by the nature of the community and resource availability. Conclusions By working collaboratively with other providers, rural schools contribute to the provision of a continuum of care and support for the early years. School contributions will be enhanced by an outward focus, an appreciation of the relative merits of other service providers, and dedicated funding.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Community capacity building, Rural health, Schools as hubs, Social capital
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Community child health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Neonatal and child health
UTAS Author:Johns, SM (Dr Susan Johns)
ID Code:59430
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2009-12-01
Last Modified:2010-03-25

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