Participation in early childhood development and education services is an important contributor to how well children develop throughout their early years and their success later in life. This article reports on research which examined how multicultural groups identify and use their community connections to share information and inform decision-making about and access to early childhood services. Taking a qualitative approach, the research involved focus groups with families with young children from various cultural backgrounds. The project found that families defined their community as a collective of people, generally from a like cultural background, but they also identified geographical area/place as an important contributor to their community connections. The research also identified that the way in which culturally diverse groups define and interact within their community influences their level of knowledge about available early childhood services and the credibility they place on information they receive. The findings suggest that this subsequently influences their decision-making about which early childhood services they access. The interconnectedness of these factors suggests that the broader social environments of young children are critical in their receiving high quality early development and learning opportunities. Understanding the interconnections between the people and places which constitute communities is essential for early years service providers to engage the families most in need.
SOURCE: Hopkins, Liza; Lorains, Jen; Issaka, Ayuba and Podbury, Rachel. “How does ‘community’ facilitate early childhood service use in a multicultural Australian suburb?” Journal of Early Childhood Research, Vol 15, Issue 1, 2017, pp.
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