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Children, communities and social capital: New ways of thinking about early childhood service provision

By Collette P. Tayler, Ann Farrell and Lee Tennent


Accumulating evidence confirms wide-ranging benefits of effective services for young children and families, along with longer-term social and economic benefits for communities. While a strong theoretical case has recently emerged for the development of responsive and integrated child and family services to build social capital and community capacity, there is scant Australian research to inform and support the process. Furthermore, research in this area has largely overlooked the views of children.\ud \ud This paper reports on data collected from young children in rural and suburban Queensland schools. 138 children aged four to eight years of age were asked, in informal conversations with their teachers, a series of questions reflecting six social capital dimensions. These dimensions were participation in local community, family and friend’s connections, neighbourhood connections, feelings of trust and safety, proactivity in a social context, and tolerance of diversity. In addition, children were asked to comment on their positive and negative experiences of school, to consider possible advice they might give to newcomers and to reflect on why they attended school. Theoretical perspectives from social capital and the sociology of childhood are used to examine children’s responses

Topics: 111700 PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES, 111708 Health and Community Services, 111704 Community Child Health, children, social capital, sense of community, early childhood services, service integration, communities, Collette Tayler, Ann Farrell, Lee Tennent
Year: 2003
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