The Smith Family releases Preschool Attendance Strategies Report
Australian children’s charity organisation The Smith Family has released a report about a research project it implemented to add to the evidence base of what works to raise preschool participation for children experiencing disadvantage, with a particular focus on the lived experience of families and community practitioners.
The project, which led to the creation of the Preschool Attendance Strategies Report, built on a literature review and scan of programs implemented by governments, with the research team undertaking consultations and qualitative research in the first stage to understand the barriers to participation in preschool.
“We then moved to a human-centred design (HCD) approach more suited to working with complex problems. Our participatory approach invited families and practitioners to bring their experiences and insights into developing solutions,” authors wrote.
Originally intended as a longer multi-year project that included the trialling of solutions and implementation of initiatives, this project was funded for the completion of Phase One which was broken down into two stages conducted between July 2019 and April 2021.
“We took this approach because the evidence shows that solutions to complex problems are more likely to succeed when developed with the people who are impacted,” authors said.
“We anticipate that different communities will prioritise different solutions, so we do not consider that this work is ‘finished’. Throughout the report we have shared comments from the community that reflect the themes we encountered, or have implications for solution design.”