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Office for Early Childhood Education and Care > Service providers > Framework for integrated early childhood development > Reflective tool >

Reflective tool : Communication and engagement

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Community engagement is not about 'doing to' the community, but about engaging with and empowering the community. Inherent in the community engagement process is both initial and ongoing involvement of community stakeholders in the decision making processes that constitute collaborative activity (Collins et al. 2007). Engagement occurs with families, the local community, within the organisation, with partner agencies.

Holistic responses require frequent and strategic sharing of information across colleagues, disciplines and partners. Along with engagement, this enables strengths-based approaches that rely on developing an understanding of, and working with, local communities to consider individual and community collective strengths to assist them to address their challenges (Steward et al. 2011).

Starting to think

In your environment, is communication and engagement an enabler of integrated early childhood development?


The questions below explore how communication and engagement enables the service delivery elements of the model.

How do you ensure universal services are welcoming to the whole community?

Different professional disciplines have different meanings for similar phrases. How does the organisation establish shared definitions for commonly used words across the multiple disciplines? Consider for example: play, child, child-centred, parent, parenting, strengths-based, holistic.

Do forums exist locally to bring together staff from across organisations and sectors to share knowledge, expertise and evidence-based practices? Read example showhide

A group of Child and Family Support Hubs have formed their own local hub network. Hub coordinators from Maryborough, Gympie, Hervey Bay and Childers meet quarterly, along with other colleagues, to discuss common issues and develop solutions. Recognising a common need to work more closely with school principals, the group is now working together on strategies to achieve this.

How do partnership arrangements engage children, families and the community?

How are multiple service access points, like outreach or mobile services, promoted in the community?

How do staff build inclusion and cultural awareness and continuously seek to improve engagement of diversity?

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This page was last reviewed on 21 Aug 2013

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