South West Early Childhood Project: An Exploratory Study of Three South West Towns

Research Report


South West Early Childhood Project


Dr Amma Buckley, Professor Marian Tye, Dr Stefania Giamminuti, Jane Merewether, Sonia Kuzich, Gaylene Galardi



The report presents findings from a pilot study to assist the Department of Sport and Recreation WA to gain insight into the ways South West regional towns encourage and support physical activity in the Early Years. Using a Rapid Rural Appraisal methodology involving the communities of Bridgetown, Harvey and Donnybrook, data was collected through interviews/focus discussions, photos and observations. The main findings were: each town had identifiable characteristics that both strengthened and impeded the engagement of young children; there was a solid level of service options and activities for 0-5 year olds in each community; both the services sector and parents engaged in Early Years activities were passionate advocates for young children; infrastructure, specifically associated with young children’s play spaces and amenity, varied widely across the three communities and was a factor in how visible young children were in each community; coordination of Early Years activity was mostly fragmented and driven by voluntary efforts (with the exception of Harvey where there was an established Early Years coordination group); and, a welcoming culture, especially for newly arrived families (and new parents) was critical to theirs and their children’s engagement in Early Years activities. Areas of opportunity identified were: how to differentiate 0-5 year olds; the use of the recreation centre in each community possibly as an Early Years hub; the socioeconomic costs and diversity interpretations of activity; promoting naturally present environments; identifying and fostering relationships with lead local Early Years champion(s); and, conducting age specific affordable events.

How to cite:

Buckley, A., M. Tye, S. Giamminuti, J. Merewether, S. Kuzich, and G. Galardi. South West Early Childhood Project. An Exploratory Study of Three South West Towns. Report for the Department of Sport and Recreation W. Perth. December 2013.