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Importance of Effective Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia

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This assignment presents a critical analysis of an academic paper by Farrell et al (2004) titled 'Building Social Capital in Early Childhood Education and Care: an Australian Study'. The article is published in the British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 30, No 5.The paper provides a summary of the key arguments in the article and it examines issues related to validity of the main findings. The concluding section discusses the major contributions the research makes to knowledge and sets out some suggested areas for future research.


This paper discusses the importance of effective early childhood education and care in Australia. Farrell et al (2004) argue that early childhood education and care carries some short and longer-term benefits for children and families in Australia. Based on the concepts of the sociology of childhood and social capital, the paper takes on issues relating to the development of 'early childhood education and care'. Additionally, one of the valuable contributions that this paper aims to achieve is to challenge the existing paradigm that 'children's social capital was found to be higher in the urban community than in the rural community, highlighting the potential of child and family hubs to strength children's social capital in those communities with few social facilities' (p. 623). The authors focus on various perspectives relating to the key indicators of social capital, which have far-reaching benefits for children's development.

Farrell et al (2004) acknowledge a number of studies that have discussed early childhood education and care, emphasising that effective early childhood care has short term and long-term social and educational benefits for children and families (see also Ball, 1994 and Pascal et al 1999). The authors link these studies with a growing body of evidence around social capital (see Furstenberg and Hughes, 1995; Runyon et al 1998). Interestingly, the paper creates an intellectual nexus between social capital and early childhood studies, which enhance the formulation of three interconnected research questions as follows:

* What are the perspectives of key stakeholders (such as children, parents, hub personnel and services providers) towards child and family hubs?

* What is the impact of these hubs on child, family and community outcomes?

* What factors facilitate and hinder hub development in local communities?

With these research questions, the authors attempt to explore the underlying conceptual and practical issues related to childhood education and social capital. The study intends to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interface between childhood education and social capital in the Australian



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