The community (or neighbourhood) is seen as a potential point of intervention for improving early childhood development outcomes through place-based approaches targeting all children. Yet there are insufficient robust data to guide policy and practice. Developing community factors for early childhood development is one way to facilitate more informed, evidence-based community action. This paper discusses the methodological learnings from the Kids in Communities Study, an Australian investigation into community-level factors important for early childhood development, including some of the challenges and innovations associated with the measurement and development of indicators. It highlights the importance of not only developing quantitative community indicators, but also in capturing qualitative data that emerge from communities. In an environment where the implementation of place-based approaches has outpaced the evidence, there is an urgent need for rigorous evidence that can identify community factors (and hence potential actions) that might influence early childhood development.
Goldfeld, S., Villanueva, K., TANTON, R., Katz, I., Brinkman, S., Giles-Corti, B., & Woolcock, G. (2019). Creating community indicators for early childhood development: Challenges and innovations from the kids in communities study. Cities & Health, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2019.1596525