Exploring the role of police officers in early childhood settings

creating a meaningful connection with the community

Katey De Gioia, Fay Hadley

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper

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    Abstract

    Early childhood settings provide a place for children to develop connections with their local community. Whilst social capital is recognised as an important factor in community life and a sound determinant for this practice; early childhood services in New South Wales have been further prompted to create and maintain these links through policy and curriculum documents which exist at a State and more recently Federal level (Australian Government Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009; National Childcare Accreditation Council, 2003, 2006; NSW Department of Community Services, 2001) and highlight the importance of community context and authentic experiences for children as a part of these connections. Initially, the role of the New South Wales Police Youth Liaison Officer was defined as working with children and young people under twenty five years of age; particularly in relation to juvenile justice and reducing youth related crime and victimisation (New South Wales Police Service, 2001). However their role has significantly broadened. The authors of this presentation have been commissioned by the New South Wales Police to develop and deliver training to all Youth Liaison Officers around how children learn and effective teaching practices particularly aimed at children in the early years of school. This initiative has developed out of the implementation of the Keeping Me Safe (New South Wales Police Force, 2007) program which must be delivered by a Police Officer in schools. This paper describes a pilot study, exploring Police aspects in their connections with early childhood settings; the research aims to explore the current role Police Officers play in early childhood settings and identifies the role police believe they can play in connecting with early childhood settings. The research has been conducted with Police Youth Liaison Officers across New South Wales, Australia . A phenomenological approach was enacted to gain an insight into their perceptions and lived experiences through their interactions with early childhood settings. An open ended questionnaire was developed to elicit responses in the following areas: 1) years of service and how they came to the role of Police Youth Liaison Officer; 2) prior experiences with young children; 3) expectations from the local early childhood community in terms of visits; 4) types of information provided in presentations to children (expected and developed) and 5) benefits and constraints of visiting early childhood settings. The findings from this study will provide a starting point for discussion and reflection for the early childhood field in relation to effective community connections. It will allow teachers to understand Police perceptions of their role in early childhood settings. It will provide an opportunity to begin to reconceptualise the role of Police in settings and will inform the direction of further research in this area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalAARE 2010 Conference Proceedings
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventAustralian Association for Research in Education Conference - Melbourne
    Duration: 28 Nov 20102 Dec 2010

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