Social capital in metropolitan playgroups: A qualitative analysis of early parental interactions
Early Childhood Australia Inc.
School of Arts and Humanities
PLAYGROUPS ARE COMMUNITY-BASED programs that enable the creation of social capital resources by providing opportunities for young families to network and access peer support. However, there are insufficient Australian studies on community playgroups and the extent to which new parents feel supported through their playgroup involvement. This research sought to study the ways early parental interactions in community playgroups reflect parents’ social capital. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with fifteen playgroup parents in Perth, Western Australia (WA). Data gave rise to three main themes: getting together, generating stocks of social capital and missing out. The study concludes that although community playgroups have the capacity to support young families, vulnerable and socially disadvantaged individuals may continue to feel isolated, excluded or left out. A number of policy implications can be drawn from this study, including consideration for employing support workers and enhancing the community playgroup model.