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Conference paper

Schools that connect: the role of social capital in encouraging independent mobility on the journey to school

Social capital Children Schools Transport Victoria
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apo-nid178616.docx 65.82 KB

Children’s Independent Mobility (CIM) is a measure of the level of a child’s freedom to explore and move about his or her local neighbourhood without direct adult supervision. Children have suffered a significant loss of independent mobility since the 1970s. The choice of independent mobility for children’s travel to school can be predicted by a range of factors, including age, sex of the child, distance from the school, built environment, social capital,and parental risk concerns. However, little differentiation is made in the research between different types of schools, including Catholic schools. This research compared the level of independent mobility of 9 to 12 year olds in 26 Catholic schools before and after one of three travel behaviour change (intervention) programs was implemented in schools. This was a measure of the effectiveness of these programs to actually change behaviours, and the influence of social capital on this relationship. Using logistic regression methods, it correlated the various social and environmental factors against the change experienced in order to determine the degree of importance of the social connectedness of the community in the change experienced. Principals were interviewed following the programs. We found that there was little difference between the intervention programs themselves. Rather it found that the role of the school in the implementation process was critical. In a result applicable to all schools, embedding programs into the school culture and wellbeing framework increases the chance of noticeable change. The social capital within the school was key to leveraging that change.

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