The reality of rurality : parent experiences with best start in two rural communities
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 19:04 authored by Kerri Graham
Human services literature from a variety of disciplines demonstrates that rural and urban communities pose different challenges and opportunities for service delivery; however, little research specifically explores early learning and care service delivery in rural communities. This qualitative study draws on a critical ecological systems perspective to examine the experiences of rural parents accessing services through a specific service delivery strategy, Best Start networks. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data gathered from two rural communities as part of a larger study examining parent experiences with Best Start in three communities across Ontario (Underwood, Killoran, & Webster, 2010). Three themes emerged that related specifically to the rural experience: (a) Opportunities for Social Interaction; (b) Accessibility of Services; and, (c) Impact of Personal Relationships. Results indicate that certain factors related to rural life and location affected parents' experiences with Best Start services. Drawing on the broadly defined concept of accessibility, implications for rural service delivery are discussed and recommendations for practice and future research are presented.