Why Our Place? Evidence Behind the Approach

Our Place is a place-based approach to supporting the education, health and development of all children and families in disadvantaged communities by utilising the universal platform of a school.

An initiative of the Colman Education Foundation, Our Place is a unique cross-sector collaboration between education, early learning, health and adult education systems. Through the Foundation’s ten-year partnership with the Victorian state government, Our Place is being implemented in ten school sites across Victoria, with the support of philanthropic partners.

Since its establishment, Our Place has evolved in line with the latest academic research and practical on-the-ground experience from Australia and around the world. The publication, Why Our Place? Evidence Behind the Approach authored by June McLoughlin, Executive Director of Our Place, Shannon Newman, Director of Research & Evaluation of Our Place and Fiona McKenzie, Director of Orange Compass, discusses in detail a vast array of research and insights to explain the ‘why’ behind the Our Place approach. This publication is intended as a concise and accessible summary for the busy reader. The content is presented according to the known evidence that leads to better outcomes for children and families experiencing disadvantage. The links between the evidence and the Our Place elements are discussed.

The Elements at the heart of the Our Place model describe the evidence-based strategies that contribute to achieving positive outcomes for children, families and communities. While the five elements are critical to implementation, they are not a recipe. They are key ingredients, but implementation will differ in each site, informed by evidence and the voices of the community.

The five Our Place Elements are:

• High-quality early learning, health and development

• High-quality schooling

• Wrap-around health and wellbeing services

• Engagement and enrichment activities for children

• Adult engagement, volunteering, learning and employment

After reading this publication, readers will understand the ‘why’ behind the Our Place approach. Readers will also gain an understanding of how Our Place has built on and adapted what works, according to the evidence, to suit the unique contexts in which Our Place operates. What will also become abundantly clear is why Our Place makes a decade-long commitment to supporting each Our Place school and community. This publication in its entirety can be downloaded for free under the ‘foundation reports section’ HERE.