Similar to the KidsMatter framework used in primary schools, the core content of KMEC is structured around four components.
Like all well-implemented interventions the KMEC proposal included an independent evaluation process comprising several parts.
To evaluate and learn what worked well and how KMEC could be improved, the team followed Ellis and Hogard's (2006) three-pronged approach, which recommends the use of multiple methods (such as using both qualitative and quantitative approaches), multiple participants (e.
The questionnaire was designed to measure the implementation process, the effectiveness of the KMEC components, and children's mental health and temperament at four time points during the trial (see Slee et al.
With this in mind, the research team sought a qualitative methodology that would encompass a participatory approach and afford KMEC participants greater involvement with the evaluation, as well as provide insight of their personal KMEC experiences.
In the Photolanguage and Photo Elicitation methods, for example, carefully selected images are provided by researchers to evoke participant responses (Burton & Cooney, 1986), and while these methods are successful in eliciting stories, for the purposes of the KMEC evaluation the research team sought a more participatory approach where participants would themselves generate the photos for discussion.
This was of particular relevance as the KMEC research team wished to encourage participation of parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people who might be reluctant to offer their opinions and experiences because they felt intimidated or lacked confidence, and whose voices are sometimes missed when using other qualitative approaches.
In summary, based on the advantages associated with the photovoice approach outlined previously, the research team sought to employ a method similar to photovoice in the KMEC qualitative evaluation.
The research team agreed that it was important to involve ECEC educators and parents/carers in the evaluation, as they would be best placed to notice any changes in the children attending the KMEC services and to reflect on how KMEC may have affected them personally.
The key objectives of the study involving ECEC educators were to provide qualitative evidence of their perspectives on the implementation, impact and experiences of the KMEC components as well as KMEC generally.