Comprehensive school health : an ethnographic case study
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The purpose of this ethnographic case study was to describe the characteristics of one school's Comprehensive School Health (CSH) initiative and to explore the experiences of school community members in order to gain an understanding of how one school embraced a Comprehensive School Health approach. An elementary school (grades Junior Kindergarten to six) in Burlington, Ontario was the research site for this study. Multiple methods of data collection (observations, document analysis, interviews) were used in keeping with the ethnographic and case study approach. The data were coded using both a deductive and then inductive process (Merriam, 1998). From a deductive perspective, the coding system and the subsequent identification of categories were based on a priori categories identified by using the elements of CSH based on the Comprehensive School Health Consensus Statement prepared by the Canadian Association of School Health and the research questions. Findings included the role that various school community members as well as the implementation of different programs and policies played in applying a CSH approach. The impact ofthe physical environment was described as well as successes and challenges related to the school's experience in implementing CSH. Three main themes emerged that characterized this school's experience. The first theme relates to the fundamental question about CSH which is the school community's understanding o/the concept. The second theme focused on positive school culture and the third and most diverse theme was that of capacity. Engaging in CSH is a complex and long-term undertaking involving both the school and greater community. Based on the experiences of this school's community members, recommendations address the different levels of influence on the health of children.
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