Legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) represents how newcomers become experienced members and eventually experts of a community of practice (Lave & Wenger 1991). The purpose of this study is to investigate the developing LPP process in Community-based Child-rearing Support Centers (CCSCs) through qualitative research on the process that the participants (parents) experience mutual communications and acquiring knowledges and skills. The Japanese government has expanded child-rearing support via the Community-based Child-rearing Support Centers (CCSCs) in recent twenty years. They are open spaces for infants and parents in the community, where they can gather freely, communicate with each other, and share their anxieties and worries related to child rearing. We observed different types of social exchanges are prevalent among the participants including intern students and senior citizens in CCSCs. These kinds of practices embody the idea of the “socialization of childcare” by sharing it among families and people in the community. A community of practice is evolving naturally because it is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that parents learn from each other, and have an opportunity to observe the practices of volunteers and expert workers, and thereby to understand their own worries from another point of view. As the results of these interactions, some parents become the full time workers of CCSCs later. The results of this study show that these LPP empowering processes are important functions of CCSCs and CCSCs require to foster community of practice and involve broader community people in CCSCs.
Atsushi Nishio, Aichi Toho University, Japan
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