Community of Practice

‘Communities of Practice presents a theory of learning that starts with this assumption engagement in social practice is the fundamental process by which we learn and so become who we are.  The primary unit of analysis is neither the individual nor social institutions but rather the informal “communities of practice”that people form as they pursue shared enterprises over time.  In order to give a social account of learning, the theory explores in a systematic way the intersection of issues of community, social practice, meaning, and identity.  The result is a broad conceptual framework for thinking about learning as a process of social participation.‘
…..Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning and Identity. Etienne Wenger

‘Communities of Practice in a strategic context are a new expression of the age old structure that fosters collaboration and learning.  The concepts are fairly straightforward-give people with a like interest some time, attention, and resources so that they can collectively solve problems encountered in the workplace.’

We set the context for building communities by looking at the principles of knowledge creation and exchange from the perspectives of the individual, the community, and the organization and explore the foundation needed to encourage the development and growth of communities of practice as a key component of a knowledge strategy.’
….Leveraging Communities of Practice for Strategic Advantage, Hubert Saint-Onge  Debra Wallace


The South West Region Respite Network Community of Practice is comprised of representation from each of the Local Respite Networks (LRN) and their community partners as well as Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The purpose of the network meetings is to focus on best practices in the provision of respite services to families residing in the south west region who have children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Community of Practice convenes three times per year (fall, winter and spring) for collaboration among local coordinators/respite services and community partners to discuss and plan around the 7 functions of LRNs. The seven functions are:
i. Local System Coordination, Management and Planning
ii. Determination of Need and Priority Setting
iii. Training and Development
iv. Promotion and Awareness
v. Partnerships and Capacity Building
vi. Recruitment and Retention
vii. Equipment and Resources

The functions support a region wide system of respite services and supports that reflect the ideal values and guiding principles of the ‘SWR An Ideal Models for Children and Youth – Respite Services and Supports’, 2006 document.