Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families

The document How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years stresses the importance of Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE’s) engaging in a strong and respectful relationship with children and their families in order to foster a sense of belonging.

In February 2016, Judith Colbert PhD was the keynote speaker at the Welcoming Newcomer Children Conference who spoke about meeting and responding to the needs of young immigrants and refugees. Judith shared that young newcomers have distinctive needs arising from their settlement experience which may differ from other children in child care programs.

As RECE’s, it is important that we reflect on how we can best support immigrant and refugee children and their families in a caring and meaningful way. The following are a few questions for you to reflect on:

Am I using an inclusive approach that will help the children feel welcomed and supported in their new environment?

Am I building connections with immigrant and refugee families by:

  • inviting them to stay during playtime/lunch time?
  • making it clear that a child can bring a toy from home?
  • allowing parents\guardians to stay until their child is comfortable separating?

Am I creating opportunities for all families to connect with each other such as family celebrations and potluck dinners?

Am I teaching children how to play since approaches to play and play materials are different across cultures?

Am I able to communicate effectively with families? Am I finding resources such as Cultural Interpretation Service (CISOC) or a family friend to help translate information?

Am I asking the parents\guardians questions around their child’s sleeping and eating habits?

When challenging behaviours occur, am I reflecting on the function of the behaviour? Am I collaborating with parents\guardians to best understand the behaviour?

Resource Consultant Team Leaders
Children’s Integration Support Services