‘For our kids’, video from settlement.org

For Our Kids is a video that features nine parents talking about their – and their children’s experiences – as newcomers to the Ontario school system.

The video is a resource for immigrant parents and addresses several ways that parents are and can be involved in their child’s school. Teachers also talk about the importance of parent involvement.

See the video (and other supporting resources) at settlement.org.

The impact of changing demographics on maternal and child health

Best Start: Ontario’s Maternal, Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre will feature a keynote on cultural diversity at their annual conference, to be held Feb 27-29/08 in Scarborough.

From the conference website, this description:

“Ontario’s demographics are rapidly changing and the composition of our communities reflects the increasing diversity of the population. These changes have a significant impact on the planning and delivery of services across the province, in both large and small communities as well as urban and rural. Following an overview on the extent of these demographic changes, panelists will help us understand some of the specific implications for maternal and child health programs, and strategies to ensure that our programs meet the needs of our growing diverse population”.

Panelists are: Judith Bernhard, Ryerson University, Linda Kongnetiman, Calgary Health Region and Dr. Doug Norris, Environics Analytics.

The Arrival – a picture book about immigration

In The Arrival, author/illustrator Shaun Tan “tells” the story (without words) of an immigrant in a new land. Tan’s description:

“The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope”.

It is both a book for children and a book for adults. It is beautiful, compelling and a must-see. Tan has won several children’s literature awards for this work. See Shaun Tan’s website for more on The Arrival, including some of the illustrations.

Migrant children project, Ireland

The Migrant Children project in Ireland (funded by the EU Commission through a Marie Curie Excellence Grant) is focusing its research studies on the perspectives of immigrant children and youth. From their website:

Our aim is to understand the social worlds of migrant children and youth in different migrant communities from their own perspectives by using child-centred research methods”.

Some of the research methods being used in the study include: stories, photographs and drawings by children about their experiences.

The Migrant Children project “seeks to map the social worlds of migrant children and youth at the local level in different contexts. The research will produce in-depth analysis of the nature and extent of integration, drawing on current ideas of transnationalism, citizenship and geographies of childhood, and will propose recommendations”. There are four strands of the project:

The Migrant Children Project is hosting an international conference “Children and Migration: identities, mobilities and belonging(s)” to be held April 9-11, 2008 in Cork, Ireland. From the conference website:

“While a wealth of research exists in the broad area of migration and childhood from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds, there are few opportunities to bring this together in an integrated forum. This conference aims to provide such a forum by focusing on the intersection of these research and policy areas, focusing on children’s own experiences and perspectives of migration, diaspora and transnationalism”.

“One of the aims of the event is to facilitate a dialogue between academic, practitioner and policy-maker perspectives. It is hoped the conference will also be an opportunity to bring together related but distinct areas of research/policy, for example national dynamics of integration with transnational processes, and, children’s experiences of migration with the experiences of children and youth in ethnic minorities”.

Keynote speakers include Katy Gardner and Kanwal Mand, University of Sussex, UK on the topic Migration and the life-cycle: what the study of transnational children in London can tell us and Jill Rutter, Institute for Public Policy Research, UK on Changing patterns of child international migration in Europe: challenges for research, public policy and practice.

Researchers from over 20 countries will participate and over 80 papers will be presented. Visit the conference website for more information.