New (US) research: Immigration, diversity and education

New research on young children of immigrants, publication date: Nov 2009. In an edited collection, entitled Immigration, Diversity, and Education, editors Elena Grigorenko and Ruby Takanishi present the first wave of studies about what is happening to young children from birth to age 10 living in immigrant families in the U.S.

The contributors offer interdisciplinary perspectives on recent developments and research findings on children of immigrants. … this collection lays the foundation for changes in child and youth policies associated with the shifting ethnic, cultural and linguistic profile of the US population (Source: NAME Listserv, Sept 23/09).

Table of Contents

Preface, Elena L. Grigorenko

Introduction, Ruby Takanishi

1. Children of Immigrants and the Future of America, Donald J.Hernandez, Nancy A. Denton, and Suzanne E. Macartney.

2. Differences in Social Transfer Support and Poverty for Immigrant Families with Children: Lessons from the LIS, Timothy Smeeding, Coady Wing, and Karen Robson.

3. Disentangling Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Country of Origin in Predicting the School Readiness of Young Immigrant Children, Jessica Johnson De Feyter and Adam Winsler.

4. Preparing the Way: Early Head Start and the Socio-Emotional Health of Latino Infants and Toddlers, Krista M. Perreira, Linda Beeber, Todd Schwartz, Diane Holditch-Davis, India Ornelas and Lauren Maxwell.

5. Latinos and Early Education: Immigrant Generational Differences and Family Involvement, Eugene E. Garcia, Kent Scribner, and Delis Cullar.

6. Diversity in Academic Achievement: Children of Immigrants in US Schools, Jennifer E. Glick and Littisha Bates.

7. Latino/a Immigrant Parents? Voices in Mathematics Education, Marta Civil and Naria Planas.

8. Cultural Incongruence Between Teachers and Families: Implications for Immigrant Students, Selcuk R. Sirin and Patrice Ryce.

9. Special Educational Needs of Children in Immigrant Families, Dylan Conger and Elena L. Grigorenko.

10. Two Generations of Educational Progress in Latin American Immigrant Families in the U.S: A Conceptual Framework for a New Policy Context, Ariel Kalil and Robert Crosnoe.

11. Does It Begin At School Or Home? Institutional Origins Of Overweight Among Young Children In Immigrant Families, Jennifer Van Hook, Elizabeth Baker and Claire Altman.

12. Parenting of Young Immigrant Chinese Children: Challenges Facing their Social Emotional and Intellectual Development, Charissa S. L. Cheah and Jin Li.

13. More than the A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s: The importance of family cultural socialization and ethnic identity development for children of immigrants’ early school success, Amy Kerivan Marks, Flannery Patton
and Cynthia Garcia Coll.

14. Emergent Literacy in Immigrant Children: Home and School Environment Interface, Iliana Reyes and Yuuko Uchikoshi.

15. Development of Tolerance and Respect for Diversity in Children in the context of Immigration, Oscar Barbarin, Micaela Mercado and Dari Jigjidsuren.

Conclusion: Commenting On What We Know and What We Need to Learn, Elena L. Grigorenko.

Ontario’s McGuinty urged to ‘do the right thing’ for immigrant children

There have been a number of initiatives in the last ten years (and previously) to  address the patchwork of services and supports for families with young children in Ontario.

In the Harris/Eves government, the Ontario Early Years Centres were an attempt to respond to the Mustard/McCain report, The Early Years Study which called for an early child development and parenting model of service, to serve as Tier 1 entry to the formal school system. (See Ontario Early Years: A Very Brief History, at the Health Nexus Sante blog).

The Best Start initiative was launched by the next government, Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals, and saw communities collaborating in Best Start Networks, working to bring services and supports together in ‘hubs’ for children from birth to age six.

This summer, The Premier’s early learning advisor, Dr Charles Pascal was asked to look at how to best prepare young children to succeed in school and released With Our Best Future in Mind. Pascals’ report calls for many of the same options of previous investigations but with clear – and implementable – steps.

For immigrant children and families, the system proposed by Pascal are especially important. Pascal envisions a system of child- and family-centred schools, with access to information, resources, supports and services for parents and caregivers and full-day kindergarten and early learning and child care for children. Pascal’s system builds upon the work – and success of both the Ontario Early Years Centres and the Best Start Networks.

As the province with the largest number of immigrant families with young children, Premier McGuinty would serve immigrant families very well in adopting the plan. I cannot think of a better way to welcome newcomer children and families to their new communities than by having a school act as the central point of entry into the myriad of social, health and educational services. Such community-based school centres (staffed by kindergarten teachers and Early Childhood Educators and other family support workers) will have expertise to assist the integration of newcomer families with young children into their communities.

For parents with existing resources (time, funds, language skills and peer support and/or extended family members to help), it is difficult enough to navigate the system. Imagine not having the language, the networks, or knowing where to go to get this kind of information. That is the reality for immigrant families.  The school – an institution universally recognized as the centre of a community – is the best place to act as a central (and a multiple-) point of entry to the world of health, educational and support services for immigrant families with young children.

{see June 16/09 post for more on how the Pascal plan addresses early child diversity}

Online course for settlement workers who work with young immigrant children and their newcomer families

The Canadian Mothercraft College is offereing an online (or in-person) course for settlement workers who work with young immigrant children and their families. With funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Mothercraft program,  Caring for Canada’s Children offers 3 sessions:

Session 1
Healthy Child Development and Family Functioning

  1. Infant and Child Development
  2. The Establishment of Security and Stability
  3. The Importance of the Childhood Years
  4. Adaptations to Parenting and Healthy Family Functioning

Session 2
Understanding the Issues for Newcomer Families

  1. Impact of Cultural and Geographic Dislocation
  2. Impact of Parental Trauma on the Parent-Child Relationship
  3. Impact of exposure to War or Natural Disasters
  4. Impact of Exposure to Community Violence

Session 3
Identification and How to Help

  1. Red Flags for Identification by Settlement Workers
  2. How to Help; Talking to Parents About Concerns
  3. How to Help; Talking to Parents About Concerns
  4. How to Help; Community Resources

See the Mothercraft website for more details.

Stateless children

Refugees International presents Futures Denied: Statelessness among infants, children and youth. According to tthe listserv, some 11-12 million children, “though born and raised in their parents country of habitual residence” are stateless or without effective nationality.

Stateless was a concern raised when new citizenship policy, impacting first generation of international adoptees, was introduced by the federal government in the Spring of 2009. The new regulations offered an option to grant immediate Canadian citizenship to adopted children, but put limits or conditions on any children they might have outside of Canada. The rationale for the policy change was to provide an additional option for adoptive parents who were pursuing citizenship status for adopted children through the naturalization process. For more info, including to external links, see the posts at and

Feds fund HIPPY to integrate immigrant children

In March ’09TVO and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) to deliver literacy programming, targeted to newcomer children and families. This week, the federal government has funded HIPPY to develop and deliver “culturally sensitive programs” for immigrant children.

The funding (around $3M from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and $300,000 from Human Resources and Skills Development) will be used to “increase Canadian content” in the HIPPY curriculum and expand programs across Canada.

The Federal government might consider increasing funding to the child care portion of their own LINC program (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada). LINC provides language training and settlement support to adults, and provides what’s called “childminding” for children of LINC students. The childminders, many of whom are Early Childhood Educators, and therefore trained in promoting language and literacy development (including having a unique understanding of the importance of retaining the home language while learning a new language) are among the first points of contact to Canadian society for immigrant children and are well positioned to work with LINC instructors, who work with parents. Now, that’s a partnership that could support integration.

Deportation as immigration policy: A call for papers

Deportation and the Development of Citizenship is the name of the conference being co-sponsored by the Centre on Policy, Migration and Society (COMPAS). The conference will be held Dec 11-12/09 in Oxford.

Papers are sought that address several themes, including: Who are the main subjects of deportation power and how have they changed over time as a result of political and social concerns? In what ways does subjection to deportation power map on to patterns of race, gender, and age?

Deadline for abstracts of 300 words, and a short biographical outline or CV are due by Sept 20/09 and should be sent to Dr Emanuela Paoletti, at Prospective paper givers will be informed if their paper has been accepted by 30 September 2009.

Related link: Forced Migration Online.

“On Their Own”: Unaccompanied children conference

On Their Own: Protecting the Rights of Immigrant Children is the theme of this year’s annual conference hosted by the (US-based) National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children.

The conference will be held Oct 7-9/09 in Washington DC and will attract advocates from the legal sector as well as participants from the wider non-profit sector, including policy makers, academics and researchers. The conference seeks to examine and challenge current practices and policies and develop best practices for supporting unaccompanied children.

For more info, see the website.

Francophone female refugees separated from their children, a study

The Ontario Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS) has released its latest Policy Matters issue. The Sept 2009 edition is a summary of a report entitled An Analysis of the challenges faced by francophone female refugees living in Ontario and separated from their chilren.

Authors Emile Greon, Michele Kerist, and Francosie Magunira examine the challenges faced by Francophone refugee mothers in Ontario who are separated from their children. The authors make several recommendations for policy change, including:

1) Allow children and spouses to join women refugee claimants, and have their paperwork process from within Canada.
2)  Improve the availability of legal information about family reunification in French.
3)  Ease the bureaucratic process.
4)  Create positions for case workers to follow individual cases and track delays.
5) Enact an “action plan” to systematically present the findings to all stakeholders within one year.

The study was funded by the Ontario Movement for Francophone Immigrant Women.