Research: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement

In the Journal of Educational Psychology, a study looked at immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and their later academic achievement.

Thriving, catching up or falling behind: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement, by Monique Gagné, Martin Guhn, Magdalena Janus, Katholiki Georgiades, Scott D. Emerson, Constance Milbrath, Eric Duku, Carly Magee, Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl and Anne M. Gadermann.

Excerpts from the Abstract and the Impact Statement:

Abstract

“Immigrant and refugee children and adolescents form a growing socially, culturally, and economically diverse group with the potential for wide-ranging adaptation outcomes. The goal of the study was to examine whether developmental competencies (social-emotional and academic) and sociodemographic disparities (e.g., SES and migration class) identified in kindergarten forecast the academic achievement trajectories of first- and second-generation immigrant and refugee children, from childhood to adolescence. The study used a retrospective, longitudinal, population-based design by making use of linked, individual-level administrative data from four sources… to identify a study cohort of immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada …. We utilized an analytical approach (group-based trajectory modeling) that allowed us to capture heterogeneity in the Grade 4 to Grade 10 academic (literacy and numeracy) trajectories.

“The resulting literacy and numeracy achievement trajectories were wide-ranging–some children thriving, some catching up, and some falling behind over time. Children’s developmental competencies assessed in kindergarten (literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional) were found to predict later trajectory group membership in significant and, at times, interacting ways. Trajectory group membership also differed by migration class (refugee/immigrant), generation status, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, and sex. The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

Impact Statement

“This study tracked the academic achievement of 9,216 immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada from childhood to adolescence (Grade 4 to Grade 10) and found groups that thrived over time, that were catching up, and that were falling behind. Children’s likelihood of following each of these paths depended upon their academic and social-emotional competencies in kindergarten as well as a number of other sociodemographic factors (e.g., socioeconomic status). The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

New research: Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada

In the special issue of Applied Psycholinguistics, 41(S6), The Language, Literacy and Social Integration of Refugee Children and Youth, a research report entitled Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada by Yoko Yoshida (Dalhousie University) and Jonathan Amoyaw (Dalhousie University).

Abstract | Résumé

“The majority of refugees are children and youth and their integration and life-course transitions are a research priority. This paper examines the timing of refugee children and youths’ entrance into the labour market and family formation (marriage/common law union and parenthood). It does so by examining how admission category, knowledge of a host country’s official languages, and age at arrival shape their transition to adulthood. Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database and Heckman selection estimation, the paper finds minimal variation in refugee children and youths’ entry into the labour market compared to children of other immigrant streams. It also finds that refugee children and youth start forming families at a younger age than children of economic class immigrants, but at an older age than family class children. The analysis also shows limited effects of knowledge of official language prior to arrival while age at arrival has a robust impact on their adulthood transitions. These findings shed light on the unique patterns of life-course transition among refugee children and youth and contribute to a better conceptualization of their experiences relative to children and youth of other immigrants.”

This resource is available via paid subscription, but the freely available abstract includes an extensive bibliography worth reviewing.

The Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database, used in the research, can be found here.

Dr. Judith Bernhard returns to Ryerson University

Great news for Ryerson University’s School of Early Childhood Studies. Dr. Judith Bernhard is returning!

Dr. Bernhard (PhD, University of Toronto) is a tenured full professor with over 25 years of teaching and research experience in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and settlement of newcomer children and families in early childhood settings. She is affiliated with Ryerson’s MA program in Immigration and Settlement Studies.

Dr. Bernhard’s recent research interests are migrant and refugee families with precarious legal status and Latinx in the educational system.

Dr. Bernhard’s book Stand Together or Fall Apart: Professionals Working with Immigrant Families is an excellent resource for practitioners who take a strengths-based approach to working with newcomer families and children.

You can follow Dr. Bernhard on Twitter here.

Research study: Unaccompanied children claiming asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and gender Identity

From the Abstract:
“This study explores the asylum claims of unaccompanied children concerning sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and examines how case officers at the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA) responded to the credibility of their claims. The SMA provided one calendar year of asylum decisions concerning unaccompanied children, and 16 SOGI cases were identified. A thematic analysis of the cases was conducted. The results showed that case officers directed their focus to the quality of the children’s sexual relationships. This indicates that the case officers expect children to engage in long-term relationships similar to adults, despite their age. Furthermore, case officers tended to only render narratives credible if the society as whole was narrated as perpetrators. This indicates that case officers expect origin societies to be monolithic. The main conclusion, therefore, is that case officers are guided both by homonormative as well as homonationalist views in their decision-making process”.

Migration Matters

Migration Matters is a European non-profit with a mission  to “empower the public to have more nuanced and evidence-based conversations about migration”. Migration Matters “produces bite-sized video courses that complicate commonly held preconceptions with original ideas, research, and solutions-oriented perspectives from leading thinkers in the field: researchers, practitioners, as well as migrants and refugees themselves”.

immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to promote its work and encourages you to take their course “Rethinking Us and Them: Integration and Diversity in Europe“. The course examines Germany and Canada and their efforts in integrating migrants. The course is a series of accessible and informative videos that challenges misconceptions and invites viewers to rethink us and them. Good stuff!

6 Degrees junior fellowship opportunity

Apply now for a 6 Degrees Junior Fellowship

From a 6 Degrees email blast: “Submit a project and foster inclusion in your community

  • What: Become a 6 Degrees Junior Fellow or spread the word to strong candidates in your network
  • Who: Ten changemakers under 30 years old will be selected from around the world based on how they propose to foster inclusion in their community
  • When: Submit your application by August 14, 2017 to work on a project between September, 2017 and March, 2018.
  • How: Submit your application here, or read more about the fellowship here.

“One of 6 Degrees’ signature initiatives is the 6 Degrees Junior Fellowship program, which seeks to identify and support young leaders who have made a commitment to fostering inclusion in their communities. The fellowship begins in September with a funded trip to Toronto to attend 6 Degrees Citizen Space (Sept. 25-27), followed by 6 months of ongoing project engagement with 6 Degrees staff.

“Fellows will benefit from the following:
An Inclusive Pass to all sessions of 6 Degrees Citizen Space, Sept. 25-27, 2017
Free travel and accommodation expenses to attend 6 Degrees Citizen Space
Connect with 10+ other Junior Fellows to discuss, explore and reflect on various themes of inclusion and citizenship
Benefit from extensive mentoring and networking opportunities
Receive a $2,000 grant to fund their community-building project

Are you eligible?
“This program is designed to support emerging leaders and their projects, therefore we invite applications from individuals under the age of 30.
“If you are not eligible, we encourage you to pass this onto others who are eligible or who have access to a network of bright, engaged youth.
The deadline for applications is Monday, August 14, 2017. Early applications are encouraged. Apply now!”

Children in the Asylum System, London, England courses

As posted on the NAME listserv:

Age assessment awareness and working with age-disputed young people

February 21, 2012 & March 15, 2012.  Ensuring the wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee children and young people is at the heart of this course, which aims to give delegates the confidence and information they need to challenge assessments, and the tools to ensure that the correct processes are in place in your organisation.

An introduction to working with unaccompanied children

February 28, 2012.  This course will provide an overview of the asylum and support systems for children and examine the interaction between the two. Focusing on procedures that the young people are required to participate in, delegates are assisted in exploring how best to respond to the difficulties they may be facing.

Emotional wellbeing of refugee children and young people

March 1, 2012. This course will examine the emotional impact of the experiences that refugee children and young people face as they flee from their home countries and settle in the UK.  It will provide participants with the tools to assess the organisation in which they work, to identify factors which are detrimental to emotional wellbeing and to devise strategies for providing appropriate care and support.

Working with refugee children in schools

March 1, 2012. This course will provide an opportunity to examine the specific needs of refugee pupils, including those new to schooling in the UK, and investigate positive strategies to support them in achieving their potential.  Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate their own practice, as well as that of the school in which they work.

All courses cost £109 for registered charities and £175 for all other attendees.  To book, email training@refugeecouncil.org.uk

Call for proposals: Young Scholars program, Child Development Fellowship (US)

US-based, The Foundation for Child Development: Changing Faces of America’s Children – Young Scholars Program has issued a call for proposals. The goals of the program are to (From the call as posted on the NAME listserv):

*   Stimulate both basic and policy-relevant research about the early education, health and well-being of immigrant children from birth to age 10, particularly those who are living in low-income families.
*   Support the career development of young investigators-from the behavioral and social sciences or in an allied professional field-to attain tenure or who have received tenure in the last four years from a college or university in the United States.

Eligible researchers will have earned their doctoral degrees within the last 15 years, and be full-time, tenure-track, faculty members of a college or university in the United States.  Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or its equivalent in one of the behavioral and social sciences or in an alliedprofessional field (e.g., public policy, public health, education, social work, nursing, medicine).  Three to four fellowships of up to $150,000 for use over one to three years (and in rare cases, up to five years) will be awarded competitively. Please note tenure equivalent positions are not eligible for the fellowship.

Deadline is November 3, 2010. For more information, see the web-page here. Questions should be sent to ysp@fcd-us.org.

Call for participants: Working group on age & generation in migration

Canadian-based researchers working on issues related to age and/or generational relations in the context of migration are invited to join the Refugee Research Network‘s (RRN) working group.

The working group will complement other ongoing initiatives, including the Metropolis Canada priority on Family, Children and Youth.

Some of the activities of the proposed working group include:

  • A database of Canada-based researchers
  • As part of the RRN website, an online discussion forum and links to other related and relevant online sites, etc.
  • Information exchange, through meetings and collaborative research projects
  • A 2011 seminar/roundtable, culminating in a working paper series or journal or edited volume(s).

First meeting is scheduled for Wed May 5, 2010 in Hamilton at McMaster University (one day before the CARFMS conference). Details TBD. For more information, contact Christina Clark-Kazak, International Studies, York University, 416.736.2100 x 88106.

York University (Toronto) annual summer course on refugee and forced migration studies

This year’s Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues by the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University will be held May 8-16/10 at the Keele Campus. Fee is $975 Cdn, if you register before Feb 26/10 (fee goes up to $1100 after that date).

For more information, visit the conference course website , email summer@yorku.ca and refer back to previous postings at immigrantchildren.ca.

International Migration Studies at Georgetown University

Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies in Washington DC announces a certificate in International Migration Studies. The certificate program includes courses in:

Canadians are welcome to register. For more information, visit the Georgetown University website.