Transnational families

The Nanny Economy is the title of a National Post item in the Saturday edition (February 23/08). From the story:

“More than 6,000 Filipinas arrive in Canada under the federal government’s live-in caregiver program. They make up more than one in five female immigrants to Canada and more than nine out of 10 of the live-in caregiver program’s participants”.

The story outlines the issues in the live-in caregiver program, which brings many women to Canada to care for Canadian children, while leaving their own children behind.

For more on transnational families, see Bernhard, J., Landolt, P. & Goldring, L. (2005). Transnational, multi-local motherhood: Experiences of separation and reunification among Latin American families in Canada. Joint Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS), Working Paper No. 40, or for a summary see Policy Matters No. 24, January 2006 at the CERIS website.

Also see INTERCEDE for the Rights of Domestic Workers, Caregivers and Newcomers. INTERCEDE is a non-profit community-based organization that works to “support the integration, promote the rights and provide service needs of domestic workers, caregivers, temporary or migrant workers, their families”.

Putting immigrants to work: But, what about their children?

hireimmigrants.ca is an initiative of TRIEC, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. hireimmigrants.ca provides information to employers on how to hire immigrants and why they should.

TRIEC is about “working to remove the barriers immigrants face when entering the labour market, while at the same time helping organizations benefit from the talents and skills immigrants bring with them to Canada”. TRIEC is an initiative of The Maytree Foundation.

In partnership with TRIEC and MediaCorp (who bring us Canada’s Top 100 Employers) comes a new initiative, The Best Employers for New Canadians. What’s the criteria for making it as one of the best employers for new Canadians? “Each employer is evaluated in terms of:

(1) whether they offer programs specifically designed to assist employees who are recent immigrants to Canada;

(2) whether they have taken steps to reduce employment barriers for recent immigrants, such as by recognizing foreign educational credientials and experience;

(3) whether they assist new employees who have foreign professional or educational credentials in getting these qualifications formally recognized in Canada;

(4) whether they offer any “onboarding” programs, such as internal coaching or mentoring, to help new employees who are recent immigrants understand the Canadian workplace; and

(5) whether their managers and employees receive training in cross-cultural issues or inclusiveness to help create a welcoming and productive environment for employees who are recent immigrants”.

Hmmm. I didn’t see any mentions of the availability and accessibility of high quality child care in any of these initiatives. Organizations that purport to help immigrants get and keep jobs would do well to address the issue of child care. Child care is not only an employment support, it also promotes healthy child growth and development and supports families in their child-rearing role. A parent content with their child’s early learning and care arrangement are bound to be happier and more focussed at work. The best employers are on board with child care. Please join in, TRIEC, in adovcating for more and better early learning and child care programs and supports for immigrant families.

The future of ECE in Ontario: Focus on the changing landscape

The Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario (AECEO) is hosting their 58th annual conference May 9-10/08 at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Of interest to the Early Childhood Working Group, these workshops, panels and presentations:

Equity and Access in ECE: Making the shift toward a critical perspective in early childhood studies and challenging the discourse of anti-bias education, with Zeenat Janmohamed, Atkinson Centre for Society & Child Development

The Young English Language Learner, with Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Ryerson University School of Early Childhood Education & mylanguage.ca

Visit the AECEO website to download the preliminary conference brochure and for more details.

NAME Conference: Beyond celebrating diversity

US-based National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) will hold its 18th annual conference Nov 12-16/08 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference theme is Beyond Celebrating Diversity: reActivating the Equity and Social Justice Roots of Multicultural Education.

Conference strands:

  • Critical discourses in multicultural education, social justice and equity
  • The roots of multicultural education
  • Empowering students of color, English language learners, and low-income students
  • Community-based initiatives for educational equity and social justice
  • Multicultural education in a digital age.

See the NAME site for details, including the call for proposals, rubric proposal and information on last year’s conference.

Proposals due March 31, 2008.

Anti-bias tool

A few years ago, I looked at the widely known and used Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) and developed an anti-bias tool that would use the same format as the ECERS does with the “Notes for Clarification” but with a focus on diversity issues.

See antibias.htm

Please feel free to use and comment on the tool. I’d be interested in learning how this tool is or is not useful/applicable today as well as any other comments.

Children’s books about immigration

In recognition of Family Literacy Day, coming up January 27, 2008, here is a list of children’s picture and chapter books about immigration. Some of these titles came from the Children’s Literature listserv, Child_Lit.

I do not know all of the titles but I thought a list might be useful to those of us with an interest in children’s literature and immigration. If you know these books, or are aware of links to the authors or reviews or anything else that might be interesting/useful for blog readers, please let me know.

Alvarez, Julia. (1991). How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

Ashley, Bernard. (1991). Little Soldier.

Blohom, Judith & Terri Lapinsky. (2006). Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience.

Bloom, Valerie. (2004). Surprising Joy.

Brown, Jackie. (2004). Little Cricket.

Campling, Annie. (1998). Smiling for Strangers.

Cheng, Andrea. (2004). Honeysuckle House.

Ellis, Sarah. (2001). A Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall.

Ernest, Kate Elizabeth. (1994). Hope Leaves Jamaica.

Evans, Alwyn. (2004). Walk in My Shoes.

Fleming, Candace. (2008). Lowji Discovers America.

French, Jackie. (2001). How the Finnegans Saved the Ship.

Hawke, Rosanne. (2004). Soraya the Storyteller.

Hodge, Deborah and John Mantha. The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration.

Hearn, Emily and Marywinn Milne. (2007). Our New Home: Immigrant Children Speak.

Kidd, Diana. (1991). Illustrated by Lucy Montgomery.

Kurtz, Jane. (2000). Faraway Home.

Kurtz, Jane. (2005). In the Small, Small Night.

Lasky, Kathryn. (1999). Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City 1903.

Matas, Carol. (2002). Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott.

Munsch, Robert. (1995). From Far Away.

Munoz Ryan, Pam. (2001). Esperanza Rising.

Naidoo, Beverley. (2000). The Other Side of Truth.

Orr, Wendy. (1995). Yasou Nikki.

Pak, Soyung. (1990). Dear Juno.

Park, Frances and Ginger Park. (2005). Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong.

Reich, Jose. Illustrated by Raul Colon. Born to Dance: The True Story of Jose Limon.

Say, Allen. (1993). Grandfather’s Journey.

Say, Allen. (2002). Home of the Brave.

Sheth, Kashmira. (2003). Blue Jasmine.

So, John. (2003). Finding my Hat.

Starke, Ruth. (2005). Orphans of the Queen.

Testa, Maria. (2005). Something About America.

Wolf, Bernard. Coming to America:A Muslim Family’s Story.

Yoo, David. (2005). Girls for Breakfast.

Wilkes, Sybella. (1994). One Day We Had To Run: Refugee Children Tell Their Stories in Words and Paintings.

L1

mylanguage.ca has been launched by Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University.

The site provides research-based information about the importance of maintaining and protecting the many minority languages of young children spoken in homes across Canada.

The goal of mylanguage.ca is to help parents, teachers, early childhood educators and other children’s services practitioners understand the personal, social, linguistic and academic reasons for maintaining and protecting home languages (L1).

Visit mylanguage.ca.

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.

Promoting social inclusion and respect for diversity in the early years

The Bernard Van Leer Foundation has published a collection of articles that address diversity in early childhood education. Included in the collection is an article by Martha Friendly entitled “How ECEC programmes contribute to social inclusion in diverse communities“. Friendly outlines four concepts that make the case on how ECEC contributes to inclusion.

The first concept is “development of talents, skills and capabilities in the early years affects both a child’s well-being and its future impact on the social, educational, financial and personal domains as the child enters adulthood. A second concept is that the family its environment – shaped by culture, ethnicity and race, class and income – have a significant impact on the developing child in early and throughout later childhood. Third, from a non-stigmatizing perspective social inclusion is not only about reducing risk but is also about ensuring the opportunities are not missed. A fourth concept takes a child’s right perspective in proposing that children are not merely adults-in-training but must be valued as children, not for simply who they what they may become later on”.