Archive for the ‘Early Learning and Child Care’ Category

Childminding program CMAS launches new website

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

CMAS – Childminding Monitoring and Advisory Support – is the organization funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to monitor the child care component of the LINC program (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada). CMAS has launched a revamped website, with a new tag line

CMAS is committed to being a leader in the care of newcomer children through ongoing support and promotion of high quality newcomer child care services”.

Cultural influences on language and literacy

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Coming soon, a ZERO TO THREE edited collection of essays on language and literacy development in the very young child, entitled Cradling Literacy. ZERO TO THREE is making available now one of the chapters, “Cultural influences on early language and literacy teaching practices” (PDF), by Rebecca Parlakian, ZERO TO THREE and Sylviay Sanchez, George Mason University. From the announcement:

“Children learn to communicate in the context of their home culture. Beginning at birth, children use their home language and culturally accepted communication styles to connect with others in a meaningful way, forming the secure relationships that are so intrinsic to healthy development. For the early childhood teacher, it is important to establish supportive, respectful relationships as well-with both families and children. These connections help teachers learn more about the strengths, needs, and culture of every child in their care. Collaborative relationships with families also provide teachers with the information they need to support children’s individual language and literacy development. By creating a richly diverse and welcoming environment, by remaining aware of their own cultural beliefs (and biases), and by identifying a variety of teaching strategies to share the magic of print and language, early childhood teachers can spark a lifelong love of reading in the children they care for”.

Related resource (and a Canadian one too!):

Family Support Institute Ontario conference

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

The Family Support Institute Ontario will be hosting a conference and pre-conference session (on parent engagement) from Nov 17-20, 2010 in Toronto. Two sessions are focused on newcomer children and families:

Anti Bias Literacy Environments

In this workshop we will look at creating anti bias literacy environments that promote the concept of empathy. Supporting a child’s transition from home language over to English language learning will also be a focus of this workshop. Ideas for creating anti bias literacy activities will also be included through early authoring, book nook transformations and parent involvement. Small group brainstorming will identify challenges that we face and the successes that we share. A portion of the workshop will also be devoted to common myths around English language learners, and some mainstream ideas around home language preservation and the best practices in promoting bilingualism. Presenter: Alka Burman, Early Literacy Specialist, Region of Peel.

Listening to Families: Reframing Services

This interactive workshop will give participants an overview of the Listening to Families: Reframing Services project, which is premised on our belief that if service providers knew the rich and complex stories of the families they serve, they could reach out to more families who are not benefiting from their services, and increase the effectiveness of their work for families they already serve. Examples of family narratives will be shared with participants and a comprehensive bibliography will also be provided. Presenters: Mehru Ali, Patricia Corson and Elaine Frankel, Ryerson University. (Source: conference program).

For more info, visit the conference webpage or email

Mothercraft’s course for settlement workers: Caring for Canada’s Children, Year 2

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Mothercraft, with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, will  offer a 2nd year of their ‘Caring for Canada’s Children’ webinar/in-class course for practitioners working with newcomer children and families. The series builds on year one and will “delve further into the issues that many newcomer families face through the immigration process. This examination will be done through presentations, case studies and practical interactive learning opportunities” (Source: Email blast to former participants).

Archived presentations from Year 1 are available here in English and also here in French.

Year 2 offerings:

  1. Building cross-cultural competence (Sept 22, 2010)
  2. Building trusting relationships with families: Towards a motivational understanding of change (Oct 13, 2010)
  3. Promoting children’s mental health (Nov 10, 2010)
  4. Understanding attachment: How early relationships influence the brain’s architecture (Dec 8, 2010)
  5. Building circles of support through service coordination (Jan 19, 2011)
  6. Developing relationships with child welfare services (Feb 16, 2011).

For more information, including how to register, visit the Mothercraft Caring for Canada’s Children website.

Caring for newcomer children: Tip sheets from CMAS

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The Childminding Monitoring, Advisory and Support initiative (CMAS), the federally funded organization mandated to monitor and support childminding services associated with LINC programs (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) has produced a series of tip sheets for both caregivers of newcomer children, and administrators of childminding programs.

The current set includes “Inclusion in Newcomer Children’s Programs” and “Building the Caregiver Infant Relationship”. Download the PDF tip sheets here.

Mothercraft’s Caring for Canada’s Children webinar series

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Mothercraft‘s Caring for Canada’s Children webinar series for settlement workers (announced on in Sept, 2009), has concluded. The series of 12 online lectures is now available for viewing at their archives page set up here. The series is also available in French.

Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

FRP Perspectives in Family Support (Spring 2010) special issue on immigrant families

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The Canadian Association of Family Resource Centres (FRP Canada) has released a special edition of their journal, Perspectives in Family Support with a focus on immigrant families:

In “The Participation of Immigrant Families in the Activities of Family Resource Programs”, Marie Rhéaume reports on a research study conducted in Québéc that examined the issues and “distances” between immigrant mothers and Québécois mothers and found that, overall, family resource centres because of the “values that underlie the work of these community-based organizations, particularly the climate of respect, help build bridges between the two groups”. For more on the study, see here.

In “Taking an Advocacy With Approach”, as opposed to an advocacy for approach, Lianne Fisher argues for the importance of self-reflection of family resource practitioners who work with newcomers to recognize and resolve possible stigmatizing and marginalizing that may occur when practitioners seek to help newcomers.

An excerpt of “Phase 2 of FRP Canada’s Welcome Here Project: A Summary Report of Lessons Learned”, also available on the FRP Canada website

The issue of cultural adaptation and/or interpretation v. simple translation is covered by Betsy Mann in “Reflecting on Issues of Translation and Interpretation”.

Researcher Dr. Judith K. Bernhard writes on “What are the Essential Elements of Valid Research? The Problem of ‘Data’ and their Collection in Cross-Cultural Contexts” from a personal viewpoint as both an immigrant to Canada and now a practicing academic in immigrant-family related studies.

Call for NAME conference proposals: Empowering children and youth

Monday, March 29th, 2010

The theme for the 2010 NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) conference is “Empowering Children and Youth: Equity, Multiculturally Responsive Teaching and Achievement Gaps”. The international conference runs from Nov 4-6, 2010 in Las Vegas NV.

Deadline is April 17, 2010. For more information and to access the online submission form, see the conference website.

Children’s books: anti-bias, multicultural, multilingual

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Two more sources for children’s books about immigration, culture, and etc., following on three of the most popular posts on

Children’s books about immigration, originally posted January 2008

Children’s books about immigration II, originally posted March 2008

Children’s books about immigration III, originally posted Oct 2008.

See the page “Anti-Bias and Multicultural Books for Children” on the website by A World of Difference. Also recommended on the NAME listserv is an annotated bibliography by Gresilda A. Tilley-Lubbs, of the Second Language Education program at VirginiaTech. Here is the bibliography in PDF.

We’re building quite a comprehensive selection of multicultural, multilingual books for young children to learn about culture, multiculturalism, anti-bias and equity. Please add more!

School readiness in children with special needs whose first language is not English/French

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

In response to community-level needs for empirical data on special populations and on small populations, Dr. Magdalena Janus and her colleagues at the Canadian Council on Learning presents “Patterns of school readiness among selected subgroups of Canadian children: Children with special needs and children with diverse language backgrounds”.

School readiness between children without special needs and whose first language was either English or French was compared to the school readiness of children with special needs whose first language was neither English/French.

An early learning framework for immigrant and refugee children

Monday, March 1st, 2010

As the Ontario government launched their Best Start initiative in 2003, they struck several “expert panels” to advise them on best practices in delivering quality early learning and child care. One of the expert panels developed an Early Learning Framework, also referred to as the Early Learning for Every Child Today curriculum, or ELECT. This post explores the opportunity to adapt the framework to meet the unique needs of immigrant and refugee children.

The Early Learning Framework (ELF) provides a common framework for early childhood practitioners on what and how young children learn. It is complementary to all early childhood settings and curricula. The ELF strengthens practitioner’s ability to support young children’s early learning, growth and development.

The ELF has wide support within the early childhood community; the framework has been well received by the early childhood community and has been implemented in several locations (see the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development).

A settlement-focused complementary ELF, will support settlement workers in understanding and responding to the specific settlement issues of young children.

The ELF describes “how young children learn and develop (p.1)”. A settlement-focused ELF could describe how young newcomer children learn, develop, and settle. Newcomer children have specific needs, different from children of the dominant culture. The ELF does not address issues specific to immigrant and refugee children (although a background paper on diversity, equity and inclusion was prepared for and is briefly cited in the ELF). For example, in a section on brain development, a settlement-focused ELF might more fully include the research on the impact of trauma on developing brains. This is important information for practitioners working with newcomer children, especially refugee children fleeing war-torn countries and/or environmental disasters.

The ELF acknowledges the important role that families and communities play in the development of young children. A settlement-focused ELF could expand on this element and include discussion of differing values in a range of cultures and how newcomers cope with and learn to parent in a new socio-cultural context.

The ELF contains a “statement of principles… based on beliefs, values, experience and current research findings” and includes this statement “Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion are prerequisites for honouring children’s rights, optimal development and learning”. A settlement-focused ELF could begin with a similar statement but expand and ground its framework from an equity and inclusion starting point.

Using the ELF as a foundation, practitioners will share the same language as practitioners in other settings, furthering their ability to connect/liaise on behalf of newcomer children with practitioners in related sectors and therefore ease newcomer children transition into formal early learning and child care services and kindergarten.

A proposed structure for a settlement-focused ELF would mirror the ELF Table of Contents (p.3), with some changes, adjustments and additions.  For example, in addition to the section on “Understanding Children’s Development”, a settlement-focused ELF might include a section on “Understanding Settlement Issues for Children and Parents”. A glossary would be indispensable in helping practitioners understand and use a common language to discuss settlement, integration, racism, transnational families, trauma (PTSD) and etc.

The ELF itself endorses the development of a kind of settlement-focused ELF:

“Young children with different abilities, challenges, resources and cultural backgrounds and their families come together in early childhood settings. They bring unique life experiences and orientations. They and their families benefit most when they are fully included and when they feel that they belong. Children grow up with a strong sense of self in environments that promote attitudes, beliefs and values of equity and democracy and support their full participation. To include everyone, early childhood settings must encourage healthy dialogue about the principles and shared beliefs that relate to inclusion, diversity, and equity. They must recognize every child as a citizen with equal rights and unique views about how to participate in the world. To turn belief statements and principles into practice at the community level requires an infrastructure that actively promotes engagement of all children and their families (p. 12)”.

The development and use of a settlement-focused ELF would also demonstrate collaboration across jurisdictions, if jointly supported by the federal and provincial governments. Importantly, the inclusion of the core components of the ELF in a settlement-focused curriculum document would support quality early learning and care environments and outcomes for newcomer children.

I welcome expressions of interest in developing a settlement-focused early learning curriculum. See my contact info.