This spring, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa concluded work on “Immigrant children, youth and families: A Qualitative analysis of the challenges of integration”, as part of their Families in Community project.
The report addresses the disconnect when newcomer families feel their parenting and child-rearing methods are not acknowledged/respected and the tension service providers feel about some newcomers who they perceive demonstrate a lack of commitment to early child development.
Next stages in the SPCO Families in Community project will result in:
An analysis of best/good practices for culturally-based family supports by ethno-cultural organizations.
Supports to good/best practices within 8 pilot projects with small ethno-cultural organizations.
A resource kit for mainstream family services based on good practices serving new immigrant families.
The report will be launched at the annual Social Planning Council of Ottawa AGM, May 26, 2011 in Ottawa. For information, contact Helene by May 15 at 613-236-9300 ext. 300 firstname.lastname@example.org. Free admission, but donations are welcome.
The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA) May 9th AMSSA Newcomer Children’s Information Exchange, or ANCIE Bulletin, announces the release of the “Compendium of Newcomer Children’s Services in British Columbia” and links to videos and presentations from the first Provincial Symposium on Cultural Competencies: Supporting Newcomer Children, held at SFU Harbour Centre in February, 2010.
What a rich resource! The Compendium provides an overview of programs and services for newcomer children from birth to age 12. It was developed by AMSSA member agencies in BC. The Compendium includes:
• A list of programs developed at the community level for newcomer children
• An overview of general children’s programs that have been modified to meet the specific needs of newcomer children
• Agencies, groups and individuals with expertise in providing services to newcomer children.
Presentations at the February 2010 symposium, linked in the Bulletin include:
• Sylvia Helmer, UBC, ESL Consultant: Cultural Competency in the Classroom and Curriculum
• Jim Anderson, UBC: Engaging Newcomer Children and Parents through Literacy
• Deb Kohen and Amber Phillips, Ministry of Children and Family Development: Positive Parenting Program: Helping newcomer families understand Canadian laws and norms in discipline and parenting.
Dr. Judith A. Colbert has recently launched the book “Welcoming Newcomer Children: The Settlement of Young Immigrants and Refugees”.
In her book, Dr. Colbert proposes ten steps to quality for newcomer child care. The book asks caregivers to consider the unique settlement needs of immigrant and refugee children; draws on international research; examines values and beliefs on child care from non-Western points of view; and suggests strategies for working with newly arrived immigrant and refugee children, from birth to Kindergarten age.
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”.
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!): mylanguage.ca.
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 email@example.com.
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:
- Building cross-cultural competence (Sept 22, 2010)
- Building trusting relationships with families: Towards a motivational understanding of change (Oct 13, 2010)
- Promoting children’s mental health (Nov 10, 2010)
- Understanding attachment: How early relationships influence the brain’s architecture (Dec 8, 2010)
- Building circles of support through service coordination (Jan 19, 2011)
- 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.
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 for settlement workers (announced on immigrantchildren.ca 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.
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 immigrantchildren.ca, 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 immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!
Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 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 welcomehere.ca.
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.
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.