The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) project, The Dream Diaries tells the stories of refugee children from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and captures their struggles and their aspirations for their new futures. Inspiring and beautifully filmed, this series is important in gaining an understanding of some of what refugee children and youth experience.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is launching a book club for educators with the theme of Understanding the Refugee Experience through Children’s Literature.
March 5th in Toronto. Registration required: firstname.lastname@example.org 416-441-1900.
CMAS, Care for Newcomer Children, have released a guide to support child care staff with information, resources and tools to working with refugee children who have experienced trauma.
The Resilience Guide, written by CMAS staff with advisory support from resiliency experts, shares information on:
• the impact of the refugee experience at different ages
• the developmental effects of trauma and resettlement
• key strategies to strengthen families’ capacity for resilience, and
• practical tip sheets.
From the CBC website: “We’ve been hearing a lot about Dreamers in the U.S. – undocumented young people who fear they may be deported to countries they left as children. Canada has its own ‘dreamers’, but we hear far less about them”. That’s about to change with a series of radio spots from the CBC.
Also see the CBC print story for more information.
Part 2 examines the Canadian policy response to ‘dreamer’ refugees.
CMAS | Care for Newcomer Children * is a federally funded program that provides supports, resources, and helps organizations, to provide culturally appropriate child care for newcomer families participating in the Language Instruction for Newcomers in Canada program.
They have just launched a section on Parenting in their website. The Parenting pages provide useful information and resources, including multilingual resources in:
Parenting ~ information to help newcomer families adjust to parenting in Canada, including multilingual resources covering general parenting practices
Child development ~ information, resources and ideas to encourage the cognitive, social, emotional, and language development of children
Health and safety ~ information on nutrition, immunizations, mental health, physical activity guidelines, and product recall information
School readiness ~ information on how to support a smooth transition to the school system.
*CMAS (formerly known as Childminding Advisory and Support Services) is funded through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and was founded in 2000. More recently, it supports and promotes the care for newcomer children model. “Childminding” is no longer used.
How (well) do immigrant children adjust to new shores? Researcher Monica Valencia, Ryerson University, asked a group of children to answer the question through drawings.
She found that there were 4 themes in the children’s drawings:
- Sadness (leaving behind family, friends, neighbourhood)
- Anxiety (unfamiliar, sometimes hostile environment)
- Frustration (so much new to learn! Language, customs)
- Gratitude for friendship (peer support critical to happy integration).
See more immigration related stories by Keung here.
Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC), believes that children can learn from, and refugee children can benefit from a comic book that tells common Syrian folk tales. The comic is called Haawiyat and is written band illustrated by y a number of international folks. (English version here).
Recently CYRIC gave away copies in Gaziantep, Turkey and are seeking crowdfunding to produce a second, and bigger, edition. crowdfunding platform Razoo
10. Syrian refugee children are welcomed to Canada with a dedicated play area at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. #WelcomeRefugees starts trending! Shared by @viraniarif.
9. The 1000 Schools Challenge rallies Canadian schools to welcome refugee children. Shared by @SetAtWork.
8. StatsCan releases report on immigrant children’s performance in math vs. their Canadian-born peers. Research matters! Shared by @StatCan_eng.
7. Syrian refugee children: A Guide for welcoming young children and their families is released. Shared by @CMASCanada.
6. The UNHCR & COSTI holds a Human Rights Child & Youth Poetry Contest. Art matters! Shared by @marcopolis.
5. The 2015 Prosperity Index names Canada the most tolerant country in the world. Shared by @CGBrandonLee.
4. Forty-six visible minorities are elected in #Elxn42. If they can see it, they can be it! Shared by @Andrew_Griffith.
3. Canada elects a government with a self-proclaimed feminist prime minister, who creates a Cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion, puts refugees in the immigration portfolio, and who returns the multiculturalism file to Canadian Heritage.
2.Trent University recognizes child care champion Martha Friendly with an honourary PhD. Martha is an advocate for inclusive, culturally-appropriate child care and early childhood education for all children in Canada. Shared by @TorontoStar.
The Trudeau government yesterday released details on cabinet committees. Among them, one on diversity and inclusion, whose purpose is to “Consider(s) issues concerning the social fabric of Canada and the promotion of Canadian pluralism. Examines initiatives designed to strengthen the relationship with Indigenous Canadians, improve the economic performance of immigrants, and promote Canadian diversity, multiculturalism, and linguistic duality“.
Lots of opportunities here to address, support, and promote needs of immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families. In terms of improving the economic performance of immigrants, the Trudeau government is encouraged to (continue to) work with the early learning and child care community and implement a pan-Canadian child care system that is regulated, publicly-funded, high-quality, accessible and affordable, and culturally-appropriate.
Regarding linguistic duality, while immigrantchildren.ca recognizes that French and English are the two official languages of Canada, we invite the cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion to learn about the importance of supporting and promoting a child’s home language (or, L1 as it is sometimes referred to). Research demonstrates that children learning to speak a new language, who are supported and encouraged to use their home language, accomplish this task better. Communities and policies need to explore ways to help children retain their home language while they also learn the language(s) of their new home.
The Chair of the cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, John McCallum. The Co-Chair is Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Members of the committee include:
Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women |
All Ministers and Members of Parliament can be written, postage-free, to: The House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6.
The CBCs piece on “A young perspective on Syrian refugee children, past and present”.