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.

C4P: Podcasts featuring CYRRC content

January 13 Update: The deadline for applications has been extended to January 22.

The Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition (CYRRC) is a nationwide alliance of academics, community partners and government agencies working to promote the successful integration of refugee children, youth and their families.

The CYRRC has issued a Call for Proposals for individuals and groups to produce a series of podcasts using the CYRRCs research. and with the help of the CYRRC.

Please see below for more information.

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”.

How Montreal’s La Maison Bleue Centre supports resilience in migrant mothers

Interesting recent article in PLoS ONE, 14(7) on “Strengthening resilience among migrant mothers living in Montreal, Canadaby Thalia Aubé, Sarah Pisanu, Lisa Merry.

From the Abstract:

“La Maison Bleue is a community-based perinatal health and social centre in Montreal that provides services during pregnancy up to age five to families living in vulnerable contexts. The study aimed to describe: 1) the challenges and protective factors that affect the well-being of migrant families receiving care at La Maison Bleue; and 2) how La Maison Bleue strengthens resilience among these families.

Methods

“We conducted a focused ethnography. Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants were invited to participate. We collected data from November to December 2017 via semi-structured interviews and participant observation during group activities at La Maison Bleue. Data were thematically analysed.

Results

“Twenty-four mothers participated (9 interviewed, 17 observed). Challenges to well-being included family separation, isolation, loss of support, the immigration process, an unfamiliar culture and environment, and language barriers. Key protective factors were women’s intrinsic drive to overcome difficulties, their positive outlook and ability to find meaning in their adversity, their faith, culture and traditions, and supportive relationships, both locally and transnationally. La Maison Bleue strengthened resilience by providing a safe space, offering holistic care that responded to both medical and psychosocial needs, and empowering women to achieve their full potential towards better health for themselves and their families.

Conclusion

“Migrant mothers have many strengths and centres like La Maison Bleue can offer a safe space and be an empowering community resource to assist mothers in overcoming the multiple challenges that they face while resettling and raising their young children in a new country.”

Rights for Children and Youth Partnership: Strengthening Collaboration in the Americas (RCYP) seeks participants with experience in child welfare in Canada

This SHRCC funded project,  Rights for Children and Youth Partnership: Strengthening Collaboration in the Americas (RCYP) is based out of Ryerson University.  The project aims to “increase knowledge and factors that either support or hinder the protection of children and youth rights in the Caribbean, Central American and disproportionately represented populations in Canada” including in Canada, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Trinidad and Tobago.

The project is seeking participation from Caribbean families and children with experience in the child welfare system in Canada. Your participation will support the RCYPs mission to “increase knowledge of factors which support or hinder the protection of children and youth rights in the Caribbean, Central America, as well as the diaspora populations in Canada, which are disproportionately represented in the Canadian child welfare system”.

 

 

News from RCYP ~ Rights for Children and Youth Partnership: Strengthening collaboration in the Americas

From their website, “The Rights for Children and Youth Partnership: Strengthening Collaboration in the Americas (RCYP) is a SSHRC funded project. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge and factors that either support or hinder the protection of children and youth rights in the Caribbean, Central American and disproportionately represented populations in Canada.

“This project features a collaboration of research from universities, government, and non-government, and international organizations. Researchers involved in the project come from eight different countries around the world including: Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Trinidad & Tobago”.

RCYP will be relaunching their blog this fall and are seeking contributions from researchers, practitioners and children and youth to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences regarding children and youth rights.

In addition, RCYP is seeking youth to serve on their Youth Advisory Committee. For info, contact

 

 

Singing and belonging: Researching newcomer children’s integration through choir participation

The Children’s Studies program at York University and the immigrant and settlement agency,  CultureLink are seeking an Arabic speaking postdoctoral research fellow for a three-year research project that will examine “the wellbeing and integrative impacts of children’s participation in choirs for newcomers to Canada”.
 Interested? Have a look: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

Want more information? Contact Dr. Andrea Emberly aemberly@yorku.ca

Related upcoming event: This Thursday, January 25th, Culture Link is holding an open house to introduce its Children and Youth Centre in Toronto. See you there?

Statistics Canada on children with an immigrant background

Statistics Canada have released census findings from 2016 including a Census in Brief on children with an immigrant background. As on their website, here are some highlights:

  • “In 2016, close to 2.2 million children under the age of 15, or 37.5% of the total population of children, had at least one foreign born parent.
  • “Children with an immigrant background could represent between 39% and 49% of the total population of children in 2036.
  • “Almost half of children with an immigrant background were from an Asian country of ancestry, while less than one quarter were from a European country of ancestry or the United States.
  • “Close to 15% of children with an immigrant background lived in a household with at least three generations.
  • “More than one third of children with an immigrant background spoke only an official language at home, compared with less than 10% of their parents”.

Read the entire brief here.

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!”