Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration writes to us!

On behalf of the Early Childhood Working Group, CCICY, letters of congratulation were sent to the newly named provincial ministers of Citizenship and Immigration (The Honourable Michael Chan) and Children and Youth Services (The Honourable Deb Matthews) on November 17, 2007.

The letters of congratulation were a way to introduce the cabinet ministers to us and to the CCICY. They were also an item on our workplan.

I am delighted to report that Minister Chan has responded. When Minister Matthews replies, I’ll post that letter too. Click the image below to read Minister Chan’s reply.

Link to letter from Minister Chan

Globe article about literacy & numeracy programs for immigrant and refugee children

See the December 6, 2007 Globe and Mail article “Leaping over educational adversity: Young immigrants and refugees with little or no formal schooling are thriving in Toronto’s intensive literacy and numeracy program”. An excerpt:

” As more children with non-existent or interrupted educations resettle in Canada, school boards are increasingly struggling to cope with the unique challenges of schooling the un-schooled. …

“A 2006 report by the Canadian School Boards Association called for the federal government to fund more programs to help refugee and immigrant children adjust to the school system, more provincial dollars and better training for teachers”.

Census 2006 & immigration stats

Statistics Canada has released several data sets of interest. The news yesterday focussed on the increase of immigrants and the type of immigrants Canada is receiving. It’s important to flag the issues that immigrant parents and children are experiencing. An op-ed, anyone?


See the Statistics Canada website for:

Immigration and citizenship highlight tables

Language highlight tables

2006 community profiles.

Customized views of data sets are available and, for our purposes, allow us to look at the numbers of immigrant children coming into Canada. Age breakdowns: 0-4 yrs, 5-9.

Also of interest is mother tongue and language spoken most often at home.

Call for papers: ECE & immigrant children

Early Childhood Research Quarterly – Special Issue: Call for Papers

Early Childhood Education and Immigrant Children: Promises, Perils, Cultures, and the Transition to School

Early Childhood Research Quarterly is planning to publish a special issue dedicated to the diversity of early childhood environments for young immigrant children, and implications for successful development and school transitions. …Most of the current research … has been conducted with older children and adolescents, leaving our knowledge of the development of young immigrant children (age 0-8) sorely lacking.

The deadline for manuscript submission is April 1, 2008, with a projected deadline for receipt of final revised drafts of papers accepted by October 1, 2008. Questions should be directed to Micere Keels micere@uchicago.edu.

Ontario appoints an early learning advisor

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has named Charles Pascal today to be his Early Learning Advisor. Promised during the last provincial election, an Early Learning Advisor would inform the province on the development of a full-day “preschool” program. Alternately described as full day Kindergarten and/or an integrated early learning and child care program, the news is being applauded by both the education and child care sectors:

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario supports the appointment as does the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

Dr. Pascal is currently the Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation. Given the Atkinson Foundation‘s support for immigration issues, Dr. Pascal will surely recognize the opportunity for immigrant children in a full-day preschool / early learning and child care program and work with the immigration sector to ensure the needs of immigrant parents and children are addressed. Let’s send a letter of congratulations to Dr. Pascal.

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”.