Creating more inclusive early learning classrooms for immigrant and refugee children

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


One-quarter of students across Canada are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and learning English (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013; Zabjek, 2015). Classrooms in Canada will continue to face this growing reality of diversity as immigrant and refugee populations increase due to the global phenomenon of transnational movement (Adams & Kirova, 2007; Statistics Canada, 2011). There is a need to understand the complex and multifaceted relationship between home and school experiences of children whose lives are marked by events of migration to better support their learning and new understandings of the complex world around them. Without greater insight into immigrant and refugee children’s experiences, the school environment, curriculum, pedagogy, and even teachers’ expectations could impede children’s learning and socialization as they transition into school (Adams & Kirova, 2007). Creating a stronger link between children’s home and school lives is necessary, as both contexts shape immigrant and refugee children’s lives and identities (Adams & Kirova, 2007; Marshall & Toohey, 2010). To provide a context for true cultural integration and intercultural education, early learning settings need to actively seek and incorporate the practices and resources of the newcomer families into everyday experiences in the classroom (Adams & Kirova, 2007; Cummins, Chow, & Schecter, 2006). One way to do this is through common childhood activities of play and art. Through my ethnographic study, I propose to investigate the role of visual arts and play in supporting culturally and linguistically diverse children’s ability to successfully navigate, represent, and understand the two worlds and cultures—home and school—in which they live and construct their identities. This presentation will outline my proposed methodology, highlighting data collection techniques, participant selection, and process of data analysis.
Period12 Mar 2016
Event title8th Annual University of Alberta Elementary and Secondary Graduate Student Research Showcase
Event typeConference
LocationEdmonton, Canada, AlbertaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal