Expanding Effective ECEC Services for Young Refugee Children

September 11-12, 2017 Berlin (Germany)

As several EU Member States continue to experience high numbers of refugee arrivals, the need to improve reception and integration systems for refugee populations is urgent. Large proportions of refugees and asylum seekers are young children. Like their parents and siblings, they can face numerous stressors as they attempt to master a new and unfamiliar environment in their receiving communities and deal with great uncertainty related to their personal well-being and longer-term life prospects.

Within this challenging context, early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems and services have the potential to meet essential needs of these children at a critical and formative period in their development. Well-designed ECEC services can play a vital role in supporting the effective reception of young refugee children, identifying and mitigating the effects of stress or trauma they may have experienced, and more generally supporting their healthy physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development as well as that of their families. Given their emphasis on holistic service provision and natural strengths in family and community engagement, ECEC systems are also well-positioned to address family needs more broadly, and can help host countries achieve broader integration goals and promote the building of peaceful and inclusive societies.

This symposium seeks to uplift promising practices and strategies deployed in ECEC programs and systems in the EU, US, and Canada to effectively and holistically serve young refugee children and their families, and explore their implications for action in the practice and policy spheres as numerous countries seek to better meet the needs of refugee- and asylum-seeker families.

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