14 SES 08 A, International Perspectives on Immigrant Students, Families and Communities
In Sweden of today and Europe, there is a lively debate about the reception and education of migrating children, young people and adults (Nilsson & Bunar 2015; Nilsson Folke 2015). The educational challenges have often been conceptualized and explained as a problem of difference in culture, ethnicity and language of the migrant children (León-Rosales 2010; Lunneblad 2013; Nilsson & Bunar 2015). Bouakaz, (2009), for instance, shows that in meeting the newly arrived families, it is the differences that are conceptualized as problematic. The position of the child’s mother tongue is a basic factor affecting access to education and school success (Ball 2011).
Intercultural school development is a fundamental condition for democratic societies, and a priority in European policy today (Council of Europe 2007, 2015, 2016). The project at hand aims to address the demands of a changing educational landscape and broaden the picture of the situation of children and families with an immigrant background from a civic perspective.
The project focuses newly arrived children’s first encounter with the Swedish educational system in the context of preschool. There are few studies on newly arrived children in the Swedish preschool. According to Tallberg Broman et al. (2015) focus on diversity, migration and ethnicity is also limited in relation to preschool. The forms of early childhood education and care vary greatly across Europe (European Commission, 2015). In Sweden, preschool is part of the overall education system. It has its own national curriculum, as well as formal university level training requirements for preschool teachers. Since the 1970s, preschool has played an important part of Swedish integration policy (Lunneblad 2013), and today an intercultural approach is emphasized (Skolverket 2010). In 2011, one in five preschool children had a different first language than Swedish and this number is increasing. Only in 2015, more than 16,000 children between one and six with the right to attend preschool and preschool class arrived in Sweden (Skolverket 2016; Migrationsverket 2016). In this process preschool as an organisational and educational setting has an important role to play. As Persson (2012) has pointed out, in an increasingly segregated society, and in the case of creating intercultural and multilingual education, the preschool can provide solutions and make a difference. This is why the project’s objective is to develop ways of organising spaces in preschool for successful learning and teaching through a participatory approach. The preschool teachers and other actors, as well as the children and their families take part in and collaborate in the research project from their perspectives and in a manner where their experiences and knowledge are seen as assets. The aims of the project in this respect correspond to the principles set forward by the Working group of the European Commission, which stress that quality depends on ”relationships between ECEC providers and children’s families; relationships and interactions between staff and children, and among children; (...) the involvement of parents in the work of the ECEC setting and the day-to-day pedagogic practice of staff within an ECEC context;” (European Commission, 2014, p. 6) ”A professional role is one which is regulated and requires individuals to develop and reflect on their own practice and with parents and children, create a learning environment which is constantly renewed and improved.” (European Commission p. 70)
The participatory research design, in which different actors co-operate to organize preschool as a setting and civic instrument will also constitute a knowledge contribution in itself. Besides the participant’s knowledge development, the objective is to strengthen the scientific base and proven experience as support to professional knowledge.
Ball, J. (2011). Educational equity for children from diverse backgrounds: Mother tongue-based bilingual or multilingual education in the early years: Literature Review. Paris: UNESCO. Bouakaz, L. (2009). Metodbok i föräldrasamverkan–För ett verkningsfullt partnerskap mellan skola och hem.(Methods for parent collaboratioin – For effective partnership between school and homes). Malmö Stad. Braye, S., & McDonnell, L. (2013). Balancing powers: university researchers thinking critically about participatory research with young fathers. Qualitative Research, 13(3), 265-284. Council of Europe (2007). Working documents for preparation of White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue 2007 Council of Europe (2015). Competences for Democratic Culture and Intercultural Dialogue. Council of Europe (2016). The development of a Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture: Final Declaration on the Conference Theme “Securing Democracy Through Education”. Standing Conference of Ministers of Education, 25th session, Brussels, 11-12 April 2016. European Commission (2014). Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Report of the working group on early childhood education and care under the auspices of the European Commission. European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2015). Early Childhood Education and Care Systems in Europe. National Information Sheets – 2014/15. Eurydice Facts and Figures. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Gallacher, L. A., & Gallagher, M. (2008). Methodological Immaturity in Childhood Research? Thinking through participatory methods'. Childhood, 15(4), 499-516. Kultti, A. (2014). Flerspråkiga barns villkor i förskolan. Lärande av och på ett andra språk. (Conditions for bilingual children in preschool: Learning of and in a second language). Liber AB. León Rosales, R. (2010). Vid framtidens hitersta gräns: Om maskulina elevpositioner i en multietnisk skola (At the closest border to the future: On masculine pupil positions in a multiethnic school). Mångkulturellt centrum. Lunneblad, J. (2013). Tid till att bli svensk: En studie av mottagandet av nyanlända barn och familjer i den svenska förskolan (time to become Swedish: A study of reception of newly arrived children and families in Swedish preschool). Tidsskrift for Nordisk barnehageforskning, 6. McNiff, J. (2002). Action research: principles and practice. London: Routledge Falmer. Nilsson Folke, J. (2015). ‘Sitting on embers’: a phenomenological exploration of the embodied experiences of inclusion of newly arrived students in Sweden. Gender and Education, 1-16. Nilsson, J., & Bunar, N. (2015). Educational Responses to Newly Arrived Students in Sweden: Understanding the Structure and Influence of Post-Migration Ecology. SJER 1-18. Tallberg Broman, I., Vallberg Roth, A., Palla, L., & Persson, S. (2015). Förskola tidig intervention (Preschool early intervention). Delrapport från SKOLFORSK-projektet.
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