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Early Childhood Education Refugees

Early Childhood Education Refugees
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Table of Contents

Education is one of the fundamental human rights. It is a gift that empowers anyone to become better, achieve more, and truly thrive in their lives. 

For over a decade, the vicious wars and armed conflicts worldwide have forbidden the population from education, severely impacting these families, and the worst affected are the most vulnerable; the refugee families.  

Pre-Primary Education for Children Refugee

When discussing pre-primary education, we are addressing children under six years of age. The child’s first years are massively important, shaping the child’s personality, their emotional and mental growth.

As for refugee children, unfortunately, pre-primary education children are born into misfortunate circumstances and the surrounding hardships that, for sure, have some major impacts on their personalities and communication-skill-growth.

Therefore, setting a pre-primary education plan for refugee children is important to shift their lives as fast as possible. 

Refugee children need to feel safe, loved, and cared for in order to grow in a healthy way emotionally and mentally.

Pre-primary education helps refugee children develop skills early as they come together with other children of their age group and learn how to create healthy relationships with their peers. 

Through pre-primary education, refugee children will learn…

  • Language and communication.
  • Physical and emotional developments.
  • Personal and social development.
  • Literacy and mathematics.
  • Express art, love of reading books, and discover science.
  • Understanding the world around them. 

Home-Based Early Childhood Education

Refugee families do not have many choices regarding the priorities of living in refugee-hosting countries. Many families have fled their homes without having any chance to bring their formal life documents; others live in places where racism reigns supreme, and they have no choice but to cope with the community where they end up. 

Although education is a critical factor for a better life in all communities, however, many families find themselves obliged to drop their children out of school due to many reasons, such as;

  1. Financial instabilities and lack of stable incomes.
  2. Absence of the father or breadwinner in the family.
  3. Living conditions.
  4. Housing problems and the constant moving from one place to another.
  5. The fear of racism and its outcomes.
  6. The desire to protect children from any harm, such as; kidnapping, psychological harassment, and sexual abuse.

Therefore, many families have chosen to take home-based childhood education as an equal alternative to educate their children in a safe environment where they can ensure that their young children are safe without risking their education in the future.  

Advantages of Home-Based Programs

There are some advantages to home-based programs, which give the parents the peace of mind they’re looking for by enrolling their children in home-based programs.

  • First, they will build stronger relationships with their children.
  • Second, the child will be safe from all forms of harassment, bullying, abuse, acts of racism, and the risk of kidnapping.
  • Third, children will learn, develop skills and grow up in alignment with the parents’ goals and values. 
  • Fourth, less ridicule and social pressure that reduce self-esteem and discourage learning.
  • Fifth, Less distraction from students who do not value learning allows for greater achievement.

Activity-Based Learning 

Activity-based learning is where students actively participate in the learning experience rather than sit as passive listeners.

We all know that small children learn better by playing and experiencing things; therefore, the learning process, in which children are constantly engaged, is the best way to learn. Interactive games are the ideal methods to develop critical skills in various curriculum subjects like; math, science, language, and arts. Activity-based learning will help children develop…

  1. Better communication skills.
  2. Problem-solving.
  3. Observing and reflection.
  4. Critical thinking and production. 

Integration of New Refugee Children into Education

In 2022 UNHCR declared that the global number of refugees had reached 27.1 million at the end of 2021, and children – aged 17 and younger – constitute nearly 40% of this population.

Since 2011, more than six million Syrians have fled the country and sought refuge in neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt

For example, Turkey hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees currently at 3.7 million; nearly 47% of which are under 18 years old, and a third of them are of school age – from 5 years of age to 17. It’s worth mentioning that 98.7% of the Syrian refugees in Turkey live outside of camps.

As you can see, the process of integrating refugee children into the education system is a political, economic, and social challenge, mainly because the integration of refugee children into the schooling systems is taking place in the neighboring countries that are either low- or middle-income countries. Therefore, to push the educational integration process forward, we need the global community’s support to back up and support teachers and Ministries of education who are responsible for executing this integration. 

Reintegrate Children Who are out of Education

Many refugee children have left schools due to the outcomes of war and what they have witnessed over the years of war and armed conflict.

Therefore, many refugee students are severely affected physically, emotionally, and mentally, traumatized, and unable to communicate well with others.

Other children found themselves obliged to drop out of school to support their family financially, yet dreaming of returning to school to lead a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

By integrating refugee children into national education systems, we give them a reason to hope for tomorrow.

Children need to be physically included in schools; they need to be socially included to overcome their trauma and develop healthy communication skills.

For refugee children, schools are the most important place of contact with members of local host communities, playing an essential role in establishing relationships supportive of integration. 

However, to ensure successful integration for refugee children into the education system, we need to help them make friends and experience belonging and connection for them to learn, and we need to be very conscious of all barriers that could hold them back from learning and integrate well with the education system and their peers at school.

Therefore we need to protect them from physical and emotional bullying and all forms of racism.

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