Since Winter 2016, the Multilingual Families Lab has been working with students and community members to develop an innovative program to support the early language development of children who were refugees from Syria. We were excited to have our work spotlighted on the CYRRC website. CYRRC is a nationwide alliance of academics, community partners and government agencies working to promote the successful integration of refugee children, youth and their families. They have provided funding to support the research program within this work (thank you!!). We have continued this work and explored adaptations to ensure equitable access during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also developed strategies to ensure that parents are included.
Interested in learning more about our work? You can check out these open-access resources.
- French-language workbook (an English one is almost ready to lauch!)
- You can read about the program in a recent edition of Diversity Canada.
- And the infographic developed by the CYRRC team
Our program has focused on dual-language stimulation in French and Arabic, and more recently we’ve expanded to include English and other languages. The goal has been to continue to build and enrich the first language and to introduce the language of schooling. We aimed to provide culturally appropriate activities and involved parents, community partners and administrators. In implementation, we advocate for the role of schools in finding ways to build bridges with parents and community organisations. We also believe that families should receive continued support post-migration, and supports in their first langauge. And community partnerships are important for improving refugee families’ knowledge and access to services.
We have learned so much from the families we have worked with and from our bilingual students who have contributed brilliant ideas to keep the program growing.