Young refugee children benefit greatly from access to early years educational provision. The support, facilities and care provided will help them to feel safe and secure, develop confidence and promote their language and communication skills.
Social contact with other children and adults who speak English will promote their early language learning. Play experiences, in particular, can help children make sense of their experiences and build confidence and social skills. Good early years practice should also seek to promote equal opportunities and parental involvement.
Developing support for young refugee children is the responsibility of all practitioners working in early years settings. A key principle of the Early Years Foundation Stage is ensuring that all children feel included, secure and valued.
Research has indicated that refugee children are under-represented in most forms of early years provision. With more under fives than in the general population, refugees may have a greater need for early years provision. Many refugee women, who usually have responsibility for young children, may have lost family and community support networks. The Equality Act 2010 requires early years settings to tackle discrimination and any inequalities in access to services that might be experienced by refugee families.
Refugee parents often lack information about early years services or are unfamiliar with what may be provided. Frequent changes of accommodation may also mean that families are unable to become familiar with local services, or have their links with them disrupted.
Welcoming refugee parents and involving them in the life of nurseries, pre-school groups and other settings can also reduce isolation and assist integration into the local community.
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