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Strengthening Schools to Support the Needs of Refugee Students

314

Kirsten Cavanaugh

Summary:

Strong relationships between families and schools must take place to support our learners. Never have these co-operative relations been as important as they are during Covid, when our students were expected to attend to learning with the help of their parents. As a country and province we have seen an increasing number of refugee families in recent years.

Recently arrived refugee children face many challenges when adapting to their new country and schools along with their parents who are may be looking for work, attempting to learn English and adapting to different cultural norms. For these families, the lack of familiarity with the Canadian school system and implicit expectations and norms can be a struggle. Without strong in-school supports, these children are at risk of failing socially or academically. The purpose of this project is to understand the refugee experience with at-home learning to strengthen our supports for student success.

By speaking with the families directly, educators can understand the barriers and are better able to provide avenues for support. Positive relationships between school personnel and parents are critical to a refugee child’s school-related successes, and to their broader relationships with the community. The findings and recommendations will bridge gaps and ensure strong stakeholder relationships are maintained.