Edited By Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw and Larry Prochner
9 Children’s Representations of Cultural Scripts in Play: Facilitating Transition from Home to Preschool in an Intercultural Early Learning Program for Refugee ChildrenAnna Kirova
Facilitating Transition from Home to Preschool in an Intercultural Early Learning Program for Refugee Children
The focus of this chapter is the role of play as a cultural activity in refugee children’s transition from home to preschool. The study challenged the “culture-free” view of play as a means for development of a “universal” child. It provided an alternative view of play as cultural leading activity in the development of a culturally situated child based on the work of Vygotsky (1978) and Leont’ev (1981). These theorists frame a community-initiated project that aimed at providing learning opportunities in both children’s home languages and English so that linguistic and cultural continuity as well as smooth transition from home to school cultures was provided for the children. The children and the first-language facilitators spoke four languages in the classroom (i.e., Kurdish, Somali, Sudanese Arabic, and English). The pilot study, using participatory action and learning methodology, demonstrated that the intercultural approach to education could open possibilities for new directions in early childhood practice in which a hybrid space is open for children and adults who share it to bring together their knowledges and ways of being in the world. In this space, play is a vehicle for preserving cultural group identities while creating a common culture.
Immigrant and refugee populations in Canada are growing fast. Between 2001 and 2006, those populations grew by 13.6%, four times faster than the Canadian-born population (Statistics Canada, 2006). Research on immigrant...
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