The Migration Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington, DC, recently published a report based on work by Bank Street’s former National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness (NCCLR). The study, called “Providing a Head Start: Improving Access to Early Childhood Education for Refugees,” examined the language and cultural barriers that can limit refugee families’ access to Head Start programs for their children and investigated what can be done to remove these barriers.
“The report is a culmination of a unique partnership between NCCLR and Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services (BRYCS),” said Faith Lamb-Parker, Director of Bank Street’s Center for Culturally Responsive Practice and former director of NCCLR. “It was the first time that two offices of the Administration for Children and Families worked together on a project.”
Researchers studied collaborations between Early Head Start/Head Start programs and refugee resettlement agencies in Syracuse, NY and Phoenix, AZ. They found that this kind of collaboration can increase refugee participation in Head Start, which can have a considerable impact on the social, emotional, cognitive, and language development of their children.
“The most exciting part for us was creating national-level materials for the Office of Head Start and the Office of Refugee Resettlement while implementing community-level professional development and parent engagement in Syracuse and Phoenix,” said Lamb-Parker. “Our parent guide and tip sheets were translated into Spanish and Arabic, which is a first for the Office of Head Start.”
Lamb-Parker and Bank Street staff member Tarima Levine led the NCCLR work that produced the study. The research was conducted by Lyn Morland, a Research Fellow with NCCLR, Nicole Ives of McGill University, and Clea McNeely and Chenoa Allen of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You can download the full report by clicking here.