Mobilizing Innovative Models in Early Childhood Education and Care for Newcomer Families and Children

Researchers: Jessie-Lee McIsaac1, Nahal Fakhari1, Milena Pimentel1, Nickolas Hickens1, Heather Podanovitch1, Emma Coughlan1, Nabiha Atallah1, Gina Moynan2, Tayitu Sebsibie2
Affiliation: Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre (ECCRC) Mount Saint Vincent University1, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)2
Research Partner: ISANS
Keywords: Early learning, child care, early childhood education (ECE), settlement agencies, newcomer children, newcomer families, social and emotional development
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Overview: This study explored current early learning and child care (ELCC) programs available to newcomer families to better understand what is needed to meet the unique social and emotional learning needs of newcomer children.

Objective: to describe how ELCC is implemented through settlement agencies in Canada and identify innovative approaches to programming.

Research Justification: High-quality ELCC programs are positioned to support newcomer family settlement, reduce socio-economic inequalities, and enhance children’s social and emotional development and language acquisition. However, there is limited research that has explored how ELCC is delivered to newcomer families.

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Executive Summary


The research team conducted a website scan of settlement organizations, sent out surveys, and invited key informants to participate in interviews. Overall, 38 organizations participated; all were English-speaking programs. Not all participating programs were IRCC-funded or followed Childminding, Monitoring, Advisory and Support (CMAS) requirements – the guidelines followed by IRCC funded Care for Newcomer Children (CNC) programs. Twenty-three programs only received IRCC funding, 12 received IRCC and additional funding (e.g., provincial, municipal, community), and 2 did not receive IRCC funding. Twenty-nine programs followed CMAS requirements, 2 programs had some services that followed CMAS requirements, and 5 programs did not follow CMAS requirements.

Interviews with settlement organizations provided additional information on their ELCC programs and their perspectives on the experiences of newcomer families. A thematic analysis identified the perceived strengths, perceived challenges, and innovative approaches that influence the accessibility, inclusion, and quality of ELCC programs. 


Perceived Strengths:

Perceived Challenges:

Innovative Models:


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