Ongoing Project:

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

Researchers: Jessie-Lee McIsaac1, Marlene Ramos1, Nahal Fakhair1, Nabiha Atallah2, Gina Moynan2, Tayitu Sebsibie2
Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre (ECCRC), Mount Saint Vincent University1, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)2
Research Partner: ISANS
refugee children, refugee families, newcomer families, newcomer children, early learning, early childhood education, ECE, child care, settlement agencies, social and emotional development, wellbeing


Overview: This study explores current early learning and child care (ELCC) programs available to newcomer families and seeks to better understand what is needed to meet the unique social and emotional learning needs of newcomer children.

Objective: to identify innovative approaches to early learning and child care (ELCC) programs that meet the unique needs of newcomer families and support the social and emotional development of these children.

Research Justification: Early learning and child care (ELCC) is a key setting that can promote social and emotional development through high-quality learning environments and experiences, but there is limited research that has explored how ELCC is delivered to newcomer families and what features best support newcomer families and children.


The study uses a jurisdictional website scan with key informant interviews, following a standardized process that has been previously published. Information from the website scan will be used to describe settlement agency program delivery according to predetermined characteristics, such as target age of children, staff training, funding arrangement, the costs to families, and physical location. Key informant interviews with settlement agencies will provide additional information on their ELCC programs and their perspectives on the experiences of newcomers, with a focus on refugee families. The interview data will be used to directly verify and supplement information from the website scan. A thematic analysis will be conducted to identify perceived strengths and limitations of ELCC models and to identify innovative approaches to ensure accessible, inclusive, and high-quality ELCC programs for newcomer, specifically refugee, families.

This project will be conducted alongside other research focused on the first voice experiences of newcomers, including refugee families and their access to ELCC for their young children.

Research Questions:

  1. How are resettlement agencies across Canada delivering ELCC to newcomer families?
  2. What are the unique priorities of ELCC to support newcomer families and children?

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