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Given the current interest in the impact of early education programs on children, I propose to explore how immigrant children can benefit from early education programs, and acquire basic skills that they need to succeed in grade schools and beyond. Hence the title is Accommodating the Needs of Children of Immigrants Within Early Childhood Programs.
According to Morse (2005), children of immigrants entering public schools are steadily increasing. It is said that one in five children in the United States is an immigrant or has immigrant parents. Consequently, there is now a significant emerging demand by educators for resources and skill enhancements with respect to limited English proficient (LEP) students. The new requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) for assessment has made it challenging for schools to meet the needs of this growing population of students.
Magnuson, Lahaie and Waldfogel (2006), conducted a study on school readiness of children of immigrants using data from an early childhood survey to measure the links between preschool attendance and school readiness. The children whose mothers were born outside of the United States were less likely to enroll in preschool than other children. The report states that children of immigrants who attend preschool programs are more likely to pass a screening test for English-language proficiency than children who did not attend preschool. This suggests that attending quality preschool program boosts early language skills as well as math scores. The report exhibits the discrepancies in the type of care utilized by immigrant and non-immigrant mothers. Almost 46 % of immigrant children versus 63 % of non-immigrant are likely to be enrolled in preschool program, and 29 % immigrants versus 16% are likely to be cared for by parents or other family members (Magnuson et al., 2006).
Many children who enter Kindergarten have had experience of preschool education in a formal setting; either in a prekindergarten, nursery, or head start program. These children have higher levels of social-emotional and academic skills than children who had informal child care or were at home with their parents or other relatives (Magnuson, 2006). High quality pre-K programs have lasting and positive effects on children's future outcomes. Attendance of early childhood program brings reduction of special education placement, high school drop-out rates and teenage pregnancies. Children who are poor or of immigrants are likely to lack access to early childhood programs (Rebell & Wolff, 2008).
Webster-Stratton, Reid & Stoolmiller, (2008), said that school readiness is beyond intelligence, it encompasses" emotional self-regulatory ability, social competence, absence of behavioral problems and parent-teacher involvement" (p. 471). Children who exhibit mentioned challenges are said to be at a high risk for academic failure. A survey report indicated that "46% of kindergarten teachers reported that more than half of children in their classes were not ready for school" (Webster- Stratton et al., 2008). These kindergarteners lack self-regulatory skills and emotional and social competencies needed to function in kindergarten (Webster Stratton et al., 2008). The report of Webster-Stratton indicated that exposure to multiple poverty-related risks "increases the odds that children will demonstrate lower social competence and emotional self regulations and more behavior problems than children who have a higher economic advantage" (2008, p. 472). It was indicated that early gaps in social competence persists and widens as children progress in school.
The home environment constitutes a significant aspect in the development of a child. How then can every child be exposed to have a positive experience through a model from parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers? According to Szente (2007), a positive experience can lead children to move in positive direction while not so positive experience will create barriers for future success.
Statement of Purpose
The objective of this Capstone proposal is to look into how immigrant children can be
empowered to become self-sufficient, self-motivated; and how parents can be involved in collaborating with educators to achieve this goal. The proposed Capstone will explore what remedial approaches are practical to address gaps in preschool attendance for children of immigrants. Immigrant children who miss attendance of quality preschool program will be provided with an enrichment intervention program designed to assist them. The program is intended to bridge the gap that might be created by lack of early formal education.
- How can educators mitigate negative impacts of social inequalities upon early education of children?
- What are the structures and roles within some immigrant families?
- What programs are in place to meet the needs of immigrant children?
- What are the disparities in resources across schools with high population of immigrant children?
- How will teacher education be supported in order for teachers to acquire capabilities to meet the needs of the growing population of immigrant children?
- Will curriculum be modified to bridge the achievement gap between the immigrant children and their counterparts?
How the issues will be addressed
The issues and questions will be addressed after careful investigation of research articles and creating an enrichment intervention curriculum that is culturally and linguistically responsive and will "seek possibilities for all students". There will be elaboration on specific areas of recommendation namely; teacher-parent awareness campaign, engaging stakeholders from community cultural groups, and long-term government funding policy changes.
Magnuson, K., Lahaie, C. & Waldfogel, J. (2006). Preschool and school readiness of children of immigrants. Social Science Quarterly, 87 (5). Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com
Morse, A. (2005). A look at immigrant youth: Prospects and promising practices. National Conference of State Legislatures. Children's Policy Initiative. A Collaborative Project on Children and Family Issues. Retrieved from http:// scholar.goggle.com
Rebell, M. A. & Wolff, J. R. (2008). Moving every child ahead. New York: Teachers College Press.
Szente, J. (2007). Empowering young children for success in school and in life. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(6), 449-453. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com
Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Stoolmiller, M. (2008). Preventing conduct problems and improving readiness: Evaluation of incredible years teacher and child training programs in high-risk schools. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9(5), 471-488. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com