Young refugee children benefit greatly from access to early years educational provision. The support, facilities and care provided will help them to feel safe and secure, develop confidence and promote their language and communication skills.
Refugee parents and carers with responsibility for young children, particularly women, may be new to a local area and lack family and community support networks. Welcoming refugee parents and carers and involving them in the life of nursery schools, children’s centres, pre-school groups and other early years settings can reduce isolation and assist integration into local communities.
Developing support for young refugee children is the responsibility of all practitioners working in early years settings. Early years settings in England that receive nursery education grant funding are required to plan learning opportunities in line with the foundation stage curriculum. A key principle of the foundation stage curriculum is ensuring that all children feel included, secure and valued. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 requires maintained early years settings to ‘eliminate unlawful racial discrimination’ and ‘promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups’. Maintained nursery schools and schools must have a race equality policy that is linked to an action plan.
The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme encompasses all children, from birth to age 19. Early years educational settings will play a key role in the joined-up system of health, family support, childcare and education services so that all children get the best start possible.