Chapter 2 – Starting life in a new country

Starting life in a new country

Leaving home country is never easy. People leave there not only their property, but also their social network, job, reputation, they must start a new life, where no one knows them. Future in a new country is uncertain, often with a new lifestyle and habits they don´t know. Starting a kindergarten or a school in a new country could be stressful for a child and his parents, but on the other side, this is a good opportunity to bond with other families and kindergarten/school community.

Educators and other professionals should recognize parents' needs for the following:

  • Acceptance of them as people, rather than as a category.
  • Help in seeing the positive aspects of the future.

In kindergarten immigrant families may require extra assistance due to their specifics Immigrant families may require extra assistance enrolling in the program due to language and literacy challenges, transportation, work-schedule logistical challenges, and difficulty meeting application documentation requirements. (Julia Gelatt, Gina Adams, and Sandra Huerta Supporting Immigrant Families’ Access to Prekindergarten)

Problem with transportation and long working hours Immigrant parents particularly are likely to work nonstandard hours, work long hours, and have inflexible work schedules that do not allow adjustment to children’s kindergarten schedules (Bernhardt et al. 2009; Enchautegui 2013). Further, immigrant parents may be less likely to drive compared with other parents (Chatman and Klein 2013). As a result, logistical obstacles facing most low-income parents, such as a prekindergarten program’s hours or location and the availability of safe, reliable transportation for children, may affect immigrant families particularly strongly. Addressing these barriers can assist the enrollment of low-income families overall and immigrant families in particular. (Julia Gelatt, Gina Adams, and Sandra Huerta Supporting Immigrant Families’ Access to Prekindergarten)

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