Refugee Student Integration: A Focus on Settlement, Education, and Psychosocial Support

  • Jan Stewart University of Winnipeg
  • Dania El Chaar PhD Candidate, University of Calgary
  • Kari McCluskey University of Winnipeg
  • Kirby Borgardt University of Manitoba

Abstract

The rapid response to settle Syrian refugees in Canada has had a profound effect on communities, schools, and social service agencies. This article discusses a research program that examined the integration and settlement of Syrian children and youth in Winnipeg and Calgary. Through the examination of the school and community contexts, the research focused on the educational and psychosocial needs of re-settled Syrian refugees and the reciprocal learning between refugee, immigrant and Canadian-born students. With contributions from youth, parents, and relevant stakeholders, the research identified gaps in programming and services as well as promising practices that support newcomers. Issues surrounding trauma, interrupted schooling, separation and loss, racism and discrimination complicated the settlement and integration efforts. Findings indicate that Canadians and Canadian service providers have a major role in supporting the successful integration of refugees. Cultural support workers, cultural brokers, and community liaison personnel are paramount to bridging the school to families and community agencies.

Author Biographies

Jan Stewart, University of Winnipeg
Deputy Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Full Professor, Faculty of Education
Kari McCluskey, University of Winnipeg
Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies Joint program University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba
Kirby Borgardt, University of Manitoba
Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies Joint program University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba
Published
2019-02-26