Multicultural Early Childhood Assessment and Learning

Research Team: Rebecca Georgis, Rebecca Gokiert and Anna Kirova
Funders: Faculty of Extension, Killam Research Fund - Cornerstones Grant Program, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Duration: 2014 -2018

The Multicultural Early Childhood Assessment and Learning (MECAL) project was a knowledge synthesis and mobilization initiative aimed at creating educational resources to increase awareness of optimal development for immigrant and refugee young children. Early childhood supports have the potential to mitigate difficulties later in life, but if these supports are to be effective, they must rely on valid assessment information and practices that take into account immigrant and refugee children's development across cultural contexts. In partnership with the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative and a Knowledge Exchange Advisory comprised of representatives from government, school boards, and community organizations, MECAL created knowledge and tools to facilitate a deeper understanding of the cultural, pre-and post-migration realities of immigrant and refugee families with young children. During the course of the project MECAL achieved the following:

In phase 1, a conceptual framework of determinants of immigrant and refugee child development was created through a review of the literature and stakeholder consultations. The "RAISED between Cultures" conceptual framework outlines six important factors to consider when working with young children of immigrant and refugee background.

In phase 2, the framework was used to examine and interpret outcome data for immigrant and refugee young children in Alberta, using existing Early Development Instrument data. Additionally, a cultural validity review of early childhood assessment measures was completed to identify strengths and weaknesses when used with culturally diverse children.

In phase 3, with the assistance of the Knowledge Exchange Advisory and consultations with early childhood educators, cultural brokers, and professionals, two educational resources were developed to support reflective intercultural practice in early years settings using the RAISED between Cultures framework: a 14-minute video and an accompanying guidebook.

Click here to access the RAISED Between Cultures resources.