2019-11-27 /

Resources, experiences, and support needs of families in disadvantaged communities

ISOTIS key message: Respecting the heritage language and culture promotes parents' and children’s well-being and feelings of inclusion

This report presents the results from 3948 structural and 244 in-depth interviews with parents with a Romani, Turkish, North-African, and native low-income background, and the results from a qualitative study with 331 children ranging from 3 to 14 years.

Parents reported moderate to high educational aspirations for their children. Findings pointed out that it is decisive to value and acknowledge parents’ resources and endeavours to invest in their children’s education at all institutional and societal levels. Parent-teacher partnerships should explicitly acknowledge parental resources and positive intentions, and should be on equal footing, within an inclusive and safe climate. Digital means, such as the ISOTIS Virtual Learning Environment, may have the potential to positively contribute to these partnerships.

The report addresses the need for early use of high quality universal or targeted ECEC programs to reach-out to disadvantaged groups. . To support children’s wellbeing and feelings of acceptance and inclusion, ECEC centres, primary schools and after-school care facilities should be recognized as spaces that are co-owned by the children.

Results also showed that parents perceive relatively little discrimination at the local level, in the neighbourhood or at (pre)school, though they do experience a negative discourse about their group on the national level (e.g., in (social) media). The level of perceived discrimination was negatively related and high quality inter-cultural contact was positively related to parents’ feelings of wellbeing, and belonginginess. The authors highlight that national policies should recognize the value of multiple heritage languages and partly in-group orientation of socioeconomically diverse groups, respect parents’ choice for maintenance of the heritage language and culture, and actively support hybrid forms of acculturation.