Integration through Trust

How refugee parents of 0 - 6-year-olds build trust in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services in Lower Saxony

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Early education opportunities are a decisive contribution to the social participation of refugee families in Germany. Access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) allows children to socialise with their peers and learn the German language. At the same time, childcare services make it easier for parents to build up contacts in their local environment, and spend time on education, work or other personal activities.

Although all children over the age of one who live in Germany are legally entitled to childcare, access to ECEC can be challenging for refugee families - owing, for example, to a lack of familiarity with the German system, limited availability or language barriers. In addition to parents and childcare staff, third parties, such as social services or volunteers, are often involved in obtaining information and establishing contact. Media also play a role at this point.

From this perspective, the project has the following objectives:
- To investigate how refugee parents of children aged 0 - 6 build up trust in ECEC and which role (digital) media, social services and volunteers play as mediators.
- To develop further and continuing education modules, especially for qualified educational staff and volunteers who are involved in the access of refugee families to ECEC.

Thus, the project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the conditions of trustful access to ECEC in Lower Saxony and to promote such access.
In terms of methodology, the project includes, for example, interviews with refugee parents of children aged 0 - 6, qualified educational staff and volunteers, as well as a broad-based written survey of parents. The methods used are described in more detail in the presentation of the subprojects.

The interdisciplinary joint research project is financed by the Ministry of Science and Culture with funding from the “Niedersächsisches Vorab” (1 February 2019 to 31 May 2022).

 

Project Structure

The overall project comprises five research-related subprojects and one subproject for the transfer into practice.

In the subprojects 1 - 3, qualitative research methods will be used to investigate trust-building processes of refugee parents in relation to ECEC within the contexts of "digital media", "social services" and "voluntary refugee assistance". The fourth subproject takes on a meta-level to these parts and investigates the potential for shaping a communication based on trust. The fifth subproject links the four subprojects mentioned in the course of a broad-based quantitative questionnaire survey.

In the sixth subproject, the conditions for building up trust identified in this way will be converted into training and further education modules for the transfer into practice. These modules can be combined flexibly and thus serve to expand the competence of individuals and organisations in specific areas who are in contact with refugee families or wish to be.

 

The Subprojects

  • Subproject 1: The Role of Digital Media
  • Subproject 2: The Role of Social Services
  • Subproject 3: The Role of Civil Society Engagement
  • Subproject 4: Participating Field Research
  • Subproject 5: Quantitative Questionnaire Survey
  • Subproject 6: Transfer into Practice
  • Teaching-Research-Project: Talking to and about Parents

The Subprojects

Subproject 1: The Role of Digital Media

Subproject 1 examines the conditions under which refugee parents build up trust towards ECEC supported through the media. Our hypothesis is that media have their own potential for improving relationships of trust through their integration into the everyday life of families. To pursue our research interest, we conduct interviews with refugee parents and early education professionals and implement a social function analysis of the relevant media.

Contact: Marek Winkel
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter

 

Subproject 2: The Role of Social Services

Subproject 2 is concerned with the conditions under which refugee parents can build up trust in ECEC with the help of persons and organisations of the social services. To this end, interviews will be conducted with refugee parents and professionals of social services.

Contact: Hila Kakar
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann

 

Subproject 3: The Role of Civil Society Engagement

Subproject 3 addresses the role of civil society in relation to access to ECEC for refugee families. We conduct interviews with refugee parents, volunteers and representatives of selected communities.

Contact: Anna Siede
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch

 

Subproject 4: Participating Field Research

Subproject 4 investigates the potential for shaping a communication based on trust between refugee parents and professionals or volunteers with regard to ECEC. Relevant work areas are accompanied and interviews are conducted with parents, professionals and volunteers.

Contact: Vanessa Schwenker
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel

 

Subproject 5: Quantitative Questionnaire Survey

Subproject 5 creates an extended data basis through a broad-based quantitative questionnaire survey of refugee parents throughout Lower Saxony. The standardised questionnaire covers the overall topic of access of refugee families to early educational services in Lower Saxony. It compares which functions and roles e.g. social services, volunteers and digital media play in access and trust-building from the perspective of refugee parents.

Research Tools

Download pdf file - Questionnaire

Contact: Laura Wenzel
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, Dr. Onno Husen

 

Subproject 6: Transfer into Practice

In subproject 6, the results generated in subprojects 1 - 5 will be made available for practical use by creating continuing education modules. The modules to be developed are aimed at professionals, volunteers and organisations that are in contact with refugee parents of children aged 0 - 6 or would like to be. In context of our cooperation with practice partners involved in the fields of family, migration and ECEC, we are particularly interested in an exchange between science and practice and a joint development of further education modules.

Contact: Laura Wenzel
Subproject lead: Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, Dr. Onno Husen

Teaching-Research-Project: Talking to and about Parents

Linked to the research project, a teaching research project with students of the Social Education Master's programme at Leuphana is taking place. In a one-year field research project, the positioning and subjectivisation of refugee parents in the field of early childhood education in Lower Saxony is being investigated on the basis of parent interviews, interviews with professionals, document analyses and observation methods. Link to the report: (follows)

Lead: Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, Vanessa Schwenker

Past Events

  • December 1, 2022: Practice Transfer Workshop in the Context of the Conference "War in Eastern Europe"
  • May 19, 2022: Lecture as Part of the NIFBE Lecture Series "Participation and Democracy Education"
  • May 19, 2022: Additional Date for the Practice Transfer Workshop in Cooperation with AEWB and NIFBE
  • April 28, 2022: Practice Transfer Workshop in Cooperation with AEWB and NIFBE
  • April 25, 2022: Public Closing Event with the Project's Practice Partners
  • April 4, 2022: Presentation of Project Results at University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
  • March 22, 2022: Presentation of Project Results at the "Round Table Early Childhood Education and Care"
  • February 23, 2022: Workshop with nifbe Northeast
  • February 3, 2022: Workshop with nifbe Northeast
  • September 22 - 24, 2021: Presentation at the International Doing Family Conference, University of Trier
  • July 7 - 9, 2021: Presentation at the 18. IMISCOE Annual Conference
  • May 20 – 21, 2021: Presentation at the ReGES Conference
  • May 19, 2021: Follow-up Meeting With Project Partners
  • September 17 - 19, 2020: Presentation at the 3rd Conference of the German Network of Forced Migration Researchers
  • November 11, 2019: Presentation at the Canadian-German Conference "Young (Forced) Migrants and Their Families"
  • October 2, 2019: Presentation at the Conference "Refuge Europe - a Question of Solidarity?"
  • October 1, 2019: Project Presentation at the Conference of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe)
  • September 12, 2019: Presentation at the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference
  • April 11, 2019: Kick-off Meeting with Practice Partners

Past Events

December 1, 2022: Practice Transfer Workshop in the Context of the Conference "War in Eastern Europe"

At the practice transfer workshop with professionals in the field of early childhood education in Hessen, central research results of the project were discussed with the participants and reflected on with regard to their applicability. The participants emphasized the applicability of the contents and developed concrete measures for a diversity- and language/culture-sensitive further development of their own institutions.

May 19, 2022: Lecture as Part of the NIFBE Lecture Series "Participation and Democracy Education"

The "Kinderstuben" of the RuhrFutur Foundation are dedicated, among other things, to the task of enabling culturally sensitive and low-threshold access to the day care system for children in Germany. Based on this, various possibilities for the implementation and use of the developed training modules for early childhood educators were discussed with the participants. A recording of the lecture can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-Mq6XGNujk

May 19, 2022: Additional Date for the Practice Transfer Workshop in Cooperation with AEWB and NIFBE

Due to high demand, an additional three-hour online workshop was organized in cooperation with the Agency for Adult and Continuing Education and the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development on the topic "Proximity and Distance in Building Trust with (Refugee) Parents. Possibilities of incorporating scientific results into further and advanced training for early childhood educators". In addition to theoretical inputs based on our empirical project results, various possibilities of implementing and using the developed training modules for early childhood educators were discussed.

 

 

April 28, 2022: Practice Transfer Workshop in Cooperation with AEWB and NIFBE

In cooperation with the Agency for Adult and Continuing Education (AEWB) and the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe), Philipp Sandermann, Onno Husen and Laura Wenzel held a three-hour workshop on "Proximity and Distance in Building Trust with (Refugee) Parents. Possibilities of incorporating scientific results into further and advanced training for early childhood educators". The free qualification and conception workshop in an online format was aimed at course instructors, trainers and process facilitators who already design and conduct training courses for professionals in early childhood education or are planning to do so and want to take greater account of aspects of parental trust building in the context of migration, diversity and inclusion.

April 25, 2022: Public Closing Event with the Project's Practice Partners

The duration of our project "Integration through Trust. Conditions of Building Trust of Refugee Parents with 0 - 6 year old Children towards Early Education Offers in Lower Saxony" ends on May 31, 2022. We presented the overarching project results as well as the practical transfer within the framework of a hybrid final event at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and discussed it together with our project partners, interview partners and various representatives from science and practice as well as the interested (university) public. The program of the day can be found here.

April 4, 2022: Presentation of Project Results at University West, Trollhättan, Sweden

University West in Trollhättan, Sweden, is a partner university of Leuphana University Lüneburg. In the course of intensifying the international cooperation with the University West, Philipp Sandermann and Onno Husen held a workshop with our Swedish colleagues to discuss selected results of the project and to compare them with the results of Swedish research on refugee migration.

March 22, 2022: Presentation of Project Results at the "Round Table Early Childhood Education and Care"

At the round table on Early Childhood Education and Care, organised by the Agency for Adult and Continuing Education (AEWB), Philipp Sandermann and Laura Wenzel presented the overall results of the project and discussed them with participants from the field of continuing education for early childhood education professionals, day care centre advisors and the state and municipal administration.

February 23, 2022: Workshop with nifbe Northeast

The practice transfer workshop with actors from the field of further education and training of early childhood education professionals from the district of Lüneburg in cooperation with the regional transfer office NorthEast of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe) took place in an online format. In addition to the research results, we presented and discussed the training outline developed from the results with the participants to determine its applicability in practice development. The participants confirmed the relevance of the research results for their working environments and assessed the interaction between science and practice as valuable.

February 3, 2022: Workshop with nifbe Northeast

The practice transfer workshop with further education trainers in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care in cooperation with the regional transfer office NordOst of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe) took place in an online format. On the one hand, the results of the project on shaping relationships of trust in early childhood education and care were presented, and on the other hand, the participants exchanged views on the relevance and didactic integration of the project results in their work. In particular, the potential to support the development of mutual trust and communication between parents and professionals through process orientation was highlighted.

September 22 - 24, 2021: Presentation at the International Doing Family Conference, University of Trier

The three-day conference on "The Making and Doing of Family in, through and with Education and Social Work" brought together scholars from different disciplines, such as anthropology, educational science and social work. Onno Husen and Philipp Sandermann presented the perspectives and results of the project on addressing refugee parents through social services and early childhood education services and discussed them with the participants.

July 7 - 9, 2021: Presentation at the 18. IMISCOE Annual Conference

As usual, a high number of international scholars came together at the annual conference of the network IMISCOE to discuss current topics in the fields of migration and integration, this year in digital format. Our project team contributed actively with two presentations. Laura Wenzel, Onno Husen and Philipp Sandermann presented the methodological approach of our quantitative survey, focussing on challenges related to the pandemic. Anna Siede shared empirical results from the qualitative interviews concerning the role of volunteers in facilitating refugee families to build trust in ECEC.

May 20 – 21, 2021: Presentation at the ReGES Conference

As part of the BMBF-funded study "ReGES - Refugees in the German Educational System", the Leibniz Institute of Educational Progress invited to a virtual conference and interdisciplinary exchange on the topic of “Arrived? On the Situation of Refugee Children and Young People in the German Education System”. Hila Kakar and Laura Wenzel presented first multi-methodological results on the conditions and processes of trust-building of refugee parents towards Early Childhood Education and Care services.

 

May 19, 2021: Follow-up Meeting With Project Partners

At the second meeting with the project partners, including in particular practioners, we presented the empirical results of subprojects 1 - 5. Afterwards, we had a discussion focusing on the relevance of the results for the practice transfer. The expectations and remarks of the practitioners provided valuable insights from the field on the interface between professionalization, trust and migration research, in which the project is located. The practice partners emphasized the importance of information materials and the reduction of barriers in accessing early childhood education and care services. In the coming months, training modules will be developed based on the practical experience of the project partners.

September 17 - 19, 2020: Presentation at the 3rd Conference of the German Network of Forced Migration Researchers

Serving as a platform for the discussion and networking of researchers in the field of refugee and forced migration studies, the network's three-day conference took place digitally this year. The conference focused on questions concerning the contexts of displacement, refugee protection and forced migrants’ lives. We were invited to participate with two presentations. Anna Siede, Laura Wenzel and Marek Winkel addressed “The Role of Informal Networks in Refugee Families’ Access to Early Childhood Education and Care.” Hila Kakar, Vanessa Schwenker and Philipp Sandermann focused on “Transorganizational Perspectives on Integration and Trust.”

November 11, 2019: Presentation at the Canadian-German Conference "Young (Forced) Migrants and Their Families"

The conference jointly organised by GESIS (Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences) and IMIS (Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies) addressed issues of migration and integration of young (refugee) people and their families. Researchers from Germany and Canada presented their research results on this topic and discussed methodological and conceptual questions. Sybille Münch and Anna Siede were invited to present the planned approach and initial findings from subproject 3 in the panel "Integrating Recently Settled Refugees and Migrants into the Education System and Society". Further information on the event can be found here.

October 2, 2019: Presentation at the Conference "Refuge Europe - a Question of Solidarity?"

The conference was organised as part of the CEASEVAL research project on the evaluation of the Common European Asylum System. Anna Siede presented the planned approach and initial findings from subproject 3 in the context of the panel "Care and Vulnerable Groups in Refugee Regimes". Further information on the event can be found here.

October 1, 2019: Project Presentation at the Conference of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe)

The conference of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education was held based on the guiding principle "Diversity in Dialogue - Strengthening Networking" and offered a framework to enable and strengthen the exchange between research and practice. Philipp Sandermann and Laura Wenzel presented the research project to interested practitioners within the field of knowledge transfer and subsequently discussed various questions, especially regarding the transfer of the project into practice.

September 12, 2019: Presentation at the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference

The two-day conference on Migration and Mobility Studies addressed various aspects of transnational relations and movements. The topic of refugee migration was also to be discussed at several sessions. We were invited to present our project in the thematic panel "Families on the Move". Following our presentation, we received positive feedback and helpful suggestions from the international guests.

April 11, 2019: Kick-off Meeting with Practice Partners

Already in the planning phase of our research project, we have endeavoured to involve actors who engage in a practical and often coordinating way with the provision of ECEC in Lower Saxony. At the kick-off meeting, we were able to discuss project planning and content aspects with some of these practical partners. We received valuable suggestions on how to access the field of research and exchanged theoretical and practical perspectives on the problems of refugee parents building up trust in ECEC.

Publications

Schwenker, V., Sandermann, P. (2023): Becoming a “Migrant Mother in Germany”. Subjectivation in the context of early childhood education and care. In: Bollig, S., Groß, L. (eds.) Doing and Making Family in, with and through Education and Social Work. Bielefeld: transcript, in press.

Wenzel, L., Husen, O. & Sandermann, P. (2022). Surveying Diverse Subpopulations in Refugee Studies: Reflections on Sampling, Implementation and Translation Strategies Drawn from Experiences with a Regional Quantitative Survey on Refugee Parents in Germany. Journal of Refugee Studies 35(3), FOX link.

Wenzel, L., Kakar, H., Sandermann, P. (2022). Vertrauensaufbau zwischen geflüchteten Eltern und frühpädagogischen Angeboten. Ausgewählte Ergebnisse einer explorativen Mixed-Methods-Studie. Neue Praxis 52(1), 61-81. FOX link.

Winkel, M. (2022). Digitalization, structuration and agency in organizations concerned with the placement of refugee parents in institutions of early childhood care and education. In: Blättel-Mink, B., Noack, T., Onnen, C., Opielka, M., Späte, K., Stein-Redent, R. (eds.) Organisationen in Zeiten der Digitalisierung. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, 257-269. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-36514-1_1. FOX link.

Winkel, M. (2022). So fern und doch ganz nah? Die Rolle raum-zeitlicher Entbettung in der medial unterstützten Beratung und Informierung geflüchteter Eltern zum frühpädagogischen System. Zeitschrift für Sozialpädagogik 20(1), 82-100. DOI: 10.3262/ZFSP2201082. FOX link.

Siede, A. (2021). “They Are Stumbling Around Quite Helplessly”: How Supporters of Refugee Families Frame Vulnerability and Agency Relating to Childcare. In: Fromm N., Jünemann A., Safouane H. (eds.) Power in Vulnerability. Studien zur Migrations- und Integrationspolitik. Springer VS, Wiesbaden. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-34052-0_10. FOX link.

Sandermann, P., Wenzel, L., Winkel, M. (2022). Special, but not exotic. Heterogeneity-sensitive refugee-family research in the context of social work. In: Soziale Passagen 13(2), 389-403. DOI: 10.1007/s12592-021-00400-6. FOX link.

Siede, A., Münch, S. (2022). An interpretive perspective on co-production in supporting refugee families’ access to childcare in Germany, Policy & Politics, DOI: 10.1332/030557321X16427784089756. FOX link.

Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, H., Winkel, M. (2021). Between Information and Guidance. Social Service’s Utilization of Digital Media for Connecting Refugee Parents With the Early Childhood Education and Care System. In: James, W. B., Cobanoglu, C., Cavusoglu, M. (eds.) Proceedings of the global conference on education and research 4, 47-49. DOI: 5038/2572-6374-v4 . FOX link.
 

Our Team

The project is located at the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leuphana University Lüneburg and is headed by Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann, Prof. Dr. Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter, Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel, Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch and Dr. Onno Husen.

 

Project Lead

  • Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandermann

Subproject Leads

  • Prof. Dr. Henrike Friedrichs-Liesenkötter
  • Prof. Dr. Sybille Münch

Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel
University of Passau
Professorship for Sociology with an emphasis on technology sociology
94030 Passau
Fon +49.851.509-3430
anna.henkel@uni-passau.de

 

Research associates

  • Hila Kakar, Mag. phil.
  • Vanessa Schwenker, M.Sc.
  • Laura Wenzel, M.A.