Integration through Trust

Access of Refugee Families to early Education in Lower Saxony

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 0-5 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 0-5, 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 January 2022).

 

Project Structure

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

Within 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

The Subprojects

Subproject 1: The role of digital media

Subproject 1 examines the conditions under which refugee parents build up trust towards ECEC 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.

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 0-5 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

Latest News

  • 11 November 2019: Presentation at the Canadian-German Conference "Young (Forced) Migrants and Their Families"
  • 2 October 2019: Presentation at the conference "Refuge Europe - a question of solidarity?"
  • 1 October 2019: Project presentation at the conference of the Lower Saxony Institute for Early Childhood Education and Development (nifbe)
  • 12 September 2019: Presentation at the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference
  • 11 April 2019: Kick-off meeting with practice partners

Latest News

11 November 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.

 

2 October 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.

 

1 October 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.

12 September 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.

11 April 2019: Kick-off meeting with practice partners

As early as 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.

 

Upcoming Activities

  • End of 2020: Meeting with practice partners to present first results, and developing further education and training modules
  • End of 2021: Meeting with practice partners for validation

 

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
  • Dr. Onno Husen

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

  • Marek Winkel
  • Hila Kakar, Mag. phil.
  • Anna Siede
  • Vanessa Schwenker, M.Sc.
  • Laura Wenzel, M.A.