Welcoming migrant parents in ECEC services in professionals' perspectives

The study explores ECEC professionals' perspectives on migrant parents and their attitudes toward the services as well as the difficulties professionals perceived in the communication with them.
In Italian ECEC services, establishing good relationships with parents and promoting their involvement have always been considered important components of the professional practice (Bove 2007). As in several cities in Northern-Central Italy, in municipal ECEC services of Pistoia specific strategies for welcoming parents were developed (Mastio & Rayna 2013).
In the last decade, the increasing number of children from migrant families in ECEC services has induced ECEC professionals to rethink practices addressed to parents and to question which place diversity has in ECEC services (Mantovani & Zaninelli 2007; Vandenbroeck 1999).
Professionals' discussions during 8 meetings inscribed within an in-service training initiative were analysed. This initiative, aimed at improving welcoming practices of migrant families in the system of municipal ECEC provision of Pistoia, involved pedagogical coordinators and teachers of 3 nido and 11 scuola dell'infanzia in documenting, analysing and discussing practices, and planning their improvement.
The study was conducted within a participatory framework in which a close partnership between researchers and professionals was implemented.
Results showed that sharing opportunities of reflection on practice (Lazzari et al. 2013) helped professionals to interpret migrant parent's behaviours and attitudes in a new light and to acknowledge parents' needs.
Implications, practice or policy
The importance of developing coherent procedures of welcoming parents in the whole municipal system of ECEC provision was highlighted.

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Contributo in atti di convegno
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24th EECERA annual Conference, Crete (GR), 7-10 september 2014
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Susanna Mayer's picture
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