New Pre-Kindergarten Class Will Benefit Refugee Children
Jul 01, 2008
"I didn't know about Pre-K registration and when I tried to get in there were no more openings at the school."
That is what a mom from Kurdistan told Refugee Family Services (RFS) in Stone Mountain, Georgia during a parent interview conducted for their "Refugee Parent Voices" project. The project was funded by CLASP as part of our "Breaking Down Barriers" work.
While Georgia's pre-kindergarten program is universally available to all 4-year-olds, waiting lists persist and in many cases recently arrived immigrants and refugees, lacking knowledge about how to navigate the enrollment process or arriving late in the registration period, are effectively shut out of programs. Every year, RFS assists and registers refugee children in Georgia Pre-K but they are able to serve only a fraction of the families that need support.
In their interviews, RFS found that refugee families had different needs from other immigrant families, and that few programs had the information and resources to meet these needs. To fill this need, RFS applied to the state to become a provider of the pre-kindergarten program, and this August, Refugee Family Services will inaugurate the first pre-kindergarten program in Georgia intended for use principally by refugee children. This program will allow these children access to a high-quality pre-kindergarten program that is prepared to competently meet their cultural and linguistic needs and is situated in an organization that is experienced in meeting the family support needs of diverse refugee communities.
The pre-kindergarten class will be filled by children from Somalia, Sudan, Honduras, Congo, Burundi, Iraq, Burma, and Vietnam. Most of the children were born in refugee camps. For the first time, they will have the opportunity to participate in a pre-kindergarten program that is designed with them and their families in mind.