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Friday, October 31, 2008

Refugee and Immigrant Status of Students

By Claire Pescheret

This week in class we discussed how political issues effecting refugees and immigrants may be reflected in some of the classrooms or place in which we are volunteering. A particular part of this discussion that interested me was if we could tell if people we work with were adequately dressed and taken care of at home.

I related this topic specifically to the group of pre-k four year olds who I had worked with immediately before class. I made this instant connection, because it is actually been something I have purposefully observed in these children. Before volunteering at BTW, I figured that I would most likely see some evidence of poorly cared for students; therefore, I kept my eyes open when I first walked in those double doors. I was actually surprised at what I found, though. All of the children seemed dressed in newer clothing that fit them and was appropriate for the temperature outside. I also assumed that some of the children may not be properly fed at home, and as a result devour their afternoon snack. Again, I was proven wrong by this group of little ones.

I believe I do need to take into consideration, though, the fact that I only was observing an 8 person cross-section of the school. Additionally, this representative population is not representative at all of the school’s population as whole; I am missing 6 other age groups! I attribute my findings to the fact that these young children are all still very dependent on their parents. They cannot do many day-to-day activities, such as dressing, feeding, etc, without the help of others; hence, their parents must help them the best they can. Older children may be seen as more self-sufficient by their parents; thus, the parents believe that they do not have to care for them as much. In these instances care may be in the form of clothing and food, just because these items are hard to come by.

Although, I was not privy to this issue first hand, stories from my fellow students have affirmed that this is an issue in the schools. We may be able to attribute inadequate care to the possible poor economic status of the refugees or immigrants in the area.

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