Case Studies

Rana    What is Prosilience?   Rana is almost 4 years old and has recently moved from another continent and started at a new kindergarten where she is able to speak and understand the main language. The group has two female educators with soft and gentle voices. Rana’s behaviour at the kindergarten shows that she is often unable to focus in circle activities and seems to experience difficulty initiating or joining in a play activity in both structured and unstructured play settings. There was once a situation where an educator made a sudden movement next to Rana’s head and her response was to quickly cover herself with her arms. On another day, when a male support educator was helping in the group and spoke with a loud and clear voice, it was easier for Rana to follow directions.  Age: 3 years and 9 months  Home language: English  Additional language spoken: German  Key Words: transition, focus, cultural differences, understanding, supporting prosilience

Rana

What is Prosilience?

Rana is almost 4 years old and has recently moved from another continent and started at a new kindergarten where she is able to speak and understand the main language. The group has two female educators with soft and gentle voices. Rana’s behaviour at the kindergarten shows that she is often unable to focus in circle activities and seems to experience difficulty initiating or joining in a play activity in both structured and unstructured play settings. There was once a situation where an educator made a sudden movement next to Rana’s head and her response was to quickly cover herself with her arms. On another day, when a male support educator was helping in the group and spoke with a loud and clear voice, it was easier for Rana to follow directions.

Age: 3 years and 9 months

Home language: English

Additional language spoken: German

Key Words: transition, focus, cultural differences, understanding, supporting prosilience

 

Max    Social - emotional competence   Max's family consists of his mother, father, and twin baby siblings. The family has recently relocated to Germany from Israel. Max is completely bilingual in German and in Hebrew.  His parents both worked for the first few months while the family was living in an interim house. Max's father moved before the rest of the family. His mother and the children have recently joined him and the container with the family belongings has not arrived yet. The family has limited access to age appropriate toys. Max has spent 6 weeks at home with his mother and the twin babies because a kindergarten spot was not yet available.  Now that Max has entered his new kindergarten, his educators have observed difficulty in his initiating independent play, sharing, and taking turns. He often engages in play fighting and is one of the most physical children in the group. He often talks about his mobile device and avoids any cuddles or gentle physical contact with educators or children. Max also had a live-in nanny for the last three years in Israel.  Age: 22 months  Home language: English  Additional language spoken: Hebrew  Key Words: social-emotional competence, self-efficacy, family structure

Max

Social - emotional competence

Max's family consists of his mother, father, and twin baby siblings. The family has recently relocated to Germany from Israel. Max is completely bilingual in German and in Hebrew.

His parents both worked for the first few months while the family was living in an interim house. Max's father moved before the rest of the family. His mother and the children have recently joined him and the container with the family belongings has not arrived yet. The family has limited access to age appropriate toys. Max has spent 6 weeks at home with his mother and the twin babies because a kindergarten spot was not yet available.

Now that Max has entered his new kindergarten, his educators have observed difficulty in his initiating independent play, sharing, and taking turns. He often engages in play fighting and is one of the most physical children in the group. He often talks about his mobile device and avoids any cuddles or gentle physical contact with educators or children. Max also had a live-in nanny for the last three years in Israel.

Age: 22 months

Home language: English

Additional language spoken: Hebrew

Key Words: social-emotional competence, self-efficacy, family structure

Dominik    Transitioning to an new caretaker of another culture or language at kindergarten   Dominik, age 3, has just started at a new English-speaking kindergarten and has been having problems settling in. This is his first time away from home and his mother is very protective of him. He also has some particular dietary ‘preferences’, only eating pasta and chicken nuggets, which has led his mother to worry that he might be hungry during the day. Dominik’s mother speaks Hungarian with him while his father speaks French. The family language is English, but Dominik’s most fluent language is Hungarian, and he now seems to be reluctant to use English with his educators or the other children. During the settling in process, Dominik stayed very close to his mother, hiding his face if approached by other children. For the first week, his mother stayed with Dominik for approximately 3 hours a day, taking him home before lunch. In general, she seems quite uneasy and has mentioned to the educators that she is missing her friends and family.  Age: 3 years and 2 months  Home language: Hungarian  Additional language spoken: French  Key words: settling in, bonding, relationship, multilingual, communication, diet

Dominik

Transitioning to an new caretaker of another culture or language at kindergarten

Dominik, age 3, has just started at a new English-speaking kindergarten and has been having problems settling in. This is his first time away from home and his mother is very protective of him. He also has some particular dietary ‘preferences’, only eating pasta and chicken nuggets, which has led his mother to worry that he might be hungry during the day. Dominik’s mother speaks Hungarian with him while his father speaks French. The family language is English, but Dominik’s most fluent language is Hungarian, and he now seems to be reluctant to use English with his educators or the other children. During the settling in process, Dominik stayed very close to his mother, hiding his face if approached by other children. For the first week, his mother stayed with Dominik for approximately 3 hours a day, taking him home before lunch. In general, she seems quite uneasy and has mentioned to the educators that she is missing her friends and family.

Age: 3 years and 2 months

Home language: Hungarian

Additional language spoken: French

Key words: settling in, bonding, relationship, multilingual, communication, diet

Rufus    Culture of sleep   Rufus is in the process of settling into kindergarten and may stay for the first time in his new group tomorrow. Rufus’s dad is worried because Rufus has always before only fallen asleep either in his parents' arms or in the stroller. He knows that Rufus will have a bed in the kindergarten and will sleep with many children together. Rufus's father is worried that his child will not fall asleep unless he is being rocked, or that no one will be able to be close to him if/when Rufus needs physical contact.  Age: 20 months  Home language: Finish  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: transition times, sleep, rituals

Rufus

Culture of sleep

Rufus is in the process of settling into kindergarten and may stay for the first time in his new group tomorrow. Rufus’s dad is worried because Rufus has always before only fallen asleep either in his parents' arms or in the stroller. He knows that Rufus will have a bed in the kindergarten and will sleep with many children together. Rufus's father is worried that his child will not fall asleep unless he is being rocked, or that no one will be able to be close to him if/when Rufus needs physical contact.

Age: 20 months

Home language: Finish

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: transition times, sleep, rituals

Rita    The importance of feeling understood   Rita was born biologically female and identifies as a boy. He first began to exhibit signs of gender oppositional behaviour when he was 2 and a half years old. Although Rita’s parents are very loving and appear to want what’s best for him, their approach to gender is very traditional. They often tell Rita to “behave like a girl” and encourage him to engage in activities which are typically believed to be more feminine. Rita is an only child and her parents have shared that this is because the couple previously lost a child during pregnancy. They are currently in the process of getting divorced and have started partner counselling. The parents speak Greek with Rita and can communicate with the teachers in English. Rita stopped speaking Greek. With friends, he speaks English and starts speaking the language of the kindergarten with an English grammar structure for the sentences. Both parents speak Greek with Rita even though she is always answering in English, because they don`t want him to lose their home language & the language of the broader family.  Age: 5 years and 4 months  Home language: Greek  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: gender, identity, oppositional behaviour, communication, counselling

Rita

The importance of feeling understood

Rita was born biologically female and identifies as a boy. He first began to exhibit signs of gender oppositional behaviour when he was 2 and a half years old. Although Rita’s parents are very loving and appear to want what’s best for him, their approach to gender is very traditional. They often tell Rita to “behave like a girl” and encourage him to engage in activities which are typically believed to be more feminine. Rita is an only child and her parents have shared that this is because the couple previously lost a child during pregnancy. They are currently in the process of getting divorced and have started partner counselling. The parents speak Greek with Rita and can communicate with the teachers in English. Rita stopped speaking Greek. With friends, he speaks English and starts speaking the language of the kindergarten with an English grammar structure for the sentences. Both parents speak Greek with Rita even though she is always answering in English, because they don`t want him to lose their home language & the language of the broader family.

Age: 5 years and 4 months

Home language: Greek

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: gender, identity, oppositional behaviour, communication, counselling

Anahera    Children with special needs and capabilities   Anahera is 2.5 years old and has recently moved with her parents, Kai and Ria, from New Zealand to Europe. She will soon be starting in an English-speaking kindergarten. The languages which are spoken within the family are English and Maori. Anahera has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and receives several services such as speech therapy and physiotherapy, which are carried out in English. However, thus far she only speaks about twenty words of the language. There is also an English-speaking specialist helping Anahera’s parents in supporting her, using early interventions to reveal her full potential in life. Anahera previously enjoyed playing with other children in New Zealand and longs to be able to do so again in her new kindergarten.  Age: 2 years and 4 months  Home language: English and Maori  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: inclusion, disabilities, special needs, diversity sensitive philosophy

Anahera

Children with special needs and capabilities

Anahera is 2.5 years old and has recently moved with her parents, Kai and Ria, from New Zealand to Europe. She will soon be starting in an English-speaking kindergarten. The languages which are spoken within the family are English and Maori. Anahera has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and receives several services such as speech therapy and physiotherapy, which are carried out in English. However, thus far she only speaks about twenty words of the language. There is also an English-speaking specialist helping Anahera’s parents in supporting her, using early interventions to reveal her full potential in life. Anahera previously enjoyed playing with other children in New Zealand and longs to be able to do so again in her new kindergarten.

Age: 2 years and 4 months

Home language: English and Maori

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: inclusion, disabilities, special needs, diversity sensitive philosophy

Raffa    Rainbow Families   Raffa is a very active 3-year-old girl who started kindergarten by the age of 20 months. She has two dads who are very eager parents and want to do everything in her best interest. One dad speaks German and the other dad speaks French as a home language. They speak German with each other and in the family. One dad speaks French to Raffa. Raffa was adopted when she was 14 months old from a children´s shelter on another continent, she lived the first 14 months of her live in this shelter. The language of the other country was Chinese. Raffa often gets asked by the other children where her mother is and has no answer. At times she shows very extreme emotions which can take her up to half a day to redirect.  Age: 3 years and 6 months  Home language: German, French  Additional language spoken: Chinese  Key Words: inclusion, rainbow families, adoption, diversity sensitive philosophy

Raffa

Rainbow Families

Raffa is a very active 3-year-old girl who started kindergarten by the age of 20 months. She has two dads who are very eager parents and want to do everything in her best interest. One dad speaks German and the other dad speaks French as a home language. They speak German with each other and in the family. One dad speaks French to Raffa. Raffa was adopted when she was 14 months old from a children´s shelter on another continent, she lived the first 14 months of her live in this shelter. The language of the other country was Chinese. Raffa often gets asked by the other children where her mother is and has no answer. At times she shows very extreme emotions which can take her up to half a day to redirect.

Age: 3 years and 6 months

Home language: German, French

Additional language spoken: Chinese

Key Words: inclusion, rainbow families, adoption, diversity sensitive philosophy

Arno    Intercultural experiences and how they can lead to parent-educator challenges   Arno has recently enrolled at an English-speaking kindergarten. It has quickly become apparent that integration is going to be difficult for him and his family. Arno’s family are refugees, having fled from a war zone where he and his mother both suffered traumatic experiences. The family language is Arabic, and they have very little understanding of English. This has made communication in the kindergarten almost impossible. After joining the group, Arno soon began exhibiting aggression towards both his educators as well as the other children. Sharing is often a problem for Arno and his solution to conflict has been to hit others. His educators have reached out to his parents in hopes to address his physical aggression. However, limited means of communication has impacted the parental partnership and bringing up this sensitive topic has now caused Arno’s parents to become defensive.  Age: 5 years and 8 months  Home language: Arabic  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: integration, nonverbal communication, conflict, cultural differences

Arno

Intercultural experiences and how they can lead to parent-educator challenges

Arno has recently enrolled at an English-speaking kindergarten. It has quickly become apparent that integration is going to be difficult for him and his family. Arno’s family are refugees, having fled from a war zone where he and his mother both suffered traumatic experiences. The family language is Arabic, and they have very little understanding of English. This has made communication in the kindergarten almost impossible. After joining the group, Arno soon began exhibiting aggression towards both his educators as well as the other children. Sharing is often a problem for Arno and his solution to conflict has been to hit others. His educators have reached out to his parents in hopes to address his physical aggression. However, limited means of communication has impacted the parental partnership and bringing up this sensitive topic has now caused Arno’s parents to become defensive.

Age: 5 years and 8 months

Home language: Arabic

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: integration, nonverbal communication, conflict, cultural differences

John    Intercultural experiences: parent-educator partnership solutions   John works with four-year-old children from many different backgrounds. He tries to be inclusive of each child’s cultural heritage and ensures each child has a flag representing their culture or cultures in the classroom. One day a parent from an Iraqi family comes to John very upset that their flag is not included. John informs the family that he does in fact have an Iraqi flag in the classroom. However, the parents explain that they are unhappy about this because despite their Iraqi nationalities, they identify as Kurdish. John apologizes and ensures that he will put the Kurdish flag in the classroom..  Age: 38 years  Home language: English  Additional language spoken: German, French  Key words: traditions, heritage, culture, sensitivity

John

Intercultural experiences: parent-educator partnership solutions

John works with four-year-old children from many different backgrounds. He tries to be inclusive of each child’s cultural heritage and ensures each child has a flag representing their culture or cultures in the classroom. One day a parent from an Iraqi family comes to John very upset that their flag is not included. John informs the family that he does in fact have an Iraqi flag in the classroom. However, the parents explain that they are unhappy about this because despite their Iraqi nationalities, they identify as Kurdish. John apologizes and ensures that he will put the Kurdish flag in the classroom..

Age: 38 years

Home language: English

Additional language spoken: German, French

Key words: traditions, heritage, culture, sensitivity

Fola   Fola is a girl who was born in Massachusetts, United States, to Ghanaian parents and grows up in America and the UK. She now goes to kindergarten in London. Fola speaks English with an American accent, starts adopting British words and speaks a variant of the Kwa language with her parents. Fola seems to take on different facets or attitudes whenever she speaks one of the languages mentioned. Fola choses the Kwa language to speak with her parents at home and at family gatherings. She starts speaking more with a British accent but switches to an American accent whenever she gets excited or upset. Sometimes the other children make fun of how Fola pronounces certain words.  Age: 5 years 2 months  Home language: English, Kwa  Additional language spoken: -  Key Words: cultural identity, cultural differences, emotion based code switchingy

Fola

Fola is a girl who was born in Massachusetts, United States, to Ghanaian parents and grows up in America and the UK. She now goes to kindergarten in London. Fola speaks English with an American accent, starts adopting British words and speaks a variant of the Kwa language with her parents. Fola seems to take on different facets or attitudes whenever she speaks one of the languages mentioned. Fola choses the Kwa language to speak with her parents at home and at family gatherings. She starts speaking more with a British accent but switches to an American accent whenever she gets excited or upset. Sometimes the other children make fun of how Fola pronounces certain words.

Age: 5 years 2 months

Home language: English, Kwa

Additional language spoken: -

Key Words: cultural identity, cultural differences, emotion based code switchingy

Momo    Language as a tool to strenghten the relationship with children   Momo is a child born to a German father and a Korean mother. He seems to be able to hear well but does not speak. Momo could possibly have a mental disability which is not diagnosed. At kindergarten, Momo has troubles connecting with other people. He plays by himself, avoids other children and his teachers most of the times. Momo appears to feel uncomfortable in the new setting after starting daycare at a new kindergarten. The languages spoken at home are German and Korean. Momo speaks none of the languages yet and communicates only with sounds in rare occasions at kindergarten. His overall body language is very silent and makes it seem like he is trying to hide and not be seen. His parents have not communicated any worries about Momo to the teachers.  Age: 36 months  Home language: German and Korean  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: transition times, nonverbal communication, picture schedule, timers, drop off

Momo

Language as a tool to strenghten the relationship with children

Momo is a child born to a German father and a Korean mother. He seems to be able to hear well but does not speak. Momo could possibly have a mental disability which is not diagnosed. At kindergarten, Momo has troubles connecting with other people. He plays by himself, avoids other children and his teachers most of the times. Momo appears to feel uncomfortable in the new setting after starting daycare at a new kindergarten. The languages spoken at home are German and Korean. Momo speaks none of the languages yet and communicates only with sounds in rare occasions at kindergarten. His overall body language is very silent and makes it seem like he is trying to hide and not be seen. His parents have not communicated any worries about Momo to the teachers.

Age: 36 months

Home language: German and Korean

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: transition times, nonverbal communication, picture schedule, timers, drop off

Luca    Language acquisition in a bilingual setting in children and metalinguistic awareness in children   Luca is born into a German/ Portuguese family, her dad speaks German and her mum speaks Portuguese. (mono, bili, multili) Luca started at a German-English kindergarten when she was about one year old. (FLA (First Language Acquisition); SLA (Second Language Acquisition); time of acquisition) Luca is exposed to German at home with her dad, to Portuguese at home with her mum as well as with her babysitter who she has bonded with, to German and English at kindergarten with educators and peers (comprehensible input). Luca is two years old now and her language development is constantly progressing in all languages mentioned before. She understands a lot that is being said to her and she starts to respond more by expressing herself verbally (performance vs. competence). The language she uses to communicate her interests and needs (at kindergarten) is not yet clear to identify most of the times. It seems like Luca choses German over English in many situations and seems to use German as her main language of communication at kindergarten. (FLA; SLA, status of a language, success of language acquisition). She tries to use English when interacting with the English educator or English speaking children which oftentimes is not clear to understand and sounds like a mix of English and Portuguese (language transfer).  Age: 27 months  Home language:German & Portuguese  Additional language spoken: English  Key Words: transition, focus, cultural differences, understanding, language acquisition

Luca

Language acquisition in a bilingual setting in children and metalinguistic awareness in children

Luca is born into a German/ Portuguese family, her dad speaks German and her mum speaks Portuguese. (mono, bili, multili) Luca started at a German-English kindergarten when she was about one year old. (FLA (First Language Acquisition); SLA (Second Language Acquisition); time of acquisition) Luca is exposed to German at home with her dad, to Portuguese at home with her mum as well as with her babysitter who she has bonded with, to German and English at kindergarten with educators and peers (comprehensible input). Luca is two years old now and her language development is constantly progressing in all languages mentioned before. She understands a lot that is being said to her and she starts to respond more by expressing herself verbally (performance vs. competence). The language she uses to communicate her interests and needs (at kindergarten) is not yet clear to identify most of the times. It seems like Luca choses German over English in many situations and seems to use German as her main language of communication at kindergarten. (FLA; SLA, status of a language, success of language acquisition). She tries to use English when interacting with the English educator or English speaking children which oftentimes is not clear to understand and sounds like a mix of English and Portuguese (language transfer).

Age: 27 months

Home language:German & Portuguese

Additional language spoken: English

Key Words: transition, focus, cultural differences, understanding, language acquisition

Yanmei   Yanmei and her mother and father immigrated to the Ireland from China one month ago. Previous to the move she was in a Chinese/ English bilingual kindergarten in Beijing since the age of two. She is now beginning to settle into her new kindergarten class, and even though she has a large knowledge of vocabulary and likes to answer questions during morning circle, she is often quiet and keeps to herself during play time. Yanmei is the only student of Chinese descent in school.  Age: 4 years 3 months  Home language: Chinese  Additional language spoken: English  Key Words: Code-switching, cognitive control, emotional regulation, cultural frame switching, language hierarchy

Yanmei

Yanmei and her mother and father immigrated to the Ireland from China one month ago. Previous to the move she was in a Chinese/ English bilingual kindergarten in Beijing since the age of two. She is now beginning to settle into her new kindergarten class, and even though she has a large knowledge of vocabulary and likes to answer questions during morning circle, she is often quiet and keeps to herself during play time. Yanmei is the only student of Chinese descent in school.

Age: 4 years 3 months

Home language: Chinese

Additional language spoken: English

Key Words: Code-switching, cognitive control, emotional regulation, cultural frame switching, language hierarchy

Sofia   Sofia’s family has recently moved from Madrid, Spain to Berlin, Germany. She has been in her new German/English kindergarten for a little over a month. Up until the move, Sofia had only been exposed to Spanish. She had a relatively easy time settling into the kindergarten but is now beginning to experience difficulty during transition times and structured play.  She has become very attached to one educator but has not made any other significant relationships to adults or children in the group. When she is in need of something, she seeks out this one specific educator and if she is unable to make her need clear, she often gets very upset and has a hard time calming herself down afterwards.  Sofia has a 5 year old sister in an older group in the kindergarten, who has been experiencing difficulty since the beginning of the settling in process. Sofia’s mother went through the settling in process with Sofia and her father went through with her older sister. The parents now alternate drop off, always dropping off Sofia first as they say this is easier for them. Sofia’s sister often prolongs the drop off of Sofia by refusing to let her go.  Age: 26 months  Home language: Spanish  Additional language spoken: -  Key words: transition times, siblings, nonverbal communication, picture schedule, timers, drop off

Sofia

Sofia’s family has recently moved from Madrid, Spain to Berlin, Germany. She has been in her new German/English kindergarten for a little over a month. Up until the move, Sofia had only been exposed to Spanish. She had a relatively easy time settling into the kindergarten but is now beginning to experience difficulty during transition times and structured play.

She has become very attached to one educator but has not made any other significant relationships to adults or children in the group. When she is in need of something, she seeks out this one specific educator and if she is unable to make her need clear, she often gets very upset and has a hard time calming herself down afterwards.

Sofia has a 5 year old sister in an older group in the kindergarten, who has been experiencing difficulty since the beginning of the settling in process. Sofia’s mother went through the settling in process with Sofia and her father went through with her older sister. The parents now alternate drop off, always dropping off Sofia first as they say this is easier for them. Sofia’s sister often prolongs the drop off of Sofia by refusing to let her go.

Age: 26 months

Home language: Spanish

Additional language spoken: -

Key words: transition times, siblings, nonverbal communication, picture schedule, timers, drop off

Dina   Sofia’s family has recently moved from Madrid, Spain to Berlin, Germany. She has been in her new German/English kindergarten for a little over a month. Up until the move, Sofia had only been exposed to Spanish. She had a relatively easy time settling into the kindergarten but is now beginning to experience difficulty during transition times and structured play.  She has become very attached to one educator but has not made any other significant relationships to adults or children in the group. When she is in need of something, she seeks out this one specific educator and if she is unable to make her need clear, she often gets very upset and has a hard time calming herself down afterwards.  Sofia has a 5 year old sister in an older group in the kindergarten, who has been experiencing difficulty since the beginning of the settling in process. Sofia’s mother went through the settling in process with Sofia and her father went through with her older sister. The parents now alternate drop off, always dropping off Sofia first as they say this is easier for them. Sofia’s sister often prolongs the drop off of Sofia by refusing to let her go.  Age: 6 years 5 months  Home language: Swedish  Additional language spoken: English & French  Key words: children's literature, picture books, self-identity, multicultural literature, diversity

Dina

Sofia’s family has recently moved from Madrid, Spain to Berlin, Germany. She has been in her new German/English kindergarten for a little over a month. Up until the move, Sofia had only been exposed to Spanish. She had a relatively easy time settling into the kindergarten but is now beginning to experience difficulty during transition times and structured play.

She has become very attached to one educator but has not made any other significant relationships to adults or children in the group. When she is in need of something, she seeks out this one specific educator and if she is unable to make her need clear, she often gets very upset and has a hard time calming herself down afterwards.

Sofia has a 5 year old sister in an older group in the kindergarten, who has been experiencing difficulty since the beginning of the settling in process. Sofia’s mother went through the settling in process with Sofia and her father went through with her older sister. The parents now alternate drop off, always dropping off Sofia first as they say this is easier for them. Sofia’s sister often prolongs the drop off of Sofia by refusing to let her go.

Age: 6 years 5 months

Home language: Swedish

Additional language spoken: English & French

Key words: children's literature, picture books, self-identity, multicultural literature, diversity

 

We all, as people who work on a daily basis in multicultural surroundings have written this website to support educators reflecting about what they want as professionals for children in a changing world with modern early years education centers.