Learning and care for the youngest refugees – a critical priority across Europe 

The war poses serious threats to the safety, healthy development, and well-being of young children in Ukraine as well as those who have fled. The impact is enormous both in the short and long-term, and the consequences of the war will have a spill-over effect on the well-being of many other children in Europe as they learn about the events in Ukraine. The trauma of life-threatening situations, the precarious conditions of life in shelters, on the move or in crammed camps, as well as settling in a foreign place produces high levels of anxiety, stress and insecurity among children, their parents, and caregivers.  

Solid research evidence indicates how damaging such conditions are for a child’s development and how imperative it is to counterbalance these effects as soon as possible through a range of measures, interventions, and services that address young children directly. However, it is also important that their parents/caregivers, as well as early childhood practitioners are supported.  

Responding to the needs of refugee children 

In July, ISSA Program Director, Dr Mihaela Ionescu presented at a School Education Gateway Webinar about the needs of refugee children who have fled Ukraine. During the webinar she addressed the importance of responsively sustaining the learning and healthy development of young refugee children by providing them with quality support through Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services, and by supporting the key adults in their life: their parents/caregivers and the early childhood education and care professionals.  

She also unpacked the readiness of ECEC services in Europe to respond to the needs of children and families who have fled Ukraine. She highlighted that while many countries are striving to provide free access to these essential early childhood services, in many places these services are not yet ready and able to cater to the refugee’s very specific needs.  

Additionally, the webinar shed light on the needs, programs, priorities, barriers, and possible solutions based on information collected in countries where Campaign partners are actively involved in addressing early childhood matters in the refugee response. 

Download the presentation

Watch the webinar recording: