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How ECEC programmes contribute to social inclusion in diverse societies

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Author: 
Friendly, Martha
Publication Date: 
11 Jun 2007
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Today cultural and racial diversity is part of the landscape in many &em; even previously homogeneous &em; countries. Canada is an especially diverse country; the most recent census data show that in-migration is among the highest in the world and the primary source of population growth (Statistics Canada 2007). While Canada is not conflict-ridden and overt discrimination is not rampant, the reality for immigrants and refugees to Canada is that, in spite of an official policy of multi-culturalism that dates back to 1971, many must struggle for recognition and respect, suitable employment and decent living conditions. At the same time, Canada's own indigenous populations &em; First Nations, Métis and Inuit &em; experience poverty and social exclusion on a continuing, severe and daily basis.

Today cultural and racial diversity is a reality in many countries and there is growing recognition that ensuring that modern diverse societies function is about more than 'the more we get together'. Instead, real recognition and respect for diversity requires thoughtful public policy that begins with a well-woven safety net of settlement, employment, training and education, health and economic and social programmes; all of which are important. But among these, it is recognized that early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a key link &em; a central connection in the safety net. ECEC can be a primary means of supporting and strengthening social inclusion in a meaningful way by playing multiple vital roles for both children and adults in creating social inclusion in diverse societies.

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Entered Date: 
30 Jun 2007
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