In January 2021, ECELC launched the Journeys Project. The Journeys Project is a collaboration between the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, the Community-University Partnership and the Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care. The aim of the project was to gather rich firsthand accounts of the experiences of ethnocultural parents with young children (birth to 5 years old) in early learning and childcare (ELCC) in Edmonton.
The Journeys Project drew on the cultural brokering practice and intercultural expertise of the MCHB. We engaged 30 parents from 6 ethnocultural communities: Kurdish-speaking, Eritrean and Ethiopian, Bhutanese, Filipino, Spanish-speaking, and Chinese-speaking.
We were interested in answering the following questions:
- What are the lived experiences of ethnocultural families as they attempt to access and receive early learning and childcare in Edmonton?
- What assets, cultural resources, and ways of knowing can be harnessed to improve the system?
- What opportunities exist to shift approaches and practices and catalyze positive change?
We drew on these findings to develop detailed personas and composite stories that describe the journey. While the stories bring attention to the struggles many families experience in accessing appropriate childcare, they also illuminate the resiliency and cultural wealth ethnocultural families have to offer to the larger society.
They reveal what might be possible if we embraced an intercultural spirit of mutual respect, learning from one another, and equality between social groups of ethnocultural families as they navigate early learning and childcare services in Edmonton.