GOOD BEGINNINGS, PROMISING FUTURES
“Children are the future, and the future belongs to them.” In this project, we take a critical look at this often-quoted platitude and ask: which futures do migrant children embody, and what kind of futures belong to them? Formal education is often understood as key to futures of migrant children enabling them to re/integrate into the host society. Integration, however, is a contested concept, and what counts as successful integration often depends on gender and socioeconomic class, and differs depending on the perspective from which it is defined (pupils’ or educators’).
Migrant children have legally guaranteed access to education in Poland, but many of them struggle to be included and to feel that they belong in Polish schools and the Polish society. Not all pupils are used to having foreign-born classmates. This is true in Poland, a country with relatively short history of immigration. Addition of newcomers to established classrooms poses pedagogical and behavioral challenges.
In this research, ‘migrant children’ include children of foreign-born parents, born abroad or in Poland, children of Polish mixed couples that spent parts of their childhood (and education) abroad (returned Poles), and ‘repatriated children,’ i.e., children born in Central Asia who are being repatriated as part of state-organized programs for ‘Polish nationals.’