There has been an increasing focus in policy development internationally and in Ireland on the importance of migrant integration. Consequently, a growing body of research has focused on the experiences of adult migrants and their children.
The study investigates whether migrant-origin children differ from children with two Irish-born parents in terms of their English language development at three, five and nine years of age, and their self-concept at nine years. Language development is measured using tests of English vocabulary carried out at ages three and five, and of reading ability at nine years. Child self-concept is captured at nine years using a shortened version of the Piers-Harris Self-concept Scale, which the children completed themselves. English-language ability is important for
children’s school achievement and later integration into the labour market; it is also important for peer relationships. Self-concept is a key indicator of child socio-emotional wellbeing.
For many commentators the litmus test of integration is how well the children of migrants are faring. It draws on rich data from the ’08 cohort of Growing up in Ireland which collects information on the children, their families, their schools, their skills and well-being in the first nine years of their lives.