The voices of young refugee children are often unheard and unacknowledged in early childhood research. Deficit views that perpetuate their vulnerability and victimization pervade research and media. Such omnipresent views need to be challenged by foregrounding and capitalizing on the strengths, agency, and resilience of refugee children. Grounded in the Community Cultural Wealth framework, this study aimed to explore the aspects of cultural wealth among Syrian refugee children through their subjective perspectives about their experiences in attending a preschool intervention program and resettlement lives in Turkey. Drawing upon the research with children paradigm, individual pictorial interviews were conducted with 36 refugee children based on visually-enriched child-friendly methods that echoed the photo-elicitation technique. Findings revealed the various funds of assets, skills, and knowledges possessed and employed by children within six cultural wealth capitals: Navigational, social, familial, linguistic, resistant, and aspirational capital. Diverse facets of cultural wealth captured in these capitals suggest the strengths, agency, and resilience of refugee children in their educational experiences and adaptation processes to their new lives in resettlement communities. Findings also highlight their understanding of social and racial justice against inequalities of forced displacement, xenophobia, and social exclusion. Children’s overall human capital and strengths-based portrayal serve as an antidote to their existing deficit views and marginalized narratives. This study is the first to uncover early education and life experiences of young Syrian children by directly working with them and spotlighting their own voices. Findings have implications for early childhood research and practitioners working with refugee children.

DOI: 10.1007/s10643-020-01140-7
ISSN: 1082-3301