Students on the Move: Obstacles and Opportunities in the Education of Migrant Children

Faculty Mentor(s)

Anna Bonnema, Hope College
Dr. Wayne Brouwer, Hope College
Dr. Charles Green, Hope College
Amy Otis-DeGrau, Hope College
Yolanda Vega, Hope College
Professor John Yelding, Hope College

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Our personal experiences and interest led us to investigate the social and educational situation of migrant families. Every year, approximately 6,000 children travel with their families to the Holland area in search of migrant agricultural work. These children face the distinct obstacles of a fragmented childhood. The education system offers a significant socializing and nurturing environment for all children. For migrant children, schooling produces unique obstacles, but can also serve as an opportunity for growth and encouragement. Through a survey of Hispanic residents and an interview with the migrant coordinator for the West Ottawa School District, we studied the influence of education on migrant children’s experience. As a result, we propose that effective communication and relationships are the key to aiding migrant children in the educational challenges they face.

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