Every child has a basic fundamental right to survival, protection and education. These and many other rights are outlined in the UNCRC (1989), a legally binding international agreement. Yet the rights of children all over the world are violated on a daily basis, as they flee armed conflict and inconceivable atrocities in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea. This chapter which draws upon a reflective journal that documents my experience of working with refugee children and their families in Lesvos, Greece, illustrates the interplay between pre-migration and transmigration factors, and how they affect children and families. Set against the backdrop of the UNCRC, and the EU-Turkey deal, which has resulted in the detention of thousands of refugees, half of whom are children, in Greece, the chapter provides insight into the reality of life for children in a refugee camp. While the chapter explores the issue of trauma, it also highlights children’s resilience as they establish relationships with children and adults and engage in play activities in the pre-school and daily life of the refugee camp. However, life as these children once knew it has changed utterly and forever. As families are relocated from refugee camps to European countries, I question whether early childhood educators and teachers have the capacity to meet the needs of children traumatized by war within the context of early childhood and primary school classrooms. Early childhood educators and teachers should not be left with the burden of rehabilitating these young children. Rather, political will is essential to galvanize societal support for systemic investment in national educational systems, and comprehensive supports at multiple levels, child, family, school and the wider community. The time for action is now. Children can no longer wait. This is an issue of basic human rights. The right to survival, health, well-being and education.
Part of the book: Contemporary Perspective on Child Psychology and Education