Documentation and policy paper are availible now.

The research project Everyday Life for Refugee Children up to Age 6 in Collective and Emergency Accommodation Centres is based at INIB e.V., an affiliated institute of the Berlin Protestant University of Applied sciences, and is managed in cooperation with ISTA/Fachstelle Kinderwelten, Berlin.

Project aims

Through the application of participatory qualitative research methods, the project investigates the views of refugee children up to age 6, their parents and staff at collective and emergency accommodation centres, on how daily life is organized and experienced by young children. The aim of the project is to generate empirically based knowledge on the everyday life experiences of young refugee children living in different types of accommodation centres.


Little is known about the everyday reality for young refugee children in collective and emergency accommodation centres. In research and official reports on the situation of refugee families in Germany, the perspectives and voices of children are underrepresented. Currently, action is based more on labelling rather than on proven knowledge. In view of this, the current project uses an exploratory ethnographic research design.

Methodological approach

This qualitative research study is being carried out in collective and emergency accommodation centres operated by different agencies.

In each accommodation centre, a research team comprising a research fellow and student assistant is responsible for data collection. Each team has been put together to maximize team members’ complementing skills and competencies.

The research teams negotiate access to the collective and emergency accommodation centres and conduct participant observation on the daily life of selected families. They offer creative activities for pre-school children in order to observe and systematically document interaction processes among the children and between them and other persons living, working and volunteering in the accommodation centres. The development of the research questions is guided by the research field.

The research teams use picture- and space-based participatory methods in order to examine the everyday life and sense of space and time of pre-school children living in collective and emergency accommodation centres. The results will be interpreted together with the children. Semi-structured expert interviews with staff at the accommodation centres (e.g. social workers and security personnel) are also being carried out. The interview and observational data are complemented by interviews with parents.

The research results will be discussed with reference to official documentation and statistics and compiled into a final report. The research findings will be presented to interested specialists and members of the public at a conference in September 2017 and will also be disseminated through publications. The transfer of the research findings into practice is a stated goal of the project.

This research is funded by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Stiftung deutsche Jugendmarke, an anonymous donation to INIB e.V., and the Paritätische Berlin.

Project duration

1.3.2016 until 31.10.2017.

Project implementation

The project is managed jointly by Prof. Dr. Anne Wihstutz (INIB/ehb) and Petra Wagner (ISTA/INA Berlin gGmbH).

Research team

Seyran Bostancı, Sarah Fichtner, Thi Huyen Trang Le, Hannah Rosenfeld, Evelyn Schulz-Algie, Penelope Scott, Sonja Stegmaier (until 9/2016), Trần, Hoa Mai, Clara Zimmer (since 12/2016).

The project is supported by a scientific advisory committee consisting of experts.