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Vanderbilt University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


This study aims to understand early childhood caregiving among Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. Due to the brain’s enormous developmental plasticity from ages zero to three, children’s experiences during this period are extremely important to explaining their future learnings in school, interactions with people, and engagements with their surroundings. Through interviews and observations, Tibetan parents shared their conceptions of early childhood, parent-child interaction norms, dreams for their children, and how their status as refugees in Nepal affects these. Research was conducted in two Pokhara district Tibetan settlements and one settlement in Mustang. Connected by the flow of children and adults for purposes of school and work, and under the guise of limited refugee status, conducting research in these places allowed for exploration of the ways that geographical and political contexts influence parents and children's experiences of early childhood parenting. The results indicated that investments in policy level improvements, and in boosting caregiver capacities to stimulate their child’s early learning would be beneficial to meeting caregivers goals for their children’s futures.


Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Early Childhood Education | Family, Life Course, and Society | Maternal and Child Health | Migration Studies | Place and Environment | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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