Monday, January 17, 2011

The Family

Most children love to talk about themselves.  I'd venture to state that this is true for the majority of grown-ups as well.

In kindergarten children have the opportunity to engage in lots of conversation about their feelings and interests.  They are learning the rules of successful social interactions such as Be nice to each other and Share.

For young children who are still learning to take on the perspective of another, knowing and following these rules are often mutually exclusive. Still, learning more about the self is a highly motivating endeavor.

And part of learning about yourself is exploring your place in a family.  We are helping our students do that as well as exposing them to the fact that families come in many different varieties.  Children's book author and illustrator Todd Parr's books are fantastic for introducing this topic and keeping it moving.

In addition to The Family Book he has written The Daddy Book, The Mommy Book, The Grandpa Book and The Grandma Book.  There is even a book focusing on adoption entitled We Belong Together.

As we journey with our students we remain sensitive to the diversity of each family. This may include children who live with both a mom and dad, children whose parents are divorced and share custody of the child, children who live with a single parent and rarely, if ever, have contact with his or her mom or dad, children who are being raised by a grandparent and children who have two moms or dads.

Introducing the topic of having two moms or dads, not because of divorce but because mom or dad  loves someone of the same sex can be a touchy subject in schools.  There are children's books that approach the topic beautifully.  One book is And Tango Makes Three (also referred to sometimes as "that gay penguin book").  

The important thing to remember is that the discussion in schools is about The Family.  In 2011 the family is no longer the Ozzie and Harriet version it was in the 50s.  Maybe it wasn't even that in the 50s.  The times they are a-changin' and it is time to embrace diversity and promote acceptance and love.


Pauline said...

" is time to embrace diversity and promote acceptance and love. "

My own family was pretty Ozzie and Harriet until the 60s hit and all hell broke loose. In the second grade classes I work with, we have kids with two parents, with a biological parent and a step-parent, with single parents, grandparents as parents and even an aunt as a parent. They are still learning where and how they fit in - with their families, their peers, the classroom, and the wider world. Be nice to each other and share are still difficult concepts. I'm all for your closing sentence!

Angella Lister said...


Barbara said...

In the end, children and dogs just want to be loved. I'm constantly impressed with their adaptability. That being said, I'm still learning how to love my adult children in a way that respects their independence.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I'd love to get a copy of "Tango Makes Three" and "King and King". It's hard to believe that there are parts of the country that consider these to be controversial or subversive books.

Gary said...

Gregg - I know! It is a story about love and family. To be outraged speaks to hate and prejudice. Things are changing though.

WAT said...


Just kidding.



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