He Many Kinds of Family Structures in Our Communities Essay

1659 Words Mar 27th, 2013 7 Pages
The Many Kinds of Family Structures in Our Communities
Julie Olsen Edwards
Based on the author’s work with Louise Derman-Sparks in Anti-bias Education for Children and Ourselves NAEYC 2009

Children grow up in many different structures of families, and, at different times in their lives, their family structure may change. For young children, the family in which they live is the
“normal” family. It is when children enter group programs outside of their homes that they discover that there are many kinds of families and that the important adults in those programs may or may not think of the child’s family as “normal” or acceptable.
One of the most important tasks for early childhood educators is to treat each child’s family with
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Extended family: A family where Grandparents or Aunts and
Uncles play major roles in the children’s upbringing. This may or may not include those relatives living with the children. These family members may be in addition to the child’s parents or instead of the child’s parents.
• Be sure to include in school invitations/conferences all the people in an extended family who play major socialization roles. Intervene if others deny the central role of these relatives, for example if a child says “Mama puts you to bed – not your Auntie!”
Foster family: A family where one or more of the children is legally a temporary member of the household. This “temporary” period may be as short as a few days or as long as the child’s entire childhood. Kinship care families are foster families where there is a legal arrangement for the child to be cared for by relatives of one of the parents.
• Use whatever terminology the child uses about their foster parents (they may call them
Mom or Dad or they may use their first names or may call them Mama 2 and Papa 2, etc).
Check with the foster parents about what they have told the child about the absent family and the likelihood of reuniting. If the original parents are able to visit, and wish to come to the school, make them welcome. Never ask a child to chose who is most important to them. Gay or Lesbian family: A family where one or both

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