Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
By Lisa King and Kirsten HaugenGo to page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Today's families are more diverse than ever, and early childhood programs may be the first place a child or family will share who they are with the wider world.This puts early educators in a unique position to engage our growing diversity in ways that positively impact young children's sense of self and sense of belonging. In this article, we aim to briefly describe the rapidly shifting and expanding diversity of modern families, and at the same time, look beyond labels to appreciate the often unexpected and unique strengths, challenges, experiences, and perspectives of individual children and families.
We share insights from conversations we've had with several families about their own experiences, every one rich with joys, frustrations, and more. Their stories and perspectives illustrate the complexity of today's families. They compel us to go beyond helping children 'fit in' to instead strive for ways to learn about, incorporate, and leverage what is unique about each child and family, and to create a trusting, welcoming, and accepting community for parents, children, and teachers that will continue to evolve with each new child and family we meet.
A Word on Language
On a typical day at our house, two of my boys, ages 9 and 10, argue over whether or not a 'contest' and 'competition' are the same. I suggest they consult thatauthoritative tome of our common understanding of the words we use: our big, old, red American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language from my college days. As usual, this only leads to more arguing over synonyms, antonyms, and the like. They carry their dispute and their skateboards outside, and I get back to work on this article. The abandoned dictionary beckons, and I flip to the following entry:
fam·i·ly — n., pl. — lies. Abbr. fam
1. The most instinctive, fundamental social or mating group in man and animal, especially the union of man and woman through marriage and their offspring; parents and their children.
2. One's spouse and children.
3. Persons related by blood or lineage.
4. Lineage; especially upper-class lineage.
5. All the members of a household; those who share one's domestic home.
Time for a new dictionary! A quick look at Yahoo.com delivers the following, coincidentally from the current American Heritage Dictionary:
fam·i·ly — noun: pl. fam·i·lies
1. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
2. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.
3. All the members of a household under one roof.
4. A group of persons sharing common ancestry.
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