Assignment: Building Understanding And Respecting Families

Given the increase in heterogeneity among families in early childhood settings and the closeness with which families need to work together, this week has focused on the thoughtful implementation of communication strategies that help foster respectful and supportive relationships. In the Discussion this week, you are exploring possible barriers and challenges related to communicating with families. Perhaps you have gained insights into your own biases or hesitancies that may impede your work with families and children

Your textbook lists 8 categories of families who, of course share similarities, but also have their own differences – both strengths and challenges. Which of these categories of families do you know the least? What strengths and challenges might these families have that would help you work with them and their children? As you strive to do anti-bias work and help children understand and respect each other’s families, what do you need to know?

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To begin, choose three types of families from the list below to be the focus of your exploration. You may want to learn more about families of children with whom you work or anticipate working with, families with whom you anticipate feeling uncomfortable, and/or families with whom you have not had contact. Again, as you choose, keep in mind that your role as an early childhood professional who does anti-bias work involves you in teaching the children with whom you work to respect and understand all kinds of families without over-generalizing or stereotyping.

8 Types of Family Groupings

Single-parent families
Blended and extended families
Adoptive families
One or more family members incarcerated
Foster families
Military families
Transnational Families
Gay/Lesbian-headed families

For each type of family you have selected, complete the following:

Consider the various resources that you might draw on to develop a deeper understanding about the specific challenges faced by this type of family including stereotypes/misconceptions held by society in general or at individual levels. Conduct a brief investigation by looking for local and/or national organizations, support groups, publications, and online resources that might be available to expand awareness about this kind of family. Take note of the resources that you feel would be particularly helpful to teachers committed to anti-bias work and effective early childhood practice. For each resource, indicate whether it would be helpful to early childhood professionals, families, or both. Justify your ideas.
Based on the textbook reading for this week and your additional resources, summarize your insights.
List at least three key strategies that might be used to help adults and/or children understand each other’s families with more respect.

For this assignment, write an essay in which you address all of the components listed above for each of the three family types you selected.

At the conclusion of your essay, summarize your findings as detailed above, including a reflective section that responds to the following questions:

What insights have you gained this week with regard to specific categories of families that foster your anti-bias work with adults and children?
What misconceptions or assumptions of yours, if any, were dispelled?
What resources did you find to be invaluable?
What qualities and skills do you already possess that might help you to positively support and communicate with every child’s unique family?

Assignment length: approximately 3 pages