Pg. 96-97 of The New Teacher Book” by Rethinking Schools:
Families are groupings of individuals who may or may not be living together, but are perceived by the child to be “family.” They may be permanent, temporary or fluid. Children define their families as units that include adults who make them feel safe and happy. They want stability, tradition, and love. Many children get this in large doses, and for others it’s more elusive. Even in cases of abuse, children may still choose to be with their “family.” As children from all types of families face challenges at home, the school setting should be one that offers comfort and that validates all family structures.
Teachers can walk a fine line between validating all types of families and singling out students for that validation. By providing appropriate curriculum, media materials, and visual images in the classroom, teachers can send a powerful message about respect and diversity without embarrassing students or violating their privacy.
You know, I think we [teachers] overlook issues of family diversity because they are not as obvious to us as other issues of diversity. We have leadership and resources for other topics of equity and culture, but because our students are so private in many ways about what is going on at home, we don’t necessarily think about it when planning curriculum.
Also, I really love the story “Heather’s Moms Got Married” by Mary Cowhey in “The New Teacher Book” by Rethinking Schools. Pages 103-110.