When early childhood educators, caregivers and parents make an effort to maintain a welcoming atmosphere, it creates an environment in which all children and families can thrive. Learn how you can show appreciation and enthusiasm for supporting LGBTQ+ families and early childhood professionals, and their needs.
IN THIS RESOURCE
Ensuring All Families Feel Welcome
This ZERO TO THREE Journal article gives specific suggestions about how to build and maintain a welcoming, representative, and inclusive environment for diverse families in schools.
“Creating a welcoming school or early childhood education (ECE) environment for all families is important because the climate of a program will impact parents’ sense of connection to the setting. Parents who are more connected to the program or school are more engaged in their child’s experience, which has positive implications for children’s academic functioning and social integration (Galindo & Sheldon, 2012).”
What makes LGBTQ+ providers and families feel welcome?
LGBTQ+ parents and providers share their insight!
- “When I went for my interview, seeing an “All Families Matter” sticker in rainbow font near the [child care center’s] front door made me immediately feel at ease.“ – Laura, Early Childhood Provider
- “It starts with a culture of inclusivity and acceptance. One of the things we love most about our daughter’s preschool is their genuine love and acceptance of our family that is felt from the program director down through the teachers. They show us this by sending home two plants on Mother’s Day, having lessons about different types of families, asking us what we prefer to be called, and just always showing us we are welcome, seen, and valued.” – Hannah, LGBTQ+ Parent
- “I appreciate that my son’s preschool has a variety of diverse books, not just one or two. And it’s not a big deal when they talk about those books versus the others.” – Sid, LGBTQ+ Parent
- “It is immensely important to me that the staff at any childcare center use the right pronouns for me, as a nonbinary parent who uses exclusively they/them pronouns.” – Martin, LGBTQ+ Parent
Seeing a positive portrayal of LBGTQ+ families in books not only helps empower the children within these families but also expands and helps shape the definition of “family” for others.
Our favorite picture books representing LGBTQ+ families:
- Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
- Teddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Trimmer
- Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
- Bedtime, Not Playtime! by Lawrence Schimel
Parenting and Professional Resources
This issue of the Journal explores several facets of children’s developing sense of self and belonging, and the intersecting contexts of family, culture, and classroom community.
Who am I? The words may be small but the question is one of the most significant ones in life. As might be expected, this fundamental aspect of being human begins construction in infancy.
What do young children understand about their identity? How can parents help them construct a positive self-identity? Read these tips and tools.
Parent Tricia Grauert graciously shares this personal story recounting her young child’s gender transition. Dr. Peggy Kemp reflects on Tricia’s experience and how parents and professionals can support young children in developing their identity.
Explore this collection of resources from the Office of Head Start to learn ways to enhance relationships with parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Directors, teachers, providers, and parents will find information and strategies to create an early childhood setting that is welcoming and inclusive, build staff professionalism, and engage all families in your program.