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The ABCs of Diversity and Inclusion: Developing an Inclusive Environment for Diverse Families in Early Childhood Education

Reihonna L. Frost and Abbie E. Goldberg, Clark University

Abstract

Early childhood education is a time when children and their parents are learning about their roles in a school. This makes early childhood education a crucial time for developing strong parent–school relationships with diverse families including LGBTQ parents, adoptive families, and multiracial families. This article gives specific, concrete suggestions about how to build and maintain a welcoming, representative, and inclusive environment for diverse families in schools.

As families in America become increasingly diverse, professionals working with children and families must expand their knowledge, practices, and policies in order to sensitively and effectively meet their needs. In particular, families with sexual minority parents, families built through adoption, and multiracial families have increased in prevalence. An estimated 3 million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) adults in the United States have children (Gates, 2013); more than 2 million children in the United States are adopted and, of those children, approximately 25% have parents who are of different races than they are (Kreider & Lofquist, 2014). Further, many families can hold two or more of these identities (e.g., a two-mom transracially adoptive family). When considering ways to create an inclusive environment for families, it is important to consider their unique set of identities.

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