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Preschool Sensitivity to Diverse Family Structures Critical to School Selection Process for LGBT and Adoptive Parents

By The Williams Institute - 2014-11-15


LGB parents of preschoolers may be particularly sensitive to family, racial and sexual diversity issues as they evaluate and select preschools for their children.

"LGBT parents tended to emphasize the presence of other lesbian/gay parents at the school"

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LGB parents of preschoolers may be particularly sensitive to family, racial and sexual diversity issues as they evaluate and select preschools for their children, according to a new study co-authored by Williams Institute Visiting Scholar, Abbie E. Goldberg; and JuliAnna Z. Smith of the Center for Research and Families at UMASS, Amherst. Additionally, heterosexual adoptive parent families may be especially sensitive to adoption-related stigma and exclusion.

“This study will help foster awareness about the growing diversity of family structures, and the significance of that diversity in the preschool context, “said lead author Goldberg.

The study concludes that early childhood educators should recognize the growing diversity of contemporary families in the U.S., and consider adoption, family structure, and race as important components of curriculum development. These important considerations foster more welcoming classroom environments for children and parents.

Preschool-age children are beginning to develop an understanding of basic concepts such as race, ethnicity, gender, and families, yet their educators are often uncertain about how to enact more inclusive and affirming approaches to LGBT families. Educators and administrators may require additional professional training to increase their knowledge and awareness of LGBT and adoptive-parent families for the benefit of their overall approach to teaching.

Key findings regarding parents’ school selection experiences include:

The sample consisted of 210 parents in 105 couples, including 35 lesbian couples, 30 gay male couples, and 40 heterosexual couples, all of whom had adopted a child three years earlier.

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