Couchenour & Chrisman (1999) caution early childhood teachers against treating young children of diverse families in stereotypical ways that may cause them embarrassment and discomfort in the classroom.

A teacher in a suburban elementary school, is wondering how she can best engage two young students in her class:

1. A six year old girl who’s being raised by a single male parent who’s only attended the Open House the first week of school.

2. A seven year old boy whose parents are unknown because they never respond to teacher invitations to school meetings nor classroom activities.

Understanding Famil Diversity

What strategies could this teacher employ to ensure that her classroom is welcoming to these children and their families? What would help the children to feel like real members of the class?

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