Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. They’re holidays celebrated not just in the US but all around the world. But creating Mother’s Day gifts from kids in the classroom or Father’s Day presents from your students can get complicated when you consider all the different types of families.
And shouldn’t you be considering all those different types of families?
An inclusive classroom is a safe classroom. But how inclusive is a classroom celebrating a holiday about one very specific type of family? What about families with single parents, families with two moms or two dads, families where a grandparent is head of household, foster families, or all the other amalgamations that make up life in our United States?
These days, just 65 percent of American kids under 17 live in a home with two married parents, and 26 percent of kids live in a home with just one parent — that’s a quarter of the nation’s children! Meanwhile, 4 percent of children live in a home with two cohabitating parents, and another 4 percent do not live with their parents at all.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fit for some children, but very often, they leave countless kids behind.
As you’re planning for the upcoming holidays, here are a few ideas to make sure Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are marked in your classroom in a way that makes sure every child in your class feels seen, and the gifts your students take home are a perfect fit for their family.
Make cards for “special people”
Some kids want to write cards to mom. Some want to write cards to dad. Still, others want to thank a foster parent, a grandparent, a coach … That’s why Teach Starter created special person cards for the classroom. This way, you can encourage your students to practice their letter-writing skills, but leave the person they want to write that letter to up to them! It’s a perfect gift for anyone … on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or well, any day!
You can also print our Special Kind of Love template for older students to practice writing about their feelings.
Focus on the love
Whether your students have two moms, two dads, live with a grandparent, live with a foster parent, or well, just about any other kind of family, here’s hoping they’ve got plenty of love in their home. And they can give that love back with this fun love heart waterfall gift that will help them practice their scissor skills!
Watch the video below for all the action!
Talk about families
It’s tempting to focus activities this time of year on just one parent or another, but learning about family is an important step for elementary students to make sense of their place in the world. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day offer an opportunity to focus on discussions of families as a whole, identifying the many different people who can make up a family, and guiding students to develop acceptance of different family structures.
Students can write a book all about what makes their family special with our customizable “All About My Family” mini booklet, then take it home to present as a Mother’s Day gift or Father’s Day gift to that special person or people in their life.
Reading About Families
One of the best ways to make sure kids feel seen and to educate others is to ensure your classroom library features books that are inclusive, and this time of year, that means books that are inclusive of the various family structures that exist in the world.
A few favorites to consider adding to your classroom book nook:
- All Kinds of Families by Suzanne Lang
- The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
- Donovan’s Big Day by Lesléa Newman
- The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption by Jean Davies Okimoto