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All Families are Special – By Norma Simon


When Mrs. Mack says she will soon be a grandmother, her students realize that teachers have families just like they do! Suddenly everyone in the class wants to share information about his or her own unique family.

Cultural notes

Family types that are represented in this book include those with adopted children, those with multiple generations under one roof, single parents, gay and lesbian couples, those with parents that cannot be present every day, those with step families (including step-parents, brothers, and sisters),those with family members all over the world, two-parent households, children living with grandparents, and children who go back and forth between divorced parents.

The illustrations are effective and show cultural diversity in addition to the diverse types of families being described through the prose. The characters are diverse and the children who are exposed to this book will see multiple views. All the family types are represented in a positive light through the eyes of the children in the story.

Suggested activities

Books and Storytime:

  • After reading ‘All Families are Special’, start your own discussion about families – how many people do they live with? Who has a pet? Ensure that educators are accepting and positive about each unique family structure.

Art & Craft: 

  • After reading ‘All Families Are Special’ encourage children to draw their family. Provide a variety of materials, colours and mirrors for children to use. Ask children to pick one thing that makes their special and include this below their pictures. Display the portraits around the centre.

Community Involvement

  • Create a family tree at the service. Encourage families to bring in photos of their family to display
  • Communicate with parents and families, asking them to share something special about their family or a special tradition in their family. Children can then bring in an item, photo etc. to share something special about their family. By learning about family traditions we can build on our relationships with families and may also be able to implement these traditions within the centre.

Dramatic Play:

  • Ensure your dramatic play section includes clothing from a range of different cultures, in particular those that are represented within your organisation. Have children try on the various items of clothing and discuss the culture that wears each one and why/how that style of clothing was created. Place the items in the dramatic play area so that children can wear the clothing as part of their play scenarios.
  • Introduce felt boards, finger puppets and magnet boards representing people from different cultures, family structures and with different abilities

Puzzles/ Games:

  • Provide simple puzzles that represent diversity – including diversity of culture, gender and abilities

External Links

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The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.