A new kit promoting family diversity awareness has been developed to help early childhood centres in Victoria come to grips with same-sex parented families.

Produced by the Rainbow Families Council, the information pack — containing posters, book lists and information referral sheets — is aimed at kindergartens, childcare centres and gay and lesbian parents.

Rainbows Families Council convenor Felicity Marlowe told Southern Star a survey conducted to help develop the kit showed gay and lesbian parents were often forced to educate childcare centres and provide them with basic resources on same-sex parenting because none were available.

“A lot of people said they bought books and gave them to their childcare centre so they’d have books that included two mums, two dads and a diversity of families … so their kids wouldn’t feel left out,” Marlowe said.

“It’s clearly better if there can be a whole of council approach to getting this material out, rather than leaving it up to individuals to raise.

“An individual family from an Indigenous or Greek background doesn’t have to go and say ‘I think you should talk about people from different cultures’.

They don’t have to advocate on that level because society acknowledges that inclusiveness around culture and ethnicity and religion is really important.”

The Who Is In Your Family? resource kit was developed on a budget of $2000, thanks to funding from the City of Darebin as part of its community grants program.

The resource builds on an information booklet produced in 2001 by a group of lesbian parents and the City of Darebin for childcare workers.

Marlowe said she’d like to extend the resources to other municipalities across the state and would like to see childcare centres and kindergartens display the posters to get the discussion on diverse families started.

“We think, to combat homophobia, getting in early and encouraging kids to understand you can have two mums and two dads and that’s okay and challenging stereotyping is a good way to start generational change,” she said.

A lesbian mother told Marlowe that seeing the book Heather Has Two Mommies at a Werribee library had a profoundly positive impact on her.

“When [parents] could see that a childcare centre or maternal child health service had made an effort, people feltthat was affirming,” Marlowe said.

info: Who Is In Your Family? is available to
download free from www.rainbowfamilies.org.au or visit www.glhv.org.au

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