Celebrating Mother’s Day at school and being inclusive – they’re not exclusive

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Image: Pixelfit iStock

 

A Canadian primary school has received criticism after a letter was sent to parents of Years One and Two students saying that the classes won’t celebrate Mother’s Day. Reason? Diversity.

I don’t agree with the decision, but I’m sympathetic to the reasoning. I do think that people should be mindful about different types of families. And before everyone starts screaming about how the LGBTQ+ community are wrecking everything, I’m not talking about that. Some children, for whatever reason, are raised by their grandparents, some are in foster care, some are raised by a single dad because of tragic circumstances (death, etc). Now maybe in circumstances such as death, the child/ren may have a tradition of visiting the mother’s grave site and placing flowers there. They may reminisce on what the mother was like when she was alive. The pain may still be too raw. I think there is a place for sensitivity there.

In regard to children being raised by grandparents or foster families, there is a need for sensitivity there, too. Mother’s Day may cause distress and confusion to young children who don’t live with their mothers.

I don’t think banning Mother’s Day at school and pretending the day doesn’t exist is necessary nor helpful. It’s only going to spark culture wars. What I think can be done is that children be given the option to give the card or gift to another family member or friend who has acted like a mother – figure in their lives. This could be a grandmother, aunt or family friend. Teachers should be inclusive and acknowledge stepmothers and foster mothers.

Also, sensitivity should be given to those in shich a child has lost a mother. I’m not sure whether having the School Counsellor or social worker on hand would be a bad idea.

 

Of course, inclusivity needs to go beyond days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Children should be able to talk about their own families and not feel alienated. This should be done without alienating the other children. i think this is where the Canadian school is mistaken.

How do you think schools can be inclusive to non – traditional families?

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