'We are family': Nurseries celebrate the diversity of family life

A new week of free activities has been developed to encourage early years settings to celebrate families.

My Family Week 2017 will launch on Friday 13 October and is the concept of early years consultant, Laura Henry.

Supported by the University of Northampton and organisations including NEyTCO, the Pre-school Learning Alliance and single-parent family charity Gingerbread, the week is designed to celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of different families.

Ms Henry said, ‘The concept is based on the fact that all families are different. We have the traditional Mother’s Day and Father’s Day but a lot of children do not necessarily have families which would fall into those categories, whether they have single parents due to divorce, separation or bereavement, or same sex parents, or are fostered or adopted. We wanted to make sure there was at least one week when all families and children felt valued and able to celebrate what is unique to them.’

A programme of activities encouraging discussion and celebration of all types of families has been developed based on the children’s book Jo-Jo and Gran-Gran, written by Ms Henry.

Nurseries and childminders can sign up to take part in Family Week 2017 online and will receive a pack of activities including open-ended questions to promote discussion, and a Family Week song.

They will also be encouraged to share their activities and news online using the hashtag #MyFamilyWeek

On Friday 20 October, all participating nurseries, children and families will be invited to a ‘virtual party’ to mark the end of the week together online.

The My Family Week 2017 activities pack will be sent out to settings, schools and parents at the end of September, two weeks before the start of Family Week, to encourage them to promote the week and develop their own approaches to the celebrations.

Ms Henry said she welcomed feedback from participating nurseries in order to help Family Week grow in the future.

‘This is just year one, and I do see Family Week getting bigger and bigger,’ she said. ‘I have had nurseries signing up from Australia, Mexico and America, so I am absolutely chuffed at the interest that is coming in from around the world. Settings may already have ideas of how to do some of these things in their own individual ways and I will be really interested to hear about that.’

Nurseries can register for Family Week 2017 here

  • In her role as a representative on the World Forum on early care and education, Laura Henry met the Dalai Lama during the spiritual leader’s two-day visit to Londonderry in September. As patron of Children in Crossfire, the Dalai Lama was helping to celebrate the charity’s 20th anniversary. Ms Henry joined the charity’s founder Richard Moore and speaker Joanna Lumley at the event, at which the spiritual leader addressed the audience and took questions from guests.



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