What Is Foster Care?

Apr 21, 2016

Krissy Pierce

I will be honest - today's Wonder of the Day caught me off guard. As a teacher in a low income district, I work with many families experiencing unconventional living situations. Our students homes are provided by grandparents, friends, distant relatives, and sometimes kind strangers. It's an elephant in the room for us and we rarely acknowledge it. I immediately shuddered with fear at a specific struggling student and how my student would respond to such a Wonder when they are usually fairly peppy. I wondered myself how this would go.

Then I thought back to the classroom family I've always worked so hard to create, and now support some fabulous teachers in building. These classrooms establish a safe and happy home for some of our students and they are allowed and encouraged to ask questions about things they don't understand. I thought back to the students with conventional home lives and how confused they must be by their peers experiences. I thought about my struggler and how that specific student may find a safe place if peers better understood the diverse homes our students come from. And I thought of the teachers who create these safe places for kids and how this just might be a time to give them the words to explain the things they can't.

Although topics like this can be intimidating and uncomfortable, isn't all the tough stuff intimidating and uncomfortable to talk about? Isn't talking through the tough stuff the way that humans connect? Don't we better learn to empathize and understand the journeys of others by developing a clear vocabulary and understanding of the facts of life?

Things like this aren't easy to talk about with kids, but that doesn't make it ok to ignore them. I applaud Wonderopolis for providing a common language to include all of our families, regardless of how they are formed. The reality is that kind people in this world step up and care for children that need to be loved. Shouldn't we be proud enough of these people to make sure our kids know how to talk about situations like these?

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