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Celebrate different families

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Topic: Celebrate different families

Learning Outcomes

  • explore stories about people who have made a difference and brought about a fairer world.
  • have opportunities to articulate his/her own attitudes, experiences and values
  • to see that the common bond that unites many families and caring communities is love and caring
  • Read a book that celebrates that all families are different



  1. Children draw pictures of their families on paper.
  2. Write on board- “What do we know about families?”

Ask the class the following questions and record their answers● What do we know about families? ● Who is in a family? ● What do family members give or share with each other?

Make sure to include all the different kinds of families that are in your classroom. At the same time, it is important to name a wide variety of families (such as single parents or LGBTQ-headed), especially ones that are not represented in your classroom.



  1. Read the book-ask questions
  2. Ask children to draw Roy, Silo and Tango as a family.

Questions to ask could be:

What problem did Roy and Silo have? ● How did it get solved? ● How did Roy and Silo get an egg? ● How do Roy and Silo take care of Tango before she hatched? ● How do Roy and Silo take care of Tango after she hatched? ● What things do Roy, Silo and Tango enjoy doing together as a family? ● How is the family in the story similar to your family? ● How is the family in the story different from your family?

Scan/take photos of each of the children’s family pictures that they made. Choose one or two of the family of penguins.


Children can show their creations and take suggestions/ feedback. Can be printed out and placed in class library alongside Tango makes three.


Other Resources for teaching this topic

In groups of 2 or 3, children make their own book on their family and the penguin family from the text.

Book Creator App.

Tango makes Three blurb:

Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo – they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different – they’re both boys

‘And Tango Makes Three’ is a brilliant story which explores different families through a family of penguins, challenging the fairytale stereotype of a family being a man, a woman and children. This text celebrates that all families are different.

  • Integrated into the SPHe curriculum for Infants-Strand: Myself and Others Strand Unit: Myself and My Family – identify and name the people who constitute a family and appreciate that all family units are not the same
  • Ideas for this lesson plan were inspired from a unit of work at This lesson plan is excellent as it includes lessons for infants up to 6th Class when approaching Tango makes three, homophobia, diverse families and inclusion. Well worth checking out.

Teaching children philosophy website also has some valuable questions for this topic.

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Different Families

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Different Families

LT focus: 

-Identify own family members

-Describe how families can be different

-Discuss different roles in our families


Background for teacher: none


The lesson will begin with a reminder of circle time rules- taking turns speaking, listening to one another etc. The teacher will begin by explaining to the class that they will be talking about our families, and that every family is different. The teacher will give examples of a variety of family units e.g. single parent families, children living with grandparents, a family having two mammies/daddies etc. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of our families and that every family is different and special.


The children will pass around a teddy (or any talking object) and state who is in their family. The teacher will be mindful of any difficult circumstances any child lives in and positively guide the conversation accordingly. Any child who does not want to speak should not be forced to, but can be given extra chances to contribute if he/she would like to later on.

After every child has identified his/her family members, the teacher will talk about the role the children have in the family. Examples can be given at first such as helping empty the dishwasher, helping younger siblings, being kind to siblings etc.

The class will then have the opportunity to describe what he/she does at home to help the family. The children will be praised for their listening and contributions.


To conclude, the teacher will introduce a book about a special family- ‘And Tango Makes Three’ by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. After reading it the teacher will recap what has been learned in the lesson- that all families are different and all families are specia

Other teacher resources for teaching this topic:

Video of book:

Alternative books that could be read:

-The Family Book by Todd Parr

-Who’s in My Family? By Robie H. Harris

-Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman