Professor Richard Harris (Professor of History Education, University of Reading) and Dr. Maria Kambouri (Associate Professor of Early Childhood Care and Education, University of Reading) have recently launched the website for their research project, titled ‘Developing parent-teacher partnerships to teach about LGBTQ+ matters in primary school’.
Studies show that LGBTQ+ students who are supported in developing a strong sense of identity demonstrate greater resilience in the longer term. Yet most interventions cited in the literature are focused on secondary school students, which overlooks the fact that children typically develop the ability to recognise gender by the time they are 3 years old, and that children, who identity as LGBTQ+, often question their sexual and gender identity whilst in primary school. The fact that there is a gap between children questioning their identity at primary school yet often not coming out until some point in secondary school means children can be left isolated and without the support needed to navigate complex issues at this crucial stage in their identity development.
Thus, Professor Richard and Dr. Kambouri’s project aimed to identify parents’ and teachers’ perceptions and concerns of a range of LGBTQ+ related issues, and to develop approaches to provide support and training to parents and teachers to engage with young children more confidently and effectively around LGBTQ+ issues.
Drawing from their study’s findings, the project’s website has been carefully designed to provide to provide support and guidance for teachers and parents about how to discuss LGBTQ+ issues with all children. The website also features the video below which was developed with teachers, parents and undergraduate students involved in the project. The intention for creating this video is to explain why this project is needed by highlighting some of the issues identified in the research literature and also drawing on students personal experiences.