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The Creating Home program focuses on the functions homes serve for humans and other animals. Some functions, such as shelter, are concrete and universal. Others, such as fostering cooperation and providing personal safety, are less tangible and not necessarily found in all family homes. As the leader, you must be ready to leave at the threshold of the meeting space your preconceptions about "home" and about norms in family life.
Before the program begins, ask your religious education director about differences in family configuration and home circumstances among the children in the group. Find out whether any participants have a family or home situation that may give rise to the child's discomfort or invite disclosures during a session.
Every child's family home is unique: Some children have two parents, some have one. Some are parented by grandparents or other adults. Some children have had one home their entire lives; some may have moved frequently. A group may include children who have lived in an institutional setting. An invitation to name the members of their family home may cause uncertainty or sadness in an adopted child, a foster child, or a child who lives with a parent and that parent's new adult partner.
Some children may live in large houses and have their own bedrooms. Others may live in small apartments where they sleep with a sibling or parent. You cannot assume that every child has a kitchen table or, if they do, that the family sits down together for meals there. Be sensitive to differences, and avoid presenting a "norm."
Be ready to talk privately with a child who begins to describe a situation in her/his home that suggests a safety concern. Speak to your religious education director to ensure that your congregation and state safety policies can be followed.
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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.
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