Silence is not golden

including the voices of lesbian parents to guide pedagogical practice, policy and research in Australian early childhood settings

Kathy Cloughessy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lesbian parents shared their experiences of using Early Childhood settings in Australia. Aspects discussed included disclosure decisions, the usefulness of children's books featuring same sex parented families, and experiences related to their family composition. Via an online survey and two follow up interviews, these parents explained how educators can work effectively with families at their centres. To understand, interpret and explain these parents' experiences, heteronormativity is used as a sensitising concept. Three overarching themes emerged in the findings which are elaborated: 'educating the educator', 'the not so innocent child' and 'diversity is the new normal'. The implications of these findings for early childhood educators are considered across three dimensions: pedagogical practice, policy and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Years
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • early childhood education
  • heteronormativity
  • lesbian parents

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