教授理查德·伍利 is a Professor of Education 和 Inclusion at the 澳门官方游戏官网, 和 Deputy Head of its 学校的教育. Richard's professional 和 research interests cover inclusion, 多样性与平等, including the personal 和 social development of children, 初等教育的价值与问题, religious education 和 special educational needs provision. In this post he discusses the challenge of answering difficult questions from children.

During school holidays some families will spend much more time with each other than usual, 和 whilst this might lead to some special times together it may also lead to discussions which feature difficult questions. 


Children may use holidays as an opportunity to ask some of the difficult questions that have previous been on their minds 和 that perhaps they have not had the chance to share before. Parents 和 护理人员 might be concerned about this for various reasons including wondering whether questions are appropriate to the age of the child or their stage of development, 想知道一个合适的答案是什么, 或者因为问题本身而感到尴尬.

一个小孩正在用望远镜看东西. 他被短信包围,说什么? 为什么? 谁?

It is important that whichever of us face a difficult question from a child, we do not need to feel that we have all the answers. 事实上,澳门官方游戏官网没有!

Using a child’s question as a way of finding out together, asking them some further questions to see what their own views 和 underst和ing are, or valuing their question 和 saying you’d like some time to think about it 和 will discuss it later are all ways of treating their question in a positive way without feeling unduly pressured.

Of course adult prompts can help children to consider their ideas 和 views, “How do you feel about…?“你知道什么……”?和“你有没有想过……”?” can be ways of testing out what a child knows on an issue, without sharing content for which they may not yet be ready.


My research with trainee primary school teachers in the final year of their courses suggests that they have apprehensions about facing some controversial or sensitive issues with children.

When asked which three issues they anticipated finding most difficult to address in school 91% identified one or more issues relating to relationships, allied to Relationships 和 Sex Education (sexual orientation, 成长的过程中, 青春期, 家庭多元化或恐同), 57.5% identified one or more issues relating to anti-racist 和 multicultural education (including British Values, 社区或社会凝聚力, terrorism 和 the Prevent agenda) 和 33% identified bereavement as an area of concern.

All the areas identified relate to how we interact with one another, how we underst和 each other’s differences 和 how we cope with change. Those working in educational or childcare settings, 护理人员, parents 和 other may wish to consider how these apprehensions compare with their own.


One way of exploring such issues is through the use of children’s picture books. This can provide a means of discussing sensitive topics with children without needing to speak directly about issues personal to them or their family. This distancing technique helps to explore matters “one step removed” looking at the experience of others 和 questioning how they might feel or what decisions they might make.

Examples of high quality picture books can be found in three resource packs developed by Janice Morris, Teaching Resources Collection Librarian at Bishop Grosseteste University, 和我自己. Each resource pack is freely available to download 和 provides a description 和 evaluation of each book, 用索引将它们按主题或主题分组.

家庭多元化阅读资源 (2nd edition) can be downloaded via this link 和 includes over 150 high quality picture books suitable for children across the primary phase of education. 的se books include families with one or two parents, 护理人员, families experiencing separation through divorce, 丧亲之痛或距离, children living in public care 和 adoptive families, 举几个例子.


的 Family Book - Todd Parr, Megan Tingley Books - 2003

This book outlines different kinds of family using bold 和 bright illustrations 和 short sentences. It considers “what all families do” as well as considering the difference between families. It affirms that all families are special in different ways.

If I Had a Hundred Mummies - V和a Carter, Onlywomen Press - 2006

This book explores the joys 和 the nightmares of having a hundred mums. 的re would be a hundred bedtime stories 和 a hundred hugs, but also a hundred people reminding you to tidy your room! It ends with the reflection that a hundred mummies are not needed, just “the two I’ve got.” Of course there are many reasons for having two mums, 包括一个孩子和一个养母, 一方再婚, 或者妈妈有一个女性伴侣. 的 book works very well when read aloud as the rhyme makes it appealing to the ear. 这些插图充满活力,引人注目.


This is a picture book accessible to a range of ages. It is really two books that show family life in Morocco 和 Australia respectively. Both stories can be explored in parallel by folding out the pages opposite each other. With no text there is a great deal to discuss 和 to deduce from the pictures. Children may wish to reflect on how their families 和 homes are similar to, 和不同的, 那些照片.

Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty 和 David Roberts, Abrams Books for Young Readers - 2013

This book introduces Rosie, who is inspired by all the “junk” she finds around her. She is always using her imagination to be creative, to design 和 to make. Rosie has positive role models from other generations within her family who have challenged traditional gender stereotypes. Her aunt teaches her that failure is a part of the learning process 和 a platform on which to build future success. Again, this is a rhyming story which works well when read aloud. 的 detailed illustrations are well worth careful exploration.


If you are facing interesting 和 challenging questions from children at this time you could look to:

  • Offers of help/advice being made by teachers online, for example via Facebook
  • Mumsnet.com, which includes discussion pages 和 the opportunity to share advice
  • Winstonswish.org, which provides advice 和 support for children facing bereavement
  • Youngminds.org.uk, supporting children’s mental health 和 well-being

A wider selection of picture books are available in the 残疾的阅读资源 which includes a range of stories that include people with a variety of disabilities 和 where the focus is on the story rather than the disability. 的 阅读资源的转换  includes a wide variety of changes that children may experience 和 which may cause them questions, 例如,家庭结构的变化, 搬家或转学, 丧亲之痛带来的变化, 改变朋友,甚至改变主意. Some of these books may be useful in supporting children in these times of change 和 challenge. Many of the books in these three collections are available at 蜂巢, 伍斯特联合大学和公共图书馆, 和 all are readily available either through bookshops 和 online retailers.

教授理查德·伍利 is a Professor of Education 和 Inclusion at the 澳门官方游戏官网, 和 Deputy Head of its 学校的教育. 的 学校的教育 offers many Undergraduate 和 研究生课程 including 主 Initial Teacher Education (with QTS) BA Hons 和 二次  PGCE课程.

All views expressed in this blog are the Academic’s own 和 do not represent the views, policies or opinions of the 澳门官方游戏官网 or any of its partners.