Adoption awareness in the elementary classroom

Claire LaBerge, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


Adoption is a complex and delicate issue, and too often, outdated and biased attitudes toward adoption influence people’s perceptions of adoption and adoptees. Adopted children are particularly vulnerable to negativity toward the adoptive family structure, and adoptees have special emotional needs that must be addressed in the elementary school classroom. Research demonstrates a variety of ways teachers can bring awareness to adoption issues, de-stigmatize adoption in the classroom, and in turn, create a safe and nurturing classroom environment. The researcher designed an anonymous survey to distribute to a sampling of elementary school teachers; the survey results generally supported the researcher’s hypothesis that adoption issues are not properly addressed in elementary education. The results established that elementary school teachers were not adequately prepared to support adopted children in class because they do not have the necessary training, resources, or support at the school and district levels.