The Words to Say It

The power and importance of words to build trust and instil a sense of belonging cannot be overstated. When we choose words and use language that reflect parents’ and caregivers’ lived experience and identity, we take another step closer to building an alliance with them.

The Glossary created for our PLM on Equity and Inclusion is a great resource to guide us through that. However, in case we feel undue pressure to have all the right words at the right time, it is important to remember that:

  • we will never learn all the right language;
  • we will always make mistakes, everyone does;
  • asking about words is a great thing to do;
  • words change and become outdated;
  • we need to allow the community to determine the terminology;
  • apologizing for a terminology error is a good option.

Saying it

The following phrase is one way of respectfully asking parents and caregivers about words that most accurately reflect their identity and their experience. Questions posed to parents are respectful when their purpose is to better enable you to create a safe and inclusive school environment for all your students:

"I know that you and your spouse are co-parenting your child. Do you both refer to yourselves as your child’s mothers?"