Play School is on the hunt for a family with two dads as they search for a diverse array of family types to star in their “through the windows” segment.
Currently looking for families that show all different types of Australian households, the show is exploring what it means to live in an adopted family, blended family, extended family, Indigenous family and one with two dads.
The ABC show made waves in 2004 when it featured a child with two mums. Young Brenna Harding (who eventually grew into an established actress in the show Puberty Blues) and her lesbian mums made headlines as the Herald Sun put up the headline, “Gay school for tots row.” At the time, the Herald Sun reported, “In a move that has angered family groups, the home of Big Ted delved into the issue of lesbian parenthood without any warning.”
Even though the “through the windows” segment is set to feature an array of families, it’s the two dads part that has struck a chord with the public. The idea behind the segment is to accurately reflect Australian family culture. With that in mind, the show found it necessary to be truthful with their audience and draw from the diversity that makes up the country.
According to the Guardian, former head of children’s television Claire Henderson said (of the 2004 inclusion of lesbian mums) that Play School, “showed one of many types of family groups that exist in Australia today.” Adding that the show was meant to, “reflect the variety of the contemporary world,” it’s clear to see the importance of this feature.
Despite the controversy that erupted in 2004, the current inclusion of two dads isn’t meant to shock the public. In its 50th year of programming, Play School is choosing to focus on “My Family, Your Family.” The current theme gives the show the chance to help children across Australia see their own cultures, as well as others, in a safe setting. The Guardian reports Play School’s response, “We don’t see this as anything controversial, just a reflection of contemporary Australian life. We want preschool children from across the community to be able to see themselves as part of this very special show.”
Just like adopted children, children in blended families, those who live with their extended relatives and kids who are part of Indigenous families can see themselves (not literally, but their family ‘types’) on the show, children with gay parents should have the chance to do the same. Not only can Play School help these children to feel accepted as part of the new norm in society, but it can also help others to understand that families come in all shapes, sizes and identities.