Lesson 6: Families in the wider world

Learning that other families, whether in school or the wider world, may be different from our own family and these differences should be respected.

Before the lesson


You may have pupils in your class who have issues at home or are looked after children who may need additional support during this lesson. It is also important to remind pupils that they are looking at imaginary families and they do not need to talk about their own experiences. This can be reinforced by revisiting the ground rules for PSHE lessons.


Have ready

  • Access to the internet 
  • Books about families or daily life in different countries


  • Activity: Family quiz (see Classroom resources) – one per child
  • Activity: Families around the world  (see Classroom resources) – for groups of two or three

Download classroom resources

Activity: Families around the world
icon download
Activity: Family quiz
icon download

Learning objectives

  • To begin to understand that families are very varied, in this country and across the world

National curriculum

Pupils should know:

  • That others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.
  • The importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs.

Success Criteria

  • I understand that families are all different and I should respect these differences
  • I can identify differences and similarities in families in other countries
  • I know that no country will have only one type of family

Cross-curricular links

  • PSHE Association’s Programme of Study for PSHE Education

Attention grabber

Give each child a copy of Activity: Family quiz and ask them to complete it about their family. Explain there are no right or wrong answers; we are just looking at how different families operate. 

Ask the children to share the answers and ask the other children to mark on their list whether they have the same answer, or a different answer.

 Key question

  • What are the similarities and differences between families?

Main event

In pairs or threes tell the children they are going to find out about families around the world. Give each group a country to work on, a copy of Activity: Families around the world resource and access to any relevant books and the internet

Briefly discuss the search terms they can use to help with their online research, including that they will need to include the name of the country each time. 

Following the research children can share the most interesting information they have found with the rest of the class.

Key question

  • What is family life like in other countries?

Wrapping up

Take some feedback on the problems the children have solved. Were there any problems they thought of which they didn’t know how to solve?  Discuss these as a class.

Explain that most of the time people within a family can solve problems by working together and that quite often problems will be solved quickly.

Explain that sometimes families might need some extra help – are there any places or people the children know about the family could go to for help. If needed add some extra suggestions such as talking to adults outside the family they trust including school, doctor, social worker or specialist organisations such as Childline.


Key question

  • Who can help with family problems?


Pupils needing extra support:

May need additional support with writing about the experiences and issues that the family may be experiencing. Asking them to focus on  the issues that the children may be experiencing first as these will be more familiar to them. These children could be placed together in a group and working with you or another adult.

Pupils working at greater depth:

Can support their peers with the activity by scribing and asking questions to develop responses.  They could also look at problems and grade them for seriousness e.g. quick to resolve and soon forgotten or more complex and might need additional help.

Assessing pupils' understanding and progress

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Understanding that families are all different and they offer each other support but sometimes they can experience problems.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Understanding that some problems are easily sorted and that others might need additional help.


  • Similarity

  • Difference

  • Same

  • Respect

  • Culture

Next steps

Teacher notes

Created by:
Sarah Huggins,  
RSE & PSHE specialist
Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in education. Starting as a Primary teacher, Sarah then moved into an advisory roleA particular job you do as part of a larger task that covered both PSHE education and Citizenship. She delivers courses…
Find out more
save content as pdf file
save content as word file