Gender Equality

Gender Equality Play and Early Learning Childcare

23 May 2024
Posted by: Chelsea

Gender-related activities in early learning centres and later primary school, have been a controversial subject for many decades now.

That’s a pity because certainly where preschool children are concerned, much is just common sense meaning there should be little need for concern.

Early learning childcare and gender equality

No early learning childcare centre would argue that boys and girls are somehow ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ based on their gender.

However, how that core truth might be translated into daily activities is something that may vary depending on the provider concerned. It’s therefore important to discuss your views on this subject with the early learning centre you’re considering to ensure that their practices accord with your views on this sometimes-delicate subject like gender equality.

In what follows, we’ll discuss our values and practices in this area.

Boys and girls – history

The vast majority of societies throughout history have tended to segment the roles necessary for their survival based on certain gender assumptions. Those were primarily that females produce and nurture children and that males were, on average, physically stronger and more aggressive.

Today this sounds unpalatable and akin to gender stereotyping people of both genders into roles they might have had little choice over. However, in societies with low average life expectancies, little formal education and where even survival was a daily struggle, those assumptions may well have been unavoidable.

More recently, societies with a Western heritage tended to carry those assumptions forward into education and recreation. This led, even well into the late 20th century, to widespread assumptions that there were girls’ or boys’ subjects, games or toys etc.

Such assumptions are now questioned and seen as, broadly, undesirable. This is because they may shape young minds at an early age into thinking that some activities and roles in life are ‘naturally’ suited to one gender or another. This means that talents and aptitudes could easily be lost to society as a whole.

Modern practices

In most modern-day Early Learning Childcare establishments, the children are encouraged to follow their interests and inclinations in play and their learning activities. There are no “girls’ games” or “boys’ toys” etc. All children are treated identically and nurtured to develop along their unique lines.

All centre personnel should have been trained to avoid unnecessarily introducing the assumptions and prejudices of the past. At Read2Grow, we proudly proclaim that one of our core values is the promulgation of the view that male and female children should be treated equally as part of their developmental activities.

Recognising reality

Of course, we do recognise that there are differences between boys and girls that cannot and should not be ignored.

For example, numerous studies have shown that even at very young ages behavioural differences are beginning to arise due, presumably, to hormones. For example, it is acknowledged that, on average, boys will have a higher tendency to be aggressive and to get into more boisterous (a word that has been in use for almost 1,000 years to describe this tendency) play and associated scraps than girls.

We also must recognise the different biology involved and reflect on that when helping younger preschool children develop their toilet and hygiene practices. It’s also imperative that girls and boys respect each other’s privacy in those areas, as well as in other everyday interactions.

Summary

We understand that parents have sometimes widely differing views on these and related matters.

We’d welcome the chance to discuss our policies in more detail. Why not make an appointment for a meeting and pop along for a chat? We guarantee you a warm welcome!

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