How has the media reports and protests on women's rights effected your thoughts and families conversations? Is this something you discuss with your children?
Gender stereotypes have always been a large topic in Early Childhood Education, from "only boys or girls toys" to "that's a girls colour". It has been a topic of interest, not just in the present, but also in the past.Gender is a social and cultural phenomenon that refers to the created variance between men and women. The issue in early childhood education is how gender defines and impacts students’ abilities, capabilities and empowerment.
Gender stereotypes are generalisations about what is expected from the different sexes and how they are perceived in society, within different cultures, families, communities and young children. Gender stereotypes are generalisations about what is expected from the different sexes and how they are perceived in society, within different cultures, families, communities and young children.
Children experience gender biases differently, however, it all shapes their attitudes and beliefs related to their development and interpersonal relationships, access to equal education, participation in work places and as well as the children’s psychological and physical wellbeing. Research has proven that gender stereotypes set in from an early age. Influencing factors on gender stereotypes are the role of media, such as, social media, television advertisements, magazines, literature, retail stores and more. Children are accustomed to the twenty first century lifestyle of Information Technology, and why this is a benefit in many ways, it has negative influences on children’s social understandings and exposes children to many more types of media outlets.
In twenty first century teaching and learning it is important to respectfully introduce contemporary behaviours to challenge the norm of gender biases. Our educational team focus greatly on improving our practices and maintaining a professional standard in the classrooms, always developing ideas and ways to improve our practices; keeping up with twenty first century learning.
Two recommendations to promote gender equality for everyone:
1. The Post-structuralist Perspective: This perspective challenges the basic beliefs and foundations of language-based around gender. It introduces new neutrality of language and dialogue, and helps people re-think how they relate their language to the world. The theory considers multiple perspectives for teachers when they are planning and encompassing different ways of knowledge and understanding, promotes inclusive practice, recognises agency of children, and provides examples of shaping the child’s environment to promote them to shape their own identities. It is sensitive to relationship dynamics and provides various implications for the vocabulary in reference to gender.
2. Provide neutral classroom materials: It is important that teachers carefully examine the materials they provide in their classroom to minimise or eliminate any material that market a way of encouraging one single gender use, such as, barbie dolls, dress ups, or colouring in sheets. Gender-neutral materials invite all children to participate in the learning experience and removes gender bias conversations. It is, however, important for the teacher to always discuss that the materials are provided for all genders regardless of what they are.
We believe we are inclusive and promote social justice for everyone. We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic also, so we can work in partnership with all of our families.