You're Teaching Our Children What?

Gender-theory targets set on sexist preschoolers

 

  • REBECCA URBAN – The Australian
    Four-year-olds who exhibit sexist behaviour at preschool are the ­latest targets of the Victorian government’s crusade against family violence, with early childhood ­educators to be taught how to eradicate gendered norms and stereotypes from the classrooms.

The Victorian Education and Training Department will train 4000 early childhood educators during the next year to implement respectful relationships programs in preschools. It is seeking a supplier to develop and deliver a course that will increase educators’ knowledge of the role of “gender equality in preventing family violence”.

According to a tender document released last week, research has shown that children become aware of “gender expectations” and try to “fit within these gendered norms” by the time they are in preschool. “As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes that may contribute to disrespect and gender inequality,” the document says.

“Professional learning will ­increase the capacity of early childhood educators to understand and implement respectful relationships and gender equality into their program delivery.

“It will build the capacity of ­educators to use reflective practice to critically evaluate their work with children using anti-bias ­approaches specifically regarding gender bias.”

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