Rebecca Urban – The Australian
Early childhood teachers will be encouraged to intervene in “gendered play”, identify toys and books that reinforce gender stereotypes and avoid gender-specific language under a Victorian government plan to tackle family violence through preschools.
Teachers will also be asked to reflect on their own “conscious and unconscious biases”, “unpack their understanding of gender and gender identity” and avoid using terms such as “good morning princess” or “boys don’t cry”.
Fresh details of the respectful relationships training the government plans to provide to 4000 preschool teachers have emerged, with the public release of a professional learning kit that was used in a trial late last year.
As The Australian reported last month, the Victorian Department of Education is seeking a provider to further develop and deliver training to boost the capacity of early childhood educators to implement respectful relationships into their programs.
The $3.4 million initiative is part of the Andrews Labor government’s $21.8m Respectful Relationships education package for schools, inspired by the Royal Commission into Family Violence and set to be rolled out to schools over the next two years.
Challenging gender stereotypes appears to be the centrepiece of the preschool program.
“Do you critically reflect on or intentionally observe gendered play?” trainers were instructed to ask participants. “Can you or have you worked with children to develop different storylines in their play? Have you intervened to change gendered play?”