Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stereotypes Have No Place Around Here!

Hi, I'm Greg & I am an Early Childhood Teacher from Australia. I write a blog called Males in Early Childhood which you can find by clicking here.
Over at the Males blog I recently posted about breaking gender stereotypes in preschool. That post was more focused on the children. Here I want to focus my attention more on the stereotyping associated with those working with children. I try to encourage children to explore non typical experiences by providing resources that foster engaging in non-typical play experiences.

It helps immensely if there are examples available for the children to encounter, such as this puzzle depicting a male ironing.

Photos of people doing non-typical jobs such as male nurses or female mechanics. Children having access to books that involve characters engaged in such roles also encourages breaking these stereotypes. Examples of such books are Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and William Wants a Doll by Charlotte Zolotow.

Who knows if we have a female engineer in our midst, or the next male hairdresser to the stars. There may even be a male preschool teacher or two among them. But even if there isn't, these children will have far richer encounters by having the choice to engage or not in such experiences. Broadening the range of experiences children engage in also provides more opportunities of incidental learning in a number of key developmental areas such as language and communication, social interaction, exploration and discovery, sense of self, and an acceptance for who they are.

So whether it's what the children do, what they choose to play with or how they choose to interact that ignores such stereotyping, or their appearance. Such as when I recently took some nail polish to work and painted the children nails a different colour each day. There is simply no good reason why children cannot have access to the same experiences as any other child, regardless of whether they possess a y chromosome or not.

Of course I always try to lead by example and therefore would never ask a child if they wanted their nails painted if I hadn't done so myself first. I think they looks simply divine. Besides, I'm a walking talking everyday example of a broken gender stereotype.


  1. Yes, and thank you so much for your thoughts. Why do we limit children's choices? Let them try! Thanks, Carolyn

  2. Another book I like is The Practical Princess. I could use some more recommendations for different boy roles, though...

  3. I love those books ... and the puzzle with the male ironing is great! I pinned your post to the Group Board: Professional Development in Early Childhood Education at

  4. Those nails are just lovely, Greg! The Paper Bag Princess is one of my favorites~ I love anything that puts a little spin on gender roles! Too often adults unknowingly "guide" little ones to typical gender stereotyped roles. Thanks for promoting "gender-free" exploration and play! :))

  5. Thank you everyone for your supportive comments and I think it's wonderful that you've pinneed me Deb.

    Crunchylitemama - I can't remember the name of it, but I remember some years ago reading a book about a boy who loves to dance while his little sister dug holes in the back yard. If I can find out what it was I'll let you know.


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