Stephen continues to challenge young children’s stereotypical views in his school Nursery. Here are a few examples of recent conversations:
Careful with your nails
This morning three girls were sitting in the home area. This term it has started as a bedroom. They were pretending to put on make up etc. I sat down and joined them. They were talking about painting nails. I suggested I would like my nails painted. They smiled. I then asked for pink please. One of the girls looked bemused.
‘You can’t have pink nails’. Then a pause. Then she said,
‘You just can’t. Men can’t have pink.’
I then talked about the colour pink and how it was a colour that both boys and girls might choose. I can like pink if I make the choice. We can all make our own choices about what we like and don’t like.
Not a girl
New to nursery and during his second week, one of the boys with a very assertive stance proclaimed his dislike towards girls in nursery.
This developed into a conversation between a member of staff, Mrs Scholes, and the child.
‘Why not girls?’
‘Because I don’t.’
‘Do you like mum?’
‘Yes I like mum.’
‘Do you like me?’ (Mrs Scholes)
‘Do you like Miss Aspinall?’
‘We’re all girls so if you like us then you do like girls after all.’
Teaching is so more meaningful when you can take your lead from a child and expand their understanding. This helped a young child realise that perhaps he didn’t like all girls!
Who said it’s your turn?
We opened the outdoors and the children wanted a ramp building before we got the bikes out. The group consisted of four girls and two boys. The girls worked together with the ramp carrying the large blocks. The boys briefly observed them, then moved to the slide. The girls finished the ramp so we went to the bike shed. The boys returned seeing the shed door open.
They pushed forward expecting a bike. I explained that the bikes were for the ramp builders and as they had moved away they would have to wait.
Staff can teach children that pushing to the front when it suits them doesn’t work. How often do children muscle others aside and if left unchallenged we make it a successful strategy. How often do boys muscle girls off the computer keyboard when they want a turn? Very often with the words ‘Let me show you…’