We were using the wooden blocks to make a boat. My helper was a child who had fallen out with other children and wanted someone to support her with building. She started with the plank followed by the boat. She created a long plank and a short plank. ‘The short plank is for boys and the long for girls,’ she said. This made me question where the idea that made her want to designate a route for boys and a different one for girls came from.
‘Can I go on the long plank?’ I said.
‘No that’s the boys’ plank this is for girls.’
‘Why can’t girls use this plank?’
‘They can’t because it’s for boys.’
At 4 years of age she felt that she needed to separate out objects for boys and for girls. As a staff we don’t label objects for either gender so I can only presume that it was influences beyond the school which made her want to do this.
My intervention was to ask her if she had reasons for her choice. After my challenge she started using the plank that she earlier had said was for boys.