I spent most of my adult working life in child care. I was a teacher and then a director/administrator. Once you start reading of a new trend in early childhood education, it will not be long before you are face with the trend in a required and assignment giving continuing education class/workshop. Many child care centers did their best to resist the “learn through play” mindset with lesson plan activities full of worksheets and other sit still quiet activities, even for toddlers, until (at least in the state of PA) came up with a star rating system and to achieve that top star rating, the child care center had to become accredited. The hands-on, learn through play activities became essential to getting that accreditation. Before I moved on to being a director, my center had to return to learn through play to attain those stars especially to the consternation of one of my bosses.
I did have trouble with other trends in early childhood such as presenting same-sex families in the same light as the traditional father and mother led families. My head classroom teacher years were in a child care center run by a well-known church organization; therefore, I never had to deal with reading the Heather has 2 Mommies/Georgie has 2 Daddies type of books to the preschoolers and toddlers. Now, I hope a practice that the Egalia preschool in Sweden put in place will not trend to become an accepted practice in American early childhood and that is not acknowledging a child’s gender in the daily discourse. I do not think that is even possible.
The Egalia preschool feels that society through gender recognition gives boys an unfair edge. The engineering of equality between the sexes from childhood onward is the plan. They want to do away with the reinforcing of stereotypes that gender recognition elicits. Regardless of these efforts, gender recognition will continue. I know from my work experiences in and out of the classroom in child care that teachers will refer to the children by their names, but also as he and she even with the possible threat of disciplinary write-ups. I wonder how Egalia deals with the bathroom? Genderless bathrooms are not accepted in preschool in my child care experiences. I can see Parents having all kinds of fits over ignoring gender and letting boys and girls go to the same bathroom with 3 or 4 stalls at the same time!
I remember parents, especially fathers who demanded that their sons be kept out of the housekeeping learning center. Of course, teachers could not comply. I really eased one mother seeing her preschool son holding a doll, when I told of how he was the daddy taking care of the baby. Plus the girls playing argued over who was going to be his wife. No one wanted to be the children or the grandmother. Today, there are still parents who are not that excepting about little boys in that type of activity. But now, there are a few parents who are into this no gender recognition and parents who are not bothered in the least if their child is in to being the other opposite gender. See a previous post about that here. Now, if I where to ever return to child care as a classroom teacher or a director/administrator, I could not begin to embrace and enforce young genderless children.