It is important to break gender role stereotypes at a young age as these soon manifest in larger manners later in life. Stereotyped ideas about what is fitting for boys or girls can limit children’s learning and development.
A recent study found that kids believe gender stereotypes by age 10.
Here are 3 things teachers can do to help promote a safe and accepting environment in which kids are free to choose what toy to play with and what colored marker to use.
Confront gender stereotypes when you hear them
‘Why can’t a boy wear pink?’ ‘Why can’t a girl play with that toy truck?’ By questioning their remarks, you begin to instill the idea that gender stereotypes are not rigid. Try acting as an example too. Break gender stereotypes yourself and show your kids that soccer isn’t just for boys and ballet isn’t just for girls.
Create a safe space
It’s important for kids to be able to feel comfortable expressing themselves however they want in the classroom. Reassure them that it’s okay to break gender stereotypes and promote an environment of acceptance and respect. Be inclusive and endorse activities in which both girls and boys work together on the same task.
Here are some fun lesson plans you can use to spark a conversation about gender stereotypes. You can also create your own fun activities for students to learn about the importance of breaking these labels and being able to express themselves freely.
It’s essential to break the misconceptions that children have about assigning a gender to colors, toys, sports, and much more. If we don’t begin to address these issues at a young age, these ideas will grow deeper and could develop into more serious notions.