In Victoria, children from 3 years old will learn about gender equality in a state-funded playgroup program.
Preschoolers will be taught that dads can change nappies and stay at home while mums work under the $145,000 program.
The interactive sessions, based around music and singing, are run by Drummond Street Services and Playgroup Victoria, with an aim to break gender and family stereotypes at a young age.
During the sessions for children aged three and four, boys will be encouraged to be sensitive and girls will be told to take risks.
Parents would also be educated through the playgroup sessions and given factual information on the gender wage gap and other workplace equity issues.
Research suggests that from an early age children’s understanding of gender is influenced by their experiences with their family, culture and lifestyle, as well as by the broader community, child care environments and the media. Boys and girls often experience responses and expectations from those around them due to their gender, and gender role stereotypes often influence the way boys and girls begin to experience life and how they play.
Strategies to promote gender equity include:
- Using the different gender role models depicted in posters, pictures and books to prompt discussions with children
- Varying the usual placement of equipment and toys to promote variety in children’s play. For example, place dolls in the block corner and Lego in the home corner.
- Using games, physical activity, humour, fun, adventure, music, imagination and fantasy to identify and extend boys’ and girls’ common interests.
- Assist boys and girls to use tools and equipment that is conventionally used by the other gender. For example, encourage girls to use hammers and spades and boys to sew and cook.
- Encourage some boys-only and girls-only groups when you are trying to encourage play in nontraditional gender areas and problem-solving exercises
- Provide opportunities for girls’ groups to use traditional masculine play props and boys’ groups to use traditional feminine props
- Use language that supports gender equity and promotes positive messages about ways of being boys and girls
Kindergarten children to learn about gender equality, Herald Sun, February 9, 2018
Playing Fair - Gender Equity in Childcare, Putting Children First, September 2009