Michael Conway

Reflect on how gender stereotypes might affect your students already at a young age. Describe a scenario you’ve seen in the classroom where gender stereotypes are present and post a reflection (150 words minimum) in this forum as a reply to this post, on how development education methodologies could help combat these stereotypes.

In the infant classroom I still notice that dolls especially baby dolls are used in play more frequently by girls than boys. It is a subtle thing (especially if children do not have them at home) as girls tend to gravitate towards the dolls in role play and nurture them rather than boys. It is really interesting to note that when I introduced a teddy into the role play for ‘Doctors Surgery’ alongside a doll, the boys were predominantly playing with the teddy and nurturing the teddy. It may be something that is subconscious from a very young age that there are distinctions between toys we play with based on gender.

Exposure to different toys and allowing that space for children to be inquisitive and explore different toys is something which I try to encourage. I always ensure that there is a variety of play material for children in the classroom and focus on the play rather than the choice of toy. Children are very creative and if given opportunities and exposure to different material, they will use them in unique and interesting ways. It is prevalent that even in catalogues toys are divided into girl and boy sections which does impact on choice and preference.

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