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I love to visit the junior classes when Aistear is taking place, as it is gender-neutral play at its best. It is fantastic to see different scenes and scenarios throughout the year, from construction to a household setting where the children are hanging clother on a line to hairdressers.
The play is set up and all children can participate in any role equally. It is so interesting to observe the play and see how it runs its course. Often the children will organise themselves in gender based roles, but for sure aistear has changed gender based play. Long gone are the days when dolls are set up for the girls and the boys play with the tractors. It is an easy way to allow children to play with what they are interested with and explore several roles.
Whilst all will agree that Aister has changed the way we look at play at stereotypes side of the school, my fear is that it then falls off a cliff and that we return to traditional ways after that. It is important to keep the momentum going and continue to encourage children to view the world through a lens where girls and boys can play or work at whatever they choose as opposed to what they should do.