October 3, 2022

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We must provide children with a safe and open space to explore

We must provide children with a safe and open space to explore

– Strict gender norms limit children’s experiences, they mean that only children can access “half” of the world, Arbeke said in his speech during the conference Equal children learn more! Under the auspices of KUN.

She was at the conference, among other things, to talk about the Erasmus + . project “fair play”.

On the project, which began in 2019, KUN has collaborated with equality organizations in Estonia and the Czech Republic. The goal was to develop support materials for workers in kindergartens and schools that could contribute to the upbringing of children on a more equal basis.

– We have a lot of experience from cooperation with kindergartens, while Estonian and Czech organizations have a lot of experience from primary and secondary education. We are all excited about a nursery school and a more equal education system. In the Erasmus+ project, we’ve summarized what we know and what we’d like all kindergarteners to learn about, Aarbakke tells barnehage.no.

equal terms?

For 30 years, KUN has worked for a more equal society. The center contains, among other things, a training course for kindergarten staff in gender-sensitive pedagogy.

We have worked on foster care equality projects for 15 years. It started with a project where we collaborated with several kindergarteners who thought they were good at it, but wanted to know more, he told us during the conference.

Kindergarten children photographed their daily lives. Then my colleagues analyzed the film clips: How much talk time did the boys and girls get? Who has received the most unwanted help? Who gets the most help when he asks for it? And who is most often told that they can do it themselves when they ask for help? They also looked at who heard their names most often.

There are many things you can try to count to see if children have equal conditions in foster care. Despite the fact that kindergarteners thought they worked very equally and saw the individual child on their terms, there was plenty of sex to be found. She adds that the expectations of boys and girls often governed who was thought to need the most help, the most comfort, etc.

visible and invisible

Aarbakke thinks it has been very exciting to collaborate with Estonian and Czech organizations over the past three years.

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At the conference, she was able to present the results of the Fair Play project. a Tools for observation and reflection.

Search It shows that kindergarten workers do not want and do not think that they treat children differently on the basis of gender, but this often happens in practice. So we want to inspire everyone who works in a nursery school to ask themselves the questions: What are we really good at? What do we need to work on more? How can we involve parents?

Aarbakke points out that some things are visible and can be easily changed, while others are invisible.

The material should be useful in working out the situation in your foster care. For example, who gets the most praise or correction? Is it gender dependent or do we see the individual child independently? You can also analyze the toys you have in the nursery: What kind of toys do we have? In which rooms are the games? What do we call the different rooms in the nursery, and are there names that invite everyone or help keep someone away? What are the main characters in our books? Does it reflect the diversity of society? What do the illustrations show? Are boys and girls alike given the opportunity to see themselves as strong, energetic and weak?

support materials It’s divided into short units and you can work on them individually, or together at staff meetings or at parent meetings, Aarbakke says. It is currently only available in English, but will be available in Norwegian in August.

sweet, cruel

We encourage all nursery staff to think about their own practices — at the dinner table, role-playing and everywhere else in nursery life, says Aarbakke.

– How do you meet the children, for example, in the changing room? When the kids arrive in the morning, it’s easy to comment on what they’re wearing. It’s easy to say “too tough” to a boy or “too cute” to a girl. How can one avoid falling into this trap?

Aarbakke’s advice is to focus on the relationships between children and employees.

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– You can say something like: “Nice to see you!” Or: “I was thinking about what I said yesterday…”. You should have some phrases that will enable you to meet children on an equal footing, regardless of gender. She recommends using sentences about experiences, relationships, and the community you share, not about the child’s appearance or characteristics.

Some kids may still have a strong desire for staff to notice, and comment on, the new jacket or jacket they’re wearing, Aarbakke points out.

– Then it is possible to use the ask: “Oh, very exciting! Let’s see what you can do.” Is it, say, a comfortable dress if you’re rocking out? How is the material? Does touching it cause an electric shock? Is it a soft texture? What does the color remind you of?

Open and safe room

Finally, in the lecture, Aarbakke highlighted three points that she and her colleagues at KUN believe are essential to being able to provide equal conditions for children in kindergarten:

1. Provide children with a safe and open space to explore in:

– This relates, among other things, to awareness of the language we use, the games we have, and the activities we facilitate or not facilitate, says Aarbakke.

She also notes that children themselves can create “rules” that contribute to narrowing the space:

Children are trying to understand the world. They want to know what makes sense, and what is in and out. And children can be strict with each other about this. They often over-generalize and create their own limitations when it comes to sex, for example that boys can’t wear pink or that there is such a thing as boys’ yoga and girls’ yoga.

The adults can then help to be a counterweight. We can set an example by showing that we can wear all colors and do whatever we want without being restricted by gender. We can also contribute to the conversation with open-ended questions about why they think something is the color of the girl and the color of the boy. Aren’t there just colors? Have the kids wonder with you why the world is divided in this way, and think with them about whether it would ever be useful to divide the world into things for girls and boys, says Arbuck.

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2. Share the wonder of the children rather than lead them to a conclusion:

Our gender expectations can affect how we meet children. This can lead us, in conversations and activities with children, to point them in the direction that is seen as “correct” for their gender. By participating in children’s wonders rather than leading them, children have more space to discover for themselves what they want to talk about and do, says Arbeke.

– Like I mentioned earlier, it’s also a great opportunity to impress with the kids when they put on a new outfit, rather than saying they’ve become cute/tough in the new clothes.

3. Include diversity without highlighting it:

Aarbakke highlights books about “Brillebjørn” as a good example of this.

“These books are about all the exciting things that happen in Brillebjørn’s life, without making much of the fact that he has two nations,” she said.

– Makes choices more free

Arbeke points out, in conclusion, that the employment benefit of equality in custody may be very large.

Instead of offering half the world to the children, they are presented to the whole world. Children get a safe space where they can explore and discover who they are, regardless of gender expectations in society. She says you simply get children who are safer making freer choices.

about only:

KUN is one of the four equality centers in Norway, with offices in Steigen and Steinkjer.

According to the foundation’s articles of association and a letter of assignment from the Directorate of Children, Youth and Families (Boufdir) only:

  • Work to promote gender equality.
  • Be a visible and specific actor for equality at the regional, national and international levels.
  • Participate in the social debate and spread knowledge about equality at work.
  • Make visible other grounds for discrimination such as sexual orientation, age, disability, race and religion.
  • Develop, document, organize and analyze knowledge about gender equality and its integration in both the public and private sectors.
  • Participation in international cooperation.

(Source: kun.no)