Strict gender norms limit children’s experiences, they mean that only children can access “half” of the world, Arbeke said in his post 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, ONLY has collaborated with gender equality organizations in Estonia and the Czech Republic. The goal was to develop support materials for staff in kindergartens and schools that could contribute to the upbringing of children more equitably.
– 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 more equal kindergarten system and education system. In the Erasmus+ project, we’ve summarized what we know and what we want all kindergarteners to learn about, Aarbakke tells barnehage.no.
I only worked for 30 years 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 gender equality projects in kindergarten for 15 years. It started with a project where we collaborated with several kindergartens who thought they were good at this, but wanted to know more, says Aarbakke during the conference.
Kindergarteners photographed their daily lives. Then my colleagues analyzed the film clips: How long did the boys and girls take to speak? Who got the most help without asking? Who got the most help when he asked for it? And who has been told most often that he can manage even when he asks for help? They also looked at the people whose names they heard most often.
There are many things you can try to count to see if children have equal conditions in kindergarten. 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 expectations of boys and girls often govern who was thought to need the most help, the most comfortable and so on.
visible and invisible
Aarbakke thinks it has been very exciting to work with Estonian and Czech organizations over the past three years.
At the conference, she was able to present the results of the Fair Play project. and others Tools for observation and reflection.
– Search It shows that kindergarten staff do not want or think that they treat children differently on the basis of gender, but that this often happens in practice anyway. So we want to inspire everyone who works in kindergarten to ask themselves the questions: What are we really good at? What do we need to work on more? How can we involve parents in the team?
Aarbakke points out that some things are visible and can be easily changed, while others are invisible.
– The material will be useful in the work of revealing the situation in your kindergarten. For example, who gets the most praise or correction? Does it depend on gender or do we see the baby regardless? You can also analyze the toys you have in the kindergarten: What kind of toys do we have? In which rooms are the games? What do we call the different rooms in kindergarten, and are there names that invite everyone or help push someone away? What are the main characters in our books? Does it reflect the diversity of society? What do the illustrations show? Do both boys and girls have the opportunity to see themselves as strong, energetic and weak?
support materials It’s divided into short units and you can work with 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.
We encourage all Kindergarten workers to think about their own practices — at the dining table, in role plays and everywhere else in Kindergarten life, says Arbeke.
– How do you meet children, for example, in the closet? When the kids arrive in the morning, it’s easy to comment on what they’re wearing. It’s easy to say “too hard” 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.
– You can say something like: “Nice to see you!” Or: “I thought so about what I said yesterday…”. You should have some sentences that allow you to meet children on an equal footing, regardless of gender. She advises 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.
– So the question can be used: “Oh my God! Let’s see what you can do.” For example, is there a garment that is easier to loosen if I turn around? How is the material? Does touching it become electrical? Is it a texture that is soft and delicious to feel? What does the color remind you of?
Open and safe room
At the end of the lecture, Arbeke highlighted three points that she and her colleagues at KUN believe are necessary in order to provide equal conditions for children in kindergarten:
Provide children with a safe and open space to explore in:
– This, among other things, has to do with awareness of the language we use, what games we have and what activities we facilitate or not, says Aarbakke.
She also notes that children themselves can set “rules” that contribute to narrowing the space:
Children are trying to understand the world. They want to know what makes sense, what is in and out. Kids can be strict with each other on this. They often over-generalize and set their own limitations when it comes to sex, for example that boys can’t wear pink clothes or that there is something called boys’ yoga and girls’ yoga.
The adults can then contribute as a counterweight. We can set an example by showing that we can use 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. “Isn’t it just colors then?” 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 Aarbakke.
Share the children’s wonder 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 lead them in the direction that is seen as “correct” for their gender. By participating in children’s marvel 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 wonder with the kids when they’re wearing a new costume, rather than saying they were cute/hard in the new clothes.
3. Include diversity without highlighting it:
Aarbakke cites books on “Brillebjørn” as a good example.
These books are about all the exciting things that happen in Brillebjørn’s life, without making too much of the fact that he has two nations, she says.
Make more free choices
The benefit of good gender equality work in kindergarten is likely to be very significant, Aarbakke points out in the conclusion.
Instead of offering half the world to the children, they are presented to the whole world. Children are given a safe room where they can explore and find out who they are, regardless of gender expectations in society. She says you simply get children who are safer making freer choices.
KUN is one of four gender equality centers in Norway, with offices in Steigen and Steinkjer.
According to the articles of association of the institution and the letter of assignment from the Directorate of Children, Youth and Families (Boufdir), only:
- Work to promote gender equality.
- Become a visible and visible player for gender equality at the regional, national and international levels.
- Participate in the public debate and spread knowledge about gender equality work.
- Clarify 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.
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