This post is part of a five post series on Individual Differences.

As a school community, SLC is split between 96 boys and 87 girls.  Most preschools in Evanston are reporting this year as a “boy heavy” year, so a margin of 9 is quite balanced!  

During the preschool years, children are very interested in categorizing their friends by gender and they are still learning what if means for themselves to be a girl or a boy.  Research tells us that children have already absorbed gender stereotyping by the time they are two years old. Therefore, as parents and teachers, it is important for us to encourage children to explore gender-related roles and take part in activities that are related to these roles.

As one example, in a classroom, we can encourage children to take materials from one area to another, such as carrying plates and cups to have a picnic in the block area where additional blocks can be used to cook beef stew or build cribs for baby dolls.  At home, perhaps include a grandfather or male friend  in a cooking venture in your kitchen would be a good idea.  Or, add a basket of silk flowers and strings of play beads to a pile of blocks in your playroom.

Enjoy this list of books, provided by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) that break gender role stereotypes.

Carol Teske
SLC Director