Understanding Diversity: Promoting Gender Equitable Participation of All in Learning and Play

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Promoting Gender Equitable Participation of All in Learning and Play

Schools have the responsibility of promoting gender equality. They can adopt various methods and techniques to achieve this. All activities of learning and play planned in the center should aim at achieving this goal.

Some of the methods that can be adopted are:

Choosing the Right Toy/TLM

  • The ECCE teacher should be concerned about the skills being taught by the toy/play material. A doll will aid in teaching about the body parts.

  • A gender-sensitive teacher would choose a doll, a car, or building blocks for a child to play with on the basis of the skills each toy develops and not according to the sex of the child. Teacher can choose gender-neutral toys like puzzles, blocks, clay etc. to encourage both the genders to use and play with them.

Telling Stories

Telling Stories

Telling Stories

  • Children enjoy listening to stories and narrating them. Stories provide an opportunity for language development and present the curricular content in an interesting manner. Carefully chosen stories will also help in building gender equitable and sensitive classrooms.

  • While deciding the stories, pay attention to the characters in the tales and how the different sexes are portrayed in the story and the characteristics assigned to boys and girls.

  • After telling the story, engage children in a discussion by asking questions related to role reversals of characters. Tell a story where the mother instead of the father goes to office and the father prepares food. The mother goes to the market to buy equipment and the father cleans the house.

Encourage Fair Play

Instead of encouraging girls to play with kitchen set, arrange all the toys within easy reach of all children and allow choices without telling children of a particular gender what to play with or what not to play with. Let children decide what they want to play with. Offer structured time to play with kitchen set, ball, swings etc. to all children.

Encourage Friendships

Encourage children to be friends with both genders. If adults relate to a girl and a boy playing together as “a cute pair”, it may bring unnecessary tension, polarity and confusion to the friendship. Encourage team play with each team having boys and girls instead of always selecting the easiest way to create two teams based on the sex.

Avoid Gender-Based Work Distribution

When looking for volunteers to help you with the distribution of food at lunch time or while arranging toys, allow children to volunteer for the work. Boys might show interest in distributing the food and plates while girls might like to arrange toys. If you see gender divide, then encourage gender parity with the request like, “Rohit, would you like to help me in distributing food/ plates/ spoon etc.” or “Tinni, would you like to help me tidy up the toys please?

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