A possible reason why Kindergarten gender is not as black and white as some may think
Last week, science fiction author Brad Meltzer tweeted about the fact that early pregnancy was literally a part of the recess. In 1975, a boy who had started school a week earlier could not attend recess and it was a big concern in the community. In 2014, it became a big deal when an elementary school in Texas allowed a transgender student to participate on a boys’ football team. These are the only two examples Meltzer can recall. Yet, even this tiny example proves a truth about gender issues today. Women and men face a consistent debate on what identity and gender means, but due to a problem in early education, a number of students in elementary school may not understand gender at all.
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Formalization of gender differences
Initially, scientists defined the sexes as well as the difference between the sexes as having four sides: Strength, Speed, Softness, and Intelligence. Then there were different standards that made up a number of distinctions like how women were generally defined as nurturing, while men as rather aggressive or an excellent leader. More recently, some gender equivalent symbols were invented such as the male and female bird flag as a gender identifier.
Since this definition was developed in the early 20th century, formal gender roles have been established. That is, the male is often the provider, is competitive, and is often the strong force in a household. Whereas the female is usually more patient, more kind, and tends to do more nurturing. Although both of these goals have influenced gender issues to a certain extent, these traits will always be unique to men and women. Even today, how the gender gap develops can be hard to measure as many studies show that gender roles are not always reflected in situations.
The difference between your gender and that of other people
When asked how they perceive gender roles, children often struggle to show what part of their gender they fall into. Children can be quizzed in a number of ways and there is even a term for this idea of gender confusion. As an example, in a Kindergarten class recently, one girl asked a question about how she could be a man and a woman. The only answer she was given was that she could be a woman. According to an American Academy of Pediatrics report, children ages five to seven frequently see themselves in the same way as the parent or a television character. However, this issue often does not lead to action.
In our understanding of gender, there are always some guidelines that cannot be changed. Gender roles cannot be blurred so that all children or adults accept them. This theory comes from The New England Journal of Medicine. It claims that “humans play by different rules than their peers; that the gender roles deemed appropriate in a given society do not apply everywhere; and that the boundaries of these boundaries can be debated.”
This quote further explains why parents can be confused when they spot their own gender. Their child may be a boy but feel completely different to a friend or a brother. However, there are experts that could be able to help with this issue. A specific group of educators in the United States has developed a unique way of helping those who struggle with the importance of gender roles.
In 2014, the start of a gender-neutral kindergarten classroom was created in Tennessee and it was the first of its kind in the U.S. As it went on to become popular, it is currently available in four additional U.S. states. This brings the total number of students who have attended gender-neutral kindergarten classes to 130. Experts say that such programs are geared towards 4 to 5 year olds but acknowledge that earlier age groups have shown signs of gender difference. Each child is a unique individual, making gender into an important subject and empowering them with a strong understanding of identity.
Furthermore, the condition that children develop gender identity is discussed in “The Social Origins of Gender.” Being able to help children understand and develop an understanding of gender can go a long way in changing the way we classify and define a child’s identity. This program also aims to help both parents and children work towards a more inclusive society.