Gender Neutral Parenting and Gender Neutral Nurseries
  • Hello. I have just recently come across an article about a gender neutral school in Sweden, called Egalia.( Taken From the Latin, referring to equality) It seems that in Sweden the government places great importance on gender equality in their society and education systems even in pre-school which has led to Nursery schools becoming gender neutral....the aims of this is to avoid stereotyping and labeling children into gender rolls, children can be whoever they want to be and where what ever they want. However there are other aspects to this gender neutral practice such as a change in the use of language, no gender is used in language. Classmates are referred to as friends and the teachers use a gender neutral term of "hen" for both sexes rather than He or she. It is ok for the Children to use "he" or "she" the teachers wont correct them. They use gender neutral story books in there book shelves that are books without limitations that may talk about same sex couples or single parent families. I also noticed a rise in news articles and parenting blogs about raising children as gender neutral. I could not help but to wonder if this is a positive thing or taking things to far. We already have polices on equal opportunities, cultural diversity and inclusion here in the U.K As practitioners we are advised to challenge and put aside our own prejudices when working with the very young and their families. We know about the dangers of labeling children and how to allow them to play out whatever roll they want to be. It is a fact that boys and girls are physically and genetically different and Children under the age of 5 are very innocent. Is it right to be promoting this gender neutral practice for children under the age of 6 when children are discovering themselves? I am just wondering what other U.k Nursery Practitioners think about it. Is there a place for gender neutral nurseries in the U.K? Is it taking things one step to far? Should we be focusing more on our current Equality polices and improving practice to challenge stereotypes? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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