January 20, 2018

Swedish preschool makes gender-free environment priority #1

A tax funded preschool in Stockholm called Egalia (Equality) is making headlines for its stance against gender stereotypes. At Egalia no student is “him” or “her,” “he” or “she,” but “friend.”  Great lengths are taken to make sure there are no boy or girl-like behaviors encouraged, only gender neutral ones.  Books like “Cinderella” and “Snow White” have been banished from shelves, making room for titles that have themes about adoption, single parenting, and homosexual couples instead.  Having two of each gender child in our household,  all I can say is there’s no fighting nature.  My boys made “vroom” sounds before they could walk and my girls have been enamored with babies since they were babies themselves.  What are your thoughts?   Do you think a school like Egalia is a good idea?

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  1. It sounds like this school is interested in “engineering equality” but not sameness, eliminating gender roles but not gender itself. The article mentions the goal of fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people – where preschoolers can be who they want to be. Given the abundance of diversity and lack of tolerance in the world, this goal makes sense to me. It seems like the idea is to create an environment where kids feel free to express their individual nature not fight it. My daughter enjoyed the Disney princesses when she was a preschooler, but when she was 8 she realized, “Those princesses don’t DO anything!” I see truth in her statement, and I believe that a preschool library is none the lesser – if not perhaps better – without them. As for use of a gender neutral pronoun, I would love to have an English one beyond “it”, so I don’t have to always construct my sentences to avoid the awkward his/her or he/she!

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