Bringing up kids in a gender-neutral environment is not an easy task in India. Parents who are willing to raise their children in such a way have to be courageous, unbiased, and fully committed to the process. The process of course is ongoing and they have to be on the same page of opinions as they want their children to be. But it is only possible if the kids are learning the same thing in their schools as in their homes. The journey is easier for preschool kids as it is the foundation age of any social behavior.
Starting from the neutral
Preschool kids will learn on the basis of what their parents and their teachers, who also are second parents to them, will teach them. Gender is an arrangement created to keep people in boxes and our country is still coping with such aspects. Young Parents and Teachers need to neutralize their ways of educating their children by showing them female-oriented comic books, and male-oriented movies doing household chores to neutralize what the past generation has taught us.
Let them Choose
Preschool Activities are a major part of the curriculum in the pre-schools. Teachers must ensure that they let the kids decide what they like and what they do not. Moving far away from the Pinks and Blues, kids must learn that it is alright for a boy to wear pink and it is okay if a girl likes blue color. It doesn’t mean that we need to erase gender as a form, but to reduce its impact and restrict the stereotypes that have gender labels. Activities like gender-neutral games, choosing their favorite color, choosing their favorite dress, and letting boys and girls play together.
Preach What you Teach
Gender-neutral behavior comes from home. Parents and Teachers need to understand that a child learns from their elders as they render similar behavior as their parents; how they behave with individuals, how they perform gender-neutral duties at home, and how they look up to the sexualities of people surrounding them.
Here are some words that need modification in day-to-day prattle.
- Fireman- Firefighter
- Chairman- Chairperson
- Mankind- Humankind
- Mother/Father- Parent
- Men/Women- People
- Handsome/Beautiful- Attractive/Good-looking
- or Mrs. – Mx (pronounced “mix”)
Noticing Bias and Acknowledging Mistakes
We cannot expect preschool kids to act like adults. Some kids have the privilege of having gender-neutral behavior in their homes and some kids don’t. Teachers in preschools lay a primary understanding of the kids about the environment especially because kids at this age are curious about their surroundings. Teachers need to notice biased behavior and let them acknowledge their mistakes and also give a positive assertion. Not just acknowledging help, but preschool kids need to learn this social behavior at a young age for a better world.
Shaping their Future
Being in a gender-neutral environment will help preschool kids develop higher emotional intelligence. Not having gender-restrictive rules allows the child to explore their passion and needs. For example, if a girl likes to wear a T-shirt and Shorts or a boy likes long hair or painted nails, they still like being a particular gender. It will always lead to their personal growth, happiness, and health. Gender-neutral kids become more creative, truthful, and self-esteemed and ultimately become liaisons to gender equality in their schools as well as cultures.