Banning 'Him' and 'Her' in Preschool Is Good for Kids

swedish school gender equalityIt's no secret the Swedes are way ahead of the game -- parenting-wise -- than most places in the world. They kicked off baby carrying in an ergonomic manner, they understand that kid stuff doesn't have to look childish, and of course there's the maternity and paternity leave. Honestly, what don't they do better than us?

Now, a government-supported pre-school in Stockholm is promoting gender equality by substituting the word "friend" for "he" or "she" when conversing with the kids. The children, who range in ages from 1 to 6, are continuing the great tradition in their home country where gender equality, and reducing discrimination by gender, is an important issue. This experiment takes kids from early childhood and makes judgment by gender a moot point.

I love it! Even though I'm not sure, exactly, how it can really work, unless mom and dad are also fully committed.

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Schools and parents have to be on the same page. So unless you're willing (and maybe these parents are) to ban "he" and "she" in your own home, and talk your friends and relatives into doing so as well, your child will get mixed messages. Not unlike parents who don't support a school's philosophy of turning in homework or speaking respectfully to adults, the attitudes at home can trump those in the school.

But let's assume these parents are also willing to fully invest in this idea. Since there is a waiting list at the school, it sounds like it's a popular idea that Swedish parents are clamoring to test out. Then they truly would be creating citizens that ignore gender in favor of other qualities. It's a message that has the potential to stay with these children throughout their adult lives, and have a positive effect on others as well.

I don't know if it will work, but I give the educators a round of applause for making the effort to equalize everyone, and not put kids in a box because of their gender.

What do you think about this policy?

 

Image via RichardStep.com/Flickr

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