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Gender 

INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY CAN LEAD TO PARENT-EDUCATOR PARTNERSHIP CHALLENGES

Some children were mainly exposed to just one gender in care situations. Some cultures believe childcare is an exclusively female occupation. Children who grow up in these environments may hesitate or outright refuse to accept the help of a male educator. Some children may react seemingly inappropriately towards him, having experienced the attention of male relatives solely on special occasions. Other children might show signs of withdrawing around a male educator. On the other hand, if a child knows the father figure to be the only one ultimately in charge of every family member, they might ignore instructions coming from a female educator in a mixed teaching team. For a child of this cultural background, the implicit rules are clear: Instructions should be followed if they are voiced by a male person. Some children may need to get acquainted to educators of the other gender and the family should trust both genders to take care of the children equally. Some families find it distressing that a male educator will provide care situations like diaper change to their children. This can cause stressful situations because the child must learn to adapt to a very different classroom structure.  

In some cultures, children are expected to behave, act and play in certain ways depending on their gender. It can be confusing for parents and children that all children are expected/ invited to participate in all activities. The concept of offering similar learning experiences to both boys and girls might cause reluctance due to feeling insecure. Some children might not have had any learning experience in certain aspects. Educators should be aware of this and scaffold their teaching/expectations apart from what should be age appropriate to give this child a chance to catch up with peers.   

Arno’s teachers don’t know what Arno’s feelings on gender roles are or what he has been raised with. The case study doesn’t necessarily mention is father, which might mean that he is relatively absent in his life. It is important that the educators learn about this to see if any of these factors play a role in his behaviour and his struggles settling in. 

During the introduction of families who apply for the kindergarten, it should be made clear that both male and female educators take care of children from an early age. Also, the concept of actively encouraging all children to explore the building/construction area, physical exercise, role-play, etc. is to be explained to the families before starting kindergarten.

Books and displays showing positive gender roles and diversity are to be in the classroom, and both male and female educators are expected to have active participation in the kindergarten helping acclimate the child and their families.