Journal Prompt Example: Development Through the Lens of Gender

Development occurs on so many levels at once: physical, emotional, cognitive, and social. Within these domains are many other levels and categories that we look at as educators to gauge the growth an every individual child. The human process of growing up is a marvelous and complex system.

This week I'd like us to look at development through the lens of gender. Gender is a fluid aspect that is culturally defined.  We are not looking to see how the children self-identify at this level.  This will come to each child at different ages, and here at Skytown we accept it all—for it all, just simply, is.  I am asking us to look closer at how we expect boys and girls to behave and interact.  Along with the differing needs of each age group, there are also expectations we adults have of each gender.

I have found quite happily that here at Skytown, boys in dresses and girls as superheroes are not real issues.  Kudos to us all.  I feel that it is worth an exploration into other aspects of gender differences that exist in our interactions with children.

Do we have more patience with a boy that may be crying and clingy and “whiny?”  Might we then expect a girl doing the same thing to stop it?  Might it be reversed for some?  Might the “whiny” boy not register as needing our patience, and the girl get our sympathy and understanding?

What about girls that are loud and outspoken?  Are they rude and do we expect them to get with the program in ways we do not expect of loud boys?  Are we deep down working on the premise that “boys will be boys?”

Quiet kids—do they drive you crazy?  Why can't they simply speak up?  Why not just run up and join the group?  What catches your attention faster: a quiet girl or a quiet boy?

Manners.  Are we harder on girls or boys?

Maybe we are all quite good at making these and other judgments in an even matter across the gender lines.  Maybe we could all look a bit to see what is going on in our minds.  Mindfulness is never a waste of time.

What questions come up for you?

Could some of the issues be developmental and cross gender lines?  And yet we have captured and kept them in the gender classification?

Do we expect different nurturing from boys and girls?  What about moms and dads as they participate and interact with the children?