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Promoting Math-Orientation in Girls Might Start With Playtime in Preschool

Promoting Math-Orientation in Girls Might Start with Playtime in Preschool

According to Casey Quinlan of Think Progress, an array of research suggests promoting math and task orientation in girls might start with playtime in preschool.

Preschool play, Quinlan says, is a direct reflection of gender norms and for this reason can “deprive children from developing certain skills and preventing them from learning how to socialize across genders.

"Young children learn gender norms quickly and tend to bring them into their school environment. Preschool play activities can end up reinforcing that. Unfortunately, preschool teachers may have no idea that gendered play is a problem and may not be aware of their own gender assumptions. A 2015 case study shows early childhood educators’ perceptions of gender end up affecting children’s play,” she says.

Children begin to identify their gender identity early on, so Quinlan argues children need to be allowed to “play outside of gender expectations.”

In order to achieve this, Quinlan cites experts who believe play school play should have more structure to it.

"[Expert Priscilla] Goble, who is currently conducting research on free play sessions, said that the problem can be addressed by setting up the classroom in a way that encourages kids to try new things. She suggested setting up four different centers in the classroom with activities related to one area — all focused on math activities, for example — and letting children choose between them.”

Doing this instead of encouraging what boys and girls should play with, Quinlan says, could result in more girls growing up with an internet and knack for math.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/29/2016

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