Hi @Bice_Rapaccini. You have many questions over there, but let’s see if I can contribute somehow… Gender has been a big discussion nowadays and I, myself, question the relevance of certain discussions. Anyways, in my point of view, there are two perspectives that we can approach when thinking about gender. One is the nature of it that can easily be explained and explore by Biology and the other one is the nurture of it, shich is were I prefer to focus.
When we visit toy shops we can easily find aisles labelled ‘girls toys’ and ‘boys’ toys’. The girls’ aisles are filled with Barbie, cute animal toys, fairy outfits, tea sets and dolls. Boys’ aisles are jam packed with big trucks, dinosaurs, tool sets and super hero costumes. This sends out a message of what is ‘appropriate’ to buy for each gender and what boys and girls ‘should’ like. Unfortunately, children are given controversial messages when they explore toys that are not the ones ‘supposed’ to be used by them. A boy who plays with a doll, fairy wings or kitchen stuff might be told that those are a "girl’s toy” and he can be easily judge by others (including adults). Even when the negative message is not exposed, exploring outside traditional gender roles is not frequently supported in the majority of the families and/or schools. As Head of Year Years, my main question is, if they are never motivated to join different types of play, either than the stereotyped ones, how can children benefit from the language and social skills that are enhanced during the activities that happen outside the ones that are considered appropriate for “boys and girls”?
The younger a child is, the more likely they are to play with a wider variety of toys. While there are some preferences influenced by nature, young children have not yet been as influenced as their older peers with gender. As educators, I believe it is our responsibility to make the most of this time by having lots of variety available for children in their play, allowing them to explore the moment without prejudgement. It’s simply a learning through play time that should be allowed and facilitated.