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Good for Boys, Good for All
November 5, 2020
If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.
-Marian Wright Edelman

A helpful blog on the Community Playthings website discussed young boys and early childhood education. Here’s an excerpt:

“For young boys, the early childhood experience is not always a positive, empowering one. Many are struggling because of a mismatch between how most young boys develop, grow, and learn, and the kinds of expectations, outcomes, activities, and discipline approaches typically used in programs during the early years. Francis Wardle’s book Oh Boy! offers positive solutions—from expectations, the environment, instructional approaches, and discipline methods—to policies regarding school readiness and special education.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 7 which examines the different ways the classroom environment can be arranged to maximize young boy’s development and learning in a secure, nurturing setting. Although these suggestions are specific for the care and education of young boys, many also apply well to the needs of young girls.

The Indoor Classroom Environment: How It Can Encourage Development and Learning

Children learn by interacting with the environment: with people (adults and peers) and with things (materials and equipment). They stack blocks; create constructions on the workbench; and dress up as a firefighter with boots, a heavy coat, and hard hat carefully selected from the dress up area. The manner in which the indoor environment is arranged can enhance the way materials are used. Arranging paint, water, brushes, and paper so that they are easily accessible to students facilitates child-directed learning. 

The way the classroom environment is arranged can also increase the quality of human interactions. For example, a block area with enough room for several children to actively play together will increase cooperative learning; a cozy reading center with a rocking chair can encourage adults to read to children. 

While the design of the indoor environment is greatly influenced by a program’s or school’s curriculum, age of the children served, and length of the school day, a boy-friendly indoor environment should be safe, healthy, and support the following:

  • Whole-child learning. Children are whole-child learners—they learn through their senses, emotions, language, and cognition all at the same time. Good environments encourage this kind of development and learning across all domains.

  • Multisensory learning. All five senses should be used throughout the day in different combinations. Traditional environments tend to focus on learning through the use of sound—speaking and listening; boys thrive with input for all of their senses when learning.”


Oh Boy!
Strategies for Teaching Boys in Early Childhood

Use coupon code OHBOY
to get 20% off this title for a limited time

"This is not just a book, it's a story…a story of hope for young boys attending childcare in any type of setting. It's a story that sends a message to our profession that we need a paradigm shift—to our thinking, our training, and our hiring—to recognize the gender imbalance that is putting young boys at great risk of failure. It's a story that urges us as a field to better understand the specific complexities of caring for young boys so that we may fulfill our ultimate promise to provide the highest quality of care possible to all children."
– Jerry Parr, President/CEO Willow Tree Early Education Team

Use code OHBOY during checkout.

May not be combined with any other offer.
Offer expires November 6, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST.
Not valid on past purchases or bulk discounts.


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