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:
Strategies for Teaching Boys in Early Childhood
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"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."
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