Preschool Perspective: Girls have long hair and boys have short hair, right?

Concerned mom submitted the following question to Peace At Home:

Feeling super disappointed as I write this… It’s the first week of Pre-K for my almost 5-year-old, and at drop off today, the teacher pulled Todd aside to let him know that our son was being mean to a little boy in his class yesterday. This particular boy has very long hair that he wears in a ponytail. Our son was telling him that he was a girl because he has long hair.

I am feeling so sad about this because we are trying hard to raise our boys to be accepting of others, even if they are different from them. I’m also feeling pretty angry that my kid was being mean. I feel that there is a difference between being curious about differences – which I would think would be a normal thing that is going on at this age – and making fun of those differences.

Cora Megan, MA, Peace At Home teacher offers a response:

Until about age of 6 or 7, children base gender perceptions entirely on broad assumptions of appearance. For example, anyone with short hair must be a boy and anyone with long hair must be a girl. Much of the conversation that happens around these topics in a Pre-K classroom revolve around simply trying to sort this stuff out, while learning how their words influence others.

I would not make a big deal out of this at home. I would focus on the facts: “Your teacher mentioned that you told your classmate with a ponytail that he was a girl. Tell me more about that.” Your child might respond something really innocent like “Yeah, because he has long hair and girls have long hair.” This opens up the opportunity for you to have a conversation about that. “Sometimes girls have short hair and boys have long hair. Sometimes boys wear pink and girls wear blue. It’s OK to be different. Next time you could ask, “are you a boy or a girl?”

You could also pose to your child, “When you said he was a girl, how do you think that made him feel?” This is an opportunity to encourage empathy and explore the cause and effect of your child’s words.

We (parents and teachers) have a tendency to project our own adult emotions and perceptions onto very simple child interactions, when the best response is usually to stay unemotional and matter-of-fact. Be careful not to jump to conclusion that your child was being mean, and assume that he was being a typical 4 year old, trying to figure out how this very interesting world works!

Join Cora Megan in our upcoming interactive, online class “Positive Discipline for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Challenging Behaviors and Setting Limits” coming up at 8:15 PM on Monday, 9/23/19.

Dana Asby, CEI Intern posts about Peace at Home Parenting’s Free Spanish Parenting Workshop

Peace at Home Parenting Offers Free Spanish Language Parenting Workshops

Dana Asby, CEI Intern

Most parents want more information about parenting, yet 65% of all parents never attend a single class or discussion about parenting (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). This may be due to a lack of accessibility with varied causes, including a lack of available programs in locations and at times convenient to the family. Most programs occur in the middle of the working day, so working parents cannot take advantage of them (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Peace at Home Parenting thinks offering live parent education workshops online, after most children’s bedtime, and from a variety of cultural perspectives might be one solution to this problem.

Read the full post here >

Center for Educational Improvement

Peace at Home: Bringing Parent Education Online

Dana Asby, CEI Intern

Many parents, especially first time parents, have low levels of self-efficacy in parenting. In fact, 79% of parents want more information about child-rearing (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Parent education programs typically involve a parent educator conducting a series of classes or workshops with new parents or parents experiencing certain contexts that can be risk-factors to responsive parenting. They have generally been proven to be effective in improving the parental skills toolbox, especially parental responsiveness (Votruba-Drzal and Dearing, 2017). Many early childhood programs offer parent education programs; however, the demands on a parent’s time and interest are often too great to retain parents for multiple sessions. One solution to this problem is to offer parent education workshops online at times that are convenient for parents. There is evidence that using technology in parent education may be more cost-effect and reach more parents (Magnuson & Schindler, 2016).

Check out the entire post here >

COVENTRY — In conjunction with the Peace at Home Parenting program, Coventry is offering online parenting classes to all residents until the end of August

Chronicle Staff Writer

Coventry Youth Services Coordinator Crystal Morawitz said this is the first time Peace at Home Parenting offered the program to the town. “I thought it was too great of an opportunity to pass on it,” she said. Morawitz purchased access to the entire program so town residents could benefit from it for free. Otherwise they would have to pay for each class separately, she said.

The online classes start Saturday and continue through Aug. 31, offering lectures on various topics that parents might find helpful. Topics include the neuroscience of early childhood, raising children with special needs, talking to teens about safety and how to be a role model for children, among others.

Topics for classes derive from parent interest, said social worker Ruth Freeman, founder of Peace at Home Parenting. Freeman will teach most classes along with two guest speakers — Aaron Weintraub, director of Kids Cooperate special education school in Tolland, and JoAnn Robinson, member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health.

Freeman has been teaching parenting lessons for three decades, but gave her classes a digital spin only recently.

“It’s much harder for parents to get out for parenting classes now they have busier schedules,” Freeman said. “This way they can listen to classes on the phone or watch on the computer.”

Apart from Coventry, Freeman said Ashford, Chaplin, Ellington, Mansfield, Tolland and Windham also subscribed to the program. “It’s great because it’s free and parents can do it in the comfort of their own home,” Morawitz said.

Those unable to watch live-streamed lectures can access recorded videos later at their convenience. “I think removing a lot of those obstacles and barriers makes it more accessible to parents,” Morawitz said. “The flexibility, I think, is a key for parents who are juggling a lot these days.”

As long as the program remains an option for Coventry, she will continue to offer it to residents, Morawitz said.

“It’s a great opportunity, a great resource and a great asset,” she said

Copyright (c)2017 Chronicle Media LLC 7/7/2017
Coventry offers online classes for local parents
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