New gender curriculum to be taught in Victorian primary schools includes “gender norms”

Marriage-Alliance-Gender-Curriculum-Victorian-Primary-Schools2.pngIn an attempt to break down gender stereotypes in schools, students in Victoria will be taught terms such as “pansexual”, “cisgender”, and “transsexual”, the Herald Sun reports

Students will be taught a mandatory “respectful relationships” program which was developed at the Youth Research Centre and University of Melbourne. The program reportedly aims to “stop gender-based violence and discrimination, and to develop a better understanding of diversity”. 

Pictures depicting boys washing dishes and girls playing footy will be posted in classrooms, in order to break down gender stereotypes. 

The State Government has released the new “respectful relationships” education curriculum to be mandatory at all state schools from 2017, one of the recommendations arising from the royal commission into family violence.

Preps will be taught the basic names of their private parts to equip them to report any abuse, and students of all ages educated in challenging male and female-based labels in the playground, classroom and workplace.

VCE students will be educated in “gender literacy” and taught terms such as pansexual, cisgender and transsexual, while year 7 and 8 pupils will learn the meaning of the word “intersex”.

The programme has some positive elements, including a segment for early secondary school that teaches the potential dangers of pornography. Also, helping kids to report abuse and teaching them about unequal pay is certainly admirable.

However, as with Safe Schools, many parents will be concerned by other materials included in the curriculum. Students as young as Year 1 and 2 are given educational games which teach that some kids have two mums and two dads, while those in Year 3 and Year 4 are taught to identify the “gender norms” portrayed in fairy tales. Ultimately, their experiences and enjoyment of childhood are being overtaken by gender ideology.  

Year 1 and 2 students are encouraged to chant statements such as: “Girls can play football, can be doctors and can be strong”, and “boys can cry when they are hurt, can be gentle, can be nurses and can mind babies”.

“Research shows that children become aware of gender at an early age, being well aware of gender norms, and making efforts to fit within gendered expectations by the time they are in kindergarten,” the material says.

“As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, or stereotypical beliefs and attitudes. They may, for example, insist that some games are for boys and others for girls, and actively reject peers from certain games.”

The programme notably fails to acknowledge its own gender prejudices and introduces dangerous and confusing ideas to children at a very young age. What do you think? Should the programme be changed? 

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