A 4-year-old preschooler who was enrolled in a preschool in Aurora, Colorado, was kicked out when her parents expressed concern about the books that were being read in their daughter’s class, according to the Denver Post. The parents were concerned because some books told “stories about same-sex couples and worms that were unsure about their gender.” The preschooler’s mom, R.B. Sinclair, sees the class as sex education and wanted to opt her daughter out of these discussions.
However, officials of the Montview Community Preschool & Kindergarten in Denver, Colorado, which is a private, parent cooperative, told Sinclair that opting out wasn’t an option. The preschool officials explained their decision by saying that the stories were part of the preschool’s anti-bias curriculum, and that discussions pertaining to gender were embedded throughout the day.
Colorado isn’t the only state to introduce this type of curriculum; anti-bias curriculum is apparently growing in public and private schools. Proponents say that educators are allowing students to be exposed to different types of families and gender roles, in order for them to see differences before they have a chance to form negative opinions.
Kim Bloemen, director of early childhood education in the Boulder Valley School District, explains the reasoning behind the curriculum choice by saying, “Biases start as kids get older and start to see differences as negative.”
“At a young age, kids are exploring all different kinds of things. It’s about just providing them with all these experiences.”
The school sent a letter to parents of preschoolers at the Montview preschool, defending the books and provided a newsletter that suggested how parents can discuss the topics at home with their children.
Sinclair told the Denver Post that her daughter, who is part of a biracial family with a mix of Muslim and western culture, “is too young to understand the difference between anatomy and identity.” Sinclair said that this was a goal pointed out in documents given to her by school officials. Sinclair said that diversity wasn’t the problem, but she was more concerned by how teachers at the preschool were having conversations about these topics with her daughter.
“I think at this age they don’t know what bias is. They could have kids from Mars and they would still play with each other.”
All teachers in Boulder’s public preschools have been trained in this new curriculum. One initiative that was started in the School of Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder is called A Queer Endeavor. This initiative has trained 2,500 teachers in Boulder and the St. Vrain Valley School District over the past three years, according to the Denver Post.
Bethy Leonardi, co-founder of A Queer Endeavor, said that “Times are changing.”
“The only hesitations we’ve seen is that teachers have been really undersupported. They wonder, ‘Am I doing it right,’ (and) what language to use. There’s a real willingness to do this work.”
The initiative is supposed to help teachers keep the focus on family structures and being positive about differences. Topics are not supposed to cover anatomy or sex, but teachers need to know how to deflect questions children might ask about those topics, and other topics that may come up such as body parts or unique situations. Officials add that books about same-sex couple families already exist, and most questions are simply answered by explaining that all families look different.
In light of all of this, Sinclair was not sure how the teacher explained these topics to her daughter, because she said the preschooler came home one day and was worried that “her dad might no longer like girls.” Sinclair was upset about her daughter being kicked out because she said she felt that one type of diversity took precedence over another, and her daughter’s education was interrupted in the process. Sinclair was handed a letter just two days after discussing her concerns with the principal, which said that it was her daughter’s last day in school and the situation “was not a good fit.” Sinclair said there was “no consideration for the bias against [her] family’s culture, faith and concerns.”
For the time being, Sinclair says she is keeping her daughter at home.
What are your thoughts on a preschooler being kicked out of a Colorado preschool? Would you want your preschooler to learn about these issues and should preschools be teaching this curriculum? Please feel free to comment below.
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