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The boy - girl thing at school

12 replies

Boco · 14/05/2007 11:09

dd1 has recently started reception class. In nursery she had several friends who are boys - she's not a particularly girly girl and is quite happy playing with either boys or girls.

Since starting school, boys are no longer possible playmates, strictly girls only as friends.

I was surprised to see that in her class, there's a different box for girls and boys to put their stuff into, at playtime boys and girls line up separately, and take it in turns to go first depending on who is standing the quietest - so they compete to be the best. It seems like the class is automatically quite divided into girls and boys. A friends son in year one is being bullied by other boys for playing with the girls.

I know that at this age there is a divide, but was surprised how much the school seems to encourage this. Is it normal practice by the school do you think, or is this just inevitable at age 5?

OP posts:
hana · 14/05/2007 11:11

I dont think it's normal behaviour by the school and seems bit odd
dd's class are in coloured tables, and they line up that way - ie the orange table, the blue table etc etc - tables are mixed

i do think the playing with only girls/boys thing starts at this age - dd is 5 and it's mostly about the girls over here for parties and playing in the playground at school

sunnysideup · 14/05/2007 11:24

Yes it seems odd that the school are re-inforcing this 'split'. I definitely noticed that in ds' reception class the girls were very reluctant to play with the boys; and ds came home for the first time thinking that there were 'boys' toys and 'girls' toys. It hadn't been part of his mindset before. A girl the other day was playing with ds and I and she insisted that he had the blue blocks "boys like blue" and she had only the pink ones! It's not unusual, but it is sad. I think some parents do reinforce these thoughts unecessarily though it has to be said that it is hard to avoid buying girls pink things! There seems to be nothing else!

However I think it's worth you asking the school why they do this; at ds' school they don't do this sort of thing, kids line up in their class group not gender groups.

I did hear somewhere that sometimes a gender split can actually be helpful though if it means the school are focussing their education more; boys generally need more physical action and have a compulsion to move and use the large muscle groups etc, where girls may be more advanced emotionally and intellectually so may be working on a different level sometimes? Maybe this is where the school are coming from?

vimfuego · 14/05/2007 11:26

".. boys generally need more physical action and have a compulsion to move and use the large muscle groups etc, where girls may be more advanced emotionally and intellectually so may be working on a different level sometimes .. "

Worms, can of.

edam · 14/05/2007 11:26

I'd ask the school why they do this. Seems odd and unnecessary. Back to the days of schools having separate entrances for boys and girls! I know children become aware of gender difference but why on earth school should encourage it I don't know. They'll be telling all the girls to be secretaries when they grow up and boys to be engine drivers next...

LIZS · 14/05/2007 11:26

No not ineviatble or normal ime. dd is Year 1 and I'd say it is very much the opposite. Her best friends are boys, although she plays increasingly with selected girls, and the classroom is organised by tables (ie. separate trays for each table's reading folders) which are mixed sex , quite possibly ability grouped, and leaders chosen each day in alphabetical order. The only segregation I'm aware of takes place in games where now boys play cricket and girls rounders, but it was more informal in Reception

sunnysideup · 14/05/2007 11:30

hmm, that's why I said generally, and may, that sort of thing! All kids different, of course, and am not an expert - just aware vaguely that I'd heard this sort of 'differentiation' approach debated.

It certainly holds true for my ds, who exists in a kind of 'limbo' in school, trying his very best to make his limbs obey him and write little lines that he has NO interest in, then he goes out, and goes MAD with the physical play

However I do know one or two girls who are just the same, utterly physical and active! But I know more who LOVE sitting down and colouring, writing etc and who are waaaay ahead of ds with this stuff.

Unfortunately I also know one who won't play out in case she gets her shoes dirty

Dabbles · 14/05/2007 11:35

very odd that the school do this...

dd is 4 and a half and said yesterday "i dont like to play wiht boys, because they dont wear skirts and dont hav elong hair like me" glad its normal behaviour!

ScummyMummy · 14/05/2007 11:37

definitely odd, Boco. The boy girl divide was alive and kicking for my children at that age (still is to a lesser extent now they're 8)but entirely self imposed. If anything the school joined me in gently challenging it when possible.

gingertoo · 14/05/2007 11:43

Would definitely ask the school about this practice - It seems quite odd to me! I feel that children can miss out on some wonderful friendships / influences if they are segregated.
Still, my experience is limited, my DS goes to a tiny village school and of the 9 children in Year 1, he is the only boy.....we ONLY have girls home to play

Boco · 14/05/2007 12:21

Hmmm glad it's not just me thinking it's a bit odd. Seemed a bit old fashioned and not all that helpful. The teacher seems really nice and on the ball about other stuff, so maybe it's an old practice they've just not questioned.

I will have to find a subtle way of bringing it up as she's only been there half a term and i've already brought up a few things - dont' want to be a harridan mother they roll their eyes at.

OP posts:
portonovo · 14/05/2007 14:03

Seems incredibly odd to me. I don't even think there usually is a divide in reception class - yes, girls often play with girls and boys with boys, but there is usually still a fairly healthy amount of time when the children are 'just playing' with no regard to boys and girls.

My two sons have always had friends of the opposite sex, in fact one of my 9 year old's best friends is a girl and their playground games seem to be both boys and girls. Parties still seem to be mixed.

It is only in the last year or so that my now 12 year old son started to make a conscious effort to spend most of his time with boys rather than girls.

Smithagain · 14/05/2007 21:00

It does seem old-fashioned - and now I come to think of it, I think we used to line up in separate rows when I was in primary school.

I don't know how you would go about bringing it up subtlely, though!

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