Colourful Children

Activity 3 -Reflection 


Reflection on Pre-schooling

This reflection is a partnership between the perception of my observation in the kindergarten and the perception of a teacher with a group.

Observing the XX kindergarten, with two classes of 25 children each and an educator for each group, I see an environment of children, aged three to five years, rich in diversity and heterogeneity.

The decoration is done with the children’s works. They are representations of their surrounding reality. There are the hangers on which to hang their coats and backpacks, identified with their respective self-portraits, entirely made by themselves, without any gender orientation. Posters spread around the room with the themes worked on, the projects developed by the children and stories that are being analyzed, namely at the level of the characters and their values. In this regard, in the dramatizations, it is the children who choose who they want to incarnate, without any gender restrictions. The educator makes the children very comfortable. Examples of this were the dramatizations of “Maria Castanha” (female character in the original and played by three male children), “A Carochinha” and in the story, they, themselves, created “O Muro.”

In the rooms, there are games, whose illustrations are associated with a genre and others that are neutral. There are also toys or spaces that, at first sight, tend to be directed more towards one genre than another, such as the garage (workshop), the house or the carpentry shop, where they play spontaneously and naturally, socializing completely at ease, with no gender constraints. It is common to see boys in the doll’s house and girls playing in the carpentry or garage (workshop). Sometimes alone; other times, in groups of both sexes.

In the collective games of motor expression, overcoming obstacles or in a competitive situation, children organize themselves spontaneously without gender constraints. The groups are always mixed, both in age and gender.

Stories are worked on, in different perspectives, according to the objective. In each of the classes in this kindergarten there are adopted children. As a consequence, several stories were worked onfor this theme. In the same way, the procedure is maintained when there are children of divorced couples, children with two families, single parents, children with two fathers, children with two mothers. The children’s view is broadened for a better knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

There are some storybooks to work with for any of these themes.

During the dramatization of a story, children assume / embody the character they choose, regardless of gender. They don’t necessarily have to fit into the genre. They are the ones who choose the character they want to incarnate and, often, like to play several characters from the same story.

“O Cantinho das Trapalhadas” is also an existing space inside the teachers classroom, with particular charm, in which each child can dress up in whatever they want. There are clothes and props associated with both genders and also with the realm of fantasy. There have been situations in the past where the children, boys, masquerade as princesses without astonishment, and this is always seen as a natural possibility.

In the Ponte do Rol kindergarten, the toilets are unique; that is, there is no distinction between toilets for boys and other toilets for females.

However, children are in the process of discovering the anatomical differences of their genitals and they often look at that part of themselves (in the mirror) or look at others in an attempt to understand why. For example, sometimes, they ask the educator why there are some boys who pee sitting and others standing. And that could give rise to a related theme that will be approached in a conscious and reflected manner, as is, incidentally, the prerogative of the work of any educator.

Torres Vedras is a municipality with a strong carnival tradition in which men masquerade as women for four days, known as “Matrafonas,” and no one is surprised. The question will be asked: what about the rest of the year? We are not aware of any study that addresses this issue affecting the municipality. But we have a historical figure who lived in Torres Vedras, of the female gender, Maria Purificação da Silva (1900-1960), who worked with recognized merit among her male colleagues in the slaughterhouse of the municipality. With an athletic and masculine build, she killed and skinned cattle,in the day,like no other (it was said), and at night, she had fun in the taverns drinking wine, alongside men, as equals:

-Since I was 12 years old … I have always been like this … I like to get together with men … I have good friends, and we have had good fun!… The women are all gossipers!…

Perhaps it is because of this heritage that gender equality does not bother us. We see it as a natural right.

In our group of schools, we continue to give more importance to inclusion, regardless of the type of differences that exist. No matter how much education and schooling there is, there will always be a risk of “bad character” underestimating the other, provoking the other, challenging the other. This is transversal to skin colour, creed, gender, disability, physical structure. We cannot discredit the “whole” due to the bad character of a “part.” From the bad character of a “few” big dictators that have emerged throughout history, there has been great damage done to humanity.

Balance and common sense are required for everything.