Should Your Preschooler Go to an All Girls Academy?Madeline Holler
Hard to believe that in crunchy progressive Santa Cruz, Calif., someone had the nerve — or is it the delicate and nurturing disposition? — to open a preschool just for girls.
This school isn’t just some little-women-hear-them-roar misguided attempt of “empowerment” and closing the math and science gender gap in math and science. Rather, it’s a school with the tagline, as Double X’s KJ Dell’Antonia reports, is “It’s pink, it’s girly, and it’s all about them!”
The site for the school is now password protected but here’s a description, again from Slate’s Double X:
The all-pink Web site suggests a world many girls would love: playful, flowery, and utterly empty of boys and their disturbing truck-y, camo-and-gun influence. There’s a nod to gender-neutral subject matter: Your daughter won’t just make fairy wings, crowns, capes and butterfly wands, or snuggle on a flowery couch underneath a canopy of lace—she’ll also learn about sports and science and math in a multi-sensory way.
Because girls learn best when they can count on their nicely manicured fingers!
I feel for anyone wanting to earn a living in childcare and pre-K education. Speaking of underpaid teachers! So I have to hand it to whomever came up with the Pink Academy (pink! They site so much single-sex ed research, how did they miss the ones about gender stereotyping those single sexes?): the Waldorf, Reggio and Montessori market requires expensive silks and easily damaged wood toys. Meanwhile, the Pink Academy just has to paint a few walls and exclude half the under-6 population and, ding, ding, ding, they’ve got an angle.
I don’t know what would tempt a parent to agree to segregate their kids so early from male peers (open spots for next fall?). And I doubt that graduating from the Pink Academy would actually damage the child, long-term. But as Dell’Antonia points out, kids already start separating by gender in those late preschool years, why do it for them?
If we want our girls to be empowered, like science and feel safe, we need to create classrooms where that can happen with boys, not without them.
Photo: Gordona AM via flickr