A kindergarten teacher in Washington state has decided not to let her boy students play with Legos in the classroom, while the girls are encouraged to use them.
Karen Keller, a teacher at Blakely Elementary in Bainbridge Island, Washington, has decided to engage in her own classroom experiment of sorts, attempting to achieve what she calls "gender equity." Keller noticed that during the 40-minute free play time in the classroom, the boys naturally gravitated toward Legos, building blocks, and other STEM-related toys while the girls wanted to play with dolls and crayons.
"I just feel like we are still so far behind in promoting gender equity," Keller told the Bainbridge Island Review.
Worrying that the girls would be at a disadvantage later on in life, Keller was determined to make sure the girls in her classroom got their fair share — and then some — of toys linked to improving spatial and math skills. At first, she bought pink and purple Legos in an attempt to persuade the girls to play with them, but they still didn't show interest in the blocks.
Instead of letting it go, Keller kept at it. She was issued school grant money to use for brand new Lego Education Community Starter Kits, and she bought three of them for different classrooms at the school. She also decided to start a "girls only Legos club" to encourage the girls to play with the building blocks and keep the boys away from them.
Keller admitted she even goes so far as to lie to her boy students when they ask to play with Legos, telling them they'll get a turn later even though she has no intention of doing so.
"I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn,' and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”
"Boys get ongoing practice and girls are shut out of those activities, which just kills me. Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is ‘what I want to do,' I want to protect that." Keller added.
Keller isn't concerned with the backlash she will likely receive from parents, because she wholeheartedly believes she is doing what is fair and that her students understand that the term "fair" comes in different shapes and sizes for different people.
"Fair is getting what you need to succeed or to get better," she said.
TheBlaze reached out to Keller for comment but she did not respond to the request.