The regional government in Victoria, Australia, plans to train their teachers to identify sexism in pre-schoolers.
The Victorian Education Training Department is sending 4,000 early childhood educators through a training program to help them identify young children, starting at 4-years-old, who "enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes," according to Heat Street.
Government officials released research that shows children at that age are already developing habits that fit within gender norms and that teachers must train them by using "anti-bias" strategies.
The document, obtained by Heat Street, cites gender inequality as an issue in young children and calls on educators to have a dialogue with the students to promote gender equality:
As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes that may contribute to disrespect and gender inequality.
Professional learning will increase the capacity of early childhood educators to understand and implement respectful relationships and gender equality into their program delivery.
It will build the capacity of educators to use reflective practice to critically evaluate their work with children using anti-bias approaches specifically regarding gender bias.
The teachers will also be instructed to steer away from "sexist" phrases such as "boys will be boys."
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the early childhood program is necessary for the students' development.
“The early years are an important time to start helping children develop a secure sense of self and healthy, respectful relationships," Mikakos said. "This will help prevent family violence in the long term.”
The training program, which is funded by taxpayers, will cost $2.6 million.