PDI |

Gender, Sexuality, and the Family
in Early Childhood Education

Workshops for Educators and Families


Download the Flyer

Attend an Upcoming Session

Schedule the series or learn more:

Contact Katie Schaffer at
Katherine.Schaffer@mail.cuny.edu
or 646-265-2044

Scheduling the Workshop Series for Your Program

The "Educator and Early Childhood Professional" workshops are each three hours in length and the cost for this three session series (a total of 9 hours of in-person training) is $875. The "Parent and Family" workshops are each two hours in length and the cost for this two session series (a total of 4 hours of in-person training) is $500. Although we offer these series separately, we highly recommend that a school or program run the entire five session series (a total of 13 hours of in-person training) and thereby include both families and educators in these important discussions. To facilitate this, we offer the full series of five workshops at a significant discount of $1000.

It is important to us that all programs interested in these workshops are able to provide them. To further discuss costs, to schedule the workshop series or for more information, contact Katie Schaffer at Katherine.Schaffer@mail.cuny.edu or 646-265-2044.

About the Workshop

When and how do children develop an understanding of gender?

How can we encourage children's comfort and respect for their own body and other people's bodies?

How can we include and celebrate the diversity of families and family structures in our programs?

During the preschool years, children begin to develop a conception of gender, sexuality, and family. However, there is often little space to for teachers to talk about the questions and behaviors that come up in their classrooms, or how to explore these concepts with children in their curriculum and pedagogy. Parents and family members often feel in the dark as well, with little opportunity to discuss and collaboratively develop strategies for working with their children or young people.

To open up this conversation, the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute is offering a series of workshops – one set for educators and one set for families – designed to spark discussion, facilitate the creation of shared language, and provide educators and families the resources they need to make their classrooms and homes safe spaces for the development and expansive exploration of identity. By running workshops both for families and educators we hope to engage all members of an early childhood community in supporting each other and the children they care for.

About The Sessions

Workshops for Educators and Early Childhood Professionals

Session 1: Gender Development, Expression and Play

In this workshop, we will learn about and discuss gender development in young children. Through discussions of how rigid gender roles and stereotypes can limit children's growth and self-expression, we will collectively develop and role-play strategies to facilitate expansive gender performances and to create inclusive classrooms which support a variety of gender expressions. We will also discuss a variety of ways to limit the perpetuation of gender stereotypes – from how children are complimented to how the classroom is organized – and how to work with family members who are struggling with their children's gender non-conforming dress or behaviors.

Session 2: Bodies, Curiosity and Touching

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on and deconstruct their feelings about children's curiosity and sexual exploration. We will develop strategies for fostering children's feelings of comfort about sexuality and their bodies while setting limits to help children develop a sense of boundaries. We will discuss fears regarding child sexual abuse and learn to distinguish between signs of abuse and childhood exploration. Through readings and role-plays, participants will explore what it means to help children develop healthy relationships and will learn strategies for teaching consent, respect, and encouraging children's sense of ownership over their bodies.

Session 3: Including All Families and Supporting All Children

In this workshop, we will discuss the importance of supporting children by representing and including all families in the social and cultural community of the program. Focusing specifically on LGBTQ families, this workshop will help educators consider both deliberate and inadvertent messages about belonging contained in their programs' written material, environment, teaching, and educational practices. To create a more inclusive environment in their classrooms and schools, we will introduce concepts and language to talk with families and our staffs about sexual and gender identities, the legal structures that are involved in defining families, and discrimination targeted at people who do not conform to gender or sexual norms. We will also identify curricular opportunities to teach about family diversity and develop strategies and activities to teach children a more expansive understanding of family.

Workshops for Parents and Families

Session 1: Gender Development, Expression and Play

In this workshop, parents and family members will learn about and discuss gender development in young children. Through discussions of how rigid gender roles and stereotypes can limit children's growth and self-expression, participants will collectively develop and role-play strategies to support their children or young family members in an expansive development of identity. We will also discuss a variety of ways to limit the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and how to engage with our children and families around both gender conforming and non-conforming expression. Parents and family members will have the opportunity to work on the specific challenges and questions they have with their young people as well as share strategies and develop a shared language for future discussions.

Session 2: Bodies, Curiosity and Touching

In this workshop, parents and family members will have the opportunity to reflect on and deconstruct their feelings about children's curiosity and sexual exploration. We will develop strategies for fostering children's feelings of comfort about sexuality and their bodies while setting limits to help children develop a sense of boundaries. We will discuss fears regarding child sexual abuse and learn to distinguish between signs of abuse and childhood exploration. Through readings and role-plays, participants will explore what it means to help children develop healthy relationships and will learn strategies for teaching consent, respect, and encouraging children's sense of ownership over their bodies.