First, in order to fully understand my two cents, you must go and read this article about this preschool in Sweden.
What struck me the most was the part of the article that talks about how the building centre was intentionally placed next to the play kitchen area.
Really? This is considered ground breaking?? Go into any daycare centre or preschool in just about any part of Canada (and I suspect the US) and guess what you're going to find. You're going to find the block centre (or building centre or construction centre) right next to the kitchen centre (or daily living centre or dramatic play centre)
This is not a new technique and it's not so that children don't develop mental barriers between cooking and building it's because pretend play in the kitchen/dramatic play centre is often times exactly the same as pretend play in the block/building centre. It's to encourage them to extend their play on their own without adult interference. It's Early Childhood Education 101.
Furthermore, to imply that it's so completely earth shattering that little boys are playing in the kitchen centre is absurd. Little boys love the kitchen centre.
I think we've reached a point in our society when people are just too serious all the time. There is too much focus on our children being political correct and inclusive when the simple fact of the matter is, it's not the children who have problems with this. It's the adults.
We spend so much time worrying about our kids not assuming gender roles (girls can be construction workers and police officers and men can stay home and raise the babies or be kindergarten teachers) but the simple fact of the matter is, if we, as adults stood back and shut our mouths for 5 minutes, kids would figure that out all on their own. Because they'd see their friends Dad is the one who takes him to school and picks him up and they'd see the female police officer giving a ticket.
These issues accepting others regardless of race (or to go even further and wonder why race is an issue at all), not viewing same sex families as out of the norm, not falling in the trap of gender roles....these are not the children's issues...they belong to us and we twist this in our minds thinking our kids somehow have these issues too. But they don't until we teach them to.
I can tell you, my son loves to play kitchen. He also loves to play cars. My daughter loves to draw and she loves to play in the mud. It's not because I actively said to either one of them - you can regardless of your gender...it was simply because I said "You can."
We need to stop over thinking things. Stop stressing about why they should play with blocks and let them play with the blocks. Stop stressing about if Johnny wants to (or egads!! doesn't want to) wear the princess dress in the drama centre. Wearing it will not make him a cross dresser just as not wearing it will not make him a steel worker.
And that is my two cents for today. Now go out there and get your daughter to play with trucks and your sons to play with Barbie otherwise they may grow up not truly knowing who they really can be.
: insert eye roll here :