Member for Eastern Victoria and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Country Schools, Melina Bath, has added her voice to the growing concerns around the Andrews Labor Government’s Respectful Relationships program following contact from concerned parents and teachers.
“A number of people have spoken to me about the latest developments – that toys, nursery rhymes and fairy tales are to be audited for their gender stereotyping.” Ms Bath said.
Recently, experienced Gippsland preschool educator Lyn Hannah has also expressed her concerns around the program.
“This program is patronising for educators. We have been teaching children to respect each other, and embrace and celebrate individuality, for a long time. This is not a new concept” Mrs Hannah said.
“An expression like ‘boys don’t cry’ would never be used in a preschool setting; it’s not professional.”
Ms Bath is concerned that the latest push towards political correctness goes way too far.
“The first few years of schooling are vitally important. Young children learn through activities such as play, reading and interaction with others,” Ms Bath said.
“Young children are exploring their vocabulary and understand that fairytales are imaginary, so asking them to identify gender bias only introduces a layer of confusion.”
“The Andrews government is out of touch with the early years of a child’s education. It seems that it will soon be wrong to point out that males and females are different.”
Ms Bath’s comments follow similar concerns from the Shadow Minister for Education, Nick Wakeling last week.
“The Andrews Government should be focused on improving education standards and not radical gender theories in our schools,” Mr Wakeling said.