“Boys Will Be Boys,” and Both Boys and Girls Will Learn to Care for Each Other’s Minds and Bodies: Reflections on Gender and Respect in Early Childhood Education

Boys will be Boys.” We’ve been hearing that a lot lately in the news and other media platforms, justifying behaviors that we must all recognize are less than acceptable. I heard this phrase countless times while growing up as a young girl and later as a young adult, instilling a feeling in me that perhaps the acceptableness of certain offensive behaviors was determined not by the behavior itself, but by the context or by the identity of the perpetrator. These phrases that casually brush off the so-called “boyish” behaviors of dangerous masculine entitlement add to a culture in which children are encouraged to define one another by gender, boys are taught to see girls as objects, and girls are taught that their needs and choices for their own bodies don’t matter. (click headline for more….)

his is a fictionalized memoir style piece

It is 7:30am in the city of Boston; two males enter a well lit room. There is a whiff of the bleach in the air. A table sits in the middle of the room with a large bowl filled with cereal. Near the large bowl is a stack of 15 smaller bowls, a bucket of plastic spoons, and a large pitcher of milk. With serious looks on their faces, the two males pass the cereal table and approach a table covered with papers. Three females are sitting there. The taller male says “you are going to jail!”He is not dressed like police, but his voice, posture, and mannerisms would be familiar to anyone who has ever interacted with a police officer. At the table, a female who has been writing at a furious speed stops, looks up, and says “ I don’t wanna play that game today...


Lesley University’s Ben Mardell and Michael Hanna collaborated to create the Democracy Empowerment Rubric (DER) which is a tool to evaluate group discussions in early education settings. This study was designed to get feedback about the DER from early educators. Eight early educators from the Boston area were interviewed about the DER in total. A majority of the participants expressed interest in using the rubric and felt like it would help them reflect on their practice. In addition, they reporter that they would like to receive coaching and training on the DER before using the rubric.