This post is by regular contributor Catherine Oehlman aka SquiggleMum.
Good educators are always asking themselves questions about what makes kids’ minds tick. Over the years I have asked myself many questions about the differences between girls and boys, and been intrigued by the nature vs nurture debate. My opinion on the issue has changed several times as I have taught children of different ages, in different countries, and now have a young pigeon-pair of my own. I have asked questions like these:
- Do girls play with dolls because we give them dolls, or do we give them dolls because they are intrinsically drawn to babies?
- Do we speak to baby boys the same way we speak to baby girls? What about boys and girls as toddlers?
- Why is it that young boys and girls often play with the same toy or object in a completely different way?
- Who decided pink was for girls and blue was for boys? And why is it commonly acceptable for girls to wear blue, but rarely ok for boys to wear pink?
- Should boys and girls in the early years of schooling have different uniforms? Why or why not?
- Should different teaching methods be employed when teaching boys and girls? And are co-ed or single-sex schools most effective in educating our kids?
- Are boys and girls really so different???
I’ve spent plenty of time playing with both of my kids in the sandpit. We have built castles together. We have used planks of wood to make roads. We have created exploding volcanoes with bicarb soda and vinegar. We have dug tunnels. We have written our names in the sand. We have taken photos of sand art. We have buried our feet. But just recently I watched my husband playing in the sandpit with our two year old son, and I looked on in amazement as my boys did things together I have never done!
They dug out an area of sand, smoothing the bottom to make a floor. Then they used the planks of wood to line the floor, build walls, and add a flat roof. Once they were sure it was secure, they covered the roof back over with sand to create an underground bunker! The Little People moved in, freely driving their vehicles in and out of their secret underground bunker. Very cool.
It was fascinating to watch them work. I saw the way my son’s hands copied his Dad’s. I listened to the way their conversation flowed. Father and son were so focused, so engrossed in the task. I learned so much from their interactions in the sand.
I still have many questions about the differences between boys and girls, but I am convinced that there are differences. My husband and son think in a way that is foreign to me. As I seek to understand the way they work, I know that it can only help me to become a better mother to my son, wife to my husband, and teacher in general.
What do you think? Do you have any questions or comments about the differences between boys and girls? Do you have a story to share?