Four thousand teachers in Australia are preparing to go through a training program aimed at helping stop sexism in students as young as 4-years-old.
The course, set up by the regional government in Victoria, will teach educators how to spot young children who “enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes.”
A document concerning the program obtained by Heat Street defends the action by arguing that sexism first begins to appear in preschoolers.
“As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes that may contribute to disrespect and gender inequality,” the document says. “Professional learning will increase the capacity of early childhood educators to understand and implement respectful relationships and gender equality into their program delivery.”
“It will build the capacity of educators to use reflective practice to critically evaluate their work with children using anti-bias approaches specifically regarding gender bias,” the document adds.
Other reports indicate that teachers will also be taught to stop using “sexist” phrases such as “boys will be boys.”
Jenny Mikakos, the minister for Families and Children, called the program a necessity for early childhood development.
“The early years are an important time to start helping children develop a secure sense of self and healthy, respectful relationships,” she said. “This will help prevent family violence in the long term.”
The cost of the program, according to The Australian, will set taxpayers back $3.4 million AUS or $2.6 million US.