Since January 2015 the Åland Islands Peace Institute is co-operating with the association Waldorf Åland, the non-governmental kindergarten “Nendre” in Lithuania and the non-commercial partnership “The Star of Hope” in Russia within the framework of the project KID (Kindergartens in Development): Equal opportunities for pre-school girls and boys. The overall project objective is to build the capacity for gender equality integration at selected kindergartens with the aim to ensure that all children are treated equally and given the same opportunities to try and develop their abilities, skills and interests without being limited by gendered expectations.
The project focuses on training and awareness raising activities for kindergarten personnel and children’s parents who are provided with tools and methods for reducing gender stereotyping at kindergarten and in the home environment. The basic idea is to broaden the diversity of children’s interests and abilities by treating every child as a unique individual and allowing both girls and boys to try and discover new things, thus fostering their creativity and providing them with conditions for realizing their full potential.
Each partner organisation is supported by a local mentor who provides guidance and counseling for kindergarten personnel in the process of developing and implementing their action plans for gender equality integration, which are adjusted to the local needs and conditions in every country. Local mentors are also responsible for evaluating the change that the project has brought about. Their assessment findings will be used for further development of gender equality work both on a partner level, as well as in a wider society context.
The project is expected to result in a more open and inclusive environment at participating kindergartens as well as in a greater variety in children’s choices of activities, friends and playing materials. Self-reflection skills and increased gender awareness among kindergarten personnel and children’s parents will also contribute to establishing sustainable educational practices that promote a holistic development and empowerment of preschool children.
For more information please contact Justina Donielaite, project manager at the Åland Islands Peace Institute, justina(at)peace.ax, tel. +358 (0)18 23238.
The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and Emmaus Åland.