Nurseries are told not to call children ‘boys’ and ‘girls’

Have they gone nuts? Nurseries are told not to call children ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ and to use ‘humanity’ instead of ‘mankind’ in bid to stamp out gender discrimination (and even stories about Mr Squirrel are banned!)

  • New guidelines urge childcare providers to introduce ‘gender-equal play’ so that boys are encouraged to play girls’ games, and vice versa
  • The guidance from the Care Inspectorate (CI) also cautions against telling stories about ‘Mr Squirrel’ to break down masculine stereotypes
  • Children should also be shown images of same-sex parents in educational materials

Nursery staff have been told not to call children ‘boys and girls’ – or tell them stories about male characters – in an attempt to stamp out gender discrimination.

New guidelines urge childcare providers to introduce ‘gender-equal play’ so that boys are encouraged to play girls’ games, and vice versa.

But the guidance from the Care Inspectorate (CI) also cautions against telling stories about ‘Mr Squirrel’ to break down masculine stereotypes – or even using the word ‘mankind’ instead of ‘humanity’.

New guidelines urge childcare providers to introduce ‘gender-equal play’ so that boys are encouraged to play girls’ games, and vice versa

Children should also be shown images of same-sex parents in educational materials, while posters displaying male ballet dancers are encouraged to break down gender divisions.

The Rev David Robertson, former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, criticised the CI last night, saying: ‘Have they gone nuts? They’ve lost a degree of sanity and moved out of touch with the real world – they are living in a parallel universe.

‘The Care Inspectorate are no longer about inspecting care standards, they’re about inspecting doctrine.’


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The taxpayer-funded body, which inspects registered childcare providers, said the initiative has been brought in because ‘childhood and play is becoming more gendered and polarised between girls and boys’.

It has joined forces with campaigners at Zero Tolerance – which works to eradicate male violence against women – to produce the guide, which aims to promote the benefits of children of both sexes playing with a range of toys.

Guidelines advise that nursery staff should ‘try greeting children with “hello everyone” or “children” instead of “hello boys and girls”.’ 

The guidance from the Care Inspectorate (CI) also cautions against telling stories about ‘Mr Squirrel’ (pictured) to break down masculine stereotypes

They should also use ‘more inclusive pronouns’ such as ‘they’ or ‘them’ or ‘theirs’, instead of ‘she’ or ‘him’ or ‘hers’, while girls should be complimented because they have ‘achieved something’ and not because of their appearance.

‘Man-made’ becomes ‘synthetic’, ‘manufactured’ or ‘machine-made’, while ‘the common man’ becomes ‘the average person’ or ‘ordinary people’ – and ‘Mr Squirrel’ in stories told to children should be referred to as ‘squirrel’.

Scottish Tory early years spokesman Alison Harris said: ‘This seems like political correctness gone mad. These recommendations appear to be patronising in the extreme.

‘Many parents will be concerned that this political correctness is replacing common sense.’

Richard Lucas of the Scottish Family Party said: ‘Pushing this sort of feminist extremism is an attempt at social engineering and indoctrination, starting with the very youngest.

‘Why can’t they just accept that boys and girls are different?’

Gordon Weir, interim chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: ‘The role that early learning and childcare can have in promoting gender equality can’t be overstated. That’s why we’ve produced this resource with our partners.

‘This is about asking everyone to think about how they approach gender equality in play and early learning, and how we can support and promote it.’

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