10 Reasons to Choose Quality Early Learning and Child Care

Expert knowledge Early childhood educators are experts in child development and are trained to create inspiring learning environments!
Intentionality Early childhood educators provide your child the gift of time and attention. They will stop and explore the new flowers or jump in the mud puddles with your child.
Young at heart Early childhood educators know how to have fun! They’re not afraid to be silly and laugh with your child; all while nurturing your child’s creativity and helping to build their self-confidence.
Setting limits Every child needs reasonable boundaries, such as no playing ball inside. Early childhood educators set limits and support families in doing the same.
Love of literacy Early childhood educators read and tell stories, sing songs, and do puppet shows to inspire a love of language and to build early literacy skills.
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Confidence boost Early childhood educators provide safe opportunities for your child to be independent and to become confident in their personality and decision making skills.
Inspired learning Early childhood educators ask open-ended questions to inspire creative thought and curiosity, to encourage children to explore, and to make learning fun.
Life skills Early childhood educators use their expertise to develop programs that use play as a tool for teaching math, literacy, science and essential life skills that last for life!
Making friends Early childhood educators are educated to appropriately support children to gain social skills, which are so important in making friends and developing positive relationships!
Helping hand Everyone gets stumped by parenting from time to time - juggling schedules, demands, and behaviours. When it gets tough and you need someone to talk to, reach out to your child’s early childhood educator!
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News : Details

Caring for Trans, Two-Spirit, and Gender Creative Children

July 25th, 2019


By Dr. Julie Temple-Newhook, Director of Trans Support Newfoundland

Trans, two-spirit, and gender creative children are part of families, childcare centres, and communities. Early childhood educators can help to provide an environment where all children can feel safe and comfortable to express themselves and accepted and celebrated for who they are.

Terms such as gender creative may be used to describe any child who expresses their gender differently from others’ expectations. For example, in current culture, a little boy who likes to wear dresses would be considered to be resisting gender stereotypes and might be referred to as gender creative. 

The term two-spirit is a more complex term used by some Indigenous people, and it often includes a spiritual element. It may be gifted to an Indigenous child by their community, and tends to be used to celebrate children (and adults) who combine masculine and feminine characteristics. 

When a child tells us who they are, and this does not match the gender on their birth certificate, they may be referred to as transgender (or trans). Recent psychological research now demonstrates what trans, two-spirit, and gender diverse children and adults have been telling us for many years: they are not pretending or confused. Trans children’s gender identities are just as consistent and deeply held as that of children who are cisgender (not transgender).

Gender identity is each individual’s profound, personal sense of their own gender: “I am a girl.” “I am a boy.” “I am neither of those.” The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Canadian Pediatric Society state that most children have a stable sense of their gender identity by the age of four. It is sometimes at this age that young children try to express their feeling of discomfort with their assigned gender. The AAP states that “[w]hile a child’s gender-specific behaviour seems to be influenced by their identification with the [adults] in their lives, the sense of being a girl or a boy [or neither or both] (i.e. gender identity) cannot be changed.”

Children, youth, adults, and seniors may come to recognize themselves as trans at any age. However, it is known that many trans adults have described awareness of their gender identities from early childhood. In a TransPulse study conducted in Ontario, 59% of trans adults reported that they were aware of their gender identity before the age of 10; 80% were aware before the age of 14.

It is important to remember that we cannot assume a child’s gender identity from their gender expression. Children enjoy imaginative play, and many kids resist gender-stereotyped expectations. A child may like to wear dresses or may enjoy playing hockey, but this is about expression, not identity. The only way to know a child’s gender identity is to ask.

Dr. Kristina Olson, a psychologist with the Social Cognitive Development Lab at the University of Washington, explains why it is important to listen to what each child needs: “Sometimes we hear from parents that the parent says, ‘Well, you could just be a boy who likes to wear dresses,’ and the kid says, ‘No, it’s not the dress. I am a girl!’… That seems to be the crucial difference between a boy who likes girly things and a [transgender girl] who is saying, ‘I am a girl.’ In other words, not every kid who explores or experiments with gender is necessarily transgender, but when they do assert a gender identity, it’s a very authentic experience.” 

When supporting any child, follow their lead and use the same language they use to describe themselves. Books such as Who are You? A Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity or A House for Everyone are helpful places to start exploring gender with young children.

Learn more

Temple Newhook, J., Winters, K., Pyne, J., Jamieson, A., Holmes, C., Feder, S., … Sinnott, M.-L. (2018). Teach your parents and providers well: Call for refocus on the health of trans and gender-diverse children. Canadian Family Physician, 64(5), 332–335. http://www.cfp.ca/content/64/5/332 

Rafferty, J., Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Adolescence, & Section on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health and Wellness. (2018). Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, e20182162. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-2162

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