It's no secret — boys and girls learn and develop differently. They have different behaviors and respond to different learning styles. But that doesn't mean they should learn separately in their most impressionable years.
While we do believe boys and girls learn best apart as they mature into middle and high school because of social and academic pressures, it is important for children as young as the age of 3 be exposed to and thrive in a coed elementary school environment to provide a foundation that increases confidence, encourages respect and breaks through stereotypes.
The socialization benefits of an elementary school coeducational environment are infinite. By learning to play together and accept each others' differences at an early age, children become more confident with the opposite gender that will prepare them for the future. From the very beginning, boys and girls learn how to communicate with one another and inherit a foundation that will promote real-world collaboration through healthy debate and discussion. Boys and girls think differently, and together they provide unique points of view during classroom discussion. These collaborative skills will stay with them as they move on to middle school, high school and, eventually, college and the workforce.
Breaking Free of Stereotypes
In 2017, stereotypes are still around as traditional gender roles are evolving. A coeducational environment helps to plant the seed of acceptance and discourages stereotypes of traditional gender roles and gender discrimination. Boys and girls that grow up playing together learn to engage in healthy competition where they develop a mutual respect and understanding outside the classroom that will follow them inside the classroom. Learning how to work on problems and communicate effectively can also address issues like teasing, anxiety and bullying in schools.
Outside their comfort zones
Alongside the discouragement of traditional gender roles is the benefit of children discovering hobbies and other activities they may not have tried had they not been exposed through a coeducational program. For example, it is common at coed schools to find boys and girls playing together at recess, performing together in musical productions, playing together on the same intramural athletic teams and working in cooperative groups during project-based learning activities in the classroom. This collaborative environment encourages children to step outside their comfort zones and try new activities, promotes acceptance and leads to a sense of equality early on.
The bottom line? Every child is unique, and when it comes to yours, the best educational environment will depend on his or her individual needs and the type of learner they are.
Did you know there are actually four different types of learners? Click here to read our post that explores the different teaching methods based on the different kinds of learners in the classroom.