The Rishon Le’zion Municipality has decided to educate children to equality from an early age: during the beginning of the year conference, the pre-school education division held a first of its kind workshop in order to teach kindergarten teachers and assistants how to create an atmosphere of gender equality.
Among other things, the assistants were instructed not to create a separation between boys and girls, and not to divide them for activities on the basis of gender.
For example, instead of sending the boys to play ball in the backyard and the girls to play with dolls, they should give the children the option to choose, or sometimes to send the girls to play ball and the boys to play with dolls.
“If we don’t allow girls to play ball, we could be missing out on the next champion player,” explained Shimi Sharon, an LGBT activist in the city who initiated the workshop in collaboration with the director of municipal pre-school education, Shulamit Zakai.
Another change that was inserted in the kindergartens in the city is in libraries, which will be equipped with new children’s books including books where two parents of the same sex are presented, so that the children will become acquainted with the existence of the variety of family structures.
During the conference Zakai announced that kindergarten registration forms and various permit forms will be updated and adjusted to LGBT families: the fields of “Father Name” and “Mother Name” will be revised to “Name of Parent” and “Gender”
The workshop was also held in cooperation with Dr. Gil Fischhof – coordinator of the Nir Katz Center against LGBTphobia of the Aguda. The initial goal of the workshop was to make kindergarten more inclusive and more open to gender equality.
In addition to encouraging acceptance of the different at an early age, the kindergarten assistants went through a talk with Dr. Fischhof on sex and gender, during which they learned the differences between sex, gender and sexual orientation.
“It is definitely a trailblazer step that raised interest in municipalities from other cities,” said Sharon. “The city of Rishon Le’zion is the first to have made such a change in pre-schools. I’ve always said the best city for those who live in it – is a city that knows how to adapt municipal services for its residents . Rishon Le’zion will continue to be a city for everyone, open, liberal and enlightened, and I will continue to act at all times in order for us all to live in a city that is more inclusive and equitable, free from prejudice and hatred. “