On Monday, Ynet has learned that Tel Aviv municipal’s education system adopted an education program on sexual and gender diversity developed by Hoshen and will run it from the beginning of the next school year.
“Hoshen (Education and Change), the center for Education and Information of the LGBT community, will, in the coming school year, offer activities designed for teams of early childhood education – kindergarten teachers, and educational staff in primary schools – teachers, educators, social coordinators and counselors,” says Yali Ben Ami Vitenberg, Executive Director of Hoshen. “Schools and kindergartens are the second most important central frame in the lives of children (after their home) and within these frames they consolidate values, norms and social perceptions.”
“I welcome the longstanding cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipality for the sake of implementing tolerance and accepting discourse surrounding LGBT people and their families. The municipality’s decision to extend the operating subsidies for educational staff in kindergartens and elementary schools in the city is another step towards achieving our common goal, and I hope that Tel Aviv will become a model for other cities.”
The activities offered for the educational staff of kindergartens and primary schools on families spectrum and gender will include personal stories of LGBT parents, a workshop with case studies and an information kit to be given to participants with literature for children offering alternative models of parenting, children’s books on the subject of gender and dynamic gender roles, recommendations for registration forms and other tools.
“A positive attitude towards varied family structures is a crucial message for the normal and safe development of children in general and children in families of LGBT people in particular,” explains Ben Ami Vitenberg. “Besides, , it’s not less important to have a positive and allowing attitude towards children who behave differently than expected according to their gender, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Mickey Gitzin, Tel Aviv Yafo City Councilman, who supported the cooperation between Hoshen and the municipality, says that in recent years there has been a gender program for kindergarten teachers and assistants. With the expansion of the program, however, with other issues of social diversity and democracy, the connection with Hoshen was formed. “You can’t talk with teachers and assistants in Tel Aviv about social diversity issues without addressing the LGBT issue. Today we finished a meeting with representatives of Hoshen and with the head of Education in City Hall and agreed to extend the financing for Hoshen from high schools to primary schools, middle schools and even kindergartens.”
Etai Pinkas, Tel Aviv Council member: “The encounter with sexual orientation and gender identity doesn’t wait for high school age. Thousands of children born recently to LGBT families fill the kindergartens and primary schools, and parallel to that- young LGBT boys and girls in the education system need openness around them at an early age. Hoshen goes exactly to this place and I am proud to be a part of a municipality that promotes this important project.”