Tue, 16 Feb, 2021

Mark Latham slams childcare centre for promoting gender fluidity

Mark Latham slams childcare centre for promoting gender fluidity

A Sydney childcare centre promoting gender fluidity to three-year-olds - with storybooks such as "Julian is a Mermaid" and "Pink is For Boys" - has blamed new diversity rules imposed this year by the NSW Children’s Guardian for its non-binary lessons.

One Nation MP Mark Latham called the lessons “ridiculous” and said sexual fluidity was totally inappropriate for kids of such a young age.

One furious family removed their three-year-old son from the Only About Children, Warriewood West centre in Sydney's north after finding out they're pushing gender fluidity earlier this month.

“Our three-year-old son is still learning to talk, use the toilet and, like most kids, struggles with big emotions and just needs love,” the child’s father said.

“We were in complete shock they did this.

“Childcare should be providing and concerning themselves with the essentials of our child’s wellbeing and not planting thoughts into our precious little ones that are irrelevant and inappropriate to his learning at this stage.”

The childcare centre let parents know through an app that its "book of the month" was a mermaid book about "a boy who desires to be a girl".

It said the book was being used to "introduce the topic of gender diversity" to the children, and as it was book of the month, it would be read to the preschoolers ever day for four weeks.

The second book about the colour pink was described by the centre as rethinking and reframing the “stereotypical blue/pink gender binary”.

It added that it was a “lovely opportunity to learn more about identity, gender stereotyping, colours, acceptance, inclusion and diversity”.

The father said: “We weren’t asked if we agreed to these gender theories, he’s just a small kid. It’s over the top.”

The family spoke to Mr Latham, who contacted the centre and was told that they were following new rules set by the NSW Children's Guardian "“to ensure that child safety is embedded across all levels of the organisation”.

“For this quarter we are focusing on children’s diverse circumstances and inclusion of all children and their families.”

Mr Latham believes the new guidelines was "completely bizarre".

“Many people myself included, regard reading these books as a form of child abuse, completely inappropriate, age inappropriate material for three and four year olds.

“It’s outrageous the childcare network is doing this and it’s incompetent that they try to legitimise it by referring to the Children’s Guardian material. It’s simply appalling.”

Asked whether their guidelines are meant to be interpreted as teaching gender fluidity, the office of the NSW Children’s Guardian did not directly answer.

“My office produces resources to support organisations to implement the standards, including the Guide to the Child Safe Standards, which will help organisations better understand the standards and how to apply them in their context,” NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer said.

The childcare centre issued a statement, explaining why the interpreted the NSW Children's Guardian advice the way they did, saying:

“In this instance, the reading material was included in recommendations from Early Childhood Australia (ECA) to support each child’s individuality and the inclusion of all children and their families.”