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For your Discussion this week, read the scenario and respond to the questions below:
You are working in an early childhood education setting that serves a diverse population. Enrolled in your program are boys and girls, children who speak English and other languages, children with identified special needs, and children from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Your program’s environment is set up to support children’s learning in all the developmental domains (social, emotional, cognitive, creative and physical development). You closely follow the NAEYC’s ideas about developmentally-appropriate practices and have arranged the room with learning centers to foster a wide range of appropriate experiences.
The children in your program are 2-3 years old. They are spunky and engaging and enjoy different types of activities. They especially like new activities and are excited when you tell them the dramatic play area will be turning into a Bakery on Monday. You show the children pictures of baked foods and discuss the role of the Baker. You describe how they’ll be able to make pretend cakes and muffins in the play oven, and as part of a group project, real cupcakes to eat at snack. The children laugh and clap when you show them the white baker’s hats and aprons they’ll get to wear. Several kids hold out their hands out and shout, “Mine!” You smile and tell them they’ll have to wait until Monday!
You have everything you need to make the Bakery theme come to life except baking sheets, pans, and cupcake tins so you decide to send a letter home to the families asking them to share any extra pans they’re willing to donate. You’ve had good luck with this strategy in the past and are hopeful that you’ll get at least a few.
You arrive Monday morning excited to get the day started and see the message light on the answering machine blinking. It’s a message from the father of one of the children in your program. He is concerned about his son playing in the Bakery. He explains that in his country, males don’t bake. He goes on to explain that it’s strictly seen as a female job, and is adamant that his son not play in the Bakery activity. You jot down the details of the message, realizing that you have an ethical dilemma to resolve.
Respond to the scenario by considering the following questions:
What should you do? What is the most ethical way to handle the situation? Will you try to call and explain the value and importance of dramatic play to the dad? Will you discuss the development of the whole child or share information from NAEYC on developmentally appropriate practices? Will you change the dramatic play theme? What will you say to the child? The other children? The program staff?