Gender and the Gender Spectrum in the Early Childhood Classroom

Date of Event

Fall 11-18-2021


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Four panelists offer insights into supporting young children’s explorations of concepts of gender, their own gender identity, and the gender spectrum. The panelists represent a variety of backgrounds and expertise. Laleña Garcia is a kindergarten teacher and Gender and Sexuality trainer. She helps early childhood professionals and families create expansive and supportive understandings of gender, sexuality, relationships, and family structure. Her first children’s book, What We Believe, was published in 2020. Cassandra Santos is the lead teacher for the 5/6s class at the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College. She has a passion for literature and has curated a gender inclusive collection of children’s literature for her classroom. She supports all of her students and their families to embrace an expansive view of gender. Marjorie Brickley is Faculty and Coordinator of the Infancy Institute at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. She is the Program Director of the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention program, teaches courses in development and assessment, and is an advisor to fieldwork students. Margie also presents workshops to teachers, clinicians, and family child care providers. Margie’s current research projects focus on learning about the many ways to conceptualize child development; providing emotional support and resiliency training for teachers; applying recent research about gender to measuring Adverse Childhood Experiences in professionals working with young children; and applying recent research about gender. Brendan Cheney is a parent to two children, ages 10 and 7. Professionally, he works on housing and homelessness policy in New York City and has experience with the policy needs of homeless transgender youth. The panel is moderated by Jan Drucker, PhD, a Clinical Psychologist and SLC Psychology Faculty Emerita, co-founder of the Child Development Institute and longtime Director of the Empowering Teachers Program.

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