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The Gender Expansion and the new Child Safe Standards

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Together we can create safe spaces where all children feel empowered to be themselves. The new Child Safe Standards (Commission for children and young people, 2022) are designed to protect children from physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse and neglect. They outline 11 mandated standards that guide organisations to put children’s wellbeing first. This is the first edition to actively recognise the importance of protecting LGBTIQ children and young people. Standard 5.3 requires organisations to pay particular attention to the needs of children from diverse intersectionalities including “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and young people”.

This is further elaborated upon: – “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, gender diverse and non-binary children and young people – children and young people can experience and express their sex, sexuality and gender in different ways. For LGBTIQ children and young people to feel safe and to be safe in your organisation, you should actively demonstrate that you welcome and value them and make it clear that you will take steps to protect them from abuse and harm” (Commission for children and young people, 2022, p. 22).

When we consider this directive, for organisations to demonstrate to LGBTIQ children and young people that they are safe and protected, it is clear that this is more than simply establishing a new policy. Due to years of cultural conditioning, we all have different levels of acceptance of diverse genders and sexualities. Factors such as age, experience, cultural and religious background, and association with people of diverse genders and sexualities all influence an individual’s belief system. In early childhood education especially, personal beliefs are what drives all aspects of our practice: our interactions with children and families, the theoretical frameworks we align with, which interests and needs we extend into our program, which topics we intentionally teach our class. So, in order to be able to provide safe educational environments that protect the wellbeing of LGBTIQ children and young people we need to consciously unpack these beliefs and establish a toolkit of strategies that promote both equality and diversity.

The Gender Expansion is an interactive workshop designed by an Early Childhood Teacher especially for early childhood education services. It broadens participants understandings of gender and provides them with frameworks to support the wellbeing of all children through practices that improve gender equality and gender diversity. This work is important for the wellbeing of all children, not just those who are gender diverse. It is ideally delivered through a whole team professional development session in person to promote a cohesive approach to inclusion but is able to be adapted to the needs of individual services.

The program includes:

  • Unpacking current beliefs of gender and how these influence practice

  • An exploration of the different perspectives of gender throughout history, across cultures and the natural world

  • Learning to identify and disrupt gender stereotypes in practice and play

  • Gender diversity and its relevance to early childhood education

  • A guest speaker speaking from personal experience of gender diversity in early childhood

  • How to work with families and manage differences of opinions

  • Forms of gender education and how to recognise and make positive changes in practice

  • Gender Flexible Pedagogy

  • Practical steps for creating safe spaces to support the gender development of all children

  • A follow up team meeting for further discussion, questions, and reflective practice.

Contact for more information.

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