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For Early Childhood Education

#GirlPower Starts Here

March 8 may be International Women’s Day, but celebrating and empowering women and girls happens by design every single day at The Malvern School.

As both an educational institution and an employer, we know we have a significant responsibility when it comes to promoting gender equality – and it’s one we don’t take lightly.

“Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world,” state the organizers of International Women’s Day. “Women have come a long way, yet there’s still more to be achieved.”

At The Malvern School, this is a charge that’s driven by our female-led executive team, embraced by our exceptional (and predominantly female) team of directors, teachers and staff, and supported by our families.  

Here, #girlpower comes in many forms:

  • Sharing a foundational belief that the world is full of possibilities.
    As educators, we not only teach children about the world we live in today; we also inspire them to imagine and work toward something even better. Sparking wonder, fueling passion and ingraining in girls and boys from an early age that the world is full of possibilities for people no matter their gender, race, ethnicity or background is one of our most powerful callings.

 

  • Encouraging children to explore their own interests – regardless of gender.
    Walk into our classrooms and you’re just as likely to see girls participating in a STEAM activity with cars and trucks as you are boys learning about compassion and empathy with dolls or puppets. Beyond non-gender-specific structured activities thoughtfully designed by our teachers, open access to learning materials during free play allows children the freedom to explore what interests them, rather than being limited by activities that are typically viewed as masculine or feminine.

 

  • Showcasing diversity in gender roles.
    From birth, young children shape their worldviews based on the examples and experiences they are exposed to. To showcase diversity, we make it a point for our classroom materials, such as books and displays, to show women and men in non-traditional gender roles (think female construction managers or male nurses.) This idea also comes to life when special guests – like female firefighters, for example – come to visit our schools and talk to our young friends. Having constant visual and interactive examples reinforces the foundational premise that girls and boys can pursue any path they chose.

 

  • Recognizing equal work of female and male authors and artists. 
    As we celebrate individual authors and artists each month, we take care to give equal air time to a balanced roster of talented females and males. For example, this month, our Infants, Toddlers and Get Set friends are focused on learning about Paul Stickland – author, artist, illustrator and designer of many popular children’s picture and pop-up books – while our Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten Enrichment students concentrate on acclaimed author Jane Yolen, most well-known in the world of children’s literature for her “How Do Dinosaurs” series of books. Gender aside, learning about the varied styles and diverse talents of different authors and artists further inspires individuality, creativity and self-expression.

 

  • Providing rewarding career opportunities.
    While we see it as our duty to help influence how young children view and internalize equality, we also live it by providing rewarding career opportunities for qualified, passionate educators – male or female. Our team is primarily composed of women, and enabling them to build careers while doing what they love – educating and nurturing young children – in an environment that has been recognized as a Top Workplace, is empowerment at work.

 

  • Leading by example.
    Our President and Co-Founder Kristen M. Waterfield has been a force in building our school over the past two decades from two to 26 locations and from a team of 20 to 580 teachers and staff. Having started her career as a preschool and second grade teacher, and working her way up through various positions at a large childcare franchise before co-founding The Malvern School, Kristen sets a positive example for female growth and leadership for other team members to follow.

    Similarly, our teachers lead by doing. They know impressionable young children look up to them as role models, and they practice what they preach – being warm, friendly, inclusive, creative, curious, patient, understanding and so much more.  

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