In Karen Keller's kindergarten classroom, boys aren't allowed to play with Legos. And not because of the unique pain that comes with stepping on one of the colorful bricks.
Keller told the Bainbridge Island Review that she started doing this because boys were flocking to the colorful blocks during their "free choice" playtime, while girls tended to play with dolls or crayons.
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The Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary teacher hopes by blocking use of the toys for boys that female students may be encouraged to play with them.
She even admitted to telling an occasional lie to appease her unhappy lego-loving male students.
%shareLinks-quote="I always tell the boys, 'You're going to have a turn' and I'm like, 'Yeah, when hell freezes over' in my head." type="quote" author="Karen Keller" authordesc="Kindergarten teacher" isquoteoftheday="false"%
Keller says that Lego play helps with development acceleration and math skills, while dolls offer little challenge or opportunity for growth.
She requested funds from the school to purchase Lego Education Community Starter Kits, but did not tell school officials that access to the toys would be denied for male students.
Despite online criticism, Keller firmly stands behind her idea, calling the practice "fair" because she's giving different students the tools they need to succeed.
%shareLinks-quote="I just feel like we are still so far behind in promoting gender equity." type="quote" author="Karen Keller" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
"I had to do the 'girls only Lego club' to boost it more," Keller said. "Boys get ongoing practice and girls are shut out of those activities, which just kills me. Until girls get it into their system that building is cool, building is 'what I want to do' — I want to protect that."
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