CHILDREN should be able to try out ‘the many cloaks of identity’ without being labelled or bullied, the Church of England has said.
In new advice issued to its schools, the Church said youngsters should be free to ‘explore the possibilities of who they might be’.
Nursery and primary school in particular is a time of ‘creative exploration’, it says, and youngsters should be able to pick the tutu and tiara, as well as, or, the helmet and superhero cloak ‘without expectation or comment’.
Guidance for Church of England schools on homophobic bullying was first published three years ago, and has now being updated to cover transphobic and biphobic bullying.
No child should be bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, it warns.
The advice said: ‘In the early years context and throughout primary school, play should be a hallmark of creative exploration.
‘Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box). Children should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision.
‘For example, a child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.’
It added: ‘It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.’