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Boys less happy than girls in pre-schools

Survey shows that kindergartens are run on girls’ terms.

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A new survey from Aalborg University seems to show that boys are not as happy in kindergartens as girls.

“The survey shows that girls generally do better in kindergartens than boys. They are comforted more, they like going to kindergarten more and they are told off less by the grown-ups,” says Prof. Lars Qvortrup, one of the authors of “Quality in pre-schools – seen through the eyes of the children”.

The survey is the first of its kind, in which children themselves have been asked using questionnaire in which smileys that can be marked against questions such as: Do you like going to kindergarten? Do you like the grown-ups?

The answers from some 3,000 children in 140 pre-schools across the country show that most children are happy at kindergartens, but that there is a marked difference between girls and boys. Some 10 per cent of girls are not that happy about going to pre-school, while the figure for boys is 20 per cent – or two boys in each group.

The survey has also asked pre-school teachers for their views – and the result is almost the same. According to the grown-ups 7.3 per cent of boys never or seldom demonstrate what is seen as suitable social behaviour, while the figure for girls is 2.6 per cent.

According to pre-school teachers boys are more reactive, have more tantrums, are more restless and disturb activities more often.

On the other hand girls are better at ‘formulating their wishes verbally’, ‘playing with language’ and ‘finding their own rhymes’.

Education Minister Christine Antorini says consideration should be given to whether teaching methods should be adapted to help boys both in pre-schools and schools.

“We can see that boys are left out, so we must develop teaching methods so that they too are included,” Antorini says.

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