The Neighborhood School uses teddy bears to teach kindergarten students about preferred pronouns and gender identity


On June 23, 2022, Chalkbeat reported that The Neighborhood School (PreK-5th grade) in New York City starts “as early as kindergarten incorporating age-appropriate ways to discuss gender identity and preferred pronouns.” The news outlet further reported that the kindergarten teacher in the school gives each child in her class a teddy bear in the first week as “a comfort object to follow the children through each grade.” The children then give the bears “pronouns.” Chalkbeat reported:

As an early community-building activity, the teacher asked the children to give their bears names and ages, and in creating her own take on the project, she also asked for the bears’ pronouns. Students could choose from an array: girl, boy, both boy and girl, neither boy or girl, something else, or not share anything at all. The students were also asked to give the same information for themselves.

The teacher who provided the teddy bears to students explains in the article that she “only added the pronouns two years ago” and “was inspired by a colleague who disclosed they were nonbinary and changed their name while working at the school.” This teacher even explains that she is “changing it as we go.”

The Neighborhood School reportedly also has “a bi-monthly LGBTQ support group called the Rainbow Coalition.” The reasoning behind the coalition is that “some teachers felt it was important to address gender identity in elementary school after they talked to adults who said they already knew their identity in kindergarten or first grade.”

The Neighborhood School tries to teach young children about preferred pronouns with teddy bears.
A teacher from the school discusses using teddy bears to teach children about preferred pronouns.
The school has a LGBTQ support group called the “Rainbow Coalition.”