Shutts, K., Kenward, B., Falk, H., Ivegran, A., & Fawcett, C. (2017) Early social environments and gender: Effects of gender pedagogy in Swedish preschools. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

To test how early social environments affect children’s consideration of gender, 3- to 6-year-old children (N = 80) enrolled in gender-neutral or typical preschool programs in the central district of a large Swedish city completed measures designed to assess their gender-based social preferences, stereotypes, and automatic encoding. Compared with children in typical preschools, a greater proportion of children in the gender-neutral school were interested in playing with unfamiliar other-gender children. In addition, children attending the gender-neutral preschool scored lower on a gender stereotyping measure than children attending typical pre- schools. Children at the gender-neutral school, however, were not less likely to automatically encode others’ gender. The findings suggest that gender-neutral pedagogy has moderate effects on how children think and feel about people of different genders but might not affect children’s tendency to spontaneously notice gender.