Bathrooms in Primary Schools.
January 27, 2012 § 4 Comments
I think the line of discussion today about bathrooms for young children was interesting. Around the age of preschool most children will be using the restroom by themselves. Before that point it is required for them to have their parent present. Some buildings do offer separate family bathrooms but those are really quite rare. So up until entering school children are using the bathroom intended for the sex of which ever parent is with them in public. This is a completely socially acceptable practice, the same could be said for changing a baby’s diaper in a public restroom. Once an arbitrary age is reached it suddenly becomes inappropriate for them to be in the incorrect bathroom.
Preschool and kindergarten education is as much social as it is academic. It begins reinforcing many of the social norms they will be expected to adhere to as they grow. Every parent teaches their child to not hit, to share, be polite and so on. These are general skills that will be useful later in life and early school is the place to practice them. To learn how your peers who are not related to you and may not all like you, respond to your actions. Separate restrooms is one of those social norms.
So, my honest question is, “Do we need separate public restrooms at all?”. Is it only an issue because we make it an issue? If the answer is yes, then it is completely appropriate to begin teaching children to conform to this. If no, then there is no reason to bother teaching children and the whole norm can be done away with.