Author Archives: tuliptreepreschool

Pronoun check

by Mage

As the children at Elm House are getting older, many of the three year olds are thinking and learning about gender. At Elm House, this most often comes up in the form of talking about color preference in a stereotypical way (“I want blue because I’m a boy”), or the children asking each other about gender identity (“Are you a girl?”).

Another way the children’s learning about gender can be seen is through the mistakes they make with pronouns. It’s very common for three year-olds to mispronoun everyone around them, as both part of their language development and both social and cultural learning about gender. Pronoun usage is a topic that is important to me, because I am a trans person who is frequently mispronouned. So lately, it has felt like the right time to start talking with the children about pronouns, checking each other’s pronouns, and correcting each other when we know someone has been mispronouned.

Here’s how one recent conversation about pronouns looked.

During a.m. snack, SD, HE, both STs, and EB were sitting at the table eating and chatting with me (Mage).

HE: I have a banana! I like banana.

ST: [To Mage] What did he say?

Mage: HE said “I like banana.” ST, I heard you describe HE with the pronoun “he,” and I think HE might prefer a different pronoun. Did you mean to say a different pronoun?

ST: Yeah.

Mage: We can ask HE about pronouns. Some pronouns that people use are she, he or they. My pronoun is “they.” ST, which pronoun do you use?

ST: I use he.

Mage: You said, “he.” So we will use “he” as your pronoun. We can ask HE and all of the other children, too. HE, which pronoun do you like?

HE: I like black.

Mage: You like the color black? I do too. I’m asking about pronouns, like he, she or they. Which one of those do you want us to use for you?

HE: I like he!

Mage: OK, you said you like, “he,” so that’s what we’ll use for you. So, ST, we asked HE and he said he wants you to use “he” pronouns. I’m glad we asked. Let’s ask the rest of the children. [To other ST] Which pronoun should we use for you?

ST: He!

Mage: OK. “He.” How about you, EB, which pronoun do you like?

EB: Um, I like she.

Mage: You like she. How about you, SD?

SD: I like Toto!

Mage: You like Toto. We’re asking about pronouns, like he, she and they. Is there one you want us to use for you?

SD: Me want you use she.

HE: I like she, too!!

Mage: Oh, HE, you like she now. Earlier you said he, and now you said she. We will use she for you now.


Simple as that. I expect we’ll have many more conversations similar to this one. I was surprised at how well the children comprehended what we were talking about, and mostly responded with confidence. I won’t be surprised if they switch pronouns occasionally, and I will always respect whatever pronoun they tell me to use, even if they change their mind five minutes later (or if don’t change their mind at all). I think the earlier that we start talking about pronouns with the children, and the more consistent we are about having these conversations, the morel it will be normal for them to ask new people for pronouns, and perhaps in the long term they will be less likely to make assumptions about gender identity and pronouns.


Is it summer yet?

by Katee

Played outside all morning today! The children played games, splashed in the water table, built in the sandbox, hung out in the hammock, rode bikes, visited with the rabbits, and drew many many tattoos on each other.  After reading the book, “Mama Is It Summer Yet?”, the children were pretty convinced that that’s where were at today.


The numbers are in…

by Katee

Our community fundraising has been a huge success!  Today in circle we held hands and thanked each other for all of our hard work.  Every student had a hand in baking, sign making, flyer making, song writing and singing, being a salesperson, inviting family and friends, and helping to count our donations.  All of our hard work together has really paid off, and many families in our greater community will benefit from all of the very generous donations we have received. Today we added up all the diapers, all the wipes, all the dollar bills, checks, and coins and our final numbers are in!  All together we have… Continue reading

Taking Turns and Trading

By Lainy

Conflict is an inevitable part of every child’s day. We have played with introducing and taking away different materials in the back yard to see the different ways that children approach their play. Back in the fall, we decided to remove all trucks because the children were so emotionally attached that violence ensued nearly daily. Conflict lessened but after awhile, we noticed that children were fighting over sticks as well. Maybe it wasn’t the trucks after all but just that they’re 2 and 3? Humans seem to be wired for conflict so teachers and parents must become versed in conflict resolution. We have decided to reintroduce the trucks and it has been interesting to see how much more developed the children’s conflict resolution skills have become since September. Continue reading

“I love my nose!”

by Alisha

This week we are completing our second drawing self portrait and our final self portrait for the school year. For our graduates, it will be their final self portrait at Tulip Tree. It has been amazing to see how fine motor skills, focus and self awareness have developed throughout the year and over two or three years. Here are the self portraits the children have done so far this week-