Monday, May 29, 2006

Gay-friendly childcare 'wacky'

A SYDNEY childcare centre that has taught children about alternative lifestyle families has continued to draw fire. The Tillman Park Children's Centre in Tempe, which is run by Marrickville Council, has devised a gay-friendly curriculum, which included books featuring children with gay, lesbian and transgender parents. Marrickville Mayor Sam Byrne has backed the centre but in so doing earned the ire of Federal Family and Community Services Minister Mal Brough who called the curriculum "ridiculous".

The Daily Telegraph today reported that some parents had been unaware of the teachings and expressed anger when informed of it. Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop today warned that preschoolers should not be exposed to "perverse" teachings that could skew their development.

Ms Bishop said she was not opposed to educating children about social diversity but it was important how such matters were taught.

"Obviously, preschool education's a very important part in a child's development," she said.

"I wouldn't want to see any perverse biases put into early childhood development that could affect children one way or the other."

Asked to clarify whether it was "perverse" to teach children about diversity, Ms Bishop said: "It depends. Teaching about difference in itself is not an issue.

"It depends on the extent to which (the teaching) takes a particular line. Obviously commonsense should prevail."

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott meanwhile said the childcare's approach was "pretty wacky stuff".

Mr Abbott said children should be saved from adult hang-ups.

"I think its really pretty wacky stuff," Mr Abbott said.

No comments: