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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, It wasn’t that long ago boys and girls played on separate playgrounds

Dear Daughters,

Last month we, eldest and middle dear daughters, enjoyed having your grandmother (my mother) accompany us to your art class, which happens to be held at the elementary school she attended in the early 1960s. The school, which was opened in the late 1930s, is teeming with history, and while you were busy improving your sketching and drawing skills, my mom and I were exploring. The walls of the school, which closed in the early 1990s and is now used as a community centre, are adorned with photographs of its former students and people who helped shape the community that the school once served. Nana identified several people in the pictures that she either knew personally, or knew of through friends. She showed me some of her old classrooms and the cloak rooms in which she and her fellow students used to hang their outdoor clothing. She also showed me the separate staircases that lead down to the bathrooms located in the basement. On one side of the school was a staircase leading to the girls’ bathroom, on the other side a staircase leading to the boys’ bathroom.

As we walked to our van after your class, Nana informed us that the parking lot we were walking through used to be a playground. More specifically it used to be the girlsĀ playground. TheĀ boys playground was located on the other side of the school. Boys and girls did not play together on the school grounds. Having playgrounds on opposite sides of the school did not just mean that boys and girls from the same class never played with each other, it also meant that when the bell rang, they did not enter the school as classmates, as you do nowadays. Instead, they entered as two separate groups – male students and female students.

Nana informed us that she did indeed have friends that were boys that she played with outside after school and on the weekends. It was only at school that she and the other girls played separately from the boys.

Could you imagine playing on a separate playground from the boys at your school?

Dear Daughters on their school playground

Dear Daughters hanging around on their school playground

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