“Boys And Girls Are Wired Differently,” T. Denny Sanford

A new program to Sioux Falls schools promotes gender acceptance and empathy

Sorry, this video is no longer available

T. Denny Sanford is investing in a $30 million national project geared at creating better male and female relationships between students. Only grades pre-kindergarten to 6th grade will take on the new curriculum.

It’s being described as the program that ‘can change the world,’ and it is growing in schools nationwide.

Developed by researchers from Arizona State University, the program will only be for the Sioux Falls School District, but is something Sanford wants to grow across the state.

“Understand there are differences and be more accepting of them,” said Sanford in a press conference Tuesday morning.

It’s called the Sanford Harmony Project, and its goal is to knock down gender divides that can result in abusive relationships, sexual harassment and divorce.

“So why not create a program for very young children to get this started at an early age,” added Sanford.

Stories and group discussion will dominate the curriculum that will be woven into the pre-existing one. Kids will be encouraged to discuss the differences between boys and girls and learn how to learn and live with each other.

They will also be visited by a friendly alien named “Zee.” He’s from planet “Zee” and will serve as an unknown visitor who wants to learn more about little boys and girls.

“On the planet Zee, they don’t have boys and girls. So, Zee wants to know what boys and girls are all about,” explains Sanford.

This project comes after Sanford believes that the divorce rate in this county is too high. Sanford, a divorcee himself, says that understanding the roles that men and women play are different is important. After reading the book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, written by relationship counselor, John Gray, he realized that the two genders are wired differently.

Sanford also hope that the program will build healthy relationships, both at home and in the community.

“The parents are coming back to us and saying, ‘This is such a good program.’ The kids are saying, ‘Dad, you can’t treat mom like that,'” said Sanford.

But there is also a strong educational aspect of the program.

Valerie Peters is the Early Childhood Education Coordinator for the district.

“If little ones know how to solve problems on their own and resolve conflict on their own, that makes them stronger individuals,” she added.

“So that, we can get them on the right train of thought, and have them better understand these differences, and more accepting of the differences between boys and girls and males and females,” said Sanford.

The program will be in full swing for pre-k classes when school starts on September 8. Sanford says it’s important that the entire district joins the program.