Children at Play

Learning Gender in the Early Years

Paperback / softback, 168 pages, 244 mm x 170 mm
31 Mar 2011
Trentham Books Ltd

Price: £20.99

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This captivating book illuminates our understanding of how young children develop gender identities. A two year longitudinal research project on children's own understandings of gender casts new light on how 3 and 4 year-old newcomers in early years classes learn rules for gendered behaviour from older children, in their imaginative and socio-dramatic play, and outdoors in the playground. "Children at Play" explores children's power relationships and argues that children need adult intervention and support if they are to cross gender borders successfully. It encourages practitioners to reflect on ways of helping young girls and boys gain access to a greater range of play choices, and it provides practical checklists for action. Essential reading for all preschool educators who are interested in developing children's self-esteem, achievement, positive identities and relationships through play. Early years lecturers and student teachers on BEd and PGCE courses or degree courses in Educational Studies and Early Childhood Studies, and teachers, researchers and policy makers seeking to implement equal opportunities initiatives in early childhood education will need this book.

  • Barbara Martin

Introduction: Playtime Ch 1 The development of gender identities Ch 2 Researching with young children Ch 3 Outdoor play: 'Skipping is for girls and football is for boys' Ch 4 'Masculine' and 'feminine' play activities Ch 5 Imaginative and socio-dramatic play Ch 6 Where do we go from here?

We need to intervene in how children police gender in the early years so we can help both boys and girls to develop more flexible ideas about themselves, and thereby have access to wider educational and life opportunities. A good place to start is by reading this book.

Professor Carrie Paechter, Goldsmiths, University of London

I would highly recommend this book to both teacher educators and students, as well as to anyone interested in the ways in which power is operationalized to police the gendered boundaries of play.

, Power and Education