Children at Play

Learning Gender in the Early Years

July 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    12th July 2011
  • ISBN 9781858564845
  • Language English
  • Pages 188 pp.
  • Size 6.875" x 9.75"

This captivating book illuminates our understanding of how young children develop gender identities. Based on rich data from a two-year longitudinal research project which focused on children’s own understandings of gender, it casts new light on how 3 and 4 year-old newcomers in early years classes learn rules for gendered behaviors from older children.

The book shows how children learn lessons from each other through their play about how to behave as a boy or a girl—in classroom play activity areas, in their imaginative and socio-dramatic play, and outdoors in the playground. It explores children’s power relationships and argues that children need adult intervention and support if they are to cross gender borders successfully. The book 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.

Children at Play is essential reading for all preschool educators who are interested in developing children’s self-esteem, achievement, positive identities and relationships through play. It will be of particular interest to early years lecturers and student teachers on degree courses in Educational Studies and Early Childhood Studies and to teachers, researchers and policy makers who seek to implement equal opportunities initiatives in early childhood education

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?

Barbara Martin

Barbara Martin is passionate about promoting gender equity and social justice, the subject of her PhD in Educational Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research with young children draws on her twenty years of experience as a teacher in inner London schools.