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Early Childhood Education and Gender

Early childhood—from birth to 8 years old—is a time of rapid physical growth, emotional and social development, and the acquisition of the fundamental building blocks for future academic success. It is also a time for self-discovery, including the perceptions and attitudes that define gender roles and gender identities. To understand the relevance of gender roles within early childhood educational settings, one need only to observe young children at play, including how they interact with each other—girls on one side of the room or playground, boys on the other. Gender differences in children's play have been observed in their preferences for toys, playmate choices, and selection of activities. The degree to which these preferences are a result of some genetic code or the hundreds of social ...

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