Some teachers believe that gender doesn't matter to young children, some believe that good early childhood practice produces equity for all and others believe that pursuing gender equity compromises relationships with parents. Glenda MacNaughton confronts these common myths and shows that even very young children are clearly aware of gender roles, whether they are playing among themselves, listening to stories or interacting with adults.
Rethinking Gender in Early Childhood
Education reveals how the focus on individual development that is promoted in early childhood education doesn't produce gender equity. Rather, everyday teaching practices influence the gendering of young children's identities. Glenda MacNaughton draws on theory and research to explain this and to develop approaches, which open up new possibilities for both boys and girls.
Chapter 5: Too Young to Know
Too Young to Know
- Juan: I'm really looking forward to reading that new non-sexist book to the preschool children. I wonder how they will react to it?
- Penelope: Don't you think that the children in your group are a little too young to cope with it?
- Juan: I don't think so. I think gender is already affecting their play decisions.
- Penelope: I think it's in your head, not theirs. I just don't think that gender matters to young children. You should let them keep their innocence while they can. You'll be planting ideas in their head that they are not ready for.
When do children start to notice gender in their world? When do they start to care about their gender and that of other people? ...