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