Does gender, sex and sexuality influence children's play, and their learning? Can/should professionals try to influence children's gender and sexual concepts? Can/should professionals try to prevent gender stereotyping? These and other questions are explored in a lively and thought-provoking text that looks at why and how children inhabit or develop their gender and sexuality. Written in an approachable way and illustrated with case studies and linked to current research and theory, the book helps students, teachers and playworkers understand the debates about biology versus culture and social learning and how these impact on children's expression of gender and sexuality. Engaging the reader in a thorough reflection of their own views and approaches to the genderized and sexualized behaviour of children at play, this text is an invaluable guide for all those interested in the importance of play, gender and sexuality and how they relate to children's lives.
Topics include: play and the behaviour of boys and girls within particular social contexts; play and girls' and boys' sexual behaviour and their associated feelings; play and children's self-concepts and expectations; the professional adult workers' role and the manifestation of genderized and/or sexualized play behaviour both in and outside a setting.
This is an interesting and stimulating book written in an accessible, engaging and thought-provoking manner. It explores the contemporary and often controversial issues of gender, sex and children's play with an approach that offers ways of developing reflection and self-awareness. It is pertinent for playwork and other children's services, such as early years providers and schools and will be of interest to practitioners, academics, students and tutors.
— Julia Sexton, Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
This is an important book. In the clear-eyed way that it addresses what is still, too often, a taboo subject, it adds hugely to our understanding of children's play and how to support it. It will be of great interest not just to people working with children, but to anyone with an interest in human sexuality, gender and identity.
— Adrian Voce OBE is a writer and consultant on public provision for children's play. Previously Direc
In our world of ever-changing understanding about gender identity and diversity, this timely book offers an insightful and refreshing exploration of the complex issues surrounding gender, sex and children's play. Writing in a straightforward and accessible style, these dynamic female authors and experienced playworkers challenge some of our perceptions and established views about gender differences, the sexualisation of childhood and gendered play behaviour. This book draws on a wealth of current research and theoretical perspectives, which are sensitively evaluated and clearly summarised. The authors raise some thought-provoking questions, occasionally pushing the limits of our comfort zones, as they challenge us to consider the thorny issues surrounding children's sexuality and the gender divide. The wide variety of personal and professional observations, anecdotal evidence and real life examples bring the text to life, and the reflective questions serve to stimulate further discussion. In their afterword, the authors present some searching questions for practitioners, alongside inspirational and practical recommendations for professional playwork practice. Essential reading for playworkers and all those who work with children at play, this book is also a valuable resource for parents and carers, teachers, playwork and early years students, their tutors, mentors and supervisors.
— Janet Stearns, Professor, Education Faculty, Saint Michael's College, USA
About the Authors
Jacky Kilvington is a freelance playwork consultant and has designed, delivered, written and assessed material for many of the national playwork qualification providers and is currently involved in writing for an online course. She has also been involved in the theoretical and practical application of playwork. Kilvington and Wood are co-authors of Reflective Playwork (Bloomsbury, 2009).
Ali Wood is a freelance playwork consultant and has designed, delivered and written training materials for Play Wales, SkillsActive, the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE) and Playwork Partnerships. She is currently a director of The Play Resource Company. She has carried out academic research projects in children's emotional development. Jacky Kilvington and Ali Wood are co-authors of Reflective Playwork (Bloomsbury, 2009).