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Gender, Sex and Children's Play


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Table of Contents

Foreword 1. Gender and Sex: The Play Perspective 2. Gender and Sexuality in Childhood: Perspectives Past and Present 3. Boys and Girls Playing: Same or Different? 4. The Theoretical Perspective 5. Implications for Boys and Girls Playing: Children, Sex and Sexuality 6. The Adult Bias and Reflective Practice 7. Conscious Competence in Support of Children Playing Afterword Bibliography and References Glossary Index

Promotional Information

A lively and thought-provoking text that looks at why and how children inhabit or develop their gender and sexuality.

About the Author

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. Kilvington and Wood are co-authors of Reflective Playwork (Bloomsbury, 2009).


This thought-provoking text ... [contains] plenty of fascinating case studies and links to current research and theory. * Nursery World *
Jacky Kilvington and Ali Wood are to be commended for bringing a number of the key debates together with examples of children's play drawn from practice and experience ... Gender, Sex and Children's Play is an accessible and informative book that should be particularly useful to practitioners working with children and young people. * The International Journal of Play *
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 Director of the Children's Play Council (2003-6) and founding director of Play England (2006-11). *
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 *
Dedicated to the importance of play in children's lives, Kilvington and Wood focus on how gender identity and sexuality are expressed in children's play and how adults can most constructively respond. Reviewing the research on gender, they have a healthy skepticism toward the partial findings and biases that may distort the various conflicting assertions. One of the strengths of the book is the regular insertion of questions for the reader to consider. Although the context is British, American educators can learn from the examples and concerns the authors offer. The challenge is to consider how one's own thinking and experience affect what one sees in children's play. Respect for the unique experience of childhood shines through each of the writers' points. Often underestimated, the value of children's play is clearly demonstrated. As times change, ideas change. Adults need to observe carefully how children use the information that society gives them. Relatively brief, this is a book where reading the appendixes and the glossary is well worthwhile. Summing Up: Highly recommended: All readership levels. * S. Sugarman, Bennington College *
A brilliant text that gives the students a very important perspective on an extremely topical and vitally important issue that is becoming increasingly important in early years (and beyond). * Cathryn Keighley, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Professional Practice, Leeds Trinity University, UK *

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