Discussion of Theoretical Perspectives in Danby
Influences on Construction of Gender in Early Childhood Settings
From the feminist post-structuralist perspective, all discourses are implicated in power relations constituted in social institutions (Weedon, 1997, p. 110). In the early childhood field, developmental discourses have more power, constituted through training institutions, government policy and historical developments in child research, than feminist post-structuralist discourses. According to MacNaughton (2000), "developmentalism and individualism privilege a child-centred pedagogy in which the natural, individual child is enabled" (p. 201). These philosophies serve to legitimize conservative ideas and practices of early childhood pedagogy. However, power relations that structure these philosophies form a set of truths that surrounds the child and the role of the teacher in nurturing the child, which results in a lack of flexibility and obstructs interventions to foster gender equity.
Similarly, Silin (1995) stated that when early childhood educators rely on child development theories, they might be avoiding social issues such as gender inequity, while thinking themselves as acting in a professional way (p. 92). …
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