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Understanding Gender Diversity in Early Childhood

by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
March/April 2019
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/understanding-gender-diversity-in-early-childhood/5024636/

*Additional photos and tables can be found in the pdf version of this article.


It was free play time and a group of children were huddled around a colorful book in my kindergarten classroom. “Pink is a girl color!” Ezra insisted matter-of-factly, pointing to the open page. I paused to see how the other children would respond to this bold declaration. Amaya was first to chime in,

“My dad has a pink shirt.”

“Anybody can like whatever color they want,” Zaire added. Ezra’s best friend, JJ, had been quiet at first, but burst in, with bolstered confidence,

“Yeah, I love pink.”

Then there was a pause and all eyes were on Ezra again. I could see on his face that he was rolling all of this around in his mind, trying to make sense of the wave of new information. “Well …” he looked at his friends and took a breath. Then he repeated his declaration, “Pink is a girl color.”

In this moment, I could have offered this earnest crew of five-year-olds a historical fact to add to their debate, “Did you know that, one hundred years ago, people thought pink was for boys and blue for girls?” (Smithsonian, 2011) or I ...

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