DISCOURSES ON GENDER IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE (ECEC) SETTING: EQUALLY DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
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The paper addresses gender issues in the practice of ECEC through research with children. The research examines children’s perspectives of kindergarten practice, acknowledging the importance of the child’s perspective in critical investigations of this nature. In total, fifty children from thirty kindergartens across Serbia participated in the research involving the Mosaic method. Qualitative analysis through three iterative phases helped identify emergent themes. The themes were not imposed by the researchers but emerged from the children’s narratives generated around photographs and drawings they had produced, map-making and kindergarten tours. One of the emergent themes captured in the children’s narratives related to gender issues and helped us map the three pathways of data synthesis: gender segregation and stereotyping, gender discrimination, and close friendships. The examples of children narratives indicate that no particular gender discourse informed the teachers’ practices nor did they critically re-examine gender issues. This consequently led to the perpetuation of gender segregation and stereotyping, as well as gender discrimination against boys and girls. Thus, we argue that ECEC practices should be further re-examined to with a view to improving gender equity.
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