chapter  6
Playing with space, place and gender
Pages 23

In this chapter we address two distinct but related themes that emerged from our analysis of the observational data on the interaction between children’s role-play and the pedagogy of their classrooms. These are the gendered nature of children’s role-play themes and their use of space and place. As in any ethnographic work, our aim must be to represent as fully as is possible the experiences of the research participants. We have tried to remain as open as possible to the children’s interpretations of their experiences of role-play, and to give an honest and well-rounded interpretation of what we observed. The ways in which children chose to play were often at odds with adult expectations, including our own as researchers. This created tensions and dilemmas for the teachers, which resonate more widely in the field of early childhood education. We will refer to these throughout the chapter.