Synopses & Reviews
With the publication of Boys and Girls in 1984, Vivian Gussin Paley took readers inside a kindergarten classroom to show them how boys and girls playand how, by playing and fantasizing in different ways, they work through complicated notions of gender roles and identity. The childrens own conversations, stories, playacting, and scuffles are interwoven with Paleys observations and accounts of her vain attempts to alter their stereotyped play. Thirty years later, the superheroes and princesses are still here, but their doll corners and block areas are fast disappearing from our kindergartens. This new edition of Paleys classic book reignites issues that are more important than ever for a new generation of students, parents, and teachers.
"Paley has a sharp ear for the rhythm and inflections of childhood. Her vignettes give us a revealing glimpse into children's inner lives, and her discussion of her own discomfort with boys' play and approval of that of girls raises an important issue."
"Paley has a sharp ear for the rhythm and inflections of childhood. Her vignettes give us a revealing glimpse into children's inner lives, and her discussion of her own discomfort with boy's play and approval of that of girls raises and important issue."—Carole Wade, Psychology Today
"I will admit my biases up front: having a three-year old daughter of my own made it impossible for this book to be anything but fun to read. I dare anyone who enjoys children not to enjoy this story about stories, this narrative about narratives."—Jerry Powell, Winterthur Portfolio
In Boys and Girls, Vivian Paley has re-created a year of kindergarten teaching in which she explored the differences in the ways children play and fantasize.
In Boys and Girls, Vivian Paley recreates a year of kindergarten teaching in which she explored the differences in the way children play and fantasize. With either swords or tiaras in hand, the children vociferously declare themselves as either boys or girls, and in doing so work through complex and subtle notions of gender identity, both inwardly and outwardly. Weaving her own observations into the narrative of the children’s conversations, stories, playacting, and scuffling, Paley documents the youthful search for self-definition and at the same time lays bare the biases, values, and assumptions that so many of us hold concerning gender roles for children. Her work changed the dialogue in education and childhood development about the importance of play and fantasy in the development of children’s identities. This edition features a new preface by the author and an afterword by Susan Engel.
About the Author
Vivian Gussin Paley
worked for nearly forty years as a preschool and kindergarten teacher and is the author of thirteen books about young children.