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Introduction The above paper is based on two alternative readings interpreted through the traditional early childhood pedagogy and ideas from feminist post-structuralism This paper seeks to explore some limitations of the traditional early childhood pedagogy in addressing gender issues by comparing it with the feminist post-structuralist approach A brief introduction to each theoretical perspective will first be given Developmental psychology is central to traditional early childhood pedagogy Traditional early childhood pedagogy is conceptualized within a Piagetian-based theory This theory defines development as a natural progression through various stages in the same sequence irrespective of the social and cultural environment Kolberg Mayer 1972 p 454 Feminist post-structuralism draws on principles of post-structuralism and feminism Weedon 1997 Generally post-structuralism looks at individuals lives as conscious thinking subjects and how they give meaning to material social relations Weedon 1997 p 26 Feminist post-structuralism is distinguished by its focus on individuals understandings of themselves and of each others understanding of the individual as male or female and how such categories impose limits on understandings knowledge skills and performance MacNaughton 1995 p 37 In the discussion that follows the scope will be limited to deconstructing the underlying assumptions of naturalness and children as passive recipients of social experiences in traditional early childhood pedagogy Deconstructing Naturalness An important aspect of traditional early childhood pedagogy is the natural development of children Any intervention would be harmful to the natural development of the child MacNaughton 2000 As Hall 1901 cited in Kolberg Mayer 1972 stated The guardian of the young should strive first to keep out of natures way and to prevent harm and should merit the proud title of the defenders of the happiness and rights of children p 24 However the definition of what is natural is problematic and debatable Alloway 1995 Is a male-female bipolar dualism more natural than seeing gender as multiple ways of being By emphasizing non-intervention this philosophy seems to acknowledge the male-female dualism
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