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Volume 4, Number 1 - April 2015

Diverse sexualities in the early childhood setting in New Zealand: Theories, research, and beyond

The discussion concerning gender and sexual diversity in the early childhood education field is multifold. It encompasses many principles and strands addressed in Te Whaariki including inclusion, relationship, empowerment, multiculturalism, and equity. However, in the academic discourses concerning this topic, there is a general consensus that this has been a much‐neglected area (Gunn, 2011; Hogan, 2013; MacNaughton, 2005; Robinson, 2002; Taylor & Blaise, 2007). On top of that, sexuality is probably one of the most controversial topics in the early childhood education field (Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2008), shunned by many practitioners with the remarks of being irrelevant or an adult issue, despite the fact that a growing number of our children have parents who have diverse sexuality, let alone the substantial proportion of children who will grow up to be non heterosexual (Gordon, Browne, & Cruz, 2008). This paper provides a glance at existing literature both addressing the issue in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere in the world. It approaches the topic through the: construction of gender and sexual identity and its relevance to early childhood education; the important role of the teacher in the construction of children’s values and identities; gender and sexual equity in New Zealand education sectors; and research undertaken in other parts of the world.


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