Gender identity in early childhood

Project lead

Assoc. Prof. Kylie Smith

Project Details

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Australian and international early childhood scholars researched and wrote about the importance of gender identity work in the early childhood classroom (e.g. MacNaughton, 1997, 2000; Blaise, 2005). Currently, there appears to be a lack of information about how this past research has translated to everyday early childhood classroom practice. The aims of this pilot project are twofold. Firstly to document the experiences of academics who have undertaken gender research in early childhood to gain insight into what and who supported their work, what the barriers were and what experiences they had that might support future researchers and educators wanting to undertake gender work in early childhood. The second aim is to investigate how educators currently undertake gender identity work with children in the classroom, through policy and through the development of their own professional identities.

The key research questions are:

  • How might histories help us gain insight to current early childhood gender identity work and future possibilities?
  • How do educators currently support the development of children's gendered identities and what and who influences this work?
  • What are the intersections of educator's histories and pedagogy?


  • Dr Kylie Smith
  • Ms Kate Alexander
  • Dr Sheralyn Campbell
  • Dr Cassandra Kotsanas