According to Jean Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, children go through four stages of development which are sensory motor, pre-operational, concrete- operational, and formal operations. The second stage, which is pre-operational is the age where preschool age students who are between the ages of two and a half to four years old start to develop a sense of self. Between two and a half and three is the age where children start to develop stereotypes associated with gender roles as well as views of how the world works around them. Children who are in the age range of two and a half and four that are enrolled in a child care program are being exposed to various views about what is acceptable behavior for their genders. According to Emolu (2014) “One of the main reasons for young children to be socialized is to facilitate gender socialization which is when children learn what is means to be male or female” (p.23). Emolu’s article provides insight into why toys, play and child socialization is important in the development of gender identity and natural stereotypes associated with toys.
In the article “Gender, Toys and Learning”, by Becky Francis pointed out the fact that children at this stage in their development are at a critical period in their life where it is important to categorize the objects or identify objects based on gender. Francis’s study analyzes three to five-year-old preschool students as well as their parents about their views about toys and viewing materials based on gender. The study showed that parental beliefs shaped their child 's opinions of gender roles based on the toys they played with. The parent 's idea of what is female and what is male is transferred onto the toys their ...
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...their opinion about gender roles and the sex of their child also influenced their gender stereotypes. Endendijk et al. (2013) found that "Mothers had stronger implicit gender stereotypes about adults and children than fathers, whereas fathers had stronger explicit gender stereotypes than mothers" (p.585). The study also showed that there was a correlation between the mother 's educational level and the explicit attitudes about gender stereotypes.
In an article by Freeman (2007) showed that research found that parents, teachers, as well as peers, were more critical of boys who played with or with female type toys or games. Girls were less likely to be stigmatized if they played with toys that were labeled "For boys". The studies also showed that parents would choose more masculine and neutral toys for their sons and picked out more neutral toys for their daughters.
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