Complying and Resisting: A Qualitative Metasynthesis of the Race and Gender Discourses found in the Play of Young Children

Toni Denese Sturdivant


For many in the field of early childhood education, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is considered to be the source for information on high-quality approaches. Currently, NAEYC (2005) states that high-quality programs are programs that include diversity within the physical environment of the room and considers the cultural backgrounds of the students in the class.This acknowledgment of there being bias in our society sheds light on the responsibility early childhood educators have regarding teaching children about biases in order to prevent the continued growth of systematic inequalities. The purpose of this qualitative metasynthesis is to synthesize the findings of various high-quality studies dealing with issues of race and gender and the play of young children as a way to understand better what messages young children are exposed to, are accepting and rejecting. The two research questions that guided the study are (a) How is intertextuality used in the discourse of young children in extant studies involving issues of hegemony in early childhood classrooms? (b) What societal discourses are present in the speech and actions of young children in extant studies involving hegemony in early childhood classrooms?  Findings show that young children in extant research confirmed hegemonic messages more than any of the other intertextual responses. 

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