introduction 11 How did I learn about becoming a woman or a man?• What are my earliest memories?• What was fun or painful for me as I learned about these aspects of • my identity? How do I agree or disagree with my parents’ ideas about gender?• If I disagree, how did I develop my own ideas?• What and who were significant influences on me?• As a parent, what would I want to teach my children about gender • identity? What stereotypes would I want to avoid?• Which aspects of stereotypes would I want to embrace?• When teachers enter the classroom, we bring our self with us. We do not get to leave our self outside the door. Our personal feelings, early childhood memories, prejudices, values, beliefs, and attitudes accom- pany us as we struggle to guide young children to become future citi- zens of a world that is developing more rapidly than we can imagine. All around the country, I have heard from teachers about how they try to leave their personal self outside the door of their classrooms. In other words, they believe that to be professional, they must separate out or compartmentalize their personal lives. Can we be authentic and intentional in our relationships and behav- iors if we leave such an important part of our self at the door in order to separate the personal from the professional? Instead, I think we need to embrace our personal life, our inner self. We must constantly work to make valuable connections between our earliest memories, experiences, biases, and values learned, and how we interact with children. Then we might be able to offer children numerous, different options about how they think about and understand gender identity and the choice to change their worldview. Gender PersPectives in early childhood The authors included in this volume have come from different parts of the United States (Arizona, Texas, and Hawaii) and the world (Fin- land). All talk about gender from different perspectives. All have done some type of research to explore and understand more clearly how children learn about their gender identity from the teachers who teach them. There is no one prescription for how the authors do this. Rather,