12 introduction an assortment of ideas, reflections, and suggestions have come out of caring for and educating young children in an ever-changing and evolv- ing world. We start out with an in-depth examination of the history of gender education in our field. The chapters that follow discuss ways teachers talk or behave with children that either reinforce gender stereotypes or try to change traditional modes of communication about gender; explore how girls and their teachers relate to learning mathematics; examine the portrayal of gender through children’s books and how picture books and literacy activities influence the development of gender identity; and talk about gender roles and healthy sexual development. In addition, the authors give concrete suggestions to help us become more aware of how and why we shape children’s understanding of their gender identity. From Plato to Vivian Gussin Paley, Blythe Hinitz and Dorothy Hewes describe the history of gender in early childhood beginning with Spartan and Roman education and continuing to the current debate about the different physical needs of boys and girls (“Practical Applica- tions from the History of Gender and Early Childhood Education”). This chapter provides a foundation for the complexity of gender per- spectives in early childhood. Hinitz and Hewes show us that through the ages societal influences were powerful in shaping our expectations about gender roles and gender identity. As I read the in-depth account of gender history in this chapter, I am in awe of our profession and the important task we have in caring for and educating young children. I am even more convinced that teachers’ self-reflection about their relation- ships and interactions with children together with acquiring knowledge about girls’ and boys’ developmental needs are key to unlearning biases or stereotypes from a very early age. Eila Estola discusses gender with early childhood teachers from two different child care centers (“Discussing Gender”). Estola hails from Finland, and in the introduction to her chapter, she describes the early childhood policies of her country. It is thought provoking to compare the differences between early childhood education systems and poli- cies in the United States with those of another country and especially interesting to note the similarities between us when it comes to gender stereotyping. Estola explores different aspects of gender bias through descriptions of discussions with teachers of young children. She asks readers to reflect on many different questions that arise. For example, how do we support the individual development of both masculine and feminine qualities in children when most of the care and education of