Think about what themes you are providing for the children and then consider if there are plenty of items for the children (3 or 4) to choose from. Are there at least three dresses, hats, purses, shoes, for dress up play? What about the boys – do you have three or more jackets, hats, ties, shirts? The same applies for the second theme. What types of props do you have to allow children to fully engage in their play? Watch the children when they are playing and note if the children have to wait their turn to play because there are not enough props to go around.

You need two to three items for each (girl and boy).

Examples of gender specific for girls:

  • Flowery hats
  • Purses
  • Dresses
  • High heels

Examples of gender specific for boys:

  • Hats
  • Ties
  • Jackets
  • Shirts

When a reviewer is looking for items with regards to "diversity" in the dramatic play area, she or he is looking for items such as pretend food, dishes, utensils, dress-up clothing, and dolls from other cultures or races.

If the costume is gender specific such as a jacket or dress then yes, it will be counted as a gender specific item.

If you are trying to meet "substantial portion of the day…", and are counting outdoor time for substantial portion of the day, dress up clothing does not need to be included. But, there must be enough props for children to take part in meaningful play. For example if you have a playhouse outdoors you must have props such as dishes and furniture.

When playing outdoors, children must have enough dramatic play props to take part in meaningful play.

ECERS-R gives "credit" for the gender specific materials being available, regardless of the gender of the children using them. As always, it is important to be sensitive to the culture of your families.

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