2-2 | Forming Ethical Identities in Early Childhood Play

Book Review

Forming Ethical Identities in Early Childhood Play

Brian Edmiston
New York: Routledge, 2008. References, diagrams, photographs. 224 pp. $42.50 paper. ISBN: 9780415435482

by Stuart Reifel

First Paragraph:

Part of Routledge’s Contesting Early Childhood series, Brian Edmiston’s Forming Ethical Identities in Early Childhood Play adds to the growing literature on the experience of classroom play. In particular, he explores some of the meanings of ethical relationships that are inherent in the social context of early-childhood classrooms. Unlike John Dewey, with his pragmatic notion about play and classroom community, Edmiston works from a dialogic perspective; play activities are where ethical identities are “authored” by the participants. Rather than seeing play primarily as a developmental phenomenon like Jean Piaget or Lev S. Vygotsky, Edmiston elaborates on the moral meanings that contribute to who players are as they create classroom play. This approach to understanding play adds a whole new layer to the sets of meanings that we can consider when we practice and study classroom play.