How many of you work with a man in the child care field or have a male child care provider at your child's centre? How do you feel about men in the child care field?
I took my Early Childhood Education Diploma both through Seneca College and Loyalist College. Out of all the courses I took to get my diploma, I had only one male in any of my classes. This student was fantastic. He had a real love for children, a willingness to learn, his projects were fantastic and creative. He would have been great addition to any daycare centre.
He did however have one problem...there was not one child care centre in our area that would allow him to do his field placement in their establishment. Without field placements he could not graduate. He was very discouraged, as you could imagine. He had taken the course after his nephews were born. This student had discovered he had a talent with young children and he really enjoyed spending time with them. I ended up leaving the school before I found out if he was ever allowed to graduate and I always hoped our paths would cross again somewhere in our field.
Today, as a supervisor, I would hire him in an instant based on his talent and passion for the job, however I also have to think of the parent's in my centre. How would they react to a male diapering and toilet training their children? Sadly, there is a stigma attached to men in child care. I have had the pleasure of working with only two men in the child care field over the span of six years, and both were in school-age programs where there is no diapering or toileting involved.
Perhaps this is why these men were more widely accepted. Although I must admit, there was more then one odd glance or derogatory comment made by parents about his choice of profession.
From these two experiences, I have come to realize the benefits of male staff in a child care centre:
- They work twice as hard to prove they are capable of handling the job.
- They have a natural ability with the older boys who are usually embarrassed to be attending daycare in the first place.
- They provide different styles of teaching, behaviour modification and life experiences which only improves the program.
- A well rounded childcare team is more representative of real life situations.
- They provide a strong male role model for the children in the centre.
- Men in the child care field help break the stereotype that child care as women's work.
Men make great parents, why not great child care workers too?