Men In Early Childhood Education: Why We Are Where We Are – Perhaps?

It’s not often that I come across a good, well-researched article on Men In Early Childhood Education. Therefore, when I read this article, I chased the author, Richard Harty, as well as Steve, the owner of the Foundation Stage Forum, for permission to post it here.

It took some time, and although I can’t copy the article here, it is now available to the public, so please click here and read it.

My favourite bit:

Although everybody agrees that there should be more men working in Early Years Childcare, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint exactly WHY there should be more men.

Discussions about the benefits of having more men in Early Years Childcare will begin with people saying things like ‘we are fortunate to have a man’, ‘the children love him’ or ‘I am a man and I do a good job’.

In other words, nothing really substantial.

From there, things normally descend into discussions about sexuality, pay, and negative misconceptions.

More words with little practical use in supporting the arguement for WHY we need more men in Early Years Childcare.

The Foundation Stage Forum

The Foundation Stage ForumThe Foundation Stage Forum, by the way, is an outstanding forum for Early Years Practitioners, with a very VERY friendly, helpful and active community.

I hope that someday, my own forum will be at least half as successful.

There’s a whole list of references towards the end of the article, for those who are interested. You won’t be able to join the discussion on the Foundation Stage Forum, however, unless you’re a member, so please feel free to voice your thoughts here.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Yes! Mark, I totally agree with you that children do love man in the centre and men make good teachers too. When I evaluate those early childhood students during their internship, I came across very few men and those few of them are really good. Children are quick to attach to them too.


    • Haha, oddly enough the few male childcare workers I’ve come across are usually from agencies. Meaning they’re not usual staff, but hired from an outside company to make up for a shortfall in staff.

      And those few that I’ve come across struck me from the start as being a little…weird. I hope I don’t give people that impression as well! =-P


  2. Mark, sorry , i dun mean to be rude. actually i havent really understood why yet, your sudden interest in early child care? to me it’s really mind boggling…


    • That’s OK, I get questions like that all the time.

      I thought I answered you before? 🙂 You’ll just have to wait for my book to be published, like everyone else! j/k


  3. Errmm.. probably men seems to be more authoritative and in control of things?

    I don’t know… my personal opinion, its kinda like choosing gynae – I prefer men than women gynae. You might think ‘eeeii let man see your privates’ but in actual fact, men are more gentle and understanding and they empathized with what you are feeling more than women (at least that’s what I experienced after going through 3 gynaes)

    So back to childcare issues, can it be because the child’s father is always at work, come home late so not much quality time spent with their children that when these children are sent to childcare center, they go for men staff so as to make up for the quality time which they wished they could spend with their own fathers?

    Just my thoughts… 🙂


    • Thank you for that weird rant on gynaes. =-P Imagine if you’re a guy doing to doctor, would you want him to be gentle and understanding? Aiyeee!

      Mmm, personally I’ve only seen a couple of guys working in childcare, and…they…uh…didn’t seem normal. =-P

      As for myself, I’m passionate about what I’m doing, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it, so I do pay a lot of attention to the children, and they probably appreciate that.


  4. Posted by Audrey Lee on 7 November, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Mark,

    ‘Why we need more men in early childhood education’ – an interesting topic. You are not looking for justifications, are you?

    I agree that their presence will definitely raise the status of all EC educators (occupation’s status are gender biased, that’s the reason why doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, etc are highly regarded professions because there are more males there). And I do agree that children should be taught by both sexes so that they will have a better perspective of the world. I don’t think it matters whether or not there is enough male role models in early years but as long as during their schooling years (formal years or university), the children are taught by some male teachers, they would be all right.

    It is not uncommon to see young children attracted to male teachers more than their female teachers, especially if they are boys. I think, this could be due to the gender-role played by parents at home, ie. mother is viewed as someone who is always busy doing some sort of work (24/7) and no time to ‘play’ and father is someone who doesn’t have to work on weekends but ‘play’ golf or ‘play’ with them or bring them ‘jalan-jalan.’ Father is also associated with having nice gadgets (car, handphone, computer, etc.) that they children love to use and play. Therefore, a child will subconsciously seek out his/her father when he/she wants to play and mother when he/she is hungry, not feeling well, unhappy, etc. So, at the center (which some viewed as play-school), they will naturally seek out male teachers who they think will play with them.

    You are right, Mark, as long as you have passion for and love young children, they will see it and will be attached to you whether you are a male or female teacher.


    • I’m not sure about your take on father/mother roles. You wouldn’t believe the amount of housework I have to do. 🙂

      But I do agree that children may find male staff more willing to play with them, particularly in an outdoor environment. I know several of the preschoolers in my previous setting really liked me, because I was the only adult willing to play catching, swing them around, lift them up, etc.

      Whenever they saw me they’d always ask if I was going to play with them later, and if I wasn’t around they’d even ask where I was. 🙂


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