In the News

More men in childcare

FootballIn the Times Educational Supplement (TES) on the 23rd January there was an enlightening article about the Daycare Trust attracting more men into the Early Years sector.

The first reason given for the lack of men was the ‘work’s low status’. By whose standards? Is it because playing with the children is seen as a bit of an easy life?

The second reason given is low pay. The TUC and Daycare Trust found pay was between 19.60 pounds per hour and 8.70 pounds per hour in 2007. This was, presumably, in the state sector as pay in the private, voluntary and independent sector is much lower than this, as a glance at jobs advertised in the Nursery World Magazine indicates (and they tend to be the ‘best’ jobs!).

The third reason was the high proportion of women in the sector. I can sympathise and empathise totally with this, having previously worked in an industry predominantly male. However, if you have an interest and enjoyment of the work this should not stop you.

Marlon, an early years educator who is case studied in the article, says that he comes from a large family and always had children around. I think this is the key to the problem. Unless men are allowed to come into our nurseries and settings and enjoy being with children they will never aspire to work with them. Many women enter childcare after having children and enjoying the mums and tots sessions, or spending time at the nursery.

We should be encouraging our settings to involve dads and male carers more. They have skills and life experiences which should be shared. Children need all sorts of role models to help them make sense of the world. And what an excellent time to do it, when all sorts of stereotypes are beginning to be seriously challenged.

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4 Comments
  • Geoff Billing Jul 8,2011 at 6:29 pm

    I have taught in a public sector nursery for two years now and it has been an amazing journey. Even over the last two years I have seen more and more men and male students involved in early years. I am male by the way!

    • Kathy Brodie Jul 9,2011 at 7:42 am

      Thank you for your comment, Geoff. I’m so pleased that you are enjoying your time in the Early Years. I’d be interested to know what it was that attracted you into the profession and also what sorts of things nurseries can do to be a more attractive workplace for men?
      Kathy

  • Chris Manville Jul 1,2011 at 11:28 am

    As a man who has been involved with childcare for over 20 years, I fully concur with Kathy’s comments. We need to work much harder at reaching out to men on a day to day basis to get them in to nurseries to see at first hand how fulfilling time spent with small children can be.
    But more than this, we should be targeting young men while they are still at school and encouraging them to consider childcare as a work experience option.

    • Kathy Brodie Jul 1,2011 at 9:20 pm

      Many thanks for your comment Chris. Interestingly someone has commented this week that she has had 2 young men in her nursery on work experience for the first time ever, so maybe the message is getting through.
      Keep up the good work

      Kathy

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