Craig d’Arcy, the pedagogical manager of Harmony Early Learning at Lennox Head is a man on a mission, seeking to change the ‘alarming’ statistic which shows that only 2.7 percent of the total staff working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) identify as male.
Reflecting on his own experiences of studying ECEC âalongside hundreds of womenâ, Mr. d’Arcy began to think about ways to recruit, retain and support men in the sector.
The most common challenge faced by the men he has spoken to over the years, in terms of choosing and maintaining a role in the sector, is the fear (imagined or not) of having to dealing with an allegation or suspicion of inappropriate behavior, he said.
There are other challenges, Mr. d’Arcy continued, such as the gender stereotypical perception that the profession is reserved for women, or that caring for young children is âwomen’s workâ. These challenges, he continued, can leave men to study or work alone, isolated from other men, in turn lacking other role models to follow and support.
To overcome these challenges, he created the National Network group on men in early childhood, which campaigns for a better acceptance of men within childcare services.
The group strives to eliminate professional isolation by mentoring students by experienced male workers and providing guidance to students wishing to enter the field.
Make ECEC spaces more attractive to male educators and leaders
A simple way for departments to make their spaces more To attract male educators, Arcy said, it’s about presenting images of men in care roles throughout the center to create a sense of belonging.
âI have seen some services be successful when they are able to speak to their families and the team of educators on the benefits of having a male educator in the service. It can also help provide clear expectations, âhe added.
Ultimately, however, âthis is not a concern or a problem between men and women; it is part of the human being to take care of our next generations. If you want to give meaning and satisfaction to your professional life and want to give to others, then educating and caring for young children could be a great option, âsaid Arcy.
âRather than ‘hoping’ for more men to enter the profession, be clear in your advertising and show that you are actively recruiting men. You may need to invite them to get started, but you will find that having a man (or men!) On your team will add diversity to your team and ultimately lead to a more effective and better curriculum. responsive for kids. “