Our children are surrounded by women in early childhood and education. With approximately only 3% of men working in pre-elementary education all over the world  the workforce in childcare, daycare and early ed settings is predominantly female. There are so many questions as to why there is such a cultural barrier for men in the profession. How can we achieve a more gender-balanced early education, childcare, and daycare workforce? A common argument for more gender equality in childcare is that male caregivers can also serve as role models. At The Children’s Workshop, we have some outstanding men, and role models, in professional positions including Directors, Assistant Directors, teachers and leadership.
There are many benefits to children growing up surrounded by caring male teachers, as well as female. In our new blog series, Outstanding Men at The Children’s Workshop, we highlight the professionals that impact the lives of our students, every day, in a positive way.
Our Q: and A: format is to let you hear directly from the educators and to help “normalize” the male participation in the industry by taking a closer look at the essential need for more male teachers, both at The Children’s Workshop and in the workforce.
This interview was conducted by Maggie Teller, TCW Mom & CEO.
Maggie: Thank you, Jason, for participating in this blog series. Can you tell us your position at The Children’s Workshop and elaborate on the moment you realized you wanted a career in Early Childhood Education?
Jason: Hello! To begin, my name is Jason and I am the Director of our school in Rumford, Rhode Island. I hold a degree in Human Services and have over twenty years of experience in early education. Most recently, I held the position of Assistant Director at a Preschool serving families with children ages six months to twelve years old. I don’t think it was one moment, but a culmination of experiences working with children of all ages in various settings that allowed me to see the need for positive male role models in the field.
Maggie: My hope is that you, and all the teachers at The Children’s Workshop, feel we are doing our jobs with purpose. Our goal is to be a place that helps our employees to build a career that supports that purpose too! What gives you purpose? What do you find most rewarding about your job and can you give me an example of a particularly rewarding moment in your career?
Jason: Providing families with safe, nurturing, quality early childhood education and care for their children and then witnessing these children develop new skills and reach various milestones is quite a rewarding experience.
One example of this would be my experience with a family that came to us seeking childcare for their son who has some developmental delays. Mom was struggling to find the right setting for him and she had mentioned being turned away by other schools because they didn’t feel they could provide the appropriate care for him. Since he has been coming to us, he has flourished. Their child is happy and making friends. He is curious and inquisitive, and his parents know he is in good hands while they are at work. He is one of many examples in our school. What’s better than that?!?
Maggie: Do you think your gender plays a role in how you interact with the kids in the center?
Jason: No, but I do think it plays a role in how the children respond to me. I feel that because seeing a male in the field is somewhat rare, they are maybe a little bit excited to have me around.
Maggie: Why do you think there are so few men in the field? What do you think the barriers are to recruiting men into childcare and early ed?
Jason: One barrier may be that historically, this field has been female dominated due in part to the fact that these types of positions require one to be a nurturer and for some reason, being sensitive, caring and nurturing is often seen as a female trait. That view, thankfully, is changing, slowly but surely.
Secondly, historically, the field of early childhood has not been a high paying one. This, in my opinion, may deter some men from choosing this as a career solely based on the income it provides. That, too, is changing.
I am living proof that you can raise a family, provide a nice life for them, and offer them substantial benefits; health and otherwise, all while working in the field of early childhood.
Maggie: Good career advice for all age groups of men is essential. There are so many kinds of qualities and skills required for anyone considering a career at The Children’s Workshop. What would you tell a male college student considering going into the field?
Jason: I would tell him that if he is passionate about working in early childhood, that he can absolutely make a good living while making a huge impact on the lives of children and families. I would also tell them that this is as masculine a role as any other and that they would be taking part in inspiring generations of lifelong learners.
Maggie: Thank you so much for being part of our team and offering your thoughts on this topic.
Jason: Thank you for letting me be a part of this!
Stay tuned for more interviews with Outstanding Men at The Children’s Workshop and males making huge impacts on their communities and students.
If you are male, or female and have a passion for early childhood education, we encourage you to apply to one of our job openings. You will work alongside these incredible educators and nurture, teach, and inspire children and families.
- (Education at A Glance 2012: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/eag-2012-en.[Crossref]