Don's Column "Men In The Lives of Young Children" at the 2005 World Forum Montreal

by Donald E. Piburn, M.S.Ed

[MenTeach: Don Piburn has be working in early education for years. He has been instrumental in recruiting and retaining men teachers through his work in Hawaii hosting MenTeach retreats, serving on the AEYC affiliate board and being a founding father of the World Forum Men in Early Childhood Education (MECE). These articles were written 10 years ago and are still relevant to our work today.]

"Men In The Lives of Young Children" at the 2005 World Forum Montreal

At the request of Ms. Bonnie and Mr. Roger Neugebauer of Child Care Information Exchange and the World Forum Foundation, MenTeach.org is coordinating the first ever session on the topic of "Men in the Lives of Young Children" at the World Forum on Early Care and Education in Montreal from May 17-20, 2005.

Teams of presenters create sessions at the World Forum. Most sessions at the World Forum involve 3-4 presenters, sharing perspectives from different cultures and parts of the world.  The World Forum is a highly participatory event, and each person who attends has a responsibility to share his or her ideas both informally and formally. Interaction and discussion are critical.  Presenters are encouraged to interact with their audience, to tell their stories and engage in dialogue, rather than reading papers.

This is very important to the spirit of the World Forum.  So much so, that the World Forum organizers do not provide equipment for video or power point presentations and request that presenters not use those forms of presentation.  

Our Session is entitled:

"Men in the Lives of Young Children: The Roles and Contributions of Fathers, Father-figures, and Male Professionals in Early Childhood Education"

Wednesday, May 18th,

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm.

There are four international presenters:

Rev. MacDonald Sembereka of Malawi;
Te Tuhi Robust of New Zealand;
Kishor Shrestha of Nepal; and me,
Donald Piburn of the USA (Hawaii).

Our presenters and audience will consider the many roles and contributions of fathers, father-figures, and male early childhood education professionals to the health, development, and education of young children in their own countries as well as world wide.  Our session is 1 1/2 hours in length, with approximately 25 minutes set aside for whole group discussion.

The World Forum organizers had asked if we would support an association between our "Men in the Lives of Young Children" Session and an encore performance of a World Forum Acapulco radio broadcast of "The Dad Show," an hour-long, weekly

call-in radio show dedicated to fathers and produced by Austin Head Start grantee Child Incorporated, radio station KAZI in Austin, with website support from Bodhi Incubator.

The show's producers have offered to record our "Men in the Lives of Young Children" presentation along with the audience's involvement for later broadcast on The Dad Show.  Several of our presenters have volunteered to be interviewed regarding their cultural and personal experiences on men in the lives of young children.  Once completed, the World Forum Montreal Dad Show will be broadcast, archived, and available world wide on the internet at http://www.dadshow.com.

In a separate but related event, we will hold an "Expansion Session" that same evening on "Men in the Lives of Young Children."  What follow up actions will result from our expansion session will depend on the will and the interests of session presenters, conference hosts, volunteer planners, and session attendees, but past World Forums have generated global outcomes on other important issues related to the lives of young children and families.  These same opportunities exist for World Forum Montreal Men in the Lives of Young Children session as well.  Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

Formation of a World Forum Men in the Lives of Young Children "Working Group."  The Working Group could generate "resolutions" regarding the many important roles of men in the lives of young children as well as gather individuals interested in sub-topics such as recruiting, supporting and retaining male ECE professionals, etc.
Formation of a World Forum Men in the Lives of Young Children "World Wide Network" of practitioners, researchers, and interested others.
Planning for future activities, such as possible pre-conference sessions, future sessions, web-casts, etc.

Every World Forum participant's involvement celebrates the place that men have in the lives of young children and expands the field of early childhood education's capacity to reflect what the world both inside and outside of the classroom can become.

We are all pulling together to see how much we can accomplish on this important issue!

May 2005