When Naionra Gharbhain (a pre school operating through the medium of Irish) employed a new childcare worker in September there was something different about the person. Firstly the worker spoke Donegal Irish, a distinction that brought a new dimension to the service. The second distinguishing feature was that the worker was a man. Ciaran is now happily working in the service for the last 7 months.

Ciaran was introduced as any new employee and parents and children took to him straight away. Childcare leader Siun de Siun explains that there was no big issue in employing Ciaran. Although nationally, particularly in the media, some concerns are voiced about men and access to children, Siun points out that once your work practices are sound and the policies and procedures are in place there should be no concerns.

Ciaran grew up being involved with children all the time and was encouraged by others remarking on how good he is with children. When he saw the advertisement last summer Ciaran saw it as a great opportunity and decided to give it a go. He saw it as an opportunity to work at something he really enjoyed.

Since joining the service he finds it’s all he dreamed it would be. He gets a great kick out of the children, enjoys going to work each day, and believes he has a good relationship with staff, children and parents. He recently became involved with the Men in Childcare Network and in January he participated in the making of a DVD which will be launched in May 2008. Provisionally titled “The Face of Men in Irish Childcare” features the experiences of 6 men working in the childcare sector from across the South East.

Siun is even more positive about the qualities that Ciaran brings to the service. She says “He introduces a whole new dimension to the work setting, he interacts great with the children and it just enhances the working environment”.

Ciaran says the high point for him “is the interaction with the children, the laughter and the things that they come out with when working with them”. He is enjoying the work immensely and would heartily recommend it as a way of work for any man.

Whether you’re a man thinking about childcare as a career move, or a service looking at the possibilities of recruiting a male childcare worker, the Men in Childcare Network can be contacted for information by phone 087 2299208.