Exchange Every Day

Louis Torelli is one of the best known architects/designers in the early childhood arena. However, not everyone knows that Louis started his career by working for six years as an infant, toddler and preschool teacher. Recently in reflecting on his twenty years of involvement in the field, he commented on the lack of male involvement in an article, “Quality Childcare: The Missing Element – Men.” In his article he asked…

“….why hasn’t the early childhood profession taken this on as an issue fundamental to our universal goal of high quality group care programs for children? An important part of the answer, I believe, lies in our own experiences (both men and women) concerning who were are primary caregivers when we were children. Who was taking care of our friends? When we went to a park, who was watching the children? Who were our schoolteachers? How did television, magazines and other media forms depict a proper family? The answer was clearly that women run the ship. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, women friends, girls. There hasn’t been much room for diversity in this childrearing model. The language of caring for children is completely gender specific. “Mothering”. “Mother-infant bond”. “Maternal Attachment”, even “Earth Mother”. While women are held in high esteem for caring for their children (rarely with reference to fathers) they are also considered the exclusive “cause” of anything that might go wrong, or be perceived to go wrong. Consider the terms “Maternal deprivation” and “Maternal depression.” Major research studies have been conducted on “the impact of maternal employment on children’s development.”

Clearly this language speaks to what we believe women with children should really be doing and at the same time, totally negates any impact or role a father may have.”