by Bryan G. Nelson

This is an article about how to develop and coordinate a retreat for men teachers.

IN THE MORNING, in a circle on the floor, the men recite a series of children’s rhymes. Later, in the afternoon, they go outside for a rough-and-tumble game of broomball. The action resembles other winter games men play in northern climates, yet when one of the men is knocked down, all the other players stop to ask, “Hey, are you okay?” If the man says yeah, the play continues.

For almost 20 years, a group of men who work with young children and families have been gathering to learn new nursery rhymes, play broomball, and talk about the importance of men in the lives of children and families. The Men in Child Care and Elementary Education Winter Retreat [now called MenTeach] is held every February at a resort near a frozen lake in northern Minnesota. Men from all over the Midwest come together to talk about their lives and their work in early and elementary education.

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