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2012 Mid-year updates
A major challenge for the early childhood profession worldwide is to increase the number of men working in programs serving young children. The Working Forum (WF) on Men in Early Care and Education continues to provide a global meeting place for individuals with expertise and experiences on the topic of male involvement in ECE. WF MECE leadership team members actively promote these efforts. Below is a small sample of the Leadership Team’s latest efforts since meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2011 World Forum on Early Care and Education.
WF MECE Co-coordinator Kenny Spence carries on as founder and manager of Men in Childcare (MIC) (www.meninchildcare.com). A showcase among its many projects and initiatives is MIC’s ongoing and highly successful collaborations with regional colleges provide a 16 week introductory childcare training specifically for men, followed by a fast track then full time training across Scotland.
In early June of 2012, MIC co-hosted an International Men in Childcare Conference. Included among the many international speakers was WF MECE Member at Large representative Jerry Parr.
Jerry writes that the, “conference was a full house, standing room only held in an incredible venue with rich history and current political significance that struck a chord with all in attendance. It was a powerful day that left us all charged and ready to push even harder for the cause.” There were around 100 delegates from around the world attending the conference.
The day before the conference 23 delegates from 9 countries were in attendance for the European Men in ECE network meeting, Jerry noted that, “Clearly there is a lot of high energy around the Men in ECE issues in Europe with some exceptionally bright and ambitious leadership”.
WF MECE Co-coordinator Bryan Nelson oversees operations as founding Director of MenTeach.org (http://www.MenTeach.org), an international clearinghouse for research, education, and advocacy. A signature MenTeach.org innovation is the MenTeach E-News, a free monthly electronic e-newsletter with links to the website on all things supportive of its global mission to increase the percentage of men teaching.
WF MECE Member at Large Jerry Parr helped to co-found MenTeach New England. This organization started as a Listserv of four people and now has over 75, made up of men and women teachers and administrators who support men in early childhood education in the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Jerry’s own story about being a man in early care and education was recently featured in the Concord Monitor. (http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/337812/men-rare-in-elementary-classrooms?page=0,0).
WF MECE Member at Large representative Don Piburn collaborated with Bryan Nelson and co-coordinators of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Men in Education Network (M.E.N) Interest Forum to publish an “On Our Minds” column in Young Children entitled Men in Teaching: Gender Equality through the Promise of Gender Balance. (http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201109/On%20Our%20Minds_Online_0911.pdf).
An article highlight comes from an idea conceived by Ron Blatz, that early childhood programs should apply the “Rooney Rule”, a recruitment strategy named for Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and chairman of the National Football League Committee on Workplace Diversity, to increase the number of qualified men in their early childhood programs.
WF MECE North American representative Ron Blatz continues as the co-founder of Men in Early Childhood Education in Manitoba (MECE Manitoba). MECE Manitoba actively collaborates in local, provincial, national, and international Men in ECE efforts. . Ron’s recent efforts have included recent MECE Manitoba meetings at their Provincial ECE conference. Ron notes, “It was one of those special nights that made us all feel proud to be involved in the lives of children and honored to be in the company of those at the meeting. One of my top 3 meetings of all times.” Ron was recently invited to speak to a MECE group at an Ontario provincial ECE conference, and has been featured in a regional news articles on the topic of Men in ECE.
WF MECE Africa representative, Henry Manani helped launch the Men in ECE club in association with the “National Champions Club for Early Childhood Care” (NACCEC). He serves as their patron for purposes of guidance and advice to ECE practitioners from a range of different ECE training institutions.
Henry currently serves as the National Representative Coordinator for the World Forum on Early Care and Education, and is an active participant on the WF MECE Leadership Team.
WF MECE Australian representative, Craig d’Arcy coordinates and teaches at his Mullumbimby preschool in Newcastle. He provides mentoring for male early childhood students, presents locally and nationally on men in early childhood education, and as founder of the national Males in Early Childhood Network Group, is lobbying the federal Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs to work on lifting the proportion of men working with very young children above the 2.6 per cent it is now. Craig was recently featured in an article on the issues around men and the early childhood field in a national newspaper with a daily readership of over 900,000. (http://www.smh.com.au/national/male-presumed-dangerous-20120817-24dtz.html).