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June 9, 2007 at 9:01 am #7627
Thanks for the support and comment on my post Bryan, it encourages me to not back down or give up trying to pursue a career in ECE.
November 4, 2007 at 6:42 am #7625Bryan G NelsonParticipant
Thanks for your comments. I agree with you that it is important for men to change diapers.
I know it DOES sound strange and contradictory that people say that they want more men (viz. fathers) to care for their children but you are correct that many men are restricted from working with babies and this exclusion represents something.
In my experience, many people are afraid of men. They are afraid men are going to harm young children, especially sexually. They usually cite the data that more men harm young children then women.
First, I share everyone’s desire to have children be safe. I never want a child to be hurt by ANYONE. But the information about men harming children is distorted because it doesn’t focus on all the types of harm that happens to children and who is perpetrator is. The data shows that a child is more likely to be harmed in their own home then in schools or centers. Rather than restrict men from changing babies diapers, it’s really necessary to develop policies that protect our children from ALL people.
Too often those policies are about restricting men and in some cases all teachers from giving ANY touch to children. That is an absolutely ludicrious plan. Children need caring touch otherwise they do not thrive. There are many studies showing how harmful it is for children to not receive nurturing touch.
It is better to have policies where no teachers (male or female) is alone with children. That there be a thorough screening of employees (viz. references, background checks) and proper supervision. And there needs to be an open door policy for parents to come visit the program at any time.
Finally, there is no question about making certain our children are safe. And we also need to challenge the stereotypes about men and work to help young boys learn about nurturing to help men grow up to be caring men and we also need to restrict access by women who harm children so that the cycle of harm is stopped.
November 27, 2007 at 5:27 pm #7618GscalerajrMember
I just took a job with a Daycare, here in NY. Teaching at the ECE or Elem level is like winning the lotto. You just never know. It’s all about who reads your email and how the person views males with children. It just so happened with me, that this woman thinks having men work with children is a great thing and children need the balance.
The flip side is, I was called about sub positions available this week and the caller said “I have 1st and 2nd grade but you’re probably not interested in those.” Um hello… I’m CERTIFIED PreK-6. Talk about stereotype and now I know why I haven’t been getting calls. And one day, when I was taking over a 2nd grade classroom and the teacher said “I don’t like male teachers because the children listen to them more.
And if that’s not bad enough there was a local male elementary teacher molesting his students. He just plead guilty to 46 counts. It’s unreal; as if we don’t have enough of a stigmatization. I don’t know the answers– it’s quite sad that we can’t do what we are so passionate about– what is in our blood to do– and it’s even harder because the children LOVE having us around.
November 28, 2007 at 11:28 am #7620
Hey that’s great! Congratulations. Tell me more about the job you just got, it is inspiring to hear about the experience as other males are going through the same thing. I agree with you on the stereotypes dealing with ages, the daycare centers that I interviewed at all had a mindset that men just can’t stand babies or little kids, and I’m like “Umm I can speak for myself, Thanks”
It’s awesome when you have been persevering and then it just comes together, I had a family just hire me for a full time Manny position (I posted more about it on the forum) but the MOTHER! was the one who was adamant that I work for them, after I met the father and spoke with him and interacted with him some around the babies he felt comfortable about the idea of a male caregiver, but the whole hiring process I was like ???
The mother even said to me and I quote “I think it is better for a man to do those things”
speaking about changing the diapers and all the other things that come with caring with infants. I really want to find out what planet she comes from because most of the attitude towards men in the field is anything but passionate and zealous.
Bryan gave me an idea of keeping a journal through my experience of this job, I would be interested to hear about what you’re going through at this Daycare in NY, maybe keep a journal as well???
February 1, 2008 at 9:39 am #7614stephen sMember
I am reading these comments with great interest. I have been a licensed day care provider for 7 years. I have found that being the only male provider in my area, not including a couple who assist their partners, I have a unique view of the whole men in child care discussion. First i will say that I know from speaking with my female friends who are also providers that I recieve far fewer calls about available space and cost of my program than they do. There is a pre-screening process which occurs in the home and among their friends and family. Families who call me are not calling to see if my rate is 50 cents lower than the next provider. They have all except for one family called ready for a site visit and to sign their child up. Many have been ready to leave their children before they even visit.
I have had only 2 instances of mom’s having a problem with me changing their daughters diapers. One was the only family I ever pre-screened out. The mom insisted I leave the disposable diaper on her 11 month old until it was ready to explode. She didn’t want her daughter going through to many diapers. I told her I had lots of experience with cloth diapers and was willing to deal with those but she didn’t like dealing with them. I knew if we were butting heads on diapers our philosophies were just not going to mesh. The other family was a single mom and 18 month old daughter. She eventually got used to the idea but was never comfortable with me. There are not too many child care options up here in the hill towns of Western Ma. so she was stuck with me.
Shit I am off track here. Ok Diapering.. I believe it is all about trust. Trust between the care giver and child. Children can feel it and without trust there is nothing! Parents can’t believe that their children will just lie right down and allow me to change them where at home it is one big battle or a drawn out game. No games here, but I do hold real conversations with a child when diapering. Not goo goo but real dialogue and children do respond. I also believe that paying attention to each childs rythms and tendencies also is a big help. I don’t let children hang out in wet or soiled diapers. I have even been accused of changing children too often. I have sent home a child once in 7 years with a diaper rash that wasn’t there when the child arrived. That was because I had used scented wipes and she had a reaction to them. So now only non scented wipes for me. I think my record for number of changed diapers in a 10 hour day is between 35 and 40.
I am not sure however what the reaction would be in a center based program where the men are part of the program and not an option or a choice as with me. Sorry i rambled here. I will try and be more on target next time.
Thanks to everyone both male and female out there who work with and nurture children.
As for being an activist my only contribution so far is complaining enough that the local Chile’s restaurant installed a diaper deck in the mens room. They got tired of me walking into the women’s room and changing my daughter. But the local Applebees did not install one, maybe they have by now 8 years later but I wouldn’t know. I never returned. The other way is just by being me!
February 1, 2008 at 1:53 pm #7616kittcoxMember
Gloucester, Massachusetts, US
Great post…are you aware that the Schott Fellowship is sponsoring a males in early education and care roundtable on Tues, April 8 (maybe you can plan a fieldtrip with the kids.
The following Friday, MA AEYC and the Schott Fellowship are sponsoring a Men in EEC reception. Please consider joining us – you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I think your brand of “activism” speaks volumes – keep it up.
June 21, 2008 at 1:22 am #7612HarebearMember
H. van Steijn (ECE)
I am a Male provider for Newborns and Infants, but care for others too.
Now I have been established as ” A Mother’s Helper “. I supply care for all Newborns when Mom has PPD, therefore I am responsible for ALL the care during the night. I feed, change, bath baby, do baby laundry (including cloth diapers), Sterilize bottles, make formula, etc…
This is the most rewarding of my career so far.
I have been a Medical Assistant (Medic / Corp man) in the Canadian Military for 25+ years. During which I worked on a Pediatric Ward for 2 years. Some of which were terminally ill.
There I learned much of the care I now provide.
In the past I have worked with the pre-schoolers, but now it is so much more rewarding.
One would think there would be many Blocks that would limit the care provided, but with my Medical background these are just minor hurdles that I must cross.
I am proud to have specialized with Newborns & Infants.
NO I am not a teacher, but I do initiate learning by their 5 senses.
Often I have a 5 month old finger painting in chocolate pudding,
(I like to mix with rice or oat meal for texture).
Every baby has a chance to experiment with different products. I don’t teach them, I simply encourage learning! Someday, they will repeat an activity they did with me and they will remember the previous experience.
Newborns are Newborns & Babies are Babies, They are here to learn new things also.
Thats all I have to say at the moment.
Harebear (Harry – ECE Qualified + more)
October 21, 2008 at 9:43 am #7433
I am a young male looking to transition into ECE as a career, ever since I got close to the field the stigma of a male caregiver in the classroom stuck out like a big goodyear blimp.
We are praised for becoming more nurturing, more involved in the childcare, they even have baby stations in men’s rooms whereas 30 years ago that was unheard of. But then we get into men wanting to join the workforce to care for children and there is this animosity and fear of men doing the diapering? Is this like something that women hold on to because of fear of losing the field because men can wipe noses and bottoms just as good as they can?? And most men don’t get into ECE specifically for these kind of rules. Who would want to work in a place where based on their gender they were not allowed to care for infants and toddlers? It seems like it has no justifiable grounds because all they throw is statistics.
I am trying to find men who have questioned this issue and are not afraid to discuss it, Many think if you challenge the regulation you are suspect of child paedophilia and you are bothered that you can’t do the diapers, heck there is nothing swell about diapers or cleaning a poopy bottom but my point is that I am bothered by the view of males in ECE, that we are dangerous and somehow just because we are men means that we are instinctively drawn to children for the wrong reasons, it’s completely bogus and stupid. If dad changes the diapers at home what is the difference of a man in a daycare who has been checked and screened from having equal share in the workplace. I can’t stand being placed in a box as a man in this society, we are wonderful and excellent caregivers. It is time we stop this media garbage that we hate caring for babies and that we are aloof and have the brains of a chimpanzee, we can do this.
What has bothered me, and I sometimes get taken the wrong way I know it’s not a big deal but maybe I am just a male activist and I demand an explanation. There is such a stigma with men working with babies, I have read several forums and accounts on this and it has only revealed more and more the biased of men working in childcare. What is the big deal with diapers??? It is like we are praised for being nurturers and being more involved in caregiving but then all of the rules that men face not being able to diaper children in daycare. Some think it is odd that a man wants to work with babies but I absolutely love them, I love feeding them, changing them I just have a heart of love and compassion for the little tikes. There is so much bonding that goes on when men take care of children, especially men. When a man changes a child it is different than a woman doing it, the man is letting the child know that his needs matter, that he is loved and cared for and valued BY A MAN.
How can we as men gain experience in ECE when we are not able to fully be active in the caregiving roles?
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