Nelson Tasman Kindergartens are serious about attracting more men to early childhood education, following recent media reports identifying a lack of men in this area.

Nelson Tasman Kindergartens CEO Wendy Logan says it is a serious issue, especially as research shows that children learn the most from good role models.

“Positive male role models in the lives of young children, boys in particular, are essential for the development of ongoing social competency and a sense of collective identity,” she says. “We are making a concerted effort to attract males to the early childhood sector.”

Ms Logan says this includes making all kindergartens ‘bloke friendly’ through dad and daughter nights, bloke only groups, and by encouraging dads with food and coffee.

“In the past year we have employed a male teacher at the new Auckland Point Kindergarten, along with a male Senior Education Advisor with a particular research interest in boy’s development,” she says.

Nelson Tasman Kindergartens is also instrumental in plans to establish a ‘Men in Early Childhood Education’ group in the Nelson Region. Ms Logan says this is a good start, but she admits that there is still a long way to go.

Dr. Bradley Hannigan has been in the role of Senior Education Advisor for six months and believes it is important menknow that entering the early childhood profession is a viable career path.

“The sector has spent decades shirking off the image of early childhood teachers as ‘baby sitters’,” he says. “We are a highly technical, research driven profession that stands tall alongside the professionalism of other sectors.”

Dr. Hannigan says he hopes the men’s group will offer support for men entering the profession and he advocates early childhood education as a rewarding and fulfilling career for both men and women alike.