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Men in Childcare – what do you think?

Blog

10 May 2021

With 97% of the Early Years workforce made up of women, we are on a mission to increase the number of men working in the industry.  Our experience shows that male practitioners across all Kids Planet settings competently carry out the same roles as our female practitioners. From story-time to imaginative outdoor play, the men we employ are chosen for their warmth, positive attitude and passion to work with children.

As part of our campaign to raise the profile of men in the industry, we were interested to hear views about how men working in the Early Years are perceived in general. And, following a series of questions we were delighted to see that 100% of those who responded, believe men are a positive role model to children in Early Years. Our feedback from parents with a child at a Kids Planet nursery confirms this.  Responses suggest that men in childcare provide a positive balance for children whilst offering an alternative approach to learning and play.

The survey, which was carried out across Kids Planet Facebook and Instagram stories, highlights there is still some way to go to improve male representation within the industry. Whilst the overwhelming majority indicated that they would like to see more men in Early Years (92% average across Facebook and Instagram), 8% of those surveyed did not.

Whilst men need to be reassured that childcare is a credible and rewarding career, there remains an assumption among many that childcare is a ‘woman’s job’.  At Kids Planet we value the importance of modelling the fact that looking after educating young children should be a job for everyone, not just women. Furthermore, the ‘care job’ association that comes with childcare remains despite efforts to demonstrate that teaching and learning is a critical part of each day within an Early Years setting.

Positively, 99% of respondents answered yes to the question of whether men should be offered the same career opportunities as women.  At Kids Planet, we give all our employees, male or female, the opportunities to build a rewarding career in childcare, encouraging them to view childcare as a profession, not ‘just a job’. We have male Apprentices, Practitioners, Nursery Managers and Childcare Directors and we consistently work hard to develop a culture and provide opportunities for all employees to feel valued and fulfilled in their roles.

Without a doubt, our survey results are overwhelmingly positive regarding men working in the Early Years. Whilst the number has risen, from 1% in 2003 (The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Providers (2010)) it is clear that perceptions and attitudes about the importance of male role models in Early Years are changing, but there is still work to be done.

As the third-largest childcare group in the UK, we are currently working with GMCA and MITEY to prepare for, recruit and support a cohort of 12 men in Greater Manchester through our in-house Early Years (Level 2) Apprenticeship. The 12 male apprentices will work in pairs in six settings, with opportunities for male-only networking and mutual support via group training. If you are or know a male school leaver or a male who may have lost their job or changed their working patterns or aspirations during the Covid-19 crisis, please get in touch.

For details about the Men in Childcare campaign, please email gill.mason@kidsplanetdaynurseries.co.uk

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