Spotlight on – Matthew Byrne
Men in Childcare
Matthew is the Director of Crafty Wizards Pre School. After 10 years in the childcare industry he has extensive knowledge in early education and has experienced a range of attitudes towards men working in childcare.
Here he tells us about his role, the way people react to him and his colleagues and his reasons for loving this industry.
“I am a qualified teacher, and have always had a love of learning. After some time working in Camp America and being a young leader for a cub scout section, I realised that I had the skills needed to care for and educate young children.
I feel that the government’s support of the Men in Childcare movement is long overdue. There are many challenges for male practitioners and unfortunately it’s still widely believed that men should not work in Childcare, or that it is peculiar. I’ve even had parents ask that their child’s nappy only be changed by the female practitioners so there is definitely still some underlying discrimination that needs to be addressed.
I often hear mums saying that men can’t do certain things in the home, and often these mums unknowingly pass on stereotypical views of a man’s role to their children. As a male working in this industry I can actively challenge these perceptions. I promote equality in all areas.
I feel lucky to have a number of males working in my setting and can see the impact that this has on our children.
As a male, pursuing a career in childcare can be difficult but is ultimately extremely rewarding. I see it as my job to promote a love of learning and everyday something happens to show me that my work and the work of my team is having a positive impact on the future outcomes of the children we care for.
GenderEYE have created a survey (for managers and practitioners/staff) to help them gain a better understanding of the early years workforce in terms of age, qualifications, training, challenges and support. The survey for practitioners will cover the above areas and ask about roles undertaken. The survey for managers will have specific questions on development and recruitment strategies for attracting men to early years education.
The surveys are completely anonymous. The practitioner survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes. For the managers, there will be two options. Participants may take a speedy 1-minute survey or a longer 5-10 minute survey. The questionnaires will be available until September 30th 2019 and the results will be published at the end of 2020 in early years magazines such as Nursery World and Under 5s, or in academic journals.
Take the survey: https://gendereye.org/survey/