Spotlight on – Tom Richardson
Men in Childcare
Tom is a Room Leader at Mother Goose Corner Nursery & Preschool. His passion for the role has seen him quickly reach a level 5 qualification and here he tells us about why he loves this industry so much and how he hopes to lead the way for more men to take up roles in childcare and education.
“I always wanted to be an educator. Even from a really young age, playing teachers was my thing! 4 years ago I started studying for my Level 3 diploma in Children’s Play, Learning & Development and from the first day of college I was hooked.
I definitely came up against some challenges and criticism for choosing this career path. People still have the stereotypical belief that this is a woman’s role, but I think this stems from a lack of understanding. There is little knowledge about the importance of a male figure in a child’s life and the impact we can have on development. So many children are brought up by single Mother’s and many have very little or no male involvement in their early years.
That being said in my role at Mothergoose Corner, I am always met with positivity. I get praise from parents about how refreshing it is to see a male in childcare, and equally to have a male in a higher role within the nursery. It’s a really positive experience for all children, not just boys, to have a male in a childcare environment that they can relate to on a different level. If I can make even a little bit of difference to the lives of these children then I’ve done my job well.
I am so proud that I’m able to be challenging the norm and breaking stereotypes. I love that my own actions are changing people’s perspectives and I hope I can encourage more men to enter the childcare and education industry. My experience has been so positive, men are welcome in the early years and are loved by staff, management, parents and most importantly, the children.
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/