Men have an important role to play within the childcare industry. Despite this, males currently only represent 3% of employees working in an early years setting.
In 2011, the Pre-school Learning Alliance conducted research on the attitudes of parents regarding men working in childcare, and out of 1,200 parents with children aged 3-5years, 97.9% were happy for a male member of staff to care for their child in a childcare setting. The figure fell to 89% when parents with new-born babies to three year olds were asked their opinions.
The attitude from parents is not the only reason why there is a low number of males applying for childcare roles. The same survey also questioned 130 male students on their opinions about pursuing a career in childcare, and 54% were put off due to their perception they would be working in an ‘all-female led’ setting. Other reasons included peer pressure, and potentially a lack of career progression in the future.
The benefits male nursery assistants bring is underestimated and the potential career paths have been undervalued. Fathers and other male figures would feel more at ease at being involved in their children’s childcare and become more involved in the activities or events the nursery may run. Men also bring a different perspective on play and activities, adding value to the nursery as a whole. Those children who may be growing up without a male role model in their lives would also benefit tremendously from having this support in the childcare setting, giving them a boost in confidence. For example, a little boy in pre-school might be nervous to ‘ask a girl’ for help, whether it’s going to the bathroom or tying shoe laces, their independence and eagerness to learn will grow.
At Tops Day Nurseries we currently have 70 male staff members working across our 16 settings.
We are extremely proud of all of our staff at Tops Day Nurseries, both male and female. We, along with other day nurseries, are addressing how we can overcome the stigma of males working in childcare seriously and are doing whatever possible to prove to men that childcare is not an all-female based industry and that it is a credible and rewarding career.