Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Survey from New Zealand

Child Forum is a site dedicated to the persuit of excellence and continued growth in the Early Childhood Education field in New Zealand and internationally. Their Chief Executive is Dr Sarah Farquhar, who is a world reknowned researcher and academic with a strong background in encouraging more men into the ECE profession.

They recently published an article which discussed the results of a national survey of teacher educators and EC services. While the overall message is not new - that more men are needed in prior to school settings, there are some palpable figures to back up such claims.

For example, in response to whether the Government should intervene to raise the number of male ECE teachers a remarkable 85% wanted Government action to some degree. This may not exactly surprise people, but it does show how those in the industry place at least some of the responsibility for change with the Government. However, there were concerns in this area including reverse discrimination for men at the expense of women's jobs and also that the quality of the educator might become less important than their gender.

In all but one area mentioned in regards to whether more males would make a difference, over 90% thought that either they would make things better or there would be no difference. The one area where this was not so was 'parents' view the environment as safe for their child'. While there was still 76% who regarded an increas of having no affect or being a benefit, it is still slightly alarming that this is the stand out area of concern for so many.

Anyway, I don't want to disect the entire article. Better for you our there to take from it what you will. I will say it is a great way to gather information and opinions on specific topics. Perhaps similar surveys could be taken in other countries. I, for one, would be interested to see how responses from those in Western countries might differ from others and how we all might compare to the Scandinavians.

So what do you think men would bring to your service or the professiona in general?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A New Season of Little Athletics

Just so you all know, as well as being an early childhood teacher I am also vice president of our local little athletics club. On top of that role I was age manager of my son's age group from the time he was in tiny tots (2 years of U/5s) until U/12s. When he went into U/13s last year I was no longer required to manage the group as they joined the 14s, 15s and 17s under the charge of a joint age manager.

So I needed a new job. Well I didn't really. I could have roamed around doing whatever needed to be done at any specific time, but as we already have a few ready to do that on most competition nights.

I did however, realise that there was a gap in what we offer. each year the largest contingent of athletes is in the tiny tots group for anyone under 5 by the end of September. This is the only group for which parents can accompany their child to each event. So it can often mean that there are dozens of children with even more parents/family members present and very few if any knowing what to do.

My idea? I volunteered to become the tiny tot coordinator, which basically means I am responsible to take the 50+ athletes and their accompanying supporters to each event, running the event as smoothly as possible, and keeping them as informed as possible. All the while I'm trying to ensure the children are still having fun.

So now I spend all week with under 5 year olds and at the end of the week I head back home to spend Friday night with another bunch and their (sometimes) demanding parents. Just as well I love doing what I do.

In an aside, this dual role has provided opportunities to connect both worlds. My son won a bronze medal at the Combined High Schools State Championships in the shot put. I took his shot put and the medal in to show my preschoolers. As it turns out, some of them do little athletics as well. So when I showed them how to throw a shot put, using a tennis ball as a substitute, those with prior experience displaying more advanced skills.

It also leads me to encourage parents to consider little athletics for their child as a great way to build their physical and social skills as well as helping to build their sense of identity and belonging. Community and centre lives connecting through me and the children

I should state that my club is not the same one that the children and families from my service would attend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Relying on Technology

Over the past few days I have had no internet access at home. While this has some irritable effects on my time spent on social media, including the Males in Early Childhood facebook page, and other online activities, it also prevents me accessing my emails. This becomes problematic when I am meant to be using emails to send work material to my Director, communicate with a local school about kindergarten transitioning and simply receiving relevant information about work.
To make matters worse I usually complete most of my paperwork online and email it to myself in order to print it off once at work. I do this as the USB ports of our work computer are not functioning and so cannot read the USB memory stick which I save my work to and therefore am unable to access them in that way.

The failure of the USB ports also means we cannot upload photos from cameras at work. Another reason to do work at home where I can upload them.

These are work related issues and affect how I perform my duties to some extent. However, such issues also mean that I a unable to maintain this blog. I'm taking this opportunity to write this post while I have connection just in case it disappears again.

We are in the process of changing providers, but that will take several days apparently as we have to also change our landline phone connection. In the meantime  if you notice a little less activity on this blog, our Facebook page or a lack of presence on other blogs and pages then the chances are we are having connection issues again.

It's times like these I miss the old days (showing my age) when we wrote everything by hand and it was an extra special treat to receive an envelope with an international stamp in the corner. I also remember ringing a friend in the USA almost annually and talking for over 2 hours. Those calls cost a small fortune, but were very much worth it. Now I'm going crazy because I'm out of touch for a few days.

Conclusion - technology seems to have me ensnared in its intricate web (no pun intended).

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy Father's Day

From the movie "What to Expect When You're Expecting."
This is just a quick post to wish all the Fathers, Stepfathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, Foster Fathers and any other male family figure that has influence over the life of a child, a Happy Father's Day.
Father's Day is celebrated on different dates, depending on where you are in the world. Today is the day we celebrate it in Australia. So for all you out there I hope it's the best day for you and your family.

The Males in Early Childhood Team :)