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HI can any one help me?

I am a HND student trying to complete a reaserch project regarding gender issues in early years settings. do any of you have any thoughts/data/ articles you could guide me to regarding

a- the views of parents and teachers towards male care workers in early years settings. are men in a nursery reated differently to men in primary school?

b- any gender steriotype issues within settings

c- the issues of boys achievement when compared to girls in schools, do boys get appropriate and adequate role models with the setting, do any of you have any statistics re men in childcare that are up to date and reliable.?

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Hi there, Julie, and welcome to the site.

The issue of gender is massive as you will be aware and I am sure you will get lost of responses from members here. Ill pop back with my own thoughts a bit later on so Ill let someone else start the ball rolling.

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Be interested in followng this, however, I do not know of any men working in any of the preschools/nurseries near me. I think it would be great to have a male role model within the group especially as many parents are single parents (myself included) some of whom may have very little contact with male role models. But there needs to be a change in the way recruitment and retention of staff is dealt with. My personal opionion is that men do not see themselves forging a career out of this - which probably goes back to the issue of pay within the sector.


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Julie, ther is a really interesting article on boys achievment in the December issue of Early Years Educator(EYE). If you observe boys and girls interacting you will notice differences, and much of this will be backed up by academic research (your college library is a good place to start).

In terms of stereotyping, our children, at 3, already have a very clear idea about what they think girls and boys 'do' . They sometimes even argue about the colour of the pencils- blue is definately not for girls! But I also think this is cultural. Some cultures have much more clearly defined gender roles than others.

in terms of mean working in early years, I worked with 2 over the years. Both were fantastic with the children, but interesting enough, found the organisational, planning and management side very difficult. This meant that I had to carry that load for them, which wasnt ideal. The parenst loved it, especially as I worked mostly with lone parent families (mostly mums) so they had no other male role model in their lives.

Do come back to us with your own experiences.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Julie


hope your working hard on your HND


have you managed to talk to any men working in childcare? there seems so few it would be interesting to hear how they find working in a female dominated proffession (the words out numbered and intimidated spring to mind!)


I have worked along side men in childcare but that was many years ago when I was working with older children with learning difficulties there were alot more men working with children in that setting about 15% of the work force was male. The age range was 8 - 18 years, it almost appears that the younger the children the less men want to work with them


I feel boys have a different attitude to learning I have two brothers and neither was interested in going on to college post 16+ but more recently my one brother has suddenly returned to study and is enjoying it, I asked him how he feels about returning to study now compared with school and he said he felt a bit of a nerd at school if he had shown an interest in studying (peer pressure) and he thought he was too thick to study, now he is enjoying the challenge. My other brother hated every aspect of school and despite being clever has been put off study for life.


I have only once worked with a man in a preschool environment it was a creche and the children where 0 - 5 he didnt last long he felt uncomfortable in the job and that every one was suspisious of why he was working with young children, he eventually left to go into social work.

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  • 4 weeks later...

thank you all for your replies.

I have handed out hundreds of questionairs to parents and staff of schools and nurseries. the response has been great and the answers varied. In general parents would like to see more male primary teachers. there have been mixed views however concerning men working with children any younger than years ano and two.


care workers also felt that men sometimes lack the patience required to work with very young children. do any of you have any experience of this?

Unfortunatley most people felt that more men working in childcare would raise the status of chiild care provision. this is a real blow for any feminist out thier. Do any of you have ay thoughts? I would love to have more opinions.


thank you for your replies so far hope to hear from more people soon.



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Hi Julie

Happy New Year!


Within our unit we have a part-time male nursery worker who is Btec qualified.

The children think he is wonderful.

There have been a few comments from parents, but with reassurance from managers we have ironed these out.

I have a close friend who is a qualified nursery nurse and worked for mant years in a daycare setting.

He came up against quite a few barriers, but luckily had the personality to percevere ( :o oops - wrong spelling I think)


I personally would like to see more male workers in nurseries as I feel the children gain a deeper insight into the real world and that it is not female orientated. To have positive male role models around is important.

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Hi and thank you Sue.


Its great to hear that some male wokrers are out there and having an impact on the profession and the children. Its even better to hear that this is a positive influence for the nursery. I was begining to wonder if men really do opt to work with children under age five.

Did you experience any of the paperwork dificulties that mundia had with her male staff?

Do you think that having males in the nursery increased its status or the interest of parents in what happens in the setting?

Did you notice if there were any changes in the learning and development of boys when a male staff member is introduced? was this for the better?

i hope that you dont mind me asking so many questions but i seem to have found a real void of information when it comes to young children with male care workers.

would love to hear from anyone wiht any opinions


thanks to you all so far


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I don't really have much to say on the issue, except I love to see men teach in the younger ages, but I know that they often get frowned upon.

In my new school the nursery teacher is male, which is nice to see. He's a great guy and really good with the kids. As an aside, there's also another full time male teacher in year 4/5 and a guy covering a maternity cover in year 6.

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We had a new little girl start with us yesterday and her Dad stayed with her for about 20 minutes to settle her in. He was brilliant! He played in the sand with her and soon had a little crowd around him-mostly boys! He really entertained them and certainly knew how to relate to the children-I nearly offered him a job!

I think that some men find it very hard to let go of themselves in front of other people when it comes to dealing with children, especailly the very young ones. They are OK behind closed doors but not in public which is a great pity because they have so much to offer. I also think that they are put off by the concept that parents don't want to see men in nurseries etc. And, I feel, it is just that a concept as many people I have spoken to have said they would be quite happy to have a man looking after their children.

In the 14 years I have run my pre-school I have only had 2 men apply for a job and I feel that is because the pay is too poor and the hours not long enough. And that is another issue-pay!


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  • 1 month later...

Hi julie,


I am currently completing my disseration on similar issues and a really interesting book to read is by Vivian paley. I think it is called superheros in the doll corner. It is a reflective account of a teachers responses to gender issues in the classroom and is quite thought provoking.

If this is of any interest I also have a few more books that may be of interest, although I don't have them with me now. typical! If you want anything just send me a private message and I will try to be of help. Do you want anything on the biological differences between boys and girls and how they learn as I have quite a bit on that.


Also if you have found anything I would be really really really grateful for the titles!! :):):)




Oh by the way don't be put off by the age of Paley's book it is still really relevant.


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I'm currently in my first year of the dce cache course and have been working/training at a very nice local school,

I don't know if this will help but i happen to agree that men are under-represented in the nursery education system and appears to be a great shame. We recently had a young secondary ed student come into the nursery and the boys flocked to him like bees around a honey pot, he seemed nice, friendly and polite which the children appeared to pick up on. The children reacted very well to him but i got the feeling he felt a little embarassed by the attention :o

At my childrens school they were recently interviewing for a foundation stage keyworker and man applied was shown around the setting with the other applicants but unfortunatley the nursery didn't choose to employ him. I felt this to be a great shame as the area i live in has a lot of social problems and a positive male influence could have a dramatic impact on the children's emotional if not overall development. Anyway that's enough of me harping on.jUST THOUGHT I'd add my two pennys worth.


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Our local Infants/Junior school has recently appointed a male Headmaster. Which can only be good news.


I work at a pre-school and over the last few terms we have had Dad's coming in to help, mainly with the computer, but sometimes with other things. The children really do enjoy it when Dads come in.


I am doing an NVQ3 in Eraly years and in the other group there is a man. Apparently it is the first time a man has done the course in the 15 years my tutor has been tutoring!!!



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