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New Male Nursery Assistant


Maria M
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xD I'm so please we finally have a male nursery assistant. We have had numerous positive comments from parents, especially the ones with absent male figures in their families.

 

He's been with us for the past few months on a part-time basis from one to three days a week. As with any new assistant, he was not asked to carryout any personal care when he first started as a new staff member doesn't know the children and like wise, the children are not comfortable with them.

 

He has now settled in and I have just carried out his three month job chat to see how things are going and to set the way forward. During this chat we got to the issue of taking children to the toilet and nappy changing. He stated he was adamant that this was not an area he is prepared to cover. He is not going to put himself in that position of being accused of something. Even if another staff member is there, he will not wipe children clean or will he touch a child in this way. He will only take a child to the toilet if they can do it all themselves. Yes there are children in the nursery who can do this all by themselves, but most do still need help on occasions as you well know. He finished by sayig if he's asked to he will leave. :o:(:(:(

 

Obviously it would be a great shame to lose our first male staff member so soon after starting the post, and do understand his concerns, but I am left with a big problem. Any other member of staff would be under disciplinary for refusing to do carry out tasks asked of them.

 

I have not come across this issue before, and would love some ideas from you all out there. Anyone else had the same experience or have male staff working alongside female staff harmoniously? I now have the rest of the staff saying, only joking at the moment, that "Oh I don't think I want to do ............." which is creating bad feeling. It looks like the only way out is for him to leave.

 

Help please!

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ahhh, it would be a shame if he left....

 

i can see this from both sides, unfortunatly have no experience of it though...

 

thing is women can also abuse children, so by him saying he is not going to put himself in this position then surely female staff can say it too?....

 

assumibly he is police checked, so his gender (in my opinion)makes no odds, he can't refuse to do what others have to do....

 

Dawn

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I've worked with a few men in nurseries and they all did the same jobs as the female staff. At one nursery it was compulsory for a member of staff to be in the toilet with the children which might mean a man being there, especially at lunch time when other staff were on breaks.

It would be a shame if he felt he had to leave but to refuse to do a job purely because he might be accused of untoward behaviour is, as your other staff have pointed out, hardly fair on them.

Maybe if he'd been there longer and there was a tradition of the children being toileted by a man he'd feel more comfortable but everyone has to start somewhere.

If he leaves will he actively look for a setting where he is barred from changing nappies? I think he needs to think very hard about his career choice if thats the case.

I hope you find some way to resolve this.

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This is a difficult one, my husband felt the same way being the main carer as a foster parent. His main fear is allegations. As Foster carers we have in place what is called a safe care policy, basically looking at ways to diminish the risk of accusation whilst still providing required intimate care.

Preschools and nursery's should all have similar policies, to safeguard against allegations. The risk of allegations are, or should not be,gender based, in other words the safeguards we impliment are for both genders, ie: CRB checks, references, policy into practice - policy may be to promote childrens individual self care skills with appropriatte adult support, in practice in my setting this is shown by children using the toilet who ask to have their bottoms wiped are supported in doing it themselves ( the adult - male or female, places the tissue in the childs hand and guides the childs wrist to enable the child to learn to wipe his/her own bottom). Practices such as recording nappy changes etc. general supervision of staff, knowing how long they have been with a child in the toilet area - I as leader am aware of this with all my female staff.

 

Maybe if you could show this staff member your safeguard against allegation policy,

discuss ways in which he can do this important part of his role which is appropriatte for the children,

talk about the message he is giving the children if he does not carry out this part of his role,

talk about his fears in practical terms and how they can be accomodated whilst still carrying out this role,

talk about why he thinks he is more at risk of accusation than other members of staff,(predjudice should be challenged, in other words don't pander to others predjudice by acting upon their predjudice)

do the childrens fathers carry out this care at home ( of course they do), so why can't he?

how do male childminders deal with this?

 

He needs to understand, and feel that he is in a trusted position and is trusted to do ALL aspects of this position. Talk about the what if's.....how you as an employer would deal with worse case scenario...for him or any other member of the staff team.

 

Children don't discriminate against male carers, all they want is adult care and support, irrespective of gender.

 

What next will he refuse to play physical games such as rough and tumble games in case he is accused of physical harm which may result in this play, or avoid football in case a child gets hurt because he kicks the ball too hard and it hits them?

 

Unfortunately in this world there are people who will cause trouble, people who will make false accusations in my 20 year career I have had two false accusations of mental and physical abuse made against me, it is an awful, awful experience, but I had the systems in place to deal with them. What I am trying to say is that accusations are not aimed at just male carers and if we all left our jobs in fear of being accused of malpractice where would we be then?

 

You are welcome to show your staff member my comments. I do genuinly understand his fears but he really needs to get them into perspective and the main fear I feel is the lack of knowledge on what happens if an allegation is made.

 

 

Peggy

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Would a female car mechanic refuse to change a tyre or get away with refusing? This is the example I used when I was faced with exactly the same situation!

Also -unfortuantely this is part of his job description!

 

I feel he should take this if he is really keen on the job

 

 

My husband has his NVQ3 in Early Years and works with us at the Nursery -he has just butted in!!!! Getting him hooked on this as well -havent shown him the site up until now as I wouldnt get a chance to go on here! He says its part and parcel of the job and says maybe your staff member is a bit unsure of what to do and what he can and cant do? My husband was told directly by a parent that they didnt want him to change or accompany their child to the toilet, I had to challenge the parent, it wsasnt easy and they threatened to leave.

 

I believe in being open and up front with my staff and think you should sit and have a chat with him.

 

good luck

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:o Thanks everyone your replys have confirmed my thoughts.

 

sharonash and hubby- I know we will have to have another chat, but I don't think there'll be any reasoning. I know he will still refuse and will leave, but I can't have this within my staffing. He has already been told he will be supported, shadow staff initally, so he can take it step by step until he feel confident, but this didn't seem to matter. Most young girls haven't changed a nappy or toileted a young child, so I see no difference either. Feel an advert for a new assistant coming on xD !!!

 

Wish me luck for next week please.

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Hi

 

I agree with sharonash and hubby changing bums is part and parcel of the job if he doesn't do it, it is like taking on all the good parts of the job and refusing to do the not so good and that just isn't fair on the rest of your staff. Do you not think that he might be having a go and threatening to leave to try and get out of doing it but he might just be testing and will stay anyway.

 

I don't really understand how he can expect to be a carer of young children but not have to change them. I am sure if he tried to go to another job he will come up against the same walls You are the manager and he cannot dictate to you what he will and will not do. I agree with the analogy above about the lady mechanic. it all boils down to equal ops and if he gets special treatment for being male you might have a discrimination law suit on your hands by your female employees. If he is not prepared to take on all parts of the job then he doesn't really want the job I say.

 

That is my rant over

 

Deb

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We have a male nursery nurse at our setting too, and he does exactly the same job as the female staff. He doesn't complain about the toilet jobs, we all have to do them, he just gets on with the job.

 

I agree with the comments regarding equal opps etc. and I also agree that it could cause problems amongst the rest of your staff. I understand that with a shortage of male nursery nurses, you would be keen to hold on to your male staff member but at the same time, I would not be going out of my way to keep him happy just so he will stay. I believe that if he insists on adopting this attitude to this aspect of the job, his career in early years may be shortlived anyway. I'm not saying that is what you're doing by the way!

 

I would tell him the score, the aspects of the job that he is required to undertake and if he chooses to leave, then that is down to him, but it won't look very good on a cv or at an interview for another early years position.

 

Good luck with it anyway!

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Let us know how you get on Seashore. It would be a shame to lose him but I agree with everyone else in terms of equal opps. It would cause all manner of conflict within your team if he was allowed to get his way.

 

Good Luck!

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  • 8 months later...

Have to say as a male in the early years...

 

I've spent 15 years working for greater recruitment and retention of males and while I totally empathise with the 'fears' the man may have, to give in to these and demand different treatment/conditions utterly defeats the point and gives more weight to the shallow arguments of others...(see cushion on lap post etc).

 

I really hope he sees that if he has the backing of his staff etc he is in a great position to fully experience the work of key worker for children. This involves all those tasks everyone else does!!

 

I made the decision early...do the job properly or not at all (and fight those who say you should not be allowed to do so if checked and capable!!! )

 

Enough for now.. offer him reassurance and support, if he wants to be singled out by his gender send him on his way. There are plenty of settings that will gladly label him as somehow less trustworthy and he need never go near a toilet or nappy :0(

 

J-P

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Hi from me too jpc, an old topic but acurrent issue. xD A programme on Teachers TV last week was male teachers talking about their roles. I didnt see it but it covered things such as toileting, and the good and bad points about the job.

Welcome aboard, and in case I've whet anyones appitite, the programme is here Men in primary :o

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And a great big hi from me, too!! Please be active again, we need the male viewpoint here!

 

I worked briefly in a setting where men were welcome but barred from 'intimate care' - what was the point!!? talk about tokenism xD:o

 

Keep on truckin' - Sue x

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Hello jpc and a warm welcome to the forum. xD

Indeed a recurring topic, agree entirely that this man is not enablinga change of attitude towards male carers, and is in fact giving more weight to discrimination. However, the leader, staff and parents are actually showing a positive non discriminatory attitude which shows that the challenges men face within the sector are diminishing. :(

 

yes, I too wonder what happened in the end. :o

 

 

Peggy

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Just noted the date!!! DOH

 

How did it end?

 

J-P

Glad its not just me then. If I had a pound for every time I have done that I'd have... oh at least a fiver! Welcome to the forum - am looking forward to hearing more about your experiences as a trailblazer for men in early years! Does the responsibility weigh heavily on your shoulders?

 

Maz

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Hi

Welcome from me too.

It's great to hear of men working in childcare. My son (17 at the time) started a job in a preschool but after a term he left as he couldn't stand the bickering between staff and some rather unpleasant comments from some of the parents. His supervisor told him he was a natural and the kids loved him - great to have a male role model etc. Some of the staff were really spiteful to him and each other and the supervisor seemed unable to intervene as she was not the most confident of people (she was made supervisor as she was the only person in a setting of 9 staff the have a level 3). Some of the parents also seemed to view my son with suspicion for wanting to work with young children. Such a shame as he loved the job and was prepared to undertake all available training.

He went back to college and is now training to be a teacher.

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Hi jpc, Well I think it's great for Early Years, The children love any male visitors we have in as they add a different dimension. I wish there were more male NN out there, I know the moneys not great but the job sure is rewarding!!

Parents just need a little educating, males receive the same training, suitability checks etc. There are some people who would never change their veiws and we kind of have to accept that.

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