Clayton Early Learning
19Jun/13Off

How do Men Impact Early Childhood Education?

SorenG

Member of MEC, male teacher reading to small childAs staff members of the Clayton organization, we often have one particular issue within the early childhood field that we are particular passionate about.  In my case it is providing support to males who work in Early Childhood Education. In working with this topic, I began to look into what resources were available for males who work in the ECE field. I found that within the Colorado area the resources that a male working in the ECE field could access were limited or non-existent. In 2011, I began the creation of an organization with three other male ECE professionals that would have an active presence for males working in the ECE field called Men in Early Childhood-Colorado (MEC) www.mec-colorado.org.  The organization is committed to developing a network that provides support, advocacy, and education to in order to retain and to recruit additional males to work in the field.

Member of MEC, male teacher reading to small boyRecently, on June 1st, MEC held the 2013 Summer Conference at Clayton Early Learning. The conference began with a keynote address by Doug Gertner, The Grateful Dad, www.thegratefuldad.org. The keynote address was entitled, Understanding Men’s Lives: Theories of Masculinities, and the included the following discussions:What is it exactly that defines a man and makes masculinity distinct from the feminine? Why are men the way they are? These questions can inform the work of early childhood educators, both men and women, and help to encourage more men to enter this work, and more fathers to be involved in schools and classrooms. We’ll begin by examining several theories about male gender role development, review the major men’s movements, and seek a better understanding of male behavior, in order to deepen our ability to attract and support male teachers and serve fathers in our schools and centers.

Member of MEC, male teacher helping small girlDoug’s keynote provided some valuable insight into how we as an ECE community can continue to improve our ability to support males who work in ECE and of course, the fathers of the children in our programs. The remainder of the conference topics was ones that we are passionate individually as ECE professionals. We had a panel of three individuals (Andrew Goff, Ben Wilkins, and I).  Andrew spoke about Boys in the Classroom and provided some quick and easy tips and strategies to help with those energetic and active boys in the classroom. Andrew specifically spoke about utilizing the different learning styles of boys and how we can equate them with the different child development theories. Ben spoke about Technology in the classroom and provided the participants some hands-on examples about activities that they could do in their classrooms. He share with the group about items that he has in his classroom and appropriate applications for early childhood setting I spoke on how logical strategies to support men who work in the ECE field. We ended our time at the conference with a guided discussion about, “What does School Readiness Mean.” Being that the participants were primarily all from ECE backgrounds, we had many of the same ideas and thoughts behind this question.  The discussion revolved around how there is different aspects to school readiness. These aspects include cultural, academic, school setting, and home setting.  . With the conclusion of this discussion, our conference was over. It was a good time for all and we look forward to seeing you at our next conference or possibly assisting us with our fall music event for fathers. How would having a male ECE educator benefit your child or school?

SorenG

About SorenG

Soren Gall currently serves as a Supervising Teacher at Clayton Early Learning, where he has taught for two years. In addition to his roles and responsibilities at Clayton, Soren serves on the Denver Metro District Board of CAEYC, the Editorial Advisory Panel of Teaching Young Children, Reviewer for Dimensions (Magazine Publication from Southern Early Childhood Association), and Executive Director of Men in Early Childhood-Colorado. After earning a B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado in Social Studies with a minor in Early Childhood Education, Soren attended Oregon’s Pacific University and received a Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Early Childhood.
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