Have you ever seen the movie Bambi? Good. Do you remember the scene when Bambi’s mother’s alert eyes as she senses that something is wrong and the hunter is nearby? Can you picture those eyes?
That’s how some fathers and men look when they walk into a preschool center: like a spooked, wide-eyed deer.
“Am I supposed to be here? I’m probaby the only guy in this building. Okay, just keep walking, do the small talk, drop off your child, then exit. I’ll go do something manly after this… like Home Depot.”
There is a popular view that preschool is a building meant for women. Most preschools are staffed by women. You rarely see men. If there is a man nearby, then their waiting in the car and playing on their phone.
That needs to change. Males are a rarity in early childhood education. Those that are part of this early childhood world need to start going in the building. The uneasiness and awkwardness men feel ease when they see another guy. There is instant commaraderie.
Man, am I glad to see you! I don’t know your name but you’re my friend.
It’s the same thing when men see me. I’m like the Male Ambassador to the world of preschool. Men see me and they ease up. Their shoulders slouch from the ease of tension and stress. The facial muscles relax as calming thoughts ease their thoughts.
My presence in a preschool center communicates a message: “Men, if I’m here, then it’s alright for you to be here too.”
Men, you have permission to put on a princess crown.
Men, you have permission to speak with a high-pitched voice and have a panda puppet on your hand.
Men, you have permission to sit at a table, your knees pressing against the edges, and enjoy a meal of applesauce and milk.
I believe in leading by example. I show other fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and men, that it’s okay to be in a preschool building that is full of nursery rhymes, small toys, and building blocks.
Get invovled men. You have permission.