Imagine a preschool where all of the teachers, assistants, aides, and administration are men. That’s right. Men. Males. Young men. Old men. Divorced and single men. Men that recently graduated college. Men that are ready to retire.
Is it weird? Think about it. Let’s imagine a school, full of male early childhood educators.
Imagine a classroom. Perhaps yours, if it’s easy. Think of a young man, 25-years-old, sitting down at circle time, on your carpet. He’s singing the good morning song. It sounds like yours. A little different from what you remember, but all of the words are there. As the children sing and clap along, the assistant, a 55-year-old man, is wiping down the tables so the children have a clean surface to enjoy their breakfast. He’s older, with gray in his hair and beard. During the holidays, he’s a dead ringer for Santa.
This a little weird for you?
In the hallway is the creaking of a cart. On it are bowls of oatmeal and fruit. Cups and plates are stacked neatly as the center aide, a 60-year-old man, pushes the cart. He’s delivering a meal to each classroom. As he’s walking by, he hears the singing of the good morning song. He smiles to himself, as he remembers how he use to sing the song when he taught – and which he passed along to that new rookie teacher, the 25-year-old.
Did the guy prepare the food? Really? A guy that cooks for small children?
When the aide comes in the room, he puts the food on the table. The children turn from the song and wave “hi” to the aide. The aide waves back, then leaves the room. He wheels the cart back to the kitchen. He takes off his apron and hair net. He glances at the schedule. He’ll go to each classroom to relieve all of the teachers for their breaks – 10 minutes for each man. There are 3 teachers and 3 assistants. All men, in a school that serves 51 children – boys and girls.
Now, I’ve only mentioned ages, but what do they look like? Does it matter? White, black, brown, whatever. Thin and fat. Short and tall. Any kind of man you can think of. Imagine what you will. We’re just imagining, right?
In the office sits a center manager and family advocate. Both men are in their early 30’s. Both men have degrees in early childhood or child development. They work diligently at their computers checking to make sure the children are up to date on their immunizations. Men or coordinating parent-teacher conferences for over the next couple of weeks. According to the Child Plus records and DRDP measures, children are showing tremendous growth. Only two more months before the end of the school year. Before the end of the day, the center manager will order the children’s cap and gowns, a bounce house, streamers, and other celebration material. He’s excited to see the little ones get ready for kindergarten.
Alright, let’s stop right here for a moment. There is a lot to digest. Probably some questions popping up.
First, does this seem to weird for you? Does something seem wrong? Is this too hard to imagine? Does the idea of a preschool filled with nothing but men a little out there for comprehension? Clearly, a preschool full of men would be missing something. I mean, it’s full of men. Something is missing. The men would be teaching everything. Could they help all of the children? Could they do all of the hugs and comforting, then the bandages on the owwies? How would the parents respond? Would they like this? Could men do it all? Could they do everything?
So many questions and concerns!
Okay, okay. Let’s put your mind at ease. I can imagine that this story sounds comical and, perhaps, ludicrous. I mean, a school filled with men? Unheard of! Let’s start a different story, shall we? One that is easier to understand.
Let’s imagine an entire preschool we’re all of the teacher’s are female…
Moral of the Story: Young children need every kind of role model… women and men alike.
This is not an either/or question or situation. It’s not just all men or all women. Or some men with most women or vice versa. It’s men and women. Both working side by side, bringing examples, ideas, and energies that complete an early childhood experience.
But, who knows if that would ever happen. Men aren’t exactly flocking to preschools begging to be hired. And there are some preschools that don’t believe in men teaching young children. There are so many perspectives that go against this vision, and make my above story even more inconceivable.
However, imagine such a perspective. A brave one indeed!