Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Childhood Educator Steven White by Mike Prochaska
Steven White is an early childhood teacher at Tiptoes Children’s Day Nursery in the United Kingdom, as well as a 30Seconds contributor. I want to thank him for taking time out to answer my questions. I am very excited about how many men came out to tell me their stories.
Q. How did you get into this field?
"I had been studying a PGDE in Outdoor Education at the University of Edinburgh, alongside picking up some lecturing work in two further colleges here in Scotland. My vision was to utilize the natural world to help people connect with nature and see all the possibilities for a fuller life.
"I felt that if we are to encourage positive changes to society, then the early years is where we must focus most of our attentions on! This stage in life (0-7 years of age) is arguably the most important stage in a person’s development. The nurture and guidance that we receive in our early years is what fundamentally provides us with such abilities as coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills for when we are older."
Q. What do you see as the advantages of having a male teacher?
"The belief is that to create a sense of place and purpose in one’s self, we promote richer experience’s, where we further develop children’s understanding of this world and those that we share it with, through engaging with a variety of different types of people. It is important that children experience and engage with positive role models across the board. There is no specific advantage, as we only ask that when you engage with children you do so with empathy, connection and nurture, basically be a good person regardless of sex or race."
Q. What age group do you work with? What’s your favorite memory working with kids?
"My current role focuses in on children aged 3 months to 6 years of age. My fond memories are of observing children’s natural curiosity of their world and observing how they work tirelessly to make sense of it. I particularly enjoy working with our youngest children, the learning and developing that occurs at this stage of life is fascinating."
Q. Anything else you want to tell us about working with young children?
"It is a gift to be able to engage with children during these crucial years of their development. A cliché to say that no one day is the same, however, I’ve been hard pushed to relate the variety that we are exposed to in this career to any that I’ve been in previously. It is a very fulfilling role, though an extremely difficult one in the same sense. It is a great privilege to be able to nurture another’s child, and importantly the individual child themselves. I would recommend the role to anyone that is willing to work hard and learn, as it is not an easy to educate, nurture and guide children on a day-to-day today basis."
Q. What’s your favorite book you read in the classroom?
"'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson."
Q. Why is play important for children?
"Simply it is the best way for children to learn and express themselves freely without the boundaries of the adult world."
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
"Go in with a hard work ethic and an open mind. Challenge things that don’t make sense and don’t accept bog standard experiences for children. The only limitations are the ones that we create. Remember your inner child and this will stand you well in the years ahead."
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