Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Australian Early Childhood Educator Nathan Johnson by Mike Prochaska
Nathan Johnson works at Regand Park Early Childhood Education Centre in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. We are both in the Mentor in Early Childhood Education group on Facebook, and he took time out of his busy day to answer my questions!
Q. How did you get into this field?
"Honestly, the way I got into this career was purely by a bit of luck. Both of my sisters were working at the center I work at and still are working here. I was at my old job and not enjoying it at all. They told me about a position available for a trainee and [I] went and had an interview with the director, and have loved it ever since! I mean, I have always loved children and have a lot of nieces and nephews, but love my career now and being able to make a difference in a child’s life."
Q. What do you see as the advantages of having male teachers?
"Where to start?! There are so many advantages to having males working in EC! I mean, I guess the obvious one would be that young children get both male and female strong role models in their life from a young age. Some families are single parents, being mothers, so I guess it gives those children a positive male influence in their life … Also, some children just really bond with males [over] females, so to be able to get more males in the workforce and get the best out of these children is a positive for the future. And I think it really helps show the community that it is OK for males to work in this industry!"
Q. Anything else you want to tell us about working with young children?
"Working with young children is such a thrill to me as every day is a different day and that’s exciting. I work with the infants class, being the 6 weeks to 18 months age group, so in the year that I have the children you see them grow and develop so much! It’s honestly quite amazing to watch this happen. The first five years is so vital to brain development for every child, so I believe the role that educators play in young children’s lives is second to none."
Q. What is your favorite memory working with kids?
"There are so many great memories I have had working with children in only my short career, so far of six years. I guess watching the little ones I look after reach their developmental milestones and being able to celebrate that with them and their families is amazing! To share that enjoyment with them truly is wonderful and why we do what we do."
Q. Do you have a Facebook page or blog you would like to share with us?
"I would love to share a personal page of mine that I started up about a year and a bit ago. It’s called Stories With Nathan. It’s a channel I started where I get on and read children’s books for some of those families who might not have the time to read to their children every day. Also, I did [it] so there is something that is fun and child-friendly on the Internet, as so many children have access to it these days. Hopefully everyone enjoys them. My director has also started up a Facebook group called Essentials in the Early Years, which is really inspiring and helpful for educators."
Q. What is your favorite book to read to your class?
"Ummm, that’s tough. We have so many we love to read. I guess when I was in the older classroom my favorite would have to be ‘The Day the Crayons Quit.’ The children loved it! For the younger room [it would] probably have to be ‘The Very Silly Sheep.’ I love being able to make the different animal noises and get a reaction out of the children. We make funny noises together."
Q. What’s your favorite activity to do in your classroom?
"I wouldn’t say I have one favorite activity I like to do with the children, but many. I do love getting outdoors and getting active. Love the ‘Munch and Move’ program and really like to help push the younger to each different developmental milestones in the gross motor category."
Q. How do you feel about this man who got fired just for being male?
"I think it is a disgrace that in this day and age somebody got fired from doing what they love because of their sex. It’s morally wrong and I feel for him very much. It’s hard to be a male in this industry, which is why we need to promote males in EC more and more and make it more widespread and OK for males to work in this industry. My director was one of some who actually offered this man a job if he ever felt the need for a move, so we are very passionate about this in my service."
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