Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Thomas Lynch, Founder of Dads Rock by Mike Prochaska
Thomas Lynch is the founder of Dads Rock, a support group for involved dads in Edinburgh, Scotland. They do play groups, classes for new dads and make sure dads get to bond with their children. Read on to learn more about this support group and the dad who started it...
Q. How did you get into this field?
“I was working for a bank when I had my first son. He changed everything. I realized I wanted to do something new and move away from the desk. He reminded me how much fun it was to play and discover new things. He was a huge influence on me making the move away from office work.”
Q. What do you see as the advantages of having a male teacher?
“Ha, that’s a tough question to ask. I mean, what difference does it make? And why should it make a difference? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I know it does make a difference. I’m just not sure why.
“The advantage to me is that I believe children need to see the reality around them, and by having both men and women who are interested in them, they will understand that men helping and supporting them is just as ‘normal’ as women helping and supporting them.”
Q. What’s your favorite memory working with kids?
“There are so many to choose from. I love the wonder and excitement of kids. Being alongside them when they discover something new, or when they love to watch or experience something so simple that we take so much for granted as adults. My 1-year-old son loves to watch birds in the sky, and watching them with him means everything to me.”
Q. What’s your favorite book to read to the classroom?
“'Where the Wild Things Are.’ It evokes so many memories for me, and I love the simplicity of the book.”
Q. Why is play important for children?
“Play is EVERYTHING. To us all. We learn so much about our place in the world through play, and we need to hold onto it and ensure we never stop playing.”
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
“Do it! We need more men, we need more diversity, we need everyone. The kids deserve the best.”
Q. Anything else you want to tell us about working with young children?
“It is the most important work any of us can ever do.”
Q. Can you tell us a little about Dads Rock?
“Dads Rock is here to inspire Dads, children and families. We want to ensure Dads and children have the strongest bonds they can. There is a good system and structure in place in Scotland to ensure that mums are supported and helped to have networks of other mums to connect with. There is very little for dads, that’s why we are here, to connect dads and ensure they know there’s others just like them.
"At our playgroups, we have inspiring experiences for dads and children to get involved with. We play, sing songs and tell stories. We also go on outings throughout the year. We all need support from time to time, and we all need people who are in similar situations that we can talk to. Our groups and services give dads that time to speak to others and get valuable peer support."
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