While the benefits of male role models in early years are evident, it is important to acknowledge that not every child will get to experience a male role model in their life. This could be due to a variety of reasons and it is important that we are proactive and come up with ideas that can help bring men into the setting to ensure that every child is able to interact with a positive male role model. There are a variety of ways that you can do this…
- Research your Local Community
Your local community could be a fantastic place to start when it comes to finding male role models for the children, from having a local farmer come in to talk about/show off some animals to getting a local librarian to come into the setting to read a story. On top of this, you could find volunteers who are happy to help out when you have events or just need a helping hand.
- Use Resources and Books that Demonstrate Different Perspectives!
Educational materials, books and media can be an amazing way of showing and teaching children about the world today, but it is important that we ensure each of these resources cover a variety of different experiences. Showing children books that have males working in different roles such as nurses or stay-at-home dads can be a great way of breaking down gender stereotypes and allowing children to be aware of the different experiences everyone may have.
- Collaborate with Families:
One of the easiest ways to get male role models into your setting is to collaborate with the families. It is highly likely that you have a wide range of families that are from different cultures and have different experiences. So why not ask the parents to come in and talk for a bit? You could get them to read or tell stories, help out with events at the setting or just come in and play.
- Train Educators and Caregivers:
Educators and caregivers can help to play a massive role in compensating for a lack of male role models. If staff are aware of the benefits that a male role model can provide, then they are aware of what they can to do help support this and adapt their role to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the child.
Overall, having male role models coming into the setting to interact and engage with the children can have a huge impact on their development and their ability to build positive relationships with male figures as they grow up; however, in some scenarios, it is not always possible for a male role model to come to the setting and interact with the children. This is why training is so important, staff need to be aware of what it is that they can do to ensure the children are being heard and having their needs met, moulding them into the adults we want to see in our world.