A wild rumpus with EC-MENz Wellington
Last weekend our Senior Policy Advisor, Emma Madison-Ross and some Te Rito Maioha students, past and present, attended the EC-MENz hui, hosted by Robin and Toni Christie at their Childspace Workshop in beautiful Ohariu, Wellington.
Attendees enjoyed excellent presentations on: the affordances of managed risky play in infant and toddler spaces; the importance of having loose parts and open-ended objects that children can use to create their play environments; the work of some Victoria University of Wellington students to encourage more young men into early childhood education (ECE) teaching; and the reflections of a male ECE teacher whose career spans more than four decades.
Participants (both men and women) relished the lively discussions, which covered some fairly serious topics but were infused with humour and warmth, and supplemented by generous portions of pizza!
Many attendees also braved Robin’s prototype outdoor play equipment in his “dopamine forest”, sliding down the hillside and swinging from ropes.
Although this was certainly a fun day out, there is a serious purpose at the heart of this national group: to support New Zealand men to participate in early childhood education and to promote the many positive benefits of a more gender-balanced ECE workforce.
Te Rito Maioha strongly believes that the government must address the chronic under-representation of men in ECE teaching – currently sitting at about 2.6%. We think government and sector leaders must do more to encourage men to enter the ECE teaching profession, by raising awareness of the valuable contribution men can make to the care and education of our youngest tamariki and by normalising ECE teaching as a viable career for men.
If you wish to know more about the EC-MENz network, visit their website here.