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Thoughts and feelings on male nursery nurses.

(44 Posts)
PrincessBambi Thu 06-Jan-11 19:51:26

Hello all
I am hoping for some help with my dissertation.....
I am a final year undergraduate student at university and I am researching parents perceptions of male childcarers within the nursery setting.
I currently work in a nursery and we have no male staff, although after speaking to a number of parents they have mixed opinions on how they'd feel about having male nursery nurses.
Some parents said they would be happy for their children to be around positive male role models.
Do you have any thoughts or worries about this?
I know there has been a lot in the news today about a male nursery worker in Birmingham being arrested on suspicion of abuse.

I would really appreciate any comments, Thanks


CaptainKirksNipples Thu 06-Jan-11 19:55:38

We have one at ours, he is fab. He has a child the same age as the kids he looks after. Dc laughed when they had a new nursery lady who was a man!

lifeinagoldfishbowl Thu 06-Jan-11 19:56:17

I am an ex nursery nurse / room leader and I have no problems with male nursery nurses or male staff working with the under 5's in anyway.

Some children don't have male role models to look upto and I think they need to see that men have a role in society in a caring way and that they can also work well with women.

pozzled Thu 06-Jan-11 19:57:27

My DD is in nursery 3 days a week and I think it is a real shame that there aren't any male staff there. IMO it's good for children to have contact with both men and women on a regular basis, especially towards the end of nursery when they're becoming more aware of the differences. I think more men should be encouraged to think of it as a career option. Personally I wouldn't be any more worried about a male carer than a female one- all nurseries nowadays should have safeguarding procedures in place which should apply to all members of staff.

purepurple Thu 06-Jan-11 19:58:20

I have worked with male nursery workers and only have positive experiences. They seem to have a magical effect on the children's behaviour. We had no problems with any parents. I wish there were more male nursery workers, they provide fantastic role models for children, especially those who don't have many positive male role models in their lives. It might also help to push wages up if more men were in the sector [hopes in vain]

TheMonster Thu 06-Jan-11 19:58:34

There is one at my son's nursery and he is brilliant. I am very happy that he is there.

QueenGigantaurofMnet Thu 06-Jan-11 20:00:08

I find it outrageous that anyone thinks it ok to assume that there is something "wrong" with a male in a caring role.

all males who work with young children must be a "pedo"
I see it as the same as fascists claiming all crime is commited by black men.

Such ignorance offends me

nickschick Thu 06-Jan-11 20:00:09

Im a female NNEB,Ive never worked alongside a male nursery nurse but I can see the pros and cons of having male nursery nurses.

As a young nursery nurse I worked very to the 'book' and when I returned a year or so later after having my own ds my attitude had changed I was far more hands on and I suppose realistic,it seemed that the young boys in my charge felt this extra energy and we had some real 'boy' fun - this is a skill I think that only comes to female nursery nurses with experience whereas interestingly I feel a lot of males have this 'instinct' within them.

My own H despite being a bit of a 'if a woman does the same job as a man pay them the same if she does it better pay it more' 'open minded' wink school of thought,wouldnt entertain the idea of a male nursery nurse hmm.

DS1 is fabtastic with children,hes in great demand for babysitting,very hands on with young children and he would be a great nursery nurse.

I wouldnt have any worries about a male nursery nurse but I think in my heart I still believe its a job for us girls.

Ktay Thu 06-Jan-11 20:00:42

We have a brilliant one at DD's nursery. DH isn't around much during the week and I think she really benefits from having another male carer in her life - they get on really well.

BertieBotts Thu 06-Jan-11 20:03:06

There are male playworkers at the children's centre I go to with DS (2) and he loves having them there, he hasn't had many male role models in his life so it's a positive thing, I think.

mollythetortoise Thu 06-Jan-11 20:03:37

There is a male nursery worker at my sons nursery too. He is great and my son (and the other kids) love him. He is more up for kicking the ball around in the nursery garden than the female staff (who are also lovely btw) and more active sort of play.

I was delighted when he joined as I knew my son would love him.

I think it's a shame if this latest incident puts parents off male pre-school workers or puts prospective men off nursery work.
I really hope it doesn't and I don't think it will (the plymouth case involved females afterall).

I have absolutely no worries about male pre-school workers.

theITgirl Thu 06-Jan-11 20:03:38

I loved DS's male Nursery worker. He was the one who spent ages showing him how to turn the pedals on his tricycle.
DS is now 9!

Trubert Thu 06-Jan-11 20:07:07

There was a male nursery nurse at our last nursery and there's one at our current nursery.

They were both great. Neither DH or I will ever have a problem with male nursery nurses any more than we would over male teachers, or doctors, or any profession involving contact with children.

HaveAHappyNewJung Thu 06-Jan-11 20:09:32

DD has a male 'teacher' at her private daycare, he's great. His DS goes to the local Playgroup which DD also attends.

I think it's fab, he's lovely with the DCs and they all adore him.

I have to admit on hearing the news about Birmingham, after the initial sorrow on behalf of the family involved, my next thought was that it's doubly unfortunate that it's a man - it'll just perpetuate the myth that all men who work in childcare are pedophiles

Bonkerz Thu 06-Jan-11 20:09:40

I work with a male nursery nurse. He also has a daughter the same age as the room range he looks after. He is very good at his job. The kids have really taken to him, infact it was a shock to see how well the girls took to him. He adds a whole new dimension to the preschool room and its seen a positive change since he started.

I am concerned about how we handle this new news about the male nursery nurse found abusing a child at a nursery in Birmingham though. (I presume this is why the question is being asked now)

After the peado ring was found at the last nursery we took steps to reassure nervous parents about mobile phones in the setting etc BUT this will be harder to reassure parents of. Luckily the nursery is purpose built and we have glass panels on all toilet doors etc and we also overstaff as much as possible meaning no member of staff is left on their own BUT we will still have some parents who will question us.

PrincessBambi Thu 06-Jan-11 20:19:35

Thank you all so much for your comments.

I too believe that male nursery staff can make a positive difference. We currently have a male student on a 4week college placement within the nursery and after just two days he has already shown his potential. It must be daunting for a young male student to come into an environment with 13 female staff. He is very enthusiastic and has been asking lots of questions to familiarise himself with the children and the nursery routines. He has also shown more initiative over the last two days than members of staff who have been working here for a few years. I have nothing but praise for him and think that more males should be encouraged to go into chldcare.

helencw77 Thu 06-Jan-11 20:21:38

The room leader in the pre-school room (3-5 years) at my dcs nursery is male, and the room assistant is also male too. The room leader is fab, the children love him, he is very good natured and gets on with both the boys and the girls, my son was particularly enamoured with him !!

The room assistant is also really nice, but took a bit more getting used to. He has long hair, stubble, and a pierced tongue (!) so had the overall "scary" look, my dd hated him (when she was 2-3 and in the same room), she used to hide from him and it did bother me for a while. However, all the other children liked him and when he moved from the 2-3 to the 3-5 room, he seemed to get on better still with the children. My daughter also moved from the 2-3 room to the 3-5 room at the same time, much to her horror, but as she matured she seemed to hit it off much better and he told her he was a pirate...........

So, I think it's really good to have male members, even more so as role models for boys. I think that children get on/don't get on with carers just depending on their particular character, my dd has often taken a dislike to people for no apparent reason, so this man was not unique !! When she was going through her hatred of him though at the age of 2, it did unnerve me if I'm really honest as I'd never had that experience at nursery, but as I said, I think it was more his "look", and she wasn't used to that.

sammich Thu 06-Jan-11 20:33:12

I dont know if this seems odd or against what it should of been but when i was interviewing for a new post in my setting and i had two candidates on the shortlist one was a man and one was a woman and although very similar cvs i went for the man because some of the children in my setting might are from single parents or have dads in the military so they dont see them a lot and its good for them to see someone male in a role that usually just has females

There should be a greater push to have men in childcare as they bring a different energy and ideas to the setting and its not right to say any man who works with children is going to abuse them just as its not right to assume any woman who works with children is going to abuse them (as it seems to have been the case recently a lot more women in childcare have been found guilty of this)

PrincessBambi Thu 06-Jan-11 21:49:24

Thanks everyone
Its so nice to hear so many positive comments

nannynick Fri 07-Jan-11 00:02:57

It's great to hear all these positive comments. Been a while now since I worked in nurseries, when I started doing that in early 1990's attitudes were somewhat different, so it's great that you are all seeing the positives.

Foxy800 Fri 07-Jan-11 07:51:18

Hi there, I worked with a male nursery nurse a couple of yrs ago and he was great. Sadly he moved so left the job. I have been in childcare 14 years and have only worked with a small handful who were all great. I think it is a really shame there are not more in the profession. It is such a positive thing for the children that attend the setting.
My daughter is no longer at nursery but if she was I would have loved her to have had a male nursery nurse in the setting. (She is in reception and there are several male teachers in the school, not in her class but she has a male pe teacher. She talks about him with such fondness, like she does the teacher and teaching assistants in her class.).

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Fri 07-Jan-11 08:10:04

I've never worked with a male nursery nurse and I feel that's a shame. Anecdotally I've heard of several and I've worked with male playworkers and youth/camp leaders in regulated (playscheme type) and unregulated settings (like Scouting)

Firstly men provide a different kind of interaction and often have instinctively different approaches to play and communication - not making a value judgement on whether it's better or worse - just no matter what the activity whilst women nursery nurses and mothers will generally approach it in one way, fathers and male childcarers will have a different approach and I'm extrapolating that to a professional nursery environment. So they bring a new perspective which can have impacts on planning, activity provision, implementation and evaluation.

Secondly they're role models, not just as many in a caring profession but also they model male behaviour for boys to copy.

Third all female envirmonents get bitchy. Without exception the staff atmosphere has been better on playschemes where there's been a bloke in the room.

Fourth men are in childcare because they've made a concious choice to be, usually for the right reasons although sadly cases like this prove some people are in it for all the wrong ones. Women sometimes end up there and someone who wants to be there and is dedicated is a more positive influence than someone who ended up there because they could become a nursery assistant after leaving school in possession of 2 GCSEs and a uterus.

I could go on but then I'd be veering into the stereotypes of men being more sporty and energetic, which is a huge advantage in playschemes when you want to wear the kids out, or more confident to make fools of themselves, which is great for getting a group of reluctant cubs to join in, or more willing to get mucky, which is probably what the cubs wanted to do in the first place!

Mummy2Bookie Fri 07-Jan-11 10:05:34

I like the idea of male carers, there is not enough male carers,but then again the money is crap so I'm not surprised.

Astrophe Fri 07-Jan-11 10:11:29

We had one at DD's old nursery. He was very nice and although at first it was strange to see him there (just because its not that common), there were never any problems at all. I think it was especially helpful at that nusery as it was a Surestart nursery with many underprivledged kids who probably benefited even more than most from the positive male role model.

StuffingGoldBrass Fri 07-Jan-11 10:18:33

When DS was at nursery, there was a male worker there for a short time: the nursery manager asked all the parents what they thought and I said I would be very glad for DS (and all the kids) to see a man in a childcare role. Unfortunately this particular man was not good at the job and didn't last long (don't panic: AFAIK it was a case of him being lazy and unreliable rather than a PEEEEDO!).
Our favourite playgroup was run by a man and the atmosphere was a bit different to the other (all-female-run) playgroups we went to: again, I am very much in favour of more men in childcare/playgroup positions simply because it's good for DC to grow up seeing that men can do childcare too.

On a slightlyoff-topic note, I remember my father being a bit appalled that I bought DS a pushchair and baby doll when he was 2, but rethinking it when I explained that if DS grew up to be a father he would push his own baby in a pushchair and all the little boys at playgroup were just as keen on the toy pushcharis as the girls were...

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