This past spring at an Educare Learning Network Meeting, one panel focused on getting men involved in early education. The vast majority of early educators are female – as high as 98% according to the recent national report “Transforming the Workforce.”

“Studies find that children achieve more when they have both female and male role models. Yet most teachers, especially in early childhood education, are women,” an Educare article explains.

The issue is important for Educare — a national system of high-quality, comprehensive, early education schools — because Educare is determined to use every tool it can to level the playing field for young children living in poverty.

The panel on men and early education was moderated by Steve White, senior director of school leadership for Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers, which is Educare Atlanta’s parent organization.

“When kids learn nurturing at a young age it makes a difference,” White says in the article. “So how impactful is it for this male teacher to show it? You can’t put a price on it.” 

White moderated the panel, which featured:

• Randy Berry, a family support specialist at Educare Atlanta

• Brian Bowers, a family support specialist for Educare Atlanta

• James Hollifield, a preschool teacher for Sheltering Arms, and

• Lee Shaw, the director of site management for Sheltering Arms

The article adds:

“The panelists explained how recruiting men into the early childhood field needs to be intentional. One way to encourage men to work with young children is to emphasize how teachers can inspire them through reading, singing, dancing and other learning activities.

“What keeps me in the field is that I like being around families and kids,” Shaw says. “It’s about having fun and seeing the day-to-day impact you have on the kids and their families.”

“We have the power to change lives as men and this is not a gender thing, it’s a real thing,” White adds. “I believe that my impact and the men in your programs impact goes beyond the obvious. And we have to allow that voice to be cultivated and be a part of the environment.”

To watch the panel discussion, click here or click on the image above.