Going International for Men in Early Care and Education
As a general rule, I avoid contemplating a world in which I have any large amount of disposable income. And yet, this week’s assignment provides just such an opportunity. There are some international organizations that are intriguing.
World Forum Foundation is an international community of practice that has supported the involvement of men in early care and education for many years. In 2008, 150 early care and education professionals met in Hawaii at the Working Forum on Men in Early Childhood and Education. The Working Forum on Men in Early Childhood Education (MECE) met again in 2009 and 2011. I would love to participate at a World Forum some day, but it is quite expensive. I appreciate the goal of MECE to provide “a global meeting place for male and female early childhood professionals to reflect on the value of gender balance in early childhood education and the benefits and barriers to men’s full participation, and to identify actions to promote these important issues worldwide” (Working Group on Men in Early Childhood Education, n.d.). This opportunity would be significant because it would provide me the opportunity to meet with those from countries with initiatives that are more advanced than those here in the U.S. Speakers at the 2009 meeting included Bryan Nelson from the U.S. and Jan Peeters, from Belgium. Both of these individuals have guided my Capstone project through their works.
I must also mention the Men In Child Care Facebook group that I began in 2011. We are international now, with many members from New Zealand and Australia that are very active in our group. I chose this community of practice because it is interactive and, as social media, it provides an opportunity to connect with others on a daily basis. When there are such few members of our community of practice, having others that can be contacted easily through social media is something that is truly special. We also have a member that will be going to China to teach.
My third international community of practice is the International Play Association. I chose this organization because of their mission – “Promoting the child’s right to play” (International Play Association World, n.d.). I also appreciate that they are promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The web site features an article, “UN Stands up for Children’s Right to Play” which cites “Article 31 (which) ensures that ‘State Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities… and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts’” (International Play Association World, 2013).
Jobs that interest me internationally
While not actually a “job”, World Forum Foundation has a Nature Action Collaborative for Children (NACC). I am interested in becoming a member. Currently there are more than 1,600 members. The only requirement is an “interest in re-connecting young children with nature” and members come from diverse backgrounds, including “architects, environmentalists, engineers, health professionals and early childhood educators” (World Forum Foundation, n.d.).
And imagine my excitement when I reads the following, “Male child care workers are probably the most highly sought-after professional group in Germany” (ChildForum, 2012). I was unable to find a job description or professional requirements for child care workers in Germany that were reasonably current.
The title of Playworker is a relatively new term to the world of early care and education. In 1975, the Joint National Committee on Training for Playwork began helping to make playwork a recognized profession, including conferences that began 1990 (Joint National Committee on Training for Playwork, 2006). I appreciate the history of playwork as having its roots in being “apart from… the agents of social control… attracting the unorthodox and recalcitrant characters that gave playwork its stroppy (sic) image” (Joint National Committee on Training for Playwork, 2006). I consider myself a rather “unorthodox and recalcitrant character” and as such, would enjoy being a part of a profession with such as history. Playworkers are involved with providing children with access to a society that Bob Hughes described as having “the opportunity to have a rich and diverse play experience throughout childhood… to live more playful lives in which exploration and experimentation are the norms…” (Joint National Committee on Training for Playwork, 2006). In the United States, there is an organization called Playworks. This is a more traditional program that encourages play in school districts. I did not find any employment opportunities with them, but will continue to explore their organization (Playworks, n.d.). I was able to find playworker jobs using http://www.jobisjob in the United Kingdom for part time, before and after school, children’s centre and nursery playworker positions. A learned that a half time playworker earned about $14,000 dollars a year in the UK (JobisJob, n.d.) (pounds to dollars conversion was done using the currency converter of MSN Money.
The job description for a Playworker position include “supervise, lead and assist children in activities and games whilst encouraging good behaviour… assist with serving of refreshments… take responsibility, along with other staff for the Health and Safety… of children… and staff.” Requirements included “Criminal Records Bureau Checks… experience of working with children in this age range… qualifications in Playwork… or other Children related fields… knowledge of suitable games. First Aid and Food Handling Certificates also welcome” (Bedfordshire.gov.uk, n.d.). The position also calls for “understanding a range of cultures (and) dealing with difficult behaviour” (Bedfordshire.gov.uk, n.d.). They even went as far as listing the “essential” dispositions in a “Model Person Specification: Playworker” – “enthusiastic, reliable, awareness of safety issues, ability to work in a team, enjoy working with children (and) willingness to train” (Bedfordshire.gov.uk, n.d.).
Bedfordhire.gov.uk. n.d. Model job description: playworker. Retrieved from http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/Resources/PDF/JobsandCareers/JobDescription/NVQ%20Playworker%20-%20Dunstable%20Icknield.pdf
ChildForum. 2012. Desperately seeking male childcare teachers in Germany. Retrieved from http://www.childforum.com/men-in-ece/campaign-for-men-in-ece-blog/820-desperately-seeking-male-childcare-teachers-in-germany-.html
International Play Association World. n.d. Retrieved from http://ipaworld.org
International Play Association World. 2013. Press release 1 February 2013. Retrieved from http://ipaworld.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/UN-Release.pdf
JobisJob. n.d. playworker jobs. Retrieved from http://www.jobisjob.co.uk/playworker/jobs
Joint National Committee on Training for Playwork. 2006. Celebrating a safe space for dialogue, the history and future of playwork training, 30th Birthday Party Conference, 7 December 2005. Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham Early Years Development & Childcare Partnership.
Playworks. n.d. Our story. Retrieved from http://www.playworks.org/about/our-story
Working Group on Men in Early Childhood Education. n.d. Men in early care and education. Retrieved from http://worldforumfoundation.org/wf/wp/initiatives/men-in-ece/
World Forum Foundation. n.d. Join NACC. Retrieved from http://worldforumfoundation.org/wf/wp/initiatives/nature-action-collaborative-for-children/join-nacc/