“Maman, this guy is my buddy!” (E, 3 years old)

Walking into the childcare centre, one of the carer was sitting in the kitchen. My little one pointed him out to me, saying “Maman, this guy is my buddy!” The carer offered his hand to do a high five, “cool, buddy, have a good day E”. Holding himself in a ‘cool manner’, my son reciprocated, smiled, laughed and walked on. Later on in the day, I picked my little one up. It made me smile when I noticed my son and his friends completed wrapped around the same carer, playing, what appeared to be ‘funny and cool games’. The carer was sitting with the children, amongst them, playing games that appeared to me engaging, fun, participative and particularly playful. It really made me think about the role of a male carer can have on such young children.

At the childcare centre and in schools where I work, I noticed there is a much higher concentration of male carers/teachers to what I am used to in the UK. I think it is particularly healthy for children, from a young age, to work with different people and role models. It gives the children a sense of  parity and equality. Isn’t particularly important to give children this experience in educational settings where they grow and develop their identity and experiences of the world?

I certainly feel that, in what I observed at my son’s childcare centre, the children appeared to have so much fun, engaged in fun and playful games, which created interesting interactions and opportunities for play and learning.

My son certainly has words to describe his connection to this male carer…’my buddy’.

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