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By Rose French ⋅ October 30, 2009 ⋅

Men involved in early childhood education are calling for the Government to address the lack of male teachers in New Zealand.

Ministry of Education figures from October 2008 show just 1.3 per cent of early childhood teachers are men, which is the lowest rate among developed countries.

Chairman of Early Childhood Men New Zealand (EC-MENz) Russell Ballantyne says the Government needs to put more money into recruiting male teachers.

EC-MENz is an independent organisation seeking to create and maintain “male friendly” early childhood centres in New Zealand.

early childhood educators

Early childhood educators (from left) Justin Naish, Lyle Champness and Russell Ballantyne swing Elsha Bulmer (4) at Early Childhood on Stafford. The trio are encouraging men to join their profession. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

It is not often three blokes could be considered a luxury.But in today’s early childhood education sector, people such as Russell Ballantyne, Lyle Champness and Justin Naish are a rare commodity, because only about one in every 100 early childhood teachers is a male.

What makes them even more extraordinary is they all work at Early Education on Stafford in Dunedin.

The trio are on a mission to change perceptions about men in early childhood education and show it is a rewarding and well-respected profession.

Mr Ballantyne, who has been in the job for 25 years, said the highly publicised court case of convicted Christchurch child-care worker Peter Ellis in the 1990s might have contributed to the decline in the number of men in the profession.

A fear of fostering relationships with children developed as a result.

“But the Peter Ellis case is part of the past. Early childhood education for males, we believe, is a very positive environment and men should be coming back to the profession.”

An article on Russell Balantyne in The Space, Issue No. 14, Summer 2008/09

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Te Whanau

EC-MENz  Incorporated) (NZ)

Tena  koutou,  tena koutou,  tena tatou katoa

Nga Mihi nui. Nga Mihi mahana

Tena  koutou,  tena koutou,  tena tatou katoa

A special welcome to Ron and Chris Blatz, who have voyaged across the globe from their home in Winnipeg.  Ron has agreed to travel down here to share the stories from his region of Canada and to outline the ways he has been instrumental in the recruitment and retention of male teachers in his centre in Canada.  We look very forward to his presentation and his contribution over the next two days. We also welcome Professor Helen May who will highlight the historical influences that males have had in this sector and perhaps this will lead to the question “Why has male influence and participation become so absent over the past century?”