About Adam

Adam – The Man    By David Knell

Adam Buckingham is one of only a handful of male early childhood education teachers in New Zealand. It has long been recognised that gender diversity is desirable in the formative years of early learning and development, yet 99% of all early education teachers are women. How did this situation come about?

Childcare work and nurturing is seen as a woman’s role and the reason why men are reluctant to work in this area. However, more and more fathers are single parents and are involved in the day to day care of children. There is no doubt that women are doing an excellent job, but the feminisation of early childhood centres has been a barrier to the involvement of fathers.

Women are regarded as safe to care for young children, whereas any man who wants to work with children can’t be a “real man”. There is no evidence that male childcare teachers are all potential child abusers any more than women.

Also low pay and status has been cited as deterrents to men entering the occupation. Men are more likely to be the primary wage earner and need to support a family. However, this situation is improving, and an early childhood teacher at level 3 is on a par with a farmer, graphic designer or fire-fighter.