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Positive Male Role Models in Early Education

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to reflect on the need for positive male role models in education and the early educational environment.  Preschools and early education have primarily been a female-dominated industry but as times have changed, more men are drawn to contributing to early education by becoming teachers or helping out more as volunteers in their own children’s classrooms.

When speaking about the qualities of a positive male role model, I would like to suggest that in a perfect world we would not need gender specific traits associated with role models but it cannot be denied that a positive male presence in early education is needed for the holistic educational experience of our children.  Men who are educated and emotionally connected assist in guiding children on how to positively channel their emotions without suppressing them (i.e. girls being taught not to show anger and boys being taught to never cry); how to conflict resolve; how to properly channel social anxiety; or how to communicate effectively with the opposite sex. 

The Journal of Education and Human Development published an article by Joseph, Wright, Phil (2016) entitled “Men as Early Childhood Educators: Experiences and Perspectives of Two Male Prospective Teachers.”

“Notwithstanding negative public perception about men in early childhood education, the Trinidad and Tobago society stands to benefit from greater male participation in the education of young children. Carrington and Skelton (2003) remind us that such individuals can make a positive contribution to the ethos of the school through their role as mentors. Findings of the study also suggest that fathers and other male caregivers should find information on early childhood care useful to their own practice as parents and guardians.”

In general, addressing the needs of positive male role models in early education also impacts the way that we embrace gender roles in education.  The University of Cambridge outlines several characteristics that, I believe, are universal to any role model; male or female.

Integrity - Demonstrates self-awareness with insight into their own values, sticks to principles, consistent, kind and courteous. Relationship-focused - Strong interpersonal skills, empathetic, with the ability to communicate well.

Leadership - Influential change-maker, able to challenge the status quo as well as to be diplomatic.

Inclusive - Exercises influence and demonstrates a commitment to gender equality and overall diversity.

Pioneering - Inspirational in showing the way and proving what’s possible. Demonstrates different routes to becoming successful and from a range of backgrounds.

High-quality work and attitude - Determined work ethic, highly competent with the ability to prioritize.

Confident and Authentic - True to themselves, who they are and what they stand for, a strong sense of self, at ease with and able to co-exist alongside others.

Resilient - Courage to take a stand and put a head above the parapet for important issues.

As long as we start to change our collective view of men having the ability to be nurturing and caregiving then there can more of an acceptance for men as early educators.  With more men in the early education field, our children can openly experience the positive change in gender equality that we are all striving for.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who support the growth and education of children!

I would like to hear what you have to say about this topic!  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Olivia Barrick

M.S. Human Services

Marketing Communications

Discount School Supply

Press Release

Discount School Supply's Donation to Head Start Approach $1 Million


Excelligence Learning Corporation

Jul 12, 2017, 06:00 ET

MONTEREY, Calif., July 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Excelligence® Learning Corporation, a leading provider of educational tools and solutions to early childhood and elementary school teachers and parents, has once again partnered, through Discount School Supply (DSS), an Excelligence company, with the National Head Start Association (NHSA) through its Dollar Per Child Campaign to provide nationwide support for the nearly one million children currently in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. 

Building on a nearly twenty-year partnership between DSS and NHSA, this year's donation brings the total to $950,000. Discount School Supply’s Donations To Head Start Approach $1 Million Head Start/Early Head Start has improved the lives of more than 32 million children and their families since its inception and exemplifies the national commitment to give every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life. Jay Lerman, NHSA Treasurer and  Director of Strategic Partnerships at Frog Street, also an Excelligence company,  noted, "It is both an honor and a responsibility to work with NHSA on behalf of our country's most vulnerable children and their families, and a privilege to represent a company that supports this work with more than just words."   

Through the Dollar Per Child campaign, which aims to raise one dollar for each of the one million vulnerable children Head Start serves each year, NHSA ensures that the voices of at-risk children and their families are heard.  Dollar Per Child funds are used to amplify a unified voice, advocacy, and representation of all Head Start Children in Congress and on Capitol Hill, along with outreach and education to the public about the program.

Commenting on its long-term partnership with the NHSA, Dipak Golechha, Excelligence's President, said, "Millions of American children have benefited from the critical window of opportunity for educational success that is provided by Head Start and Early Head Start programs.  Discount School Supply is proud to continue its financial support through the Dollar Per Child program and, as we approach our twentieth year in partnership, look forward to breaking through a Million Dollars and beyond." 

About Excelligence Learning Corporation

Excelligence Learning Corporation is a leading developer, manufacturer, distributor, and multi-channel retailer of over 20,000 innovative, high-quality, and grade-appropriate educational products and teaching solutions, which are sold primarily to early childhood learning centers, elementary schools, PTAs, and consumers.  The company has three core divisions: Supplies (Discount School Supply® and Really Good Stuff®), Equipment (Children's Factory®, Angeles®, and Steffy Wood Products™), and Services (Educational Products, Inc. ®, ChildCare Education Institute®, and Frog Street®). With over 30 years of experience serving children, educators and parents, Excelligence's diversified portfolio of leading brands delivers quality, innovation, service and value on a global scale. For more information about Excelligence, please visit

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About Discount School Supply

Discount School Supply (DSS) is the premier one-stop shopping destination for early childhood education needs, providing a wide variety of products designed to help make early childhood learning fun. From its innovative and unique collection of exclusive items to well-known national brands, DSS has everything needed to support a classroom with everyday low prices and a 110% Low Price Guarantee. Leading proprietary brands include: Colorations®, BioColor®, Excellerations®, MyPerfectClassroom®, and Environments®.  For more information about Discount School Supply, please visit

About the National Head Start Association

The National Head Start Association (NHSA) is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 200,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Since 1974, NHSA has worked diligently for policy changes that ensure all at-risk children have access to the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family, and the community.

Contact: Olivia Barrick
Tel: 831-641-3018  

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