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Kari Emilsen Assistant professor Men or Women in Preschools…… What Does It Matter?

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Presentation on theme: "Kari Emilsen Assistant professor Men or Women in Preschools…… What Does It Matter?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Kari Emilsen Assistant professor Men or Women in Preschools…… What Does It Matter?

2 My focus: Presentation of the research project; “Men in nature and outdoor preschools”. Differences between male and female workers in preschools, and some consequences. Further research questions.

3 “Men in Nature and Outdoor Preschools” Research fellows Olav Bjarne Lysklett and Kari Emilsen Research project ( ) supported by the Norwegian Government through the Ministry of Education and Research, which is also responsible for preschools. Focus on male employees in nature and outdoor preschools, but we also interviewed both men and women in traditional preschools (272 persons).

4 The main research questions were: What characterizes men working in nature and outdoor preschools? What are the most important causes for the fact that many men prefer working in nature and outdoor preschools? Are nature and outdoor preschools particularly important arenas for recruiting men to professional child care? What are the female employees’ view on gender differences in preschools?

5 Research method Both quantitative and qualitative approach. We received questionnaires from; 79 men and 103 women in nature and outdoor preschools, 42 men and 48 women in traditional preschools, The questionnaires consisted of 6 pages with 37 questions. The data was analysed in the program SPSS. We also interviewed 10 men in nature and outdoor preschools, and 5 women. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed.

6 Gender a useful perspective? Some thoughts about gender research. We change conception about gender all the time, also in research. Some researchers claim that gender, as a social category, is probably no longer relevant because it changes over time. There has been a change from looking at social consequences of gender to focusing on social construction of gender (Brandth og Kvande 2003; Conell 2000; Bratterud m.fl 2006). It is also important to analysis of how gender is conceived in different contexts.

7 It can be useful to analyse gender and have in mind that: Gender is: Something given (nature-given/biological) with social consequences. Something constructed (make/renew) and shape the meaning/significance of. Something we do (practise), and we “do” gender differently in different settings (Bratterud Emilsen og Lillemyr 2006).

8 Research on children’s relations to adults’ social gender Gender research in preschools in Norway confirms general differences in the way children address women and men, and how often they seek contact (Berg 2006). The adult’s gender is an important factor when interacting with children, more important than age, experience and position in many cases (Berg 2006).

9 Expectations to male employees in preschools. Table showing mean score (range: 1 (disagree) to 6 (strongly agree)) Women in traditional preschools Women in nature and outdoor preschools Sign. t-test equal variances. p.= Men contribute with masculine interest in preschools n.s Men are more “ physical” when they play with children n.s Women expect men to take care of technical things in the preschool n.s N=48N=103

10 Expectations to male employees in preschools. Table showing mean score (range: 1 (disagree) to 6 (strongly agree)) Women in traditional preschools Women in nature and outdoor preschools Sign. t-test equal variances. p.= Men have more limited perceptions of a group of children at play Men are not as patient with the children as women. 2.3 n.s Men do not ”see” the children who do not do not join the play to the same extent as women n.s Men spend more time with every child n.s N=48N=103

11 Are there differences in how women and men interact with children in the preschools. Table showing percentage Traditional preschools Nature and outdoor preschools MenYes 8587 No 26 Do not know 126 WomenYes 7975 No 1716 Do not know 59

12 Categorized statements on differences between women and men in relations with children Men are more “physical” together with children than women. Men are more playful together with children than women. Men are less focused on safety and security than women. Men and women complement each other. It is a fact that there are gender differences in general.

13 Figure shows importance of more male workers in preschools in percentage.

14 Further questions I particularly want to highlight in future research; The significance of men in preschools; What are the consequences for the children and their socialization. What are the consequences for co- workers. What are the consequences for the preschools as a pedagogical organisation.

15 A glimpse of Norwegian children in nature and outdoor preschools.


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