Male kindergarten teachers 'bring benefits'
Only between one and two percent of kindergarten teachers are male in Austria - despite the fact that male teachers bring many benefits, according to a leading education expert.
Bernhard Koch from the University of Innsbruck has said there should be a policy to recruit more male kindergarten teachers, and even financial incentives to encourage more men to train for the traditionally female profession.
He said that childcare tended to be associated with ‘mothering’ and that men who want to go into the profession are often discriminated against as they are unfairly linked with child abuse and violence.
He added that training schools for kindergarten teachers often focussed too much on singing, and not enough on sports - which male trainees tend to be more interested in.
Margarita Randl, who runs a private childcare company in Vienna called Gymboree, told The Local that one of her teachers is male and has proved to be a firm favourite with the children - teaching their popular sport and Play & Learn classes.
More and more children are growing up without a male parent, and Koch believes that good male kindergarten teachers could become role models and prove crucial for a young child’s development.
Koch said he saw no disadvantages to having more men teaching in kindergartens and that they could only help promote the image of “the caring man”.
He added that mixed gender teaching teams reported having better communication and a good mix of quiet and more active games.