Trickle down effect
I am loving water walls at the moment. I’m not sure where the idea originated, but it is certainly spreading and I keep seeing different versions here and there.
I have an additional reason to love this one.
The proud educator who supplied this picture mentioned her husband had made it. With the usual thrifty approach of early childhood educators, the frame was whipped up out of a $30 piece of wire mesh and some spare timber from the garage.
I have written about the issue of the shortage of men in early childhood education. This time I want to acknowledge the valuable contribution often made by men in this way.
Our kindergarten working bees are often well attended by fathers who come in with their tools, and their skills and their male strength and energy to rebuild, maintain and repair the building, furniture and grounds.
One of the great strengths of Family Day Care is that it is often a shared enterprise between a couple. The men who provide direct care in FDC may be few in number. But the men who help to make their home into a wonderful place for children are more numerous, often unsung by all but their grateful wives, and almost certainly paid less for their efforts than even the lowest paid childcare worker.
We recognise that early childhood education is not just about direct care, and not just about teaching. It is also, centrally, about facilitating learning. It is about designing activities and environments in which children are drawn into learning. Building the spaces and equipment for children to use is an important part of this.
Men who build water walls are contributing a lot to early childhood education. And many of them are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.