March 15, 2023

What Early Childhood Education Looks Like: Normalizing Men in Childcare, Part III

At Early Learning Academies, we’ve had a lot of conversations about how to push back against harmful stereotypes in our industry and spread awareness of how things have changed for the better.

In our “What ECE Looks Like” series, we will celebrate rich, diverse stories and show how educators and leaders in the industry have worked to change things.

Many years ago, seeing a man working in childcare might have been considered unusual. These days, it’s widely acknowledged that children need different experiences and interactions with people of all genders and backgrounds to build a healthy foundation for educational, social, and emotional success.

We spoke with three male early childhood educators to learn about their path into childcare. Our third interview is with Da’Vincent Knight, Center Director for Educare Academy in Toledo, Ohio. Enjoy learning about his journey!

Da’Vincent Knight

Center Director, Educare Academy

Toledo, Ohio

How did your career path into early childhood education begin?

I’ve been around children and helping care for them with my grandmother since I was eight. When I needed a job at 19 and an offer presented itself to work at this same center, I took it. It all came together naturally.

What’s your favorite part about working in childcare?

I can’t choose just one favorite from the list of things I enjoy about working in childcare. I do enjoy knowing that I’ve made some kind of a positive impact on a child. Some of my first students have come in to visit me. Other students have reached out to let me know that I’ve helped them even after they’ve outgrown the center. I love making our families feel safe and comfortable within our center.

How do people respond when you tell them you work in childcare? Why do you think they react that way?

Most people are surprised. The initial mention of me working in childcare gets them. And then when I say how long I’ve been in the field, it really surprises them. I think it’s because most have never seen too many males working in childcare.

What advice would you give to men thinking about getting into the childcare field?

As long as the children’s safety is your number one priority, you’re already on the right path. Be as caring, fun, understanding, responsible, aware, and as positive of an influence as you possibly can at all times.

Normalizing men in childcare is important to evolving this industry. Check out Part I  and Part II of this series. Looking for more resources on this topic? Here are a few good places to start:

Male Early Childcare Professionals Matter

Men in ECE

What It’s Like Being a Male ECE Professional