ROLE REWARDS MEN ENCOURAGED TO WORK WITH KIDS
THE decision to switch from crunching numbers in the office to playing games outside was not an easy one to make for Matt Summons.
But when he saw an ad for a job at Norwest Child Care Centre a year ago, he took the plunge and left a career in accountancy behind.
“I’ve got a couple of small kids of my own and I just thought that I needed a change and an opportunity came up here,” he said.
“It’s quite enjoyable interacting with the kids and watching them grow and develop and learn.”
As one of four men employed there, Mr Summons said the centre makes a point of encouraging males to apply to work in an industry that is largely dominated by female workers.
“It’s quite a low paid profession and it’s an industry that has probably been viewed in the past as for women,” Mr Summons said.
“At first I think a couple walked in and were quite shocked to see a male but a lot of the kids are responding positively to me.
“They will come up to me at the end and give me a cuddle and say ‘see you later’.”
Today, Mr Summons works a rotating roster of morning and afternoon shifts and is also studying a Masters of Teaching (Birth-12 Years) at Western Sydney University.
“An average day involves everything from doing craft activities with them, playing with them in the yard, reading stories, getting them organised with lunches, helping them rest,” he said.
While keeping watch on the children is an important part of the job, Mr Summons said letting children explore helps them learn.
“I jump in if there is a conflict but I let them try to sort it out themselves,” he said.
Mr Summons said the career change has taken a lot of stress out of his life.
“You get the odd tantrum but they are usually pretty easy to resolve,” he said.
Matt Summons with Willow, Kaeden and Ally at Norwest Child Care Centre.