ROLE RE­WARDS MEN EN­COUR­AGED TO WORK WITH KIDS

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES + SERVICES - Laura Tri­este

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.

Pic­ture: MELVYN KNIPE

Matt Sum­mons with Wil­low, Kae­den and Ally at Nor­west Child Care Cen­tre.

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