Broth­erly love leads to teach­ing ca­reer

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

It took a ter­ri­ble af­flic­tion suf­fered by a sib­ling for Anaru Jones to find his call­ing in life.

The 22-year-old from Stokes Val­ley helps out at Tui Park Kinder­garten in Lin­den four days a week as part of pro­gramme run by Whanau Maanaki Kinder­gartens.

The Y-Men ini­tia­tive has seen 32 men, in four groups in the past year, placed in a Welling­ton re­gion kinder­garten for six months to see whether teach­ing is some­thing they want to pur­sue.

Go­ing into the sec­tor wasn’t some­thing Jones thought of un­til last sum­mer, when his younger brother Mo­tunga, 4, lost his hear­ing after a bout of meningitis.

He was given an al­lowance from Work and In­come to go to Tui Park to help Mo­tunga ev­ery day and, although his brother was his fo­cus, he soon dis­cov­ered that early child­hood teach­ing was for him.

‘‘I was there [at Tui Park] to look after Motu, but when­ever I’d turn up, I’d get hugs from all the other kids. It was a nice feel­ing and the teach­ers there really en­cour­aged me to put my name for­ward for the Y-men pro­gramme.’’

Jones spends four days a week at Tui Park and one day a fort­night at Whanau Maanaki in Porirua, talk­ing about his ex­pe­ri­ences, get­ting ad­vice and study­ing busi­ness.

As a new fa­ther, he said em­bark­ing on an early child­hood de­gree next year would un­doubt­edly in­crease his skills at home too.

Y-Men se­nior teacher He­len Smithies said about a third of the pro­gramme’s 32 men were look­ing at fur­ther ca­reers in early child­hood teach­ing.

‘‘We don’t ex­pect them to all be­come teach­ers, but the hope is they can ful­fil po­ten­tial we know they have. They are great in kinder­gartens be­cause the kids, some of whom don’t have fa­ther fig­ures, adore them and they of­fer a dif­fer­ent lens on teach­ing than women.’’

Fig­ures from Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion show a wide gap be­tween male and fe­male teach­ers in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion in New Zealand - only 321 out of 18,856 teach­ers are male.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry act­ing deputy sec­re­tary for early learn­ing and stu­dent achieve­ment Karl Le Quesne com­mended the proac­tive ap­proach of Whanau Manaaki.

Anaru Jones is part of Whanau Manaaki Kinder­gartens’ Y-men pro­gramme, which en­cour­ages young men into ECE teach­ing.

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