At just 21 years of age Josh Allen is one of the youngest recipients of the ChildForum Men in Early Childhood Education Invitation Grant Award.
ChildForum’s chief executive, Dr Sarah Alexander was delighted to offer Mr Allen the award and congratulated him in his choice of career.
She said: “Typically men enter early childhood teaching as a second career choice and, or, after becoming a father and discovering the delight of working with young children - however for Josh this is essentially his first major career choice.
“Less than 3 percent of early childhood teachers are men and supporting young males into the profession is essential if we are to reflect society and have a more diverse workforce,” said Dr Alexander.
As a well-educated young individual Mr Allen has many career choices available to him but he has stepped outside traditional sex-role boundaries and chosen early childhood teaching as the career he wants to pursue in life.
Mr Allen has a number of talents and interests to bring to teaching.
He has performed in semi-professional modelling projects as well as doing stage and film acting. He is a keen surfer and has also played a range of sports including rugby, basketball and cricket.
The Ole Schoolhouse Early Childhood Centre curriculum leader, Eric Hollis who is a main sponsor of the ChildForum Invitation scheme sees tremendous benefits in this for the expansion of quality in the sector.
He says both boys and girls benefit through observing and interacting with men in a non-traditional role and the presence of male teachers can help fathers to see that men are welcomed in the setting and can be involved in children’s education at a young age.
“It is important to support the construction of new ideas of masculinity in society as we examine complex and ever-shifting crises of racial inequality, capitalism and climate change.”
After completing Year 13 and NCEA Level 3 at Onslow College in Wellington, Mr Allen did his OE in Canada getting a taste for different kinds of work including farm hand, gondola operator and waiter at a pie outlet.
But it was his experience of babysitting for local families from the age of 16 years and being a peer-mentor whilst at College that is reflected in his enthusiasm to embark on a career in early childhood education.
Mr Allen said that he has “always held huge respect for tamariki and believes they hold the hope humans have for a brighter future.
“I am great at helping children resolve conflict and make good decisions under pressure. I also have strong social skills which makes it easy to form good relationships with whanau, tamariki and staff teams at centres.”
For the past year Mr Allen has worked as a reliever, helping out at early childhood centres around Wellington.
He is now embarking on full-time study for a Bachelor of Early Childcare Education degree at Victoria University, as well as continuing to work between lecture times at an early childhood centre so he can put into practice what he is learning.
The award includes a $400.00 grant along with a gift membership to ChildForum that includes access to all issues of the NZ-International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal and hundreds of teaching and childcare professional articles.
Mr Allen said that the Men in ECE ChildForum Award grant money will go towards the cost of course text books.