Review of the Fourth Annual Men and Child Care Conference
A brief history:
About six years ago, the Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC offered a fall workshop at American River College on the topic of Men and Child Care. Dozens of students braved the rain to attend. The following year, a workshop was offered at Sierra College. It was likewise very well received. Believing that we were on to something important, Sacramento Valley then collaborated with American River College to offer the first Men and Child Care Conference – a full day event that was attended by about 90 people. The following year, our second Annual Men and Child Care Conference was a collaboration with Pacific Oak’s San Jose Campus. The third Annual Men and Child Care Conference was very generously co-sponsored by Butte College in Oroville.
The Fourth Annual Men and Child Care Conference:
Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC is fortunate to have made contact statewide with advocates for men in early care and education. Our Board lent some support to the East Los Angeles College’s spring “Men in Early Childhood Professions” Conference. One thing led to another and discussions between Marcia Cagigas at East Los Angeles College’s Child Development Center, Billy Truong (the driving force behind the Spring “Men in Early Childhood Professions” Conference), DAD Project founders, Donald Williams III and Danny Polanco, and the Sacramento Valley Chapter Board led to the Men and Child Care Conference traveling south for the first time.
Approximately 50 early care and education professionals descended upon the Child Development Center of East Los Angeles College. They represented virtually the entire spectrum of early care and education. The gathered men and women agreed to keep the conversations positive and action-oriented. Speakers included Dr. Dean Tagawa, the Executive Director of Los Angeles Unified School District and Agustin Cervantes, Director of Student Services, Charter College of Education, Cal State University, Los Angeles, Donald Williams III and Danny Polanco, founders of the community-based father engagement DAD Project, Willie Holling, Special Education Program Administrator, Baldwin Park USD, Dr. Gerardo D. Canul, clinical psychologist and educator, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Mike Kurtz, past president of Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC, Billy Truong, adjunct professor at East Los Angeles College and Pacific Oaks College, Robert Boyman, who spoke on authentic relationships, Lola Cornish, president of Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC and Gus Gold from Educators for Peaceful Classrooms and Communities, Dr. Paul Morehouse, Sacramento Valley Chapter treasurer and music consultant, and Panditha Sarathchandra from Pacific Oaks College. Jose Nunez, chair of California Association for the Education of Young Children’s Men and Early Care and Education Committee, who dared the Saddleridge wildfires and drove five hours across California that very morning, was on hand.
Support also came from East Los Angeles College, the Early Education Action League (renegades from the former Beach Cities AEYC), the DAD Project, Pacific Oaks College, CAAEYC’s Men in Early Care and Education Committee, Lakeshore Learning and Bright Horizons.
Three samples of the many thoughtful responses from Conference attendees:
- “I will continue to think broadly about my class and their individual needs. My activities will always be inclusive and challenging.”
- “(I will provide) a safe place for children to learn and…opportunities to ask questions, solve problems, and think independently.”
- “(I will) reach out to fathers by spear-heading programs such as Fathers’ Day and bring my maleness out as an asset at work instead of burying it and insisting that I’m no different than any other staff member.”
Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC has committed significant resources to encouraging, developing, supporting and now showcasing the role of men in early care and education as well as fathers of children in ECE programs. In doing so, Sacramento Valley Chapter of CAAEYC has demonstrated that men have not only earned a place “on the floor” in our classrooms and family child care homes, but have also earned the respect that comes with dedication, knowledge, wisdom and expertise.
Moving forward, we are looking forward to Men and Child Care Conferences being held annually across the State. And we look forward to meeting many more of our ECE colleagues and allies.