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Men's (and Women's) Role in ECE

by Dorothy W. Hewes
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Although fathering has become recognized as a vital element in the lives of young children, few men work in preschool classrooms. If we consider that "ECE" now stands for Early Care and Education, this historical perspective provides some clues about why we still have a sex role division between the care of young children and their education. In 1620, Pilgrims we honor at Thanksgiving settled in New England so that they could practice their own religion. Their Geneva Bible became a determining factor in our male/female relationships. In Genesis, God told Eve that Adam should rule over her. This meant that the colonial father was a surrogate for God, manager of the household's financial affairs and dominant over all those living within it.

When colonial ministers established the basis of today's educational system, they incorporated the teachings of Martin Luther. After breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church in the mid-1500s, Luther had advanced the radical idea of public schools for both boys and girls. He also started translations of the Latin Bible into other languages so that everyone could gain salvation. In 1642, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a law requiring families to teach their children to read. They had to ...

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