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New Research: Steps to Recruit and Retain Men in ECE

New research from the Borough of Manhattan Community College reveals important opportunities to recruit and retain more men in early childhood education.

“Currently, only 3% of all preschool and kindergarten teachers in the U.S. are men, and this situation calls for change during a critical time when gender expectations are modeled,” said Jean-Yves Plaisir, one of the study’s principal investigators. “It is critical to ensure children have exposure to and interactions with a mixed-gender workforce to model the different roles men can play in children’s lives.”

Recruiting and retaining more men to the ECE workforce allows children to experience greater gender diversity, leading to richer intellectual, socio-emotional, and cultural experiences that create better outcomes for all children.

The study makes several recommendations related to recruitment, retention and professionalism, and gender representation and equality.


  • Create a recruitment pipeline through intentional outreach (i.e., HS internships, community service, volunteer programs).
  • Expand and sustain recruitment efforts on men contemplating career change, especially fathers.
  • Upscale outreach through existing programs (i.e., NYC Men Teach and Teaching Fellows) to include ECE field.

Retention and professionalization

  • Provide targeted and intentional mentoring and professional development experiences for male educators.
  • Create affinity/support groups of male early childhood educators.
  • Design teacher education curricula that are more inclusive of male educators. Achieve pay equity across ECE sites.
  • Achieve pay equity for ECE field v. elementary/secondary education

Gender representation and equality:

  • Develop outreach materials that include images of men working in the ECE field.
  • Include images of men in nurturing roles within early learning settings.
  • Connect the study’s findings to social programs and social justice issues (i.e., Brothers’ keepers; fatherhood initiative).

Learn more about the research here

New Research: Steps to Recruit and Retain Men in ECE