Daddies in Kindergarten Contemporary times bring with it changes that eventually become the norm as time goes by. One example is the modification of traditional gender roles. In the past, the man of the house goes out every day to earn a living for his family while his wife stays home to care for the children and the home…
Two films that depict such deviation from traditional gender roles are “Kindergarten Cop” and “Daddy Daycare”. Kindergarten Cop stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a police officer tasked with a mission to catch a dangerous criminal. Posing as a kindergarten teacher, John Kimble, he initially struggles with his newfound role as a carer and educator of very young children. Daddy Daycare, on the other hand, stars Eddie Murphy as a former executive, Charlie Hinton, who was laid off from his job together with his best friend, Phil. Left in the house, unemployed, with their wives going to work, they take care of their children until the idea of putting up a daycare sprung to their minds. The local preschool, Chapman Academy, is a plush school that offers a sophisticated curriculum for the young ones at a very steep price. The people around the neighbourhood did not have any other choice for a quality preschool/daycare for their children, so Hinton (Eddie Murphy) and his friend, Paul set up one at his home. At first, people expressed surprise and suspicion about men taking over the jobs of teachers of young children, which were traditionally associated with women due to their nurturing nature. The movies showed how they initially fit in so well in their original jobs as a police officer and a corporate executive and were awkward in their new jobs as child minders. The social repercussions showed a “demotion” in status, and this was clearly manifested by a colleague of Hinton when he scoffed at him being a daycare teacher, coming from a privileged position in the company, and then labelled him a “loser”. Part of adjusting to their new role is the use of skills they used in their old jobs. For John Kimble (Schwarzenneger), it was the use of police tactics and military training to instill discipline in the children while for Charlie Hinton (Murphy), it was the use of presentation skills, including furnishing the pre-schoolers with a copy of the mission and vision of Daddy Daycare, which of course, failed miserably. Kimble was more successful because of the element of fear that came with his disciplinary measures. The children were too scared of the “giant” teacher not to obey. Later on, he modified his strategy to playing a game appointing the children as “trainees” in a police school. On the other hand, Hinton used a more child-centered approach, which is engaging in fun activities and consulting the children of what they would like to do and learn at Daddy Daycare. As the movies progressed, so did the characters’ competencies in handling young children. Their softer sides surfaced, showing tender scenes with the children. Although their machismo remained, the movies portrayed that it is alright for real men to be nurturing to children, and if that takes doing women’s roles, then it is acceptable too. Lynn Trodd, head of the Children’s Workforce Development Council contends that research shows that men perceive working in an early years environment is not as prestigious as corporate jobs, have fewer career opportunities, has a vague career structure, the pension system is not in place and there is less in-service training. To top it all, it does not pay well. Being so, it is seen as a far less professional area of work (Men in Primary- Early Years). However, men can be a great resource to the children’s workforce as they bring with them their own special skills and ...
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