Pioneers of Early Childhood Education: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide

By Barbara Ruth Peltzman | Go to book overview
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Abigail Adams Eliot (1892-1992)
A student of Margaret McMillan, Eliot helped establish the nursery school movement in America. Eliot was the founder, with Elizabeth W. Pearson, of the Ruggles Street Nursery School and Training Center and the Nursery Training School of Boston. From 1922-1952 she served as director; in 1952 the Training School became the EliotPearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University. She was a founding member of the National Association of Nursery Education, which became the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 1964; was a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration to establish emergency nursery schools during the Depression; and established the Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California, in 1952. Her commitment to parental involvement in education helped parents establish a cooperative, the Cambridge Nursery School. She believed that children are persons, that education should be guidance to develop personalities, and educational programs should be balanced to help children become secure and independent. Eliot believed that nursery school education was not custodial care, but a genuine educational program. Her work reflected an interest in and a respect for children.
PRIMARY SOURCES
74. "Two Nursery Schools: Nurseries Working on Health, Education, and Fainily Life." Child Health Magazine ( March 1924): 97-101. Discusses the work and aims of the Ruggles Street and Cambridge Nursery Schools, which served two different populations. Discusses the value and importance of nursery school education for the future. Describes the equipment, daily routine, contact with the mother, and school objectives. Photographs of the Ruggles Street Schoolyard are included. One school was a private, self-supporting school managed by a committee of parents, and the other, Ruggles Street was organized as a philanthropy and an educational experiment. However, the aim of both schools was the same: to develop the mind and body of preschool children.
75. "Department of Nursery Education. Educating the Parents Through the Nursery School." Childhood Education 1, no. 3 ( December 1926): 183-189. States that without the active participation of parents the total development of children would not be possible. Describes parent activities at the Cambridge Nursery School and the Ruggles Street Nursery School asking and answering several questions: Parent cooperation -- Why? Parent co

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