Infants without Families; the Case for and against Residential Nurseries

Infants without Families; the Case for and against Residential Nurseries

Infants without Families; the Case for and against Residential Nurseries

Infants without Families; the Case for and against Residential Nurseries

Excerpt

It is recognized among workers in education and in child psychology that children who have spent their entire lives in institutions present a type of their own and differ in various respects from children who develop under the conditions of family life. Knowledge about the nature of these differences has been gained partly through individual observation where such institutional children have in later life turned anti-social or criminal [see Aichhorn, Wayward Youth ], partly through group observation of large numbers of children evacuated as babies to residential nurseries during this war. Superficial observation of children of this kind leaves a conflicting picture. They resemble, so far as outward appearances are concerned, children of middle- class families: they are well developed physically, properly nourished, decently dressed, have acquired clean habits and decent table manners, and can adapt themselves to rules and regulations. So far as character development is concerned, they often prove--to everybody's despair and despite many efforts--not far above the standard of destitute or neglected children. This shows up especially after they have left the institutions.

It is because of these failures of development that in recent years thoughtful educationists have more and more turned against the whole idea of residential nurseries as such, and have devised methods of boarding out orphaned or destitute . . .

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