Early Female Pioneers in Education: ‘The Genesis of British Educare: Margaret McMillan and Susan Issacs’

Pam Jarvis, Louise Swiniarski

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    The societal changes driven by the industrial revolution had myriad consequences, both in terms of the provision of education and care for children, and the roles of women within this endeavour, which eventually had the result of completely changing the material environments of women and young children, in terms of a different culture of care provision. This symposium focuses upon the work of five such women, born in the nineteenth century: Margaret McMillan and Susan Isaacs in the UK, and Elizabeth Peabody and Laura Towne in the US.

    The provision of care and education for children living in poverty completely changed the material environment available to them, creating what must have seemed a “Land of Oz” for them in comparison to the environments in which they existed on a day to day basis; for example colleagues of Margaret McMillan’s commented:

    [When I visited Deptford] I had to ask my way through smelly streets, but all whom I asked became eager friends as soon as I mentioned Miss McMillan’s name. At last I came to a door in the paling and when this was opened I saw a garden full of delphiniums. In among the flowers were many little children, like flowers themselves, with gay overalls and coloured ribbons in their hair.
    I came to the tall wooden gate... and passed through it to what seemed to me a veritable paradise.

    The presentations will explore such advances and their trajectory into current policy making, with particular attention to England’s current “malestream” Neo-Liberal education agenda which has negatively impacted on children’s chances to engage in such unstructured outdoor recreation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - Sept 2016
    EventWomen's History Network Annual Conference - Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, United Kingdom
    Duration: 16 Sept 201617 Sept 2016

    Academic conference

    Academic conferenceWomen's History Network Annual Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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