chapter  2
18 Pages


Whilst there was some general acceptance for the need of nursery and infant education, there were those educationists who also saw the desperate need for changes in the environmental conditions of young children. In particular, the sisters Rachel and Margaret McMillan engaged in a campaign not merely to establish nursery schools but also to make adequate provision for the physical care and development of young children. In 1907 the Board of Education had referred the age of admission of young children to school to the Consultative Committee, and their Report in 1908 discussed the general work and influence of nursery schools, expressing the opinion that the age of three should not be regarded as too young for those children for whom such schools were considered necessary. Meanwhile the McMillan sisters were not merely pressing for the provision of school meals, regular medical inspections and health centres for poor children, they were acting upon their convictions. In 1908 they opened their first school clinic at Bow, and in 1911 they developed the first real nursery school at Deptford.