The Mc Millan Sisters And Early Childhood Education

1113 words - 4 pages

Education has come a extensive way from the times of Plato and Aristotle, but from each new era came a person with a concept that effected the world of education eternally. Sisters, Margaret and Rachel McMillian influenced education through their development of the Open-Air Nursery School in more way then one. Not only had they introduced the idea of starting education at a younger age then the fledgling kindergarten program, but their school was devised for kids from low- income areas that needed the extra care as well. A unique concept of the time that grasped my interest and made me want to discover more about their program and it’s effect on Early Childhood Education.
The Open-Air Nursery School did more than begin the education process earlier, allowing children to have a better education. The nursery school got its name from what the sisters wished to achieve through their school, “care, nurture and learning” and that’s exactly what they did, nurtured. Through their program they worked on improving the welfare of the “slum child” by campaigning for school meals and opening Britain’s first school clinic. The purpose of this program was to improve the child both mentally and physically before they entered regular schooling. This concept of an early start on education influenced education in copious ways, including the spread of nursery schools throughout the world. In the United States nursery schools opened up for middle-class children as a way of not only giving children early learning experiences to help them develop but also to give parents some free time while providing a sense of community. In addition to the nursery schools made for middle-class families, the type of nursery schools the McMillian sisters created (for low income families) was also mimicked in the United States by the sisters student, Abigail Eliot, who took her own spin on founders such as Frobel and Montessori, to created her own nursery school for low-income neighborhoods. From Eliot’s nursery school more programs developed and it eventually turned into the Head Start program that is currently used in today’s society (Feeney, 2010).
The Head Start program is a result of the McMillan sister’s concern for the children of low-income families welfare and their development of a nursery school that cares for these children. According to Puckett, the Head Start project “was and is a massive effort to extend comprehensive services such as education to disadvantaged young children and their families” (Puckett, 2004, 62). A simple program in Britain that included thirty students soon influenced a program that incorporates almost one million students and has served 19,397,000 plus preschool age children since 1965. Margaret and Rachel McMillan’s concept of creating an early childcare facility for children of low income families became a tremendous influence on today’s education. From having to campaign for school meals to being allotted nearly six billion dollars in the...

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