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Early Childhood Care and Education - Assignment Example

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A number of people have put in their efforts to increase awareness about early childhood care and education. Margaret McMillan (1860-1931) is a pioneer in the early 20th century who stressed the importance of early childhood care and contributed to the development of under privileged children through her work and books.
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Early Childhood Care and Education
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At this young age, Margaret's first encounter with the schools in Iverness left a lasting impression in her mind. The children were given Corporal punishment for bad behaviours; basic sanitation, water facilities and hygiene were not maintained in the class rooms and in the surroundings. Except academics importance was not given to other aspects of child development either physical or emotional. This resulted in an insecure feeling and stress in the children. Where the place of learning should be a pleasant one, it proved to be opposite for children. Margaret McMillan was deeply disturbed by this and could recall all these even at her old age. This also would have made her to work for the welfare of children when she faced young ones living in similar conditions at a later age .Jean McMillan who was very keen that the children got good education and worked hard to meet that goal died when Margaret was 17 years old. Margaret McMillan moved to London to train as a Governess for young girls and her sister stayed back for filial commitment towards their ailing grandmother.
Margaret McMillan started working as a Superintendent for young girls in London. Around this time her sister Rachel also moved to London and stated to work in similar job. Prior to this Rachel McMillan got introduced to the Christian Socialist movement and got impressed and convinced with their principles. She started reading the groups newspaper Justice and liked the articles written for the young By Peter Kropotkin. She contributed to the socialist magazine. When she joined her sister in London in the year 1888, she convinced Margaret McMillan to join the Socialists. From this time on Rachel McMillan remained as great influence to her sister throughout her life.
They both started attending the Socialist meetings and met important people in the group namely William Morris, Peter Kropotkin, and H.M.Hyndman who were instrumental in bringing the changes in the girls.
Moved with their plight, they decided that basic education and awareness would enhance the lives of these people. They approached young working girls and offered to teach them in the evenings. Though the girls were not convinced, they attended the classes. But soon Margaret found out that they were not serious about learning and were coming for a sort of relaxation. The girls endured a very hard life at that young age and the hardships they suffered had completely changed their personalities.
In 1892 the sisters shifted to Braford, the place which later came to be associated with Margaret McMillan's contribution to nursery education. Here they toured the industrial work places extensively to meet the people and could see the conditions of the children first hand. The infants and toddlers of the workers were totally neglected, child labour was prevalent and basic sanitation facilities were not available. Children were deprived of any medical facilities too. Here apart from the socialist movement, the sisters were drawn towards the Fabian movement which had an aim to construct a fair and just society with high moral values. Also they entered into politics by joining the Independent Labour Party which later helped Margaret to campaign for her goals towards the children welfare.
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