Lecture: "How The Grandest Child Care Experiment in American History Inspired Edith Dowley and Shaped Bing Nursery School"

Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University

Bing Nursery School and the Stanford Historical Society present
A Lecture by Christine VanDeVelde

How the Grandest Child Care Experiment in American History Inspired Edith Dowley and Shaped Bing Nursery School

The United States had been at war for over a  year in the spring of 1943 when Edith Dowley left her teaching post at the laboratory school of University of Michigan to head to Portland, Oregon. There, industrialist Henry Kaiser, the father of modern shipbuilding, had created two state-of-the-art Children's Centers to care for the offspring of the four thousand women workers responsible for producing the "bridge of ships" that carried troops, food, fuel, ammunition, and medicine to the fighting fronts. "I have never seen anything so remarkable," wrote one visitor of the centers. "They are so advanced they actually beggar description."  By the end of the war in June 1945, the Kaiser Children's Centers had cared for 3,811 different children, freeing almost two million women work-hours, the equivalent required for the construction of six Liberty ships. On the day the war ended, the children and parents left and the day care centers were dismantled. But what Edith Dowley saw and learned there in her two years as a supervisor would give rise to a remarkable, magical center of excellence in the field of early childhood education -- Bing Nursery School.

Christine VanDeVelde is a FORMER BING PARENT, journalist and author whose work has appeared in The New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalChicago TribuneLos Angeles TimesSelf and Parenting. Coauthor of the bestseller College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step (Random House), she is currently at work on a book about Bing Nursery School.  You can see more of her work at ChristineVanDeVelde.com.