Scrapbooks relating to playgroups

Scope and Content

Small collection of scrapbooks covering the period 1966-1976. Comprises newspaper articles and letters to the press regarding all aspects of early years education.

The articles in earlier scrapbooks tend to cover the growing grassroots movement to expand pre-school education provision through the establishment of locally run playgroups (often established as part of the Pre-School Playgroups Association), the lack of government support and funding for pre-school education, and the child's need for early years development. Articles in the later scrapbooks focus more on debates around who should provide pre-school education, the difference between local education authority (LEA) funded nursery schools run by nursery teachers and locally organised playgroups, the role of parents (mainly mothers) in early years education, the content of early years education, the rise of child minders and the need to regulate such work, and the development of government policy and subsequent central and local government action.

Further subjects that tend to feature throughout the collection include: education provision for disabled children; the recommendations of the Plowden Report and subsequent implementation of those recommendations (e.g. progressive techniques and Educational Priority Areas); learning through play - including toys, nursery equipment, and children's television; needs of deprived children (to cover a range of groups: immigrant children, children with working mothers, fatherless families, urban deprivation, rural areas, social class); importance of the development for the under-fives; development of language skills; provision of pre-school education for children in hospitals; middle class dominance of playgroups; and the need for parental skills training.

Mary Fawcett lived in Norfolk. As a result there are a large number of articles on pre-school education provision in Norwich and Norfolk.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Fawcett was instrumental in the establishment of a local playgroup in Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, in 1966. She maintained a series of scrapbooks about local playgroups and about the wider national context, including information about the Pre-School Playgroups Assocation (PPA). She became involved in tutoring the Foundation Course for Playgroup Leaders in 1968.

Access Information


Custodial History

Given by Mary Fawcett in Feb 2010

Related Material

The Archives also has the archives of the Pre-School Playgroups Association and the Pre-School Learning Alliance (RefNo: PLA)