10:06pm

Wed August 14, 2013
Education

Richmond exhibit explores childcare's wartime origins

For those who do have little ones, the Bay Area has a lot of preschools for you. There are close to 200 in San Francisco alone. And that’s not even counting Head Start programs, which operate in all 50 states. 

Many people believe that Head Start was America’s first government-run educational program for young children. It launched in 1964. But World War II actually produced an earlier model, right here in the city of Richmond.

Sam Redman interviewed students and teachers who were in these prototype childcare centers, on behalf of the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office at the University of California Berkeley. PATRICIA WILSON: I don't think there was a focus, but it would happen that the children would be aware, they would hear their parents, or knew this was going on.  And they would portray it - airplanes, dropping bombs.  Something to do with warfare, and the teachers would encourage them to express themselves that way. Click the audio player above to hear the story.

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