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Five and Under (1941)


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Some of the solutions mothers have found to the problem of caring for their young children while they work. Some take their children to a neighbour who acts as babyminder, though is not always a suitable person. Two babyminders are compared.

Children should be educated together: at a nursery school, all play has educational value. Children playing, washing themselves, at the dinner table. But children under two cannot go to nursery school, and nurseries are only open for part of working day. Day nurseries run by the local Borough Councils offer a solution - they are open seven days a week and take children from babies to school age. The matron of a City Day Nursery speaks about the organisation, staffing and facilities offered. Children divided into age groups; children being cared for; student nurses help look after children; pre-cooked dinners service used.

Another day nursery in a poorer, badly blitzed district. The matron speaks. The children here come from the slums, and are often destructive if left alone. A group of unattended toddlers are seen breaking toys. Results of proper care during day are often spoiled by going back to bombed homes with no glass in windows, to mothers tired by their day's work. Families are often forced to sleep in shelters. What happens when mothers have to do night duty or work irregular hours? Children can live in at residential nurseries in the country. Some children are seen playing in the grounds of such a nursery. This keeps children in fresh air out of slum surroundings. But enforced separation is not good for children or mothers.

This is all due to the war. When war is over, new educational and nursery facilities must be built in the new Britain. Residential nurseries will be only for orphans or special cases. Closing shots of new schools.