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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strathcona Nursery School : its contributions for working mothers Stewart, Donald Granville


A survey is being conducted this year (1956) on a national basis, by the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labour, regarding family circumstances of married women. Against this background, a small scale survey has been undertaken of mothers who send their children to Strathcona Nursery School. The Nursery is an important social welfare resource financed largely by the Community Chest and Council of Greater Vancouver, the majority of the clients of this agency arc working mothers, and some are the solo provider for their children. The survey offered the opportunity not only of significant comparitive material, but of at least partial evaluation of the work of this Nursery, in relation both to its immediate district and the city generally. The families served by the Nursery were composed, in January 1956, of thirty-six "normal"(i.e. complete) families and eleven "broken" (i.e. father absent or incapasitated) families. Twenty of these families were sampled, with approximately the same proportion of complete and broken families. Interviews were obtained with the mothers, mostly in the early evening in their homes. A modified form of the schedule employed for the national (Women’s Bureau) survey being used. There was a wide variation in the economic status of the families, although the mothers stated their purpose in working was to earn a living or supplement the family budget. There appeared to be a preoccupation with immediate needs, and little effort to make a long-term evaluation of their position, the effect of the mothers work on the family, or the gains and losses to the children. The majority lived in overcrowded residences, but only an exceptional few were saving for a larger or better houses: a majority were buying more easily obtainable items such as television sets and automobiles. The direct need for the Nursery School is beyond question. It is significant that a high proportion of the mothers live in other parts of the city. There is need for careful consideration, however, of the two-fold function of the Nursery, (a) pre-school education and (b) day care. The agency also has to harmonize (a) its services to the child and (b) its potential service to the family as a whole. Some tentitive recommendations regarding staff personnel include the addition of a social caseworker to the personnel who could act as a liaison between the Nursery and the parents as well as assisting with selection and intake of families.

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