By a Stuff Reporter
Should Catholics be represented on the Nursery . School Association ? One Catholic woman, at least, thinks they should, and she came to Tani CATHOLIC HERALD office to give her reasons, " Being a member, 1 have eight votes and would like to see some of my co-religionists elected to the
committee. But I don't recognise one Catholic name among the
long list of candidates. I think it is important that we should be represented on all these secular bodies—and I feel utterly frustrated because I get no help or encouragement in this direction." Our visitor was Mrs. Lee, of New Malden, mothei of three sons —two at school and one aged three. She is a member of the C.P.E.A., and the Catholic Social Guild, and also attends the meetings of ACTU " as an observer."
She thinks it is a mistake to adopt the critical, destructive attitude towards secular welfare organisations and explained her attitude in this way. "These nursery schools are now an established part of the education system and we should take an interest in them."
Mrs. Lee says " We have teachers, doctors, psychiatrists and other theorists, but we want practical people as well—and it is one of the points on which I am always working.
" It seems to me that it is of the utmost importance that these nursery schools should start with a Christian atmosphere— which many of them do. I want to know if there are any Catholic nursery schools and, if not, why not ? "
To show that she is not alone in her support of nursery schools Mrs. Lee opened the C.T.S. pamphlet Catholic' Wires and Mothers, written by A Catholic Woman Doctor, where it says: " The problem of the child of two and three years of age is a hard one to solve. The mother's whole time is taken up with the new baby and she also has the care of the house on her hands.
" In this respect the nursery schools have done splendid service and they are greatly welcomed by the poor mother." Mrs. Lee also re minded me that in France the Catholic Church plays an active part in starting and maintaining these nursery schools—the ecolles matertidies as they are called.
Mrs. Lee is wondering how many, if any, Catholics are represented on the newly-formed World Council for Early Childhood Education which had its inaugural meeting at Prague last year.
This organisation, in a way, has stemmed out of the Nursery Schools' Association in this country, and its chairman is Lady Allen of Hurtwood, who is also chairman of the N.S.C.
Later I talked to Lady Allen of Hurtwood about it. She said: " Our next meeting is at UNESCO House in Paris in August. Altogether 18 organisations in this country will be represented. But anyone is free to go though they may not vote. This Paris meeting is only to elect a working committee and the first world assembly is to be held next year."
Lady Allen said she hoped all organisations would become interested enough to take part. " We would welcome them all— it is to be an open forum," she said.