Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, 1964
The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development was founded in 1964 as a part of the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College, but its history extends much further back. The department's origins lie in the dedicated work of Abigail A. Eliot and Mrs. Henry Greenleaf Pearson, who together as part of the Women's Education Association, founded a number of nursery schools in the area in the 1920s and 1930s including the Ruggles Street School in 1922.Under the leadership of Eliot and Pearson, the Nursery Training School was established in 1926 in Boston to train nursery school teachers. Eliot's firm belief that a college education was essential in this work led her to seek out a cooperative relationship with Tufts to provide for post-secondary education opportunities for teachers of young children. Her early contacts with Tufts led to the establishment in 1951 of a cooperative relationship between Tufts and the Nursery Training School which was administered as an independent school under the College of Special Studies. In 1955, the name was changed to Eliot-Pearson Children's School and, in 1964, it became a major department of Tufts University, renamed the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study. In 1996, the department changed its name from Child Study to Child Development.
As of 1999, the department offers courses of study for both undergraduate and graduate students. Affiliated programs include the Tufts Educational Daycare Center (nursery and kindergarten) and the Eliot-Pearson Children's School (pre-kindergarten through second grade), the direct descendant of the Ruggles Street School founded in 1922 by Eliot and Pearson.
Source: History from the finding aid for the Eliot Pearson collection UA009 and Chandler, Martha H., "1922-1972: A study of grown and development of The Ruggles Street Nursery School and Training Center to the Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study, Tufts University," unpublished manuscript held in the University Archives.
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