Childhood education advocate Gwen Morgan: her legacy lives on

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This post originally appeared on Wheelock College: Singapore

Mentors are very special people. I’m not sure everyone in life gets one, but luckily I did – Gwen Morgan.

Gwen Morgan

Gwen, aged 90, died peacefully on September 4 in her home. When I met her in 1978, she handed me a copy of the executive summary for the National Day Care Study which was being conducted by Abt Associates at that time. In the acknowledgements of that groundbreaking research it says, “The last writing effort was the Executive Summary. Gwen Morgan skillfully developed the initial draft … ”

Almost forty years later, although licensing regulations have changed, we still struggle to ensure the higher quality care that is associated with the two major findings – smaller groups of children, and caregivers having child-specific education/training – and Gwen would add, at an affordable price.

With these findings, Gwen Morgan blazed a path. She told us, showed us, wrote about it, testified to it, and was relentless in her commitment that all children deserve a high quality child care experience. And that in fact, our country would be better for it. There’s still a long way to go, baby.

When I came home from Singapore in July this year, I wrote on my to-do list: visit Gwen. I wanted to tell her about my new job in Singapore and how my path was heading east. The inimitable spirit of Gwen Morgan has come with me wherever I’ve worked over these forty years in the early childhood field. Her mentorship continues to guide me and I wanted to share a bit of her legacy with you.

Gwen’s obituary can be found here.

Beth Fredericks is incoming executive director of Wheelock College Singapore.