Originally published in 1969, this is the first biography of Susan Isaacs, the first attempt to estimate her incalculable contribution to the theory and practice of the education of young children.
As a pioneer of new teaching methods, Susan Isaacs will be remembered mainly for her work at the Malting House School in Cambridge in the 1920s, and her contribution was such that in 1933 the Department of Child Development at the University of London, Institute of Education was specially created for her; she was Head of the Department until 1943.
But Susan Isaacs was also a psychoanalyst, and D.W. Winnicott in his Foreword refers to the time when he was supplying cases for her child analysis training: ‘I watched with interest her sensitive management of the total family situation, a difficult thing when one is engaged in learning while carrying out a psycho-analytic treatment involving daily sessions over years.’
D.E.M. Gardner, who was a close friend as well as student of Susan Isaacs, begins by describing Susan’s childhood in a Lancashire cotton town, and throughout the book she helps us to feel the force of Susan’s personality and intellect – ‘she was a truly great person, one who has had a tremendous influence for good on the attitude of parents and of teachers to the children in their care’.