HISTORY of SDAEYC
by Dorothy W. Hewes, Ph.D.
Educator, friend, author, historian and founding member of the SDAEYC chapter passed away in January. Dorothy's wisdom and dedication to the field of early childhood education is immense. She leaves us with not only wonderful memories, but also a wealth of timeless books and articles for educators today and tomorrow.
The family requests tribute donations be made to the San Diego Association For The Education of Young Children's (SDAEYC) Dorothy Hewes Graduate Student Scholarship fund. Donate to the Scholarship Fund.
"The non-profit San Diego Association for the Education of Young Children began in an era when only about two dozen nursery schools existed in the United States. Isabella Hammack was a student at Teachers College, Columbia University, when she attended the organizational meetings of the Committee on Nursery Schools in 1926. A few years later, she returned home to teach in San Diego’s first nursery school, now the La Jolla Country Day School. When the original committee became the National Association for Nursery Education (NANE), Isabella Hammack helped set up the Pacific Coast Nursery School Association as a “subsidiary” group in 1930.
Until 1949, Southern California (SCANE) members from San Diego and Los Angeles met jointly. When the San Diego Association for Nursery Education was formed, Miss Hammack was on the faculty at San Diego State College and director of the demonstration nursery school where students worked with pre-kindergarten children. Through her efforts, and those of Beryl Campbell as the first president, a small group of local preschool teachers had been meeting to hear speakers or to exchange ideas. Dues were $1.25 a year until 1958, when they were raised to $2.00 so that more services could be provided. Membership in the national organization required additional dues, so most San Diego members didn’t join.
When NANE reorganized to become the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1964, San Diego became the ninth affiliate. There were eleven (yes, 11!) members paying $5.00 for combined local, state, and national dues. With an increased recognition of preschool education, including the establishment of Head Start in 1965, membership began to increase and the level of professional activities was accelerated. While Amelie Weinfeld was president in 1970-71, the first all-day SDAEYC workshop was held (on “Creativity in the Curriculum”), the first multi-page newsletter was published, and a successful membership campaign was initiated.
Membership continued to increase, even through dues were raised to $12.00 in 1972. Members received the national journal, Young Children, and both state and local newsletters. A full schedule of meetings and workshops provided ongoing professional training, and established a feeling of camaraderie -- that joined together a membership with diverse backgrounds ranging from child care aides to pediatricians and university professors. A wide range of backgrounds and orientations continues to characterize a membership with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
California’s first statewide Nursery Education Week was in 1965. The first official SDAEYC observation of what we now call "Week of the Young Child" was in 1973, when SDSU students held a craft fair in the new Mission Valley shopping mall. Its success led to an annual "Day in the Park" that was held until 2004.
The can-do spirit of the little San Diego Section led to hosting of the 1974 annual conference of the California AEYC, “Challenge: Children and Change.” Despite a gasoline crisis, it made the phenomenal profit of $12,000. Others have followed, with our logo coming from the 1985 theme of Children: Our Windows to the Future.
The San Diego AEYC has been constantly evolving – and will continue the dynamic process of evaluation and planning that makes any organization viable. From those early meetings of a dozen or so individuals, discussing mutual problems over tea, it has become a financially stable and highly structured organization with over a thousand members and a range of activities that combine professional enrichment with essential networking support."
written by Dorothy W. Hewes, Ph.D., (SDAEYC Historian until 1/2013)