Philip Graham

Published On


Page Range

pp. 139–160

7. Resurfacing

  • Philip Graham (author)
Left without employment at the beginning of 1928, Susan was in a difficult financial situation. Further, Nathan had recently embarked on an affair with a psychologist, Evelyn Lawrence, who had been employed by the school. Although the affair continued until Susan’s death over twenty years later, Nathan and Susan remained firmly married, providing warm companionship to each other.
Throughout her time at the Malting House School, Susan had kept meticulous notes recording the questions the children had asked, the ways they had been answered, the fashion in which they had acquired knowledge and the manner in which they had demonstrated what they had learnt. She was keen to show how the views of the leading developmental psychologist of the day, the Swiss, Jean Piaget, was mistaken in his theories. Piaget, on the basis of a series of ingenious experiments, had concluded that children’s intellectual development invariably passed through particular stages depending on their chronological age. Susan, in contrast, placed more emphasis on the role of experience, especially experience gained through play, rather than age, in children’s capacity for learning.
In her two books, Intellectual Growth in Young Children and Social Development in Young Children, Susan provided the evidence for her views. For the next three decades, these two books became the key texts, both in Britain and North America for those training to be the teachers of young children.


Philip Graham