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Erik, H. Erikson, J. (1980). Dorothy Burlingham's School in Vienna. Bul. Anna Freud Centre, 3(2):91-94.

(1980). Bulletin of the Anna Freud Centre, 3(2):91-94

Dorothy Burlingham's School in Vienna

Herr Erik and Joan Erikson

Anna Freud has asked me to tell you about Dorothy Burlingham's small school in the Wattmanngasse in suburban Vienna. I, in turn, have asked Joan Erikson, who was also part of the staff for a while, to join me in writing this account of how some of us remember this innovative experience.

We believe that, to begin with, Dorothy Burlingham, Eva Rosenfeld and Anna Freud dreamed the whole idea up together. Dorothy Burlingham's four children were then being tutored by Peter Bios, a remarkably craftsman-like young teacher with clear concepts about how children learn. But tutoring is, of course, individual and isolated learning, and the children lacked the interplay and companionship with other children which a group setting affords.

So a school was formed of children who were spending some time in Vienna-children of different nationalities whose parents were undergoing analysis or who were perhaps in analysis themselves. It was never a very large group, rarely more than twenty children. All the parents, however, were intensely interested in new pedagogic ways and the impact of psychoanalytic understanding on education in the modern world.

This little school, then, was a quite private educational undertaking. The classes met at first in the home of Walti and Eva Rosenfeld and later in a small building constructed for the purpose in the Rosenfelds' garden. For Eva, this role as hostess of the school (at the beginning, daily lunch was served in her home) was most meaningful in that period following the death of her teenage daughter.

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