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Sylvester, E. (1949). Studies of Children: Edited by Gladys Meyer. Published for the New York School of Social Work by Kings Crown Press, New York, 1948. 176 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:104-105.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:104-105

Studies of Children: Edited by Gladys Meyer. Published for the New York School of Social Work by Kings Crown Press, New York, 1948. 176 pp.

Review by:
Emmy Sylvester

This volume contains eight studies conducted by students of the New York School of Social Work as part of their curriculum. Four of the projects are printed in full length, four others as abstracts. In both forms the studies are characterized by a sincerity of approach and a clear simplicity of presentation, which makes them meaningful communications. With the exception of An Experiment in Story-Telling, topics were chosen from the field of child care. The value of the studies varies with the subject matter. The most valuable contributions are the chapters, Psychological Problems of Pre-School Children, Day Nursery Care for Two-Year-Olds, and Babies in Search of a Home. In these studies the authors describe the emotional reactions of early childhood in a way that conveys the certainty that the authors' educative skills as workers will equal their talents as observers.

In demonstrating the manifold problems encountered in rearing young children, in eliciting information from mothers in connection with the routine pediatric examinations of children between the ages of two and six, in describing the inadequacies of departmentalized child care in day nurseries, and in stressing the emotional impact of environmental changes—such as shifts from one foster home to another—on young children, the authors deal with problems which constitute the most responsible aspects of their professional activity. Implied in these presentations is that, in fulfilling their functions within their agencies, social workers may serve as real executors of preventive psychiatry. Clinical studies of this type are highly desirable in the interest of mental health. Their valuable influence on social work is in those contributions which remain within the frame of reference germane to the profession. Some chapters, however, lack this excellency. In An Experiment in Story-Telling, the authors aim at refining observational methods by a device which actually threatens to blunt the personal contact between child and observer. In the Unmarried Woman as a Foster Mother, the part which the foster mother's relationship to the case worker takes in making placement successful is not sufficiently worked out, and the account remains unconvincing.

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