Week One: Children in the Middle Ages: 1000-1500.
- The arrival of Christianity and the new influences from continental Europe after the Norman Invasion - the two great milestones in the early history of British childhood
- The Black Death: death and its impact in general in the story
- Were children perceived as 'little adults' as some historians have claimed?
- St Anselm: Britain’s first ever child-care guru
- Children’s 'conduct books' : how they were expected to behave and how they actually behaved
- The private world of children’s play: how much more seasonal children’s lives were in the Middle Ages than today
- Boy Bishops and Festivals of Misrule
The arrival of printing and its impact: the first in a long line of new technologies
Week Two: Children in the 16th and 17th centuries
- The Protestant Reformation: its emphasis on the sinfulness of children, and the way it increased parents’ anxiety about their upbringing
- The growth of boys’ education and the surprising u-turn in attitudes to girls’ education
- The vastly different ages at which childhood ended and the conflict this could cause: many poor children would be earning a living at 7, while better off boys might still be in full-time education at 14
- The Poor Law: why it was brought in and how it benefited children.
Week Three: Children in the 18th century
- Thomas Coram and the first ever Foundling Hospital for children
- The impact of two great philosophers on children, and their vastly differing views of childhood: John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
- The growth of consumerism and pester power: the first ever toyshops
- The development of a gentler and more affectionate type of family life
- The French Revolution and its impact on British children and ideas about bringing them up
The impact of two great poets on childhood: William Blake and William Wordsworth
Week Four: Children’s lives in Victorian Britain
- The development of public schools and the separation of boys and girls - the greatest gender divide in our story
- Charles Dickens and the first golden age of children’s literature
- Working children’s lives in the Industrial Revolution:their role in the growth of capitalist Britain
- Children on the streets
Week Five: Children in the first half of the 20th Century
- The introduction of compulsory schooling.
- The British Empire and its impact on children: some sent overseas, others arriving to make new lives in Britain
- War and its often surprisingly positive impact on children: the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars
- Children and the making of the welfare state
- The battle between Sigmund Freud and Truby King and the behaviourists over how children should be treated and brought up
- New culture, such as cinema, and its impact on children
Week Six: Children from the 1950s up to the present
- Changes in the family economy and in family dynamics: children no longer expected to contribute to the family purse
- Children’s rights - at home and in official legislation
- The second golden age of children’s literature, developed against a backdrop of fear about children’s safety
- The increase of State-involvement in children’s lives
- Listening to children and rejoicing in their ability to create, to play, to reinvent themselves
First broadcast: Monday 25 Sep 2006 on BBC Radio 4