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Session 2: The missing babies

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There is a black-and-white photograph of Dr Susan Isaacs. The text next to and underneath it reads: Our history. The School was set up in 1928 by Dr Susan Isaacs and Natalie Davies. The name ‘Open Air’ dates from that period and was part of a countrywide educational movement. The ‘Open Air’ philosophy is still important today when our children seem to lack safe but challenging space to play in. In the 1920s it was first recognised educationally that outdoors is as valuable a learning environment as indoors. The Open Air philosophy also recognised that many city children did not have enough access to fresh air, sunlight and exercise for healthy development. In the twenty-first century the garden is still central to our philosophy and combines with our indoor areas to provide a complete and balanced learning environment. In 1978 the school became part of the Inner London Education Authority and is now state funded. In 2006 it became on of the first children’s centres in the Borough proving a ‘one stop shop’ for local families, babies and young children. The School became a ‘linked’ site to the Children’s Centre Services in the South Locality and in 2016 we established our own thriving Community Programme. The School is housed in a timber framed building dating from 1587 and a seventeenth workman’s cottage which along with other houses in the street became artists’ studios, in our case for the painter Benjamin Haydon. The school garden dates from the beginning of this.