In early twentieth-century Australia, men managed coeducational state training colleges (equivalent to normal schools) but teacher education programmes for kindergartners were initiatives of the free kindergarten movement and firmly in women's hands. The Kindergarten Training College in Adelaide, South Australia, was established in 1907 with Lillian de Lissa as its principal. This article focuses on a proposed amalgamation with the state training college in 1909-1910. During this period de Lissa and her largely female support-base were ranged against male administrators and academics who favoured amalgamation, and gender issues were entwined with those of social class and progressive education. At the height of the controversy de Lissa claimed that the aims of the two institutions were incommensurable and sharply differentiated kindergartners from state teachers on the basis of their social class and pedagogy. De Lissa and her supporters won, and kindergarten training colleges in other Australian states also remained separate from state training colleges until the 1970s. The final section of the article considers some of the long-term consequences of these divisions for the early childhood teaching profession.
- Kindergarten training college
- Social class
- Teacher education