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Picturing a World

Paris crêches

Aren't they cute, itty-bitties holding onto each other's skirts in the Tuileries Garden! And yet so many for only four adults to care for. This isn't your typical picture of a nanny and her charge. What's going on?

Well, it turns out that as the population of Paris expanded, poor, single women had to have day care for their children if they were going to work. To meet the need, an institution called the crèche sprang up. Nursery schools, where infants and toddlers could be dropped off for a day. The first was the crèche de Chaillot, which opened in 1844. It was inspired by the salles d'asile which had begun in 1826 for children ages three to six. Working women, demand for child care, never enough. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, n'est-ce pas?
Note to historical fiction writers: even somewhat sentimentalized images can be full of useful, detailed information or send you off to find it.
Image via Meisterdrucke
For a bit about Lobrichon, click here.

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