Know your history! Abigail Adams Eliot

Abigail Adams Eliot (1892-1992) helped to establish the nursery school movement in America. She was the founder, with Elizabeth W. Pearson, of the Ruggles Street Nursery and Training Center of Boston that in 1952 became the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University. She was a founding member of the National Association of Nursery Education that later became the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Her commitment to parental involvement in education helped parents establish a cooperative, the Cambridge Nursery School. She believed that educational programs should be balanced to help children become secure and independent and that nursery school was not custodial care but a genuine educational program. Her work reflected an interest in and a respect for children. Dr. Eliot, a Radcliffe College graduate and pioneer in the field of nursery school teacher training, was interested in offering children programs based on the then new English nursery school model.

To learn more about Cambridge Nursery School, visit their website,