Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Before They Are Six

Directed by Gudrun Bjerring Parker
Canada, 1943 (documentary, 17 minutes, colour, English)
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"For a very small sum, a working mother can leave her child at a day nursery where a trained staff supervises meals, health and play. Toddlers are taught how to wash and dress themselves and to put their toys away tidily."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Gudrun Parker
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada
(sources)

Quote by the Director

"Suddenly when women were needed to work in the wartime factories, the government created day nurseries -- they just sprang up overnight. And this day nursery where we shot was in a working-class area, quite close to the factory. And the women would mainly walk to work -- most of them lived in that area [...]. The reason the film was made was because this was a unique development to have low-cost child care for working mothers. You know, the day the war ended those nurseries disappeared, which was really shocking."
-- Gudrun Bjerring Parker (source)

Quote about Before They Are Six

"The tone of Before They Are Six is distinctly different from any other NFB film that deals with working women during the war. A film like Home Front, for example, neatly divides the world into two with regard to women: there are those women who work outside the home, and those who work inside it. The fact that thousands of women carried a double burden was not even acknowledged in other films. Women often worked ten-hour shifts in factories and then had to manage all the household chores, cleaning, shopping, cooking, nurturing and child care. [...] At the time the film was made it was assumed that mothers should have the entire responsibility for child care."
-- Mary Teresa Nash (source)

Bibliography for Before They Are Six

Brief Sections of Dissertations

Web Sites about Before They Are Six


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