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Bird Stein Gans

At a time when ideas about childrearing were mainly shaped by philosophers like Plato or Rousseau with little actual research on child development, Bird Stein Gans cofounded and led the Society for the Study of Child Nature to better educate parents. Gans studied at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and NYU before cofounding the Society for the Study of Child Nature in 1888, at age twenty. Inspired by Felix Adler, founder of the Ethical Culture Society, Gans believed that good parenting was learned, not instinctive, and should be based on a solid, scientific understanding of child development rather than abstract ideals. Gans became the society’s president in 1897, saving it from disbanding and vastly expanding its reach throughout the US and abroad. She established similar parent education associations in Japan in 1924 and in England in 1929, and although she retired in 1933, she remained active in the organization until her death. She also volunteered for the National Council of Jewish Women from 1893–1913 and served as their vice president.

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Cofounder and leader the Society for the Study of Child Nature, Bird Stien Gans (1868-1944).

Image courtesy of The Smithsonian Institution.

Date of Birth

Allegheny, PA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Bird Stein Gans ." (Viewed on May 28, 2020) <>.


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