We were sad to hear of the recent passing of Gwen Morgan, a long-time early educator and advocate, and a member of our original Early Education for All advisory committee. Gwen was 90 years old and died at her home here in Massachusetts.
In an online tribute, Wheelock College officials called her an “inspirational visionary who just never gave up her fight for quality early education…” Gwen “advocated for every child having high-quality and affordable early education and care. She supported the cause for every practitioner to receive excellent professional development and be compensated adequately.”
Gwen joined Wheelock’s faculty in 1972 and went on to serve as the director of Wheelock’s Center for Career Development in Early Care and Education. She also served as the first director of the Massachusetts Office for Children.
In 1986, she told the Boston Globe about what she called the “trilemma of day care:” the need for higher quality, better wages, and more affordability.
“Four-year-olds are little philosophers, little scientists,” Gwen told the Globe in 1996. “They’re very curious. They want to know how things work, and they want to know why. What they need is someone on their wavelength to answer all their questions because, at this point, they are forming theories that will last them for quite a while.”
Praising Gwen in a Huffington Post article, Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, writes:
“Why was there no ‘breaking news’ that flashed across my computer when Gwen Morgan died yesterday? Why are there no page one obituaries today? There are for actors and singers — stars of stage and the screen. There are for politicians and corporate executives. There are for writers. There should be for Gwen Morgan.”
“Every parent who is looking for child care in this country owes Gwen a profound thank you. Before Gwen, if you wanted to find child care, good luck. You could ask your friends, you could ask your neighbors and hope for the best. Today, the fact that there are organizations across the country, united into a large national organization, Child Care Aware, that help parents find good child care goes back to Gwen. She was the creator, along with several other amazing women, of what’s called child care resource and referral, a service to help families find and evaluate child care.”
We’ll give the closing quote to Gwen herself, who, back in 1969, told the Globe: “We should develop a system of day-care services with a central place where any woman can go if she wants the services. According to her needs and the child’s needs, she should be able to choose between group care, family day care, homemaker care or emergency care.”
We’re proud to continue Gwen’s work, and we’ll miss her plain-spoken, spirited advocacy on behalf of children and families.