This film is part of Free

Way of Life

Alaw Nursery School in Trealaw, Rhondda, offers children a secure start for here they are gently nurtured, through play, to explore, practise and develop their abilities.

Student film 1949 29 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


A sure start in life is offered by Alaw Nursery School, Trealaw, Rhondda. Children’s abilities are nurtured through play and, given that the film was made in the extremely hot summer of 1949, most activities happen outdoors. It is evident that the children have been told not to look at the camera but to carry on as usual, resulting in footage of children earnestly working hard at their play. Nevertheless, an intense, extensive flavour of life in the school is conveyed.

Alaw Nursery School, Trealaw, Rhondda, was opened just before Christmas in 1939 with the aim of giving up to 200 children aged from 2 to 7 "opportunities to foster growth physically, mentally and spiritually" [as stated in the programme for the official opening]. It followed the thinking of the time in providing “space, fresh air, sunshine, a good diet, adequate means of sleep, water for drinking, the cultivation of emotional harmony and social adjustment”. Here children, gently assisted by the teachers, would learn “the habit of self-help” and be “trained in freedom to act”. Probably at the behest of headteacher Miss Abigail Jenkins, this film was produced to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary.