Skip to main content
  • The Progressive Education of Nina Anderson Pape

    After falling on hard times during the depression of 1893 Nina Paper Anderson took to teaching at Savannah's Massey School. Her progressive educational views led her to open her own school where kindergarten was a focus, pupils were divided into groups, boys and girls were held to the same standards, and women consistently graduated to attend seven sisters colleges of the northeast. After a phone call from Juliette Gordon Low, it was Pape's students that became the first Girls Scouts and Nina Anderson Pape who helped write their first manual. Today, her educational legacy lives on in Savannah Country Day which grew out of original Pape School.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Describe the advantages of Nina Pape's style of learning (differentiated instruction in small groups) versus the common practice of learning by repetition.

    2. Think about your school experience. In what ways do you see Nina Pape's vision of education reflected in your school?

    Expansion

    1. Create a chart comparing and contrasting the typical young girl in Savannah during this time with a girl who attended one of Nina Pape's schools.

    2. Create yearbook pages that showcase the education received at one of Nina Pape's schools. These pages should reflect school and extracurricular activities, dress code and academic work.

    Vocabulary

    rigorous: very strict and demanding
    Kindergarten Movement: the fight to provide preschool education to impoverished children in the United States
    affluent: having a large amount of money and owning many expensive things
    Girl Scouts: a youth organization that prepares girls to empower themselves and promotes compassion, courage, confidence, character, leadership, entrepreneurship, and active citizenship through activities involving camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning badges by acquiring practical skills

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Describe the advantages of Nina Pape's style of learning (differentiated instruction in small groups) versus the common practice of learning by repetition. 
    In small group learning, student needs are more individualized and they are able to learn more concepts in a given class period. In a "repeat after me" structure, students are not encouraged to think or ask questions. 

    2. Think about your school experience. In what ways do you see Nina Pape's vision of education reflected in your school?
    Students answers may vary. They may include differentiated instruction in small groups, rigorous academic expectations from both boys and girls, kindergarten classrooms in all schools and public playgrounds available to children.

    Explore More

    External Resources