Jessica Gerrard
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‘Waken, children, waken! Justice be your aim’
The creation of a children’s socialist movement and the ‘religion of socialism’
in Radical childhoods
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Chapter three examines the primary characteristics of the Socialist Sunday School (SSS) movement’s practice and its articulated purpose. Firstly, this chapter outlines the emergence of SSSs within the existing socialist initiatives for children. In doing so, this chapter traces the progression of this community-based schooling movement from a small scattering of schools to a British alliance, complete with a range of institutional and cultural apparatuses including school meeting agendas, alternative socialist curriculum and songbooks. Secondly, the SSSs’ creation of a children’s radical education is explored, including their development of socialist cultures of childhood, alternative pedagogies and curricula. Thirdly and finally, the ways in which the SSS movement drew upon the cultural resources of the Christian religion to develop its educational practices is analysed. This discussion investigates the ways in which the SSS movement was related to the ‘religion of socialism’ approach in Britain, combining a concern for socialist morality and ethics with socialist politics as a means to connect socialism to children’s education.

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Radical childhoods

Schooling and the struggle for social change


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