The first Czech nurseiy school was established in Prague in 1869. It represented a new type of public institution for the youngest children which was created by the rising Czech bourgeoisie for children of the lower strata of the population. It was a public institution, and not a private one as were the former types of such establishments. It was a charitable institution founded on the basis of co-operation between the city of Prague and representatives of the Czech bourgeois circles. The fact that the care for children was entrusted to women — and no longer to men as in former similar institutions — corresponded to the process of gradual utilization of women’s work force, which occured in manufacturing as well as in other spheres of social activities.
Following the example of the first municipal nursery school at St James’s further nursery schools were being founded with the aim of contributing to lessening class differences which were becoming ever sharper as a result of the capitalist production relations. Nursery schools aimed at forming a pedagogical conception of their own which MOuld — with the use of foreign experience — develop national traditions. The fact that the founders of the first nursery schools made use of the experience of the countries where capitalism was at a higher stage of development than in our country had a positive effect in that the Prague municipal nursery schools were very successful in meeting the needs of a capitalist society. This can be proved by the fact that their organizational base survived the Austro-Hungarian period and remained unchanged in the bourgeois Czechoslovak Republic (the 1918—1939 period). The Prague municipal nursery schools represent one link of that progressive line of Czech pre-school education initiated by J. A. Comenius, carried on by J. V. Svoboda and leading up to the socialist pre-school education.