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Nursery School: Outpost for Preventive Psychiatry

JACK C. WESTMAN, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(1):31-35. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720190033004.
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The preschool years are the most critical and perhaps the most inaccessible for preventive psychiatry. Parents receive helpful information and advice from many sources, but they seldom have access to practical psychiatric consultation.14 The mental health services of the public schools focus on children after they enter kindergarten.3 Prior to this time, the pediatrician and the general practitioner are available to the family. Their view of the child is based on observations made in the consulting room and on information transmitted by the parents. A more complete picture of the child's behavior is seen in nursery school. This paper describes the experiences of a psychiatrist working in a normal nursery school setting.

Description of the Setting  Previous reports in the psychiatric literature have dealt with emotionally disturbed children in therapeutic nurseries.1,2,4,8,10,15,17 Regular nursery schools have used psychiatric consultation for specific

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