Young Children in Brief Separation – ‘JOHN, 17 months, for 9 days in a residential nursery’


In a nursery and separated from his mother for nine days, John becomes very distressed.

SKU: 24
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Producer: James and Joyce Robertson
Year Produced: 1969
Running time: 43 minutes
PDF:  Teaching Notes


At 17 months John is a placid, easy to manage child.

He spends nine days in a residential nursery. The nurses are young and friendly, but the system of care does not allow any one of them to substitute for the absent mother.

John tries hard to make a relationship but is defeated and becomes increasingly distressed. When his mother comes to take him home, he will not accept her and struggles to get out of her arms. He looks at his mother in a way she has never seen before.

JOHN has a use beyond teaching about child development. He is a microcosm of the human dilemma of how to give appropriate care to those in need, whether they be infants, the aged, the mentally ill, or prisoners, all of whom need stable, supportive relationships.

German and Russian versions also available. A guide booklet accompanies the film.

This film was made in 1969 in black and white, so the film and sound quality is not to modern standards. This should not diminish its value as a moving historic record.