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Mary Gets Ready For School

Educational film from the early 1950's

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This film recording the routine of a small girl getting ready for school was supervised by the Infants Panel Scotland in 1950. The story carefully points out the importance of hygiene and diet in her routine. She is woken up by her mother; she washes and dresses herself in her school uniform, brushes her hair and her mother ties a ribbon in it. She has a breakfast of porridge and milk, and a piece of buttered toast with marmalade. She puts on her shoes, school bonnet, raincoat and satchel. She then cleans her teeth and leaves the house for school.

Questions & Activities


  • Why does Mary put her socks on as soon as she gets up?
  • How does her bedroom differ to yours?
  • What does she eat for her breakfast and how does this differ to you?
  • Do you think Mary's parents are wealthy? What clues does the film give you to help you think this?
  • What might her dad have worked as?
  • Why is milk so important to growth?
  • What happens if you do not brush your teeth?


English / Sequencing activity: Make a list of all the things Mary does when she gets up. List what you see in the different rooms in the house and discuss how they are different to today.

English: Write a narration either describing from Mary'€™s point of view of what she is doing or what she is thinking as she is getting ready.

English / History: Interview your grandparents and ask them about what their routine was as a child and what their house was like.

PSE: Children had more freedom and responsibility to get themselves to school in the past. How has this changed today and is it for the better?

Health and Wellbeing: Describe what you have for breakfast and work out its nutritional value. Work out the nutritional value of what Mary has and compare the two.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-004-109-C
Project Ref 2771
Date c.1951
Genre Educational
School Subject Health and Wellbeing, Physical Education
Subject Matter Early Years, Literacy
Who Elder Film Productions Ltd., Glasgow (production company), SEFA, Scottish Film Council (sponsor)
Attributes Colour, Silent
Clip Length 8:58
Film Length 08:58
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