Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
In Mrs. Tully's Room

In Mrs. Tully's Room

A Childcare Portrait

Vivian Gussin Paley

ISBN 9780674011168

Publication date: 03/31/2003

Request exam copy

In Mrs. Tully's Room makes a quiet but powerful case for the pedagogical skill and psychological insight that childcare providers—so often underpaid and undervalued—can bring to their work. It also emphasizes how warm, quasi-familial, even mentoring relationships can develop between childcare providers and their preschool families.


  • Part diary, part pedagogy, In Mrs. Tully's Room captures Paley's four months in the presence of an extraordinary teacher who grew up in the delightful, reassuring tangle of her grandfather's tales and became, after so many frustrating years teaching in public schools, determined to offer children something she at one point dubs "home-porch-schooling." Storytelling lies at the heart of all things Mrs. Tully does. Loneliness, otherness, rudeness, conflict can all, she believes, be cured with a story. Kindness and community can be modeled and reinforced. Sorrows can be blown off, on languaged winds...In Mrs. Tully's Room is a loving portrait of an idealized place. It is the suggestion made, again and again, that even the youngest children can be shaped by metaphor, that they can grow toward their highest potential--individually and collectively--when stories shape their days.

    —Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune


  • Vivian Gussin Paley (1929–2019), a longtime classroom teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, was a MacArthur Fellow and winner of the 1998 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Book Details

  • 160 pages
  • 4-5/8 x 7-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author