the encyclopaedia of pedagogy and informal education


YMCA and the development of informal and youth work education. In this major new piece, Tony Jeffs reflects on the YMCA’s 135-year engagement across the world with the professional education of those working with young people. He examines both the innovations and tensions involved in the growth and experience of different programmes, and the factors that led to the decline of informal and youth work education within the YMCA. This important research is also available to download as a pdf.

Picture: George Williams (1821-1905), founder of the YMCA – John Collier. National Portrait Gallery | ccby4

Jane Addams: Educational methods. New in the archives – a chapter from Jane Addams’ book Democracy and Social Ethics (1902). In it she argues for some fundamental changes in schooling so that democracy can be strengthened and people’s lives are more rewarding.


Explore the work of three pioneering educationalists during the Second World War and after:

Marie Paneth – Branch Street, The Windemere Children, art and pedagogy. Paneth was a talented painter, art therapist and social pedagogue. Her book, Branch Street (1944), is a classic exploration of community-based work with children during the Second World War. Examine also, the pioneering and healing use Marie Paneth made of art both with young people who had been held in concentration camps (discussed in Rock the Cradle 2020), and in later practice. [updated and extended 2024]

Pearl Jephcott, youth and the lives of ordinary people. Pearl Jephcott produced a series of influential studies of the lives of young people and was an important figure in the development of thinking about youth club work. She also undertook several community studies that added significantly to our appreciation of working-class life. [updated and extended 2024]

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education. One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. [updated and extended 2024]


Fred Milson: developing the practice of youth and community work. Fred Milson (1912-1983) was an influential writer and trainer who did much to develop youth and community work practice within the Methodist church and the Youth Service generally. He was also an important contributor to national policy debates. The update includes a large amount of additional material about Fred Milson’s life and some updating of the rest of the text. [updated June 2024].

Frances Herbert Stead, Robert Browning Hall and the fight for old age pensions. Frances Herbert Stead – often referred to as F. Herbert Stead (1857-1928) – was a Congregationalist minister who established and ran Robert Browning Hall and Settlement in Walworth, London). He was also a key figure in the fight for old age pensions in Britain. We explore his contribution both to the development of the settlement movement and to winning the old age pension. [updated July 2024].