Margaret Bancroft

Margaret BancroftMargaret Bancroft (1854-1912) founded the Haddonfield Bancroft Training School for the multiply disabled. Under its original name as The Haddonfield School for the Mentally Deficient and Peculiarly Backward, the institution was founded in 1883 as a way for Bancroft and fellow educators to develop innovate ways of teaching developmentally disabled children. Bancroft created a specialized program for the physical, mental and spiritual growth of each particular student. The founder valued the importance of proper nutrition, personal hygiene, exercise, daily prayers, sensory and artistic development and lessons suited to mental age. Students were also treated to different forms of recreation, which included trips to the circus, theaters, museums and concerts. It was renamed the Bancroft Training School in 1904.

Bancroft also helped organize the woman’s club the Haddon Fortnightly in 1894 with the idea that this type of women’s organization outside the home would promote the educational, literary and social interests of its members. It is a testament to the longevity of Bancroft’s vision that the club is still active today. In addition, her legacy lives on through the Bancroft Training School which now serves as a nonprofit institution with residential and day care. Relocated to a campus called Owl’s Head, the school is now a year-round evaluation and treatment center.

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