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Wooden tray for use with a set of Lowenfeld mosaics, United Kingdom, 1930-1940

The Institute of Child Psychology used these simple wooden trays with sets of Lowenfeld Mosaics. Margaret Lowenfeld (1890-1973) was a paediatrician who became a pioneer of child psychology and psychotherapy. She recognised language is often unsatisfactory and even impossible as an expressive medium for children. She also recognised play is essential to their development. She developed non-verbal techniques to enable often traumatised children to convey experiences. Her mosaics used tiles of different colours and shape. These produced a powerful diagnostic and therapeutic instrument. The child was given the tray and the tiles and used the pieces any way they liked. The psychologist interpreted the patterns. The tray dates from around the 1930s. It is marked with the name ‘T. M. Woodcock.’ This refers to Thérèse Mei-Yau Woodcock. She was a later leading exponent of Lowenfeld’s techniques.

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Glossary: tray

Open, variously shaped containers of wood, metal or other rigid material with a flat bottom and a low rim for holding, carrying, or exhibiting articles.

Glossary: psychology

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