Everyday Regime

Clear rules determined everyday life in “institutions”, homes, and care places. For a long time, the collective education took precedence over individual needs. Everyday life was focused on work. But there were also other experiences.

© Our Faces – Our Stories, 2022

Order & Rules

If a person was placed in a home, a “facility” or an institution, they lost their personal freedom.

They had to subordinate themselves to the hierarchic regime of the management and the daily routine it had set. Punishments and privileges ensured order and discipline. In addition, they had to hold their ground in a network of informal rules that prevailed among the internees. ...

More than 1,000 Homes, “Institutions” and Other Facilities

Those affected were placed in foster families or facilities. The cantons, districts, municipalities or private individuals and often also confessional sponsorships were responsible for operation, funding and supervision.

Departure to More Individuality

Since the 1960’s, individual needs were given more weight. The social change favoured this shift.

Black and white photo of a room in the Uitikon-Waldegg “correctional labour facility”. A teenager is sitting at his desk, to the left of which is a bed with a carpet in front of it. Curtains hang at the window, and posters of sports cars adorn the walls.

A youth in the “correctional labour facility” Uitikon-Waldegg (ZH) working at his desk (1970). Photographer: Hans Gerber

Since the 1960s, the educational concepts in children’s and youth homes had changed. Training for staff became more differentiated and based more and more on scientific principles. Individual needs and privacy were rated higher. Uniform clothing gradually vanished, girls were also allowed to wear trousers and dorms were turned into private rooms where posters stuck on the walls. The social awakening favoured these changes. Nevertheless, the living conditions in the reformatory institutions were heavily criticised in the so-called Home Campaign at the beginning of the 1970s.

We Talk in this Film