Imágenes de páginas

Mothers' Club Department.


"If I were asked to name the highest vocation in life, I would say, the care of a child from infancy to manhood."

The president of the Board of Education of San Francisco has said that children may revert to the use of slates. This is going back, as it were, and there are some things we should not go back to. This is one of them. There is a marked increase of contagious diseases among children while attending school; the slate is one source of contagion. Some of the common means are given in “Motherhood” (June and July) in an article written by E. V. Silver, M. D., on "Diseases in School,” viz: Exchanging ribbons, chewing-gum, bandkerchiefs, slate and lead pencils, etc. Drinking cups spread disease and schools books are ready carriers of contagion. The danger from overcrowding the schoolrooms leads to the breathing of impure air and the dissemination of germs. When it has been said that three-fourths of the school children have catarrh, we feel the necessity of teaching children to avoid those personal contacts such as "putting their faces together, blowing into each other's faces, examining slates and papers, and sitting close together. Going back to slates, a case is reported where the teacher had contracted diphtheria in a mild form in using the saliva to erase the work from the children's slates had conveyed the germs to their throats, resulting in the death of three pupils out of twenty-eight infected.

In Chicago it has lately been decided by the board of education that all applicants for appointment as teachers in the public schools must submit to a medical examination before coming up for their technical examination.

It has also been decided by the San Francisco board that all applicants for teacher's positions must undergo a physical examination.

At the Golden Gate Mother's Club, Miss Alice Bradley, president of the W. C. T. U., made inquiries about the cigarette pledges. There being no “fiends” in said school, it was tho't best not to introduce the subject of pledges. This is well. Mrs. Bradley went on to state, however, that much good had been done by these pledges; that over six thousand had been signed, and that in a certain school all but two had signed, and these two being made the butt of all the ridicule the boys and girls could muster, they, too, had made up their minds to "quit and be strong.”

The Go den Gate Mothers' Club met Wednesday, August 21. A paper read by Mrs. Alice Bradley and written by Annie Little Barry, was the subject of some interesting discussion. At a previous meeting the subject of amusements during vacation was discussed; and that brings to mind the German idea of interchang ing city and country children. The plan has worked successfully in Berlin and other cities, and it is now the intention to make it international, establishing an exchange of children between different countries. The president of our board is an earnest advocate of the plan to establish playgrounds in various parts of the city. A lot which is to cost $7000 a year has been secured, and about $6000 in addition will be expended for the equipment of the grounds. This experiment will no doubt prove satisfactory, as it did in Oakland and Eastern cities, but the


German idea is not to be despised, and this is work that the mothers' clubs

might do well to look into. The golden rule among mothers who might be in. duced to make the change, would make this plan an admirable one. The child in the country would have the same tender care that is hoped for the little one in the “big city."

What can be prettier than the voices of children singing? It would pay parents in the vicinity of the Moulder school, San Francisco, to visit it, if just to hear the children sing, "Last Night, as 1 Lay Sleeping"; the Japanese song, and a few others. And what can be more charming than Mrs. Brogan's manner, as she conducts her visitors about, and consults their wishes. The arithmetic drill, as given by ber, was interesting. The lesson in language perhaps more interesting, and in history, most interesting; and the music - charming. It is pleasing to note that the principal loves our children, and loves her work. A little boy who was afraid to start to school and cried all the way, said after a few days: “I know the teacher wants me, I-can-tell-by-her-eyes.” So we know the principal loves children, and this is the secret of her never-ending patience and her unfailing health. All teachers should love children. There is no other way to make children succeed. Think of a child accusing her teacher (rightfully) of being glad to get rid of them Friday afternoons. Of course there are mothers correspondingly sorry when the "school is out.” They have our sympathy.

Teachers, also, have our sympathy. Parents should visit the school more frequently, and observe the honest efforts the teachers are making to teach the children

Do not wait until you have a grievance and visit the school in a fit of angry impatience.

There was so much of interest in reference to school and parents in the last Qumber of the "California Club Woman” that we are at a loss to know just where to glean. The Woman's Parliament of Southern California is perhaps the most interesting for our readers. Dr. Kearny of Los Angeles presented “The Medical Woman in Official Positions," as a subject for debate, and said:

There are lines in which our professional training may be helpful in public life — the sanitary, which deals with public schools; the matter of personal hygiene, which includes prevention and spread of contagious diseases; the investigation of physical defects, and the psychology which considers the relation of the teacher to the child.

Medical supervision of schools should be universally established, and the sooner the better. physician's task is not only to cure, but likewise to prevent disease. Women should be interested in visiting schools, and should aid in electing the best men and women to official positions. All physi. cians, and particularly all women physicians, should be interested in this work, and there is no ques. tion that women should be elected on the school board. The appointment of medical inspectors of schools is well established in large cities. Reports from Boston, New York and Chicago concerning this work are very interesting and profitable. A great decrease in the spread of contagious diseases is believed to be the re ult of the inspection. A child coming from a home where there are sick children, or presenting an unusual appearance, is referred to the physician, and it takes but a moment to discover whether he requires treatment. If so, he is sent home with instructions to see the family physician.

Dr. Kearny also made a strong plea, that of the seven members of the State Board of Health one should be a woman, and that institutions where there are women and children should count a woman physician on its board of trustees or its board of managers.

Miss Alice Moore, on the subject, “Some Features of the New Education," asks, "Shall we spend so much time upon the dissection of beetles and the vivisection of frogs and learn nothing of the rules of sanitation or the nature of the foods that best develop the human species? Good citizensbip depends largely on health, intelligence, and morality. Women should be instructed in the princi


ples of good housekeeping; it is therefore a wise provision for the future, to introduce domestic science into the public schools."

"Child-Study Circles in Connection with the Public Schoo's," was the subject of a paper by Mrs. W. H. Murphy. She said in part:

Parents and teachers are bound together by a common interest, and there is nothing that cannot be accomplished for the public schools, if the best peuple agree to combine forces in working for desired results. The teachers are more than willing to welcome any changes that will bring to them the sharing of responsibilities and the sympathetic aid of parents. Trouble between parents and teachers almost invariably comes about thru misunderstanding. Conference and co-operation is fostering a spirit of tolerance, which seeks to draw forth the best in each for the benefit of all.

Of all punishments, tbat of punishing for “fibs" is perhaps the hardest.


" Here's a nut I've found for you,"

Liitle " Dubby" said,
Aud mama, busily engaged,

Slowly raised her head.

Mechanically she took it up,

Raised it to her lips,
Then bethought her of a boy

Whose tongue sometimes makes slips.

She placed the nut beside her couch;

For, had she not heard
A little boy so softly steal

To where the nuts were stored.

“I'm sure that it would choke me, dear,

And I will have no joy
Till you've made up your mind to be

Your mama's truthful boy.'

All sileutly he hung his head,

Then crept to mother's knee,
And from his pocket came some nuts

To keep her's company.

Silently he crept to bed;

Sobs shook his little frame.
Presently, “I-swiped - those - nuts"-

From neath the covers came.

Who shall not say that little boy

llad felt the chastening rod,
And ere he went to sleep that night,

Made all things right with God?

" How to Punish” will be the subject of a paper and discussion at the Golden Gate Mother's Club, San Francisco, Wednesday, September 18th.


[ocr errors]



I shall try in this paper to break away from all cu ent practices, traditions, methods, and philosophies, for a brief moment, and ask what education would be if based solely upon a fresh and comprehensive view of the nature and needs of childhood. Hitherto the data for such a construction of the ideal school have been insufficient, and soon they will be too manifold for any one mind to make the attempt; so the moment is opportune. What follows is based almost solely, point by point, upon the study of the stages of child development, and might, perhaps, without presumption be called a first attempt to formulate a practical program of this great movement. In my limited space I can do little more than barely state the conclusions that affect the practical work of teachers.

The kindergarten should fill more of the day, and should strive to kill time. In the Berlin Institute children sleep at noon in a darkened room, with music, crackers, or even bottles, and thus resist man's enemy, fatigue, and restore paradise for themselves. Part of the cult bere should be idleness and the intermediate state of reverie. We should have a good excuse to break into these, and at this age children should be carefully shielded from all suspicion of any symbolic sense. Thus in play and in play only, life is made to seem real. Imitation should have a far larger scope. Children should hear far more English and better, and in the later years the ear should be trained for French or German. Color should never be taught as such. The children of the rich, generally maturely individualized or over-individualized, especially when they are only children, must be disciplined and subordinated ; while the children of the poor, usually under-individualized, should be indulged. We should lose no syllable of the precious positive philosophy of Froebel, the deepest of all modern educational thinkers; but we must profoundly reconstruct every practical expression that he attempted of his ideas, and must strive to induce at least a few college-trained men and women to turn their attention to the kindergarten, thus making the training schools feel, what they have hitberto known so little of, the real spirit and influence of modern science Teachers should study every child, not necessarily by any of the current technical methods. They should learn far more than they can teach, and in place of the shallow manikin child of books, they should see, know, and love only the real thing. After this metempsychosis, the kindergarten should be, and should become, an integral part of every school system.

There is often a new and exquisite sensitiveness to every breath of criticism, praise or blame. All are anxious to know whether they are inferior or superior to others. There may be observed both a new diffidence and a new self-assertion. The largest percentage of criminals is found in the later teens, and at this time most conversions occur also. Both pleasure and pain are vastly intensified. Pugnacity becomes very strong, as does the instinct for showing off. The large muscles and then the small develop rapidly, but are at first unenduring and clumsy. The heart and arteries are suddenly enlarged, and the blood pressure is increased. Blushing is greatly developed. Nature puts body and soul on their mettle. Heredity chiefly and environment next determine whether the individual can cross this pons successfully; whether he can moult into maturity completely without loss or arrest. New friendships and new secrets are formed; the imagination blossoms; the soul is never so sensitive to all the aspects of nature; music, which may have been studied before, is now felt; the excelsior motive or the developmental push upward makes this the very best and richest season of life. New curiosities, amounting to intellectual hungers, are felt.

In the ideal school system, the sexes will now, for a time at least, pretty




much part company. They are beginning to differ in every cell and tissue, and girls for a time need some exemption from competition. They have more power than boys to draw upon their capital of physical energy and to take out of their system more than it can afford to lose, for the individuals of one generation can consume more than their share of vigor at the expense of posterity. In soul and body girls are more conservative; males vary, differentiate, and are more radical. Reproduction requires a far larger proportion of body and function in females. Now the leaders of the new education for girls recommend training them for selfsupport, assuming that if wifehood and motherhood come those who have received such a training can best take care of themselves. This assumption is radically wrong and vicious, and should be reversed. Every girl should be educated primarily to become a wife and mother, and, if this is done wisely and broadly, the small minority who remain single will with this training be best able to care for themselves.

The teacher must teach more, and know more; he must be a living fountain, not a stagnant pool. He should not be a dealer in desiccated, second-hand knowledge, a mere giver-out and bearer of lessons. That is the chief and humiliatiog difference oetween our secondary teachers and those abroad, who are mostly Doctors of Philosophy, as they should be. If we could move many university professors to the college, many college professors to the higb school, many high school teachers to the grammar school, and some grammar school teachers, with at least a sprinkling of college graduates, into the kindergarten, it would do much. In the German and French schools, the teacher is one who knows a great deal about his subject and is nearer to original sources; who tells the great truths of the sciences almost like stories; and who does not affect the airs and methods of the university professor. Very many secondary teachers are masters and authorities. Here, most of our university pedagogy is a mere device for so influencing high school principals and teachers as to correlate curricula, in order to corral in students, and little interest is taken in the grammar grades, and done in the kindergarten.

I have spoken frankly, and have dealt only with general principles over a vast field, far too large to be adequately discussed here. I have carefully avoided all details, although I have fully worked them out on paper at great length, for each topic to the close of the high school period or the age of nineteen, when physical growth is essentially completed. This material will soon appear io a volume. The chief petition in my daily prayer now is for a millionaire. With the means at hand, I have no shadow of doubt or fear but that in five years from the date of any adequate gift, we shall be able to invite all interested to a system of education, covering this ground, which will be a practical realization of much present proh pecy, and which will commend itself even to the most conservative defender of things as they are and have been, because the best things established will be in it. But it will be essentially pedocentric rather than scholiocentric; it may be a little like the Reformation which iosisted that the Sabbath, the Bible and the Church were made for man, and not he for them; it will fit both the practices and the results of modern science and psychological study; it will make religion and morals more effective and, perhaps, above all, it will give individuality in the school its full rights as befits a republican form of government, and will contribute something to bring the race to the higher maturity of the superman that is to be, effectiveness in developing which is the highest and final test of art, science, religion, home, state, literature, and every human institution.

CO-OPERATION. – Every life is meant to help all lives ; each man should live for all men's betterment.- Alice Cary.

To take “ life as God gives it, not as we want it," and then make the best of it is, the hard lesson that life puts before the human soul to learn.- Vun Dyke.

« AnteriorContinuar »