« AnteriorContinuar »
attention and discrimination are well developed, and every child who enjoys its privileges has begun to be an artist. Moreover, his powers of concentration and his insight have been so cultivated, and his information has been so increased, that his future intellectual development will be immeasurably hastened. The proof of these statements is found in the great contrast shown in the early grades of our own schools, between those who have and those who have not received kindergarten instruction.
Physical Culture has been prominently and almost abruptly brought into notice within the last five years. Its claim to a place in every higher institution is already recognized. The law of this State compels attention to physiology, and public sentiment follows quickly with the demand that the body shall be cared for and exercised, that the long term of confinement in school shall not prove disastrous alike to health and morals. Physical exercises are as much a part of the programme of the model school-rooms as arithmetic or reading. A systematic course of physical training is obligatory upon every student of the Normal School. A regular instructor is employed and classes give one period every day to gymnasium work.
Students will here learn the value of strengthening and caring for the body, which is so often disfigured and despised by American women, and they will, thereby, know better how to teach others to care for health. This department should afford a complete training and award a certificate, that the influence of the school may not stop with benefiting the few that are in attendance.
Every grade of schools, and almost every subject taught has its appropriate occupation. Modeling, coloring, molding, drawing, writing, measuring, weighing, representation, and reproduction of every kind, assist in the apprehension of almost every subject in the school curriculum.
Successful teachers unconsciously employ the idea of reproduction or representation in tangible form, of all ideas presented to pupils.
Teachers introduce a long list of occupations and busy work. Many merely imitate what others do in this respect; a few employ this natural method through intuition, or from an intelligent apprehension of the principle involved; but all, for one reason or another, are trying to use industrial elements in the schoolroom. These features are not introduced because of their intrin
sic worth, but because the intellect must have the assistance of things at every point.
Students of the Normal School are introduced to a great variety of elementary forms of technical work. Kindergarten occupations, molding, modeling, the use of tools, writing, drawing, coloring, gymnastics, and experimental work in physiology, chemistry, and physics, are the technical features in which instruction is at present given. It is intended that this instruction shall be thorough as far as it goes. The elements are dealt with and fairly mastered. The favorable influence of the presence of these occupations can be demonstrated in every model school-room. Restraint is reduced to a minimum. Children are self-reliant, and cheerful, and learn to work. More is accomplished, and the progress in all other subjects is more rapid, since these occupations either contribute directly to a better comprehension of every topic presented, or improve the general conditions under which pupils work.
If industrial training stopped here, it might be claimed that these features had revolutionized all methods of teaching, and gone far in redeeming the school from the sepulchral and immoral influence that have enveloped it as a place of mere restraint.
But the school deserves criticism, if it is satisfied to deal with the rudiments of industrial training. It should send out experts to teach every mechanical art worth introducing here. A vigorous and liberal policy in building up these technical schools would accomplish almost any desired improvement in the sentiment of the entire State.
Complete post-graduate or independent courses should be offered in singing; industrial art ; physical training ; coloring and modeling; drawing, carpentry, and natural science. Το accomplish this, a new building would be indispensable.
But Connecticut supports no art school, and an art department of the Normal School liberally equipped would imply a modest outlay for a State that leads the nation in many of its numberless fine art productions. Our present arrangements may afford suggestions to all who know the school but can never shape rapidly or surely the taste and practice of a State.
The workshop occupies the southern side of the third floor of the main building—is 83 feet by 22 feet by 12 feet, and was completed in May of the present year. It is furnished with benches,
tools, turning lathe, circular saw, and supplied with power. The Junior and Senior classes spend one period each day in constructing such apparatus as may be needed in teaching elementary science. The labor here done furnishes the best possible training in discrimination, proportion, and the use and value of materials.
Those here trained will henceforth be able to describe such apparatus as they cannot themselves construct. They will have more ingenuity, and can employ this constructive power in numberless useful ways in the school-room.
The workshop gives an hour of healthful recreation, and considered from the side of health alone would prove a valuable investment for any school. Neither the exercises in the workshop, nor in the gymnasium, nor in any other of the technical lines mentioned, are optional.
A complete course in many technical arts is certainly desirable, and ought to have a prominent place ; but it is to be earnestly hoped that all who are to be trained to teach in the common schools may receive the quickening influence of such elementary instruction if nothing more.
The boys from the two upper rooms of the model schools spend two hours a week in the use of tools. No doubt exists as to the benefit to be derived by these pupils from manual work, though it is too early to speak concerning the result of this socalled experiment.
Every department of the school has increased in numbers. This pressure, with the addition of new lines of work already undertaken, has crowded the building and compelled the occupation of the third story, which was never intended for use.
The Kindergarten bas grown to a membership of eighty. It has become absolutely necessary to open a new room or dismiss a large number of pupils, who have attended the Kindergarten, with the understanding that they should be admitted to the primary school, in due time. This school has been organized in an office room in the basement.
There are not sufficient rooms for carrying on recitations, and teachers are working at a disadvantage. It is hoped that these facts will receive the early and earnest attention of the Board.
We can readily discover some improvement in the conditions under which the school is doing its work. A favorable public sentiment, the generous support of many influential teachers and school officers, the general success of graduates, the increasing
number of well-trained students entering the profession, and the liberality of the State, all furnish ground of encouragement.
But it must be said that the low standard of qualification for teaching required in most towns, the demoralizing influence of a divided and often incompetent management, react upon the Normal School. It is in spite of low ideals, and a pernicious system of employing teachers, that the Normal School makes its way to public favor. A law backed by public sentiment, compelling all teachers to be trained for their important work, would put teaching on a par with other professions.
Another obstacle is found in the fact that students are in haste to graduate, and many of the most promising who complete the course in less than the regular time omit such optional parts of the work as would be of the highest benefit to them. I refer to the subject of Natural Science, which many of them have nominally studied before entering the school.
Pupils should be trained till they can do a certain work with a good degree of success. The promise of success is all we can at present wait for, and forty or fifty must now be dismissed at one time. The practice system should be enlarged and so arranged that the training could be indefinitely extended and rigidly carried out.
It is said that teachers of less training would satisfy the demands for a country school. Such a sentiment should not prevail. There should be one Normal School where the most complete preparation can be afforded and where a thorough professional standard can be insisted upon.
C. F. CARROLL, Principal.
The Legislature of 1886 passed the following act : The Governor shall annually, in the spring, designate by official proclamation an Arbor Day, to be observed in the schools and for economic tree-planting.
In compliance with the above act, the Governor issued the following proclamation :
IN COMPLIANCE with an Act passed by the last General Assembly, I hereby designate Friday, the Twenty-ninth of April, to be observed throughout the Commonwealth as Arbor Day;
and I recommend that the teachers in all the Schools of the State so order their instructions and exercises upon that day that every child may learn something of the value, or at least of the beauty, of tree culture, and may take a personal interest in the planting of some tree or shrub in the school grounds or in the adjacent commons.
I earnestly ask every farmer, and especially every Agricultural Association, so to celebrate the day that the public appreciation of the importance of forestry may be increased. I trust that on this, the first of Arbor Days in Connecticut, the standard of cele ation may be set so high as to ensure a proper observance in the years to come, so that at the close of a single generation every village street and country road may be lined with trees which shall protect and beautify, and every hillside now barren may be covered by a forest growth which shall add wealth to the State, salubrity to its climate, and fertility to all the land within its borders.
PHINEAS C. LOUNSBURY.
A copy of this proclamation, together with a pamphlet con. taining suggestions for public exercises and directions as to tree-planting, was sent to every school district in the State.
The following order of exercises was suggested :
9. Planting the trees,-allowing each child to take a part; naming
There was also sent to each committee the following circular and blank.
OFFICE OF STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.
HARTFORD, April 20, 1887. Dear Sir :
Will you kindly fill out and return the enclosed blank, giving account of celebration of Arbor Day in your district? If there was no observance of the day, for any cause, please so state.