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Title: The Child under Eight
Author: Murray, E. R. (Elsie Riach), 1861-1932, Smith, Henrietta Brown, 1868-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Child under Eight" ***

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_General Editor_.--Prof. A.A. COCK.



E.R. Murray

Vice-Principal Maria Grey Training College
Author Of "Froebel As A Pioneer In Modern Psychology," Etc.


Henrietta Brown Smith

Lecturer In Education, University Of London, Goldsmiths' College
Editor Of "Education By Life"

     "Is it not marvellous that an infant should be the heir of
     the whole world, and see those mysteries which the books of
     the learned never unfold? I knew by intuition those things
     which since my apostasy I collected again by highest




_The following volumes are now ready, and others are in preparation_:--

Education: Its Data and First Principles. By T.P. NUNN, M.A.,
D.Sc., Professor of Education in the University of London.

Moral and Religious Education. By SOPHIE BRYANT, D.Sc., Litt.D.,
late Headmistress, North London Collegiate School for Girls.

The Teaching of Modern Foreign Languages in School and University.
By H.G. ATKINS, Professor of German in King's College, London; and H.L.
HUTTON, Senior Modern Language Master at Merchant Taylors' School.

The Child under Eight. By E.R. MURRAY, Vice-Principal, Maria Grey
Training College, Brondesbury; and HENRIETTA BROWN SMITH, L.L.A.,
Lecturer in Education, Goldsmiths' College, University of London.

The Organisation and Curricula of Schools. By W.G. SLEIGHT, M.A.,
D.Lit, Lecturer at Greystoke Place Training College, London.


The _Modern Educator's Library_ has been designed to give considered
expositions of the best theory and practice in English education of
to-day. It is planned to cover the principal problems of educational
theory in general, of curriculum and organisation, of some unexhausted
aspects of the history of education, and of special branches of applied

The Editor and his colleagues have had in view the needs of young
teachers and of those training to be teachers, but since the school and
the schoolmaster are not the sole factors in the educative process, it
is hoped that educators in general (and which of us is not in some sense
or other an educator?) as well as the professional schoolmaster may find
in the series some help in understanding precept and practice in
education of to-day and to-morrow. For we have borne in mind not only
what is but what ought to be. To exhibit the educator's work as a
vocation requiring the best possible preparation is the spirit in which
these volumes have been written.

No artificial uniformity has been sought or imposed, and while the
Editor is responsible for the series in general, the responsibility for
the opinions expressed in each volume rests solely with its author.




We have made this book between us, but we have not collaborated. We know
that we agree in all essentials, though our experience has differed. We
both desire to see the best conditions for development provided for all
children, irrespective of class. We both look forward to the time when
the conditions of the Public Elementary School, from the Nursery School
up, will be such--in point of numbers, in freedom from pressure, in
situation of building, in space both within and without, and in beauty
of surroundings--that parents of any class will gladly let their
children attend it.

We are teachers and we have dealt mainly with the mental or, as we
prefer to call it, the spiritual requirements of children. It is from
the medical profession that we must all accept facts about food values,
hours of sleep, etc., and the importance of cleanliness and fresh air
are now fully recognised. We do, however, feel that there is room for
fresh discussion of ultimate aims and of daily procedure. Mr. Clutton
Brock has said that the great weakness of English education is the want
of a definite aim to put before our children, the want of a philosophy
for ourselves. Without some understanding of life and its purpose or
meaning, the teacher is at the mercy of every fad and is apt to exalt
method above principle. This book is an attempt to gather together
certain recognised principles, and to show in the light of actual
experience how these may be applied to existing circumstances.

The day is coming when all teachers will seek to understand the true
value of Play, of spontaneous activity in all directions. Its importance
is emphasised in nearly all the educational writings of the day, as well
in the Senior as in the Junior departments of the school, but we need a
full and deep understanding of the saying, "Man is Man only when he
plays." It is easy to say we believe it, but it needs strong faith,
courage, and wide intelligence to weave such belief into the warp of
daily life in school.







IV.   FROM 1816 TO 1919
















It is an appropriate time to produce a book on English schools for
little children, now that Nursery Schools have been specially selected
for notice and encouragement by an enlightened Minister for Education.
It was Madame Michaelis, who in 1890 originally and most appropriately
used the term Nursery School as the English equivalent of a title
suggested by Froebel[1] for his new institution, before he invented the
word Kindergarten, a title which, literally translated, ran "Institution
for the Care of Little Children."

[Footnote 1: Froebel's _Letters_, trans. Michaelis and Moore, p. 30.]

In England the word Nursery, which implies the idea of nurture, belongs
properly to children, though it has been borrowed by the gardener for
his young plants. In Germany it was the other way round; Froebel had to
invent the term _child garden_ to express his idea of the nurture, as
opposed to the repression, of the essential nature of the child.
Unfortunately the word Kindergarten while being naturalised in England
had two distinct meanings attached to it. Well-to-do people began to
send their children to a new institution, a child garden or play school.
The children of the people, however, already attended Infant Schools,
of which the chief feature was what Mr. Caldwell Cook calls
"sit-stillery," and here the word Kindergarten, really equivalent to
Nursery School, became identified with certain occupations, childlike in
origin it is true, but formalised out of all recognition. How a real
Kindergarten strikes a child is illustrated by the recent remark from a
little new boy who had been with us for perhaps three mornings. "Shall I
go up to the nursery now?" he asked.

The first attempt at a Kindergarten was made in 1837, and by 1848
Germany possessed sixteen. In that eventful year came the revolution in
Berlin, which created such high hopes, doomed, alas! to disappointment.
"Instead of the rosy dawn of freedom," writes Ebers,[2] himself an old
Keilhau boy, "in the State the exercise of a boundless arbitrary power,
in the Church dark intolerance." It must have been an easy matter to
bring charges of revolutionary doctrines against the man who said so
innocently, "But I,--I only wanted to train up free-thinking,
independent men."

[Footnote 2: Author of _An Egyptian Princess_, etc.]

It was from "stony Berlin," as Froebel calls it, that the edict went
forth in the name of the Minister of Education entirely prohibiting
Kindergartens in Prussia, and the prohibition soon spread. At the
present time it seems to us quite fitting that the bitter attack upon
Kindergartens should have been launched by Folsung, a schoolmaster, "who
began life as an artilleryman." Nor is it less interesting to read that
it was under the protection of Von Moltke himself that Oberlin schools
were opened to counteract the attractions of the "godless" Kindergarten.

Little wonder that the same man who in 1813 had so gladly taken up arms
to resist the invasion of Napoleon, and who had rejoiced with such
enthusiasm in the prospect of a free and united Fatherland, should write
in 1851:

"Wherefore I have made a firm resolve that if the conditions of German
life will not allow room for the development of honest efforts for the
good of humanity; if this indifference to all higher things
continues--then it is my purpose next spring to seek in the land of
union and independence a soil where my idea of education may strike deep

And to America he might have gone had he lived, but he died three months
later, his end hastened by grief at the edict which closed the
Kindergartens. The Prussian Minister announced, in this edict, that "it
is evident that Kindergartens form a part of the Froebelian socialistic
system, the aim of which is to teach the children atheism," and the
suggestion that he was anti-Christian cut the old man to the heart.
There had been some confusion between Froebel and one of his nephews,
who had democratic leanings, and no doubt anything at all democratic did
mean atheism to "stony Berlin" and its intolerant autocracy.

For a time, at least in Bavaria, a curious compromise was allowed. If
the teacher were a member of the Orthodox Church, she might have her
Kindergarten, but if she belonged to one of the Free Churches, it was
permissible to open an Infant School, but she must not use the term

Froebel was by no means of the opinion that, if only the teacher had the
right spirit, the name did not matter. Rather did he hold with
Confucius, whose answer to the question of a disciple, "How shall I
convert the world?" was, "Call things by their right names." He refused
to use the word school, because "little children, especially those under
six, do not need to be schooled and taught, what they need is
opportunity for development." He had great difficulty in selecting a
name. Those originally suggested were somewhat cumbrous, e.g.
_Institution for the Promotion of Spontaneous Activity in Children_;
another was _Self-Teaching Institution_, and there was also the one
which Madame Michaelis translated "_Nursery School for Little

But the name Kindergarten expressed just what he Wanted: "As in a
garden, under God's favour, and by the care of a skilled intelligent
gardener, growing plants are cultivated in accordance with Nature's
laws, so here in our child garden shall the noblest of all growing
things, men (that is, children), be cultivated in accordance with the
laws of their own being, of God and of Nature."

To one of his students he writes: "You remember well enough how hard we
worked and how we had to fight that we might elevate the Darmstadt
crèche, or rather Infant School, by improved methods and organisation
until it became a true Kindergarten.... Now what was the outcome of all
this, even during my own stay at Darmstadt? Why, the fetters which
always cripple a crèche or an Infant School, and which seem to cling
round its very name--these fetters were allowed to remain unbroken.
Every one was pleased with so faithful a mistress as yourself,... yet
they withheld from you the main condition of unimpeded development, that
of the freedom necessary to every young healthy and vigorous plant....
Is there really such importance underlying the mere name of a
system?--some one might ask. Yes, there is.... It is true that any one
watching your teaching would observe _a new spirit_ infused into it,
_expressing and fulfilling the child's own wants and desires._ You would
strike him as personally capable, but you would fail to strike him as
priestess of the idea which God has now called to life within man's
bosom, and of the struggle towards the realisation of that
idea--_education by development--the destined means of raising the whole
human race...._ No man can acquire fresh knowledge, even at a school,
beyond the measure which his own stage of development fits him to
receive.... Infant Schools are nothing but a contradiction of
child-nature. Little children especially those under school age, ought
not to be schooled and taught, what they need is opportunity for
development. This idea lies in the very name of a Kindergarten.... And
the name is absolutely necessary to describe the first education of

For an actual definition of what Froebel meant by his Nursery School for
Little Children or Kindergarten, it is only fair to go to the founder
himself. He has left us two definitions or descriptions, one announced
shortly before the first Kindergarten was opened, which runs:

"An institution for the fostering of human life, through the cultivation
of the human instincts of activity, of investigation and of construction
in the child, as a member of the family, of the nation and of humanity;
an institution for the self-instruction, self-education and
self-cultivation of mankind, as well as for all-sided development of the
individual through play, through creative self-activity and spontaneous

A second definition is given in Froebel's reply to a proposal that he
should establish "my system of education--education by development"--in
London, Paris or the United States:

"We also need establishments for training quite young children in their
first stage of educational development, where their training and
instruction shall be based upon their own free action or spontaneity
acting under proper rules, these rules not being arbitrarily decreed,
but such as must arise by logical necessity from the child's mental and
bodily nature, regarding him as a member of the great human family; such
rules as are, in fact, discovered by the actual observation of children
when associated together in companies. These establishments bear the
name of Kindergartens."

Unfortunately there are but few pictures of Froebel's own Kindergarten,
but there seems to have been little formality in its earliest
development. An oft-told story is that of Madame von Marenholz in 1847
going to watch the proceedings of "an old fool," as the villagers called
him, who played games with the village children. A less well-known
account is given by Col. von Arnswald, again a Keilhau boy, who visited
Blankenberg in 1839, when Froebel had just opened his first

"Arriving at the place, I found my Middendorf[3] seated by the pump in
the market-place, surrounded by a crowd of little children. Going near
them I saw that he was engaged in mending the jacket of a boy. By his
side sat a little girl busy with thread and needle upon another piece of
clothing; one boy had his feet in a bucket of water washing them
carefully; other girls and boys were standing round attentively looking
upon the strange pictures of real life before them, and waiting for
something to turn up to interest them personally. Our meeting was of the
most cordial kind, but Middendorf did not interrupt the business in
which he was engaged. 'Come, children,' he cried, 'let us go into the
garden!' and with loud cries of joy the little folk with willing feet
followed the splendid-looking, tall man, running all round him.

[Footnote 3: One of Froebel's most devoted helpers.]

"The garden was not a garden, however, but a barn, with a small room and
an entrance hall. In the entrance Middendorf welcomed the children and
played a round game with them, ending with the flight of the little ones
into the room, where each of them sat down in his place on the bench and
took his box of building blocks. For half an hour they were all busy
with their blocks, and then came 'Come, children, let us play "spring
and spring."' And when the game was finished they went away full of joy
and life, every one giving his little hand for a grateful good-bye."

Here in this earliest of Free Kindergartens are certain essentials.
Washing and mending, the alternation of constructive play with active
exercise, rhythmic game and song, and last but not least human
kindliness and courtesy. The shelter was but a barn, but there are
things more important than premises.

Froebel died too soon to see his ideals realised, but he had sown the
seed in the heart of at least one woman with brain to grasp and will to
execute. As early as 1873 the Froebelians had established something more
than the equivalent of the Montessori Children's Houses under the name
of Free Kindergartens or People's Kindergartens. It will bring this out
more clearly if, without referring here to any modern experiments in
America, in England and Scotland, or in the Dominions, we quote the
description of an actual People's Kindergarten or Nursery School as it
was established nearly fifty years ago.

The moving spirit of this institution was Henrietta Schroder, Froebel's
own grand-niece, trained by him, and of whom he said that she, more than
any other, had most truly understood his views.

The whole institution was called the Pestalozzi-Froebel House. The
Prussian edict, which abolished the Kindergarten almost before it had
started, was now rescinded, and our own Princess Royal[4] gave warm
support to this new institution. The description here quoted was
actually written in 1887, when the institution had been in existence for
fourteen years:

[Footnote 4: The Crown Princess of Prussia, afterwards the Empress

"The purpose of the National Kindergarten is to provide the necessary
and natural help which poor mothers require, who have to leave their
children to themselves.

"The establishment contains:--

"(1) The Kindergarten proper, a National Kindergarten with four classes
for children from 2-1/2 to 6 years old.

"(2) The Transition Class, only held in the morning for children about 6
or 6-1/2 years old.

"(3) The Preparatory School, for children from 6 to 7 or 7-1/2 years

"(4) The School of Handwork, for children from 6 to 10 or older.

"Dinners are provided for those children whose parents work all day away
from home at a trifling charge of a halfpenny and a penny. Also, for a
trifle, poor children may receive assistance of various kinds in
illness, or may have milk or baths through the kindness of the kindred
'Association for the Promotion of Health in the Household.'

"In the institution we are describing there is a complete and
well-furnished kitchen, a bathroom, a courtyard with sand for digging,
with pebbles and pine-cones, moss, shells and straw, etc., a garden, and
a series of rooms and halls suitably furnished and arranged for games,
occupations, handwork and instruction.

"The occupations pursued in the Kindergarten are the following: free
play of a child by itself; free play of several children by themselves;
associated play under the guidance of a teacher; gymnastic exercises;
several sorts of handwork suited to little children; going for walks;
learning music, both instrumental (on the method of Madame Wiseneder[5])
and vocal; learning and repetition of poetry; story-telling; looking at
really good pictures; aiding in domestic occupations; gardening; and the
usual systematic ordered occupations of Froebel. Madame Schrader is
steadfastly opposed to that conception of the Kindergarten which insists
upon mathematically shaped materials for the Froebelian occupations. Her
own words are: 'The children find in our institution every encouragement
to develop their capabilities and powers by use; not by their selfish
use to their own personal advantage, but by their use in the loving
service of others. The longing to help people and to accomplish little
pieces of work proportioned to their feeble powers is constant in
children; and lies alongside of their need for that free and
unrestrained play which is the business of their life."

[Footnote 5: From certain old photographs, I suppose this to have been
what we now call a Kindergarten Band.]

"The elder children are expected to employ themselves in cleaning,
taking care of, arranging, keeping in order, and using the many various
things belonging to the housekeeping department of the Kindergarten; for
example, they set out and clear away the materials required for the
games and handicrafts; they help in cleaning the rooms, furniture and
utensils; they keep all things in order and cleanliness; they paste
together torn wallpapers or pictures, they cover books, and they help in
the cooking and in preparations for it; in laying the tables, in washing
up the plates and dishes, etc. The children gain in this manner the
simple but most important foundations of their later duties as
housekeepers and householders, and at the same time learn to regard
these duties as things done in the service of others."

It is worth while to notice the order in which the necessities of this
place are described. First comes a kitchen and next a bathroom, then an
out-of-doors playground with abundant material for gaining ideas through
action--sand, pebbles, pine-cones, moss, shells and straw. Then comes
the garden, and only after all these, the rooms and halls for indoors
games, handwork and instruction. It is worth while also to note the
prominence given to play, music, poetry and story-telling pictures,
domestic occupations and gardening, all preceding the "systematic and
ordered occupations" which to some have seemed so all-important.

If we compare this with the current ideas about Nursery Schools, we do
not find that it falls much below the present ideal. There has been a
time when some of us feared that only the bodily needs of the little
child were to be considered, but the "Regulations for Nursery Schools"
have banished such fear. In these the child is regarded as a human
being, with spiritual as well as bodily requirements.

To put it shortly, the physical requirements of a child are food, fresh
air and exercise, cleanliness and rest. It is not so easy to sum up the
requirements of a human soul. The first is sympathy, and though this may
spring from parental instinct, it should be nourished by true
understanding. Next perhaps comes the need for material, material for
investigation, for admiration, for imitation and for construction or
creation. Power of sense-discrimination is important enough, but in this
case if we take care of the pounds of admiration and investigation, the
pence of sense-discrimination will take care of themselves.

Besides these the child has the essentially human need for social
intercourse, for speech, for games, for songs and stories, for pictures
and poetry. He must have opportunity both to imitate and to share in the
work and life around him; he must be an individual among other
individuals, a necessary part of a whole, allowed to give as well as to
receive service. In the National Kindergarten of 1873 no one of these
requirements is overlooked except the provision for sleep, and from old
photographs we know that this, too, was considered.

Nursery Schools are needed for children of all classes. It is not only
the children of the poor who require sympathy and guidance from those
specially qualified by real grasp of the facts of child-development.
Well-to-do mothers, too, often leave their children to ignorant and
untrained servants, or to the equally untrained and hardly less ignorant
nursery governess.

Mothers in small houses have much to do; making beds and washing dishes,
sweeping and dusting, baking and cooking, making and mending, not to
mention tending an infant or tending the sick, leave little leisure for
sympathy with the adventuring and investigating propensities natural
and desirable in a healthy child between three and five. There are
innumerable Kindergartens open only in the morning for the children of
those who can afford to pay, and these could well be multiplied and
assisted just as far as is necessary. In towns, at least, mothers with
but small incomes would gladly pay a moderate fee to have their little
ones, especially their sturdy little boys, guarded from danger and
trained to good habits, yet allowed freedom for happy activity.

Kindergartens and Nursery Schools ought to be as much as possible
fresh-air schools. They should never be large or the home atmosphere
must disappear. They should always have grassy spaces and common
flowers, and they ought to be within easy reach of the children's homes.

There must for the present be certain differences between the Free
Kindergarten or Nursery School for the poor and for those whose parents
are fairly well-to-do. In both cases we must supply what the children
need. If the mother must go out to work, the child requires a home for
the day, and the Nursery School must make arrangements for feeding the
children. All little children are the better for rest and if possible
for sleep during the day; but for those who live in overcrowded rooms,
where quiet and restful sleep in good air is impossible, the need for
daily sleep is very great. All Free Kindergartens arrange for this.

Most important also is the training to cleanliness. This is not
invariably the lot even of those who come from apparently comfortable
homes to attend fee-paying Kindergartens, and among the poor,
differences in respect of cleanliness are very great. But soap and hot
water do cost money and washing takes time, and the modern habit of
brushing teeth has not yet been acquired by all classes of the
community. The Free Kindergartens provide for necessary washing, each
child is provided with its own tooth-brush; and tooth-brush drill is a
daily practice, somewhat amusing to witness. The best baby rooms in our
Infant Schools carry out the same practices, and these are likely to be
turned into Nursery Schools.

It cannot yet be accepted as conclusively proved that a completely
open-air life is the best in our climate. We have not yet sufficient
statistics. No doubt children do improve enormously in open-air camps,
but so they do in ordinary Nursery Schools, where they are clean, happy
and well fed, and where they live a regular life with daily sleep.
Housing conditions complicate the problem, and all children must suffer
who sleep in crowded, noisy, unventilated rooms.

Up to the present time Nursery Schools have been provided by voluntary
effort entirely, and far too little encouragement has been given to
those enlightened headmistresses of Infant Schools who have tried to
give to their lowest classes Nursery School conditions. Since the
passing of Mr. Fisher's Education Bill, however, we are entitled to hope
that soon, for all children in the land, there may be the opportunity of
a fair start under the care of "a person with breadth of outlook and
imagination," the equivalent of Froebel's "skilled intelligent

In the following chapter an attempt is made to explain how it is that so
many years ago Froebel reached his vision of what a child is, and of
what a child needs, and the considerations on which he based his
"Nursery School for Little Children" or "Self-Teaching Institution."



     Progress, man's distinctive mark alone,
     Not God's, and not the beasts': God is, they are,
     Man partly is and wholly hopes to be.

"A large bright room, ... a sandheap in one corner, a low tub or bath of
water in another, a rope ladder, a swing, steps to run up and down and
such like, a line of black or green board low down round the wall,
little rough carts and trolleys, boxes which can be turned into houses,
or shops, or pretence ships, etc., a cooking stove of a very simple
nature, dolls of all kinds, wooden animals, growing plants in boxes, an

Any Froebelian would recognise this as the description of a more or less
ideal Kindergarten or Nursery School, and yet the writer had probably
never read a page that Froebel wrote. On the contrary, she shows her
entire ignorance of the real Kindergarten by calling it "pretty
employments devised by adults and imposed at set times by authority."

The description is taken from a very able address on "Child Nature and
Education" delivered some years ago by Miss Hoskyns Abrahall. It is
quoted here, because, for her conception of right surroundings for young
children, the speaker has gone to the very source from which Froebel
took his ideas--she has gone to what Froebel indeed called "the only
true source, life itself," and she writes from the point of view of the

There exists at present, in certain quarters, a belief that the
Kindergarten is old-fashioned, out of date, more especially that it has
no scientific basis. It is partly on this account that the ideas of Dr.
Maria Montessori, who has approached the question of the education of
young children from the point of view of medical science, have been
warmly welcomed by so large a circle. But neither in England nor in
America does that circle include the Froebelians, and this for several
reasons. For one thing, much that the general public has accepted as
new--and in this general public must be included weighty names, men of
science, educational authorities, and others who have never troubled to
inquire into the meaning of the Kindergarten--are already matters of
everyday life to the Froebelian. Among these comes the idea of training
to service for the community, and the provision of suitable furniture,
little chairs and tables, which the children can move about, and low
cupboards for materials, all of which tend to independence and

It is a more serious stumbling-block to the Froebelian that Dr.
Montessori, while advocating freedom in words, has really set strict
limits to the natural activities of children by laying so much stress on
her "didactic apparatus," the intention of which is formal training in
sense-discrimination. This material, which is an adaptation and
enlargement of that provided by Séguin for his mentally deficient
children, is certainly open to the reproach of having been "devised by
adults." It is formal, and the child is not permitted to use it for his
own purposes.

Before everything else, however, comes the fact that in no place has Dr.
Montessori shown that she has made any study of play, or that she
attaches special importance to the play activities, or natural
activities of childhood, on which the Kindergarten is founded. This is
probably accounted for in that her first observations were made on
deficient children who are notably wanting in initiative.

Among these "play activities" we should include the child's perpetual
imitation or pretence, a matter which Dr. Montessori entirely fails to
understand, as shown in her more recent book, where she treats of
imagination. Here she maintains that only the children of the
comparatively poor ride upon their fathers' walking-sticks or construct
coaches of chairs, that this "is not a proof of imagination but of an
unsatisfied desire," and that rich children who own ponies and who drive
out in motor-cars "would be astonished to see the delight of children
who imagine themselves to be drawn along by stationary armchairs."
Imitative play has, of course, nothing to do with poverty or riches, but
is, as Froebel said long since, the outcome of an initiative impulse,
sadly wanting in deficient children, an impulse which prompts the child
of all lands, of all time and of all classes to imitate or dramatise,
and so to gain some understanding of everything and of every person he
sees around.

The work of Dr. Montessori has helped enormously in the movement, begun
long since, for greater freedom in our Infant Schools; freedom, not from
judicious guidance and authority, but from rigid time-tables and formal
lessons, and from arbitrary restrictions, as well as freedom for the
individual as apart from the class. The best Kindergartens and Infant
Schools had already discarded time-tables, and Kindergarten classes have
always been small enough to give the individual a fair chance. Froebel
himself constantly urged that the child should become familiar with "both
the strongly opposed elements of his life, the individual determining
and directing side, and the general ordered and subordinated side." He
urged the early development of the social consciousness as well as
insisting on expansion of individuality, but it is always difficult to
combine the two, and most Kindergarten teachers will benefit by learning
from Dr. Montessori to apply the method of individual learning to a
greater extent.

We are, however, fully prepared to maintain that Froebel; even in 1840,
had a wider and a deeper realisation of the needs of the child than has
as yet been attained by the Dottoressa.[6] In order to make this clear,
it is proposed to compare the theories of Froebel with the conclusions
of a biologist. For biology has a wider and a saner outlook than medical
science; it does not start from the abnormal, but with life under normal

[Footnote 6: Her latest publication regarding the instruction--for it is
not education--of older children makes this even more plain. For here is
no discussion of what children at this stage require, but a mere plunge
into "subjects" in which formal grammar takes a foremost place.]

In the address, from which the opening words of this chapter are quoted,
it is suggested that a capable biologist be set to deal with education,
but he is to be freed "from all preconceived ideas derived from accepted
tradition." After such fundamentals as food and warmth, light, air and
sleep, the first problems considered by this Biologist Educator are
stages of growth, their appropriate activities, and the stimuli
necessary to evoke them. Always he bears in mind that "interference with
a growing creature is a hazardous business," and takes as his motto
"When in doubt, refrain."

To discover the natural activities of the child, the biologist relies
upon, first, observation of the child himself, secondly, upon his
knowledge of the nervous system, and thirdly, upon his knowledge of the
past history of the race. From these he comes to a very pertinent
conclusion, viz. "The general outcome of this is that the safe way of
educating children is by means of Play," play being defined as "the
natural manifestation of the child's activities; systematic in that it
follows the lines of physiological development, but without the hard
and fast routine of the time-table."[7]

[Footnote 7: It is in this connection that the Kindergarten is
stigmatised as "pretty employments devised by adults and imposed at set
times by authority," an opinion evidently gained from the way in which
the term has been misused in a type of Infant School now fast

It is easy to show that although Froebel was pre-Darwinian, he had been
in close touch with scientists who were working at theories of
development, and that he was largely influenced by Krause, who applied
the idea of organic development to all departments of social science. It
was because Froebel was himself, even in 1826, the Biologist Educator
desiring to break with preconceived ideas and traditions that he wished
one of his pupils had been able to "call your work by its proper name,
and so make evident the real nature of the new spirit you have

[Footnote 8: See p. 4.]

But Froebel was more than a biologist, he was a philosopher and an
idealist. Such words have sometimes been used as terms of reproach, but
wisdom can only be justified of her children.

At the back of all Froebel has to say about "The Education of the Human
Being" lies his conception of what the human being is. And it is
impossible fully to understand why Froebel laid so much stress on
spontaneous play unless we go deeper than the province of the biologist
without in the least minimising the importance of biological knowledge
to educational theory. As the biologist defines play as "the natural
manifestation of the child's activities," so Froedel says "play at first
is just natural life." But to him the true inwardness of spontaneous
play lies in the fact that it is spontaneous--so far as anything in the
universe can be spontaneous. For spontaneous response to environment is
self-expression, and out of self-expression comes selfhood,
consciousness of self. If we are to understand Froebel at all, we must
begin with the answer he found, or accepted, from Krause and others for
his first question, What is that self?

Before reaching the question of how to educate, it seemed to him
necessary to consider not only the purpose or aim of education, but the
purpose or aim of human existence, the purpose of all and any existence,
even whether there is any purpose in anything; and that brings us to
what he calls "the groundwork of all," of which a summary is given in
the following paragraphs.

In the universe we can perceive plan, purpose or law, and behind this
there must be some great Mind, "a living, all-pervading, energising,
self-conscious and hence eternal Unity" whom we call God. Nature and all
existing things are a revelation of God.

As Bergson speaks of the _élan vital_ which expresses itself from
infinity to infinity, so Froebel says that behind everything there is
force, and that we cannot conceive of force without matter on which it
can exercise itself. Neither can we think of matter without any force to
work upon it, so that "force and matter mutually condition one another,"
we cannot think one without the other.

This force expresses itself in all ways, the whole universe is the
expression of the Divine, but "man is the highest and most perfect
earthly being in whom the primordial force is spiritualised so that man
feels, understands and knows his own power." Conscious development of
one's own power is the triumph of spirit over matter, therefore human
development is spiritual development. So while man is the most perfect
earthly being, yet, with regard to spiritual development he has returned
to a first stage and "must raise himself through ascending degrees of
consciousness" to heights as yet unknown, "for who has measured the
limits of God-born mankind?"

Self-consciousness is the special characteristic of man. No other animal
has the power to become conscious of himself because man alone has the
chance of failure. The lower animals have definite instincts and cannot
fail, _i.e._ cannot learn.[9] Man wants to do much, but his instincts
are less definite and most actions have to be learned; it is by striving
and failing that he learns to know not only his limitations but the
power that is within him--his self.

[Footnote 9: This would nowadays be considered too sweeping an

According to Froebel, "the aim of education is the steady progressive
development of mankind, there is and can be no other"; and, except as
regards physiological knowledge inaccessible in his day, he is at one
with the biologist as to how we are to find out the course of this
development. First, by looking into our own past; secondly, by the
observation of children as individuals as well as when associated
together, and by comparison of the results of observation; thirdly, by
comparison of these with race history and race development.

Froebel makes much of observation of children. He writes to a cousin
begging her to "record in writing the most important facts about each
separate child," and adds that it seems to him "most necessary for the
comprehension of child-nature that such observations should be made
public,... of the greatest importance that we should interchange the
observations we make so that little by little we may come to know the
grounds and conditions of what we observe, that we may formulate their
laws." He protests that even in his day "the observation, development
and guidance of children in the first years of life up to the proper age
of school" is not up to the existing level of "the stage of human
knowledge or the advance of science and art"; and he states that it is
"an essential part" of his undertaking "to call into life _an
institution for the preparation of teachers trained for the care of
children through observation of their life_."

In speaking of the stages of development of the individual, Froebel
says that "there is no order of importance in the stages of human
development except the order of succession, in which the earlier is
always the more important," and from that point of view we ought "to
consider childhood as the most important stage, ... a stage in the
development of the Godlike in the earthly and human." He also emphasises
that "the vigorous and complete development and cultivation of each
successive stage depends on the vigorous, complete and characteristic
development of each and all preceding stages."

So the duty of the parent is to "look as deeply as possible into the
life of the child to see what he requires for his present stage of
development," and then to "scrutinise the environment to see what it
offers ... to utilise all possibilities of meeting normal needs," to
remove what is hurtful, or at least to "admit its defects" if they
cannot give the child what his nature requires. "If parents offer what
the child does not need," he says, "they will destroy the child's faith
in their sympathetic understanding." The educator is to "bring the child
into relations and surroundings in all respects adapted to him" but
affording a minimum of opportunity of injury, "guarding and protecting"
but not interfering, unless he is certain that healthy development has
already been interrupted. It is somewhat remarkable that Froebel
anticipated even the conclusions of modern psycho-analysis in his views
about childish faults. "The sources of these," he says, are "neglect to
develop certain sides of human life and, secondly, early distortion of
originally good human powers by arbitrary interference with the orderly
course of human development ... a suppressed or perverted good
quality--a good tendency, only repressed, misunderstood or
misguided--lies at the bottom of every shortcoming." Hence the only
remedy even for wickedness is to find and foster, build up and guide
what has been repressed. It may be necessary to interfere and even to
use severity, but only when the educator is sure of unhealthy growth.
The motto of the biologist on the subject of interference--"When in
doubt, refrain"--exactly expresses Froebel's doctrine of "passive or
following" education, following, that is, the nature of the child, and
"passive" as opposed to arbitrary interference.

Free from this, the child will follow his natural impulses, which are to
be trusted as much as those of any other young animal; in other words,
he will play, he will manifest his natural activities. "The young human
being--still, as it were, in process of creation--would seek, though
unconsciously yet decidedly and surely, as a product of nature that
which is in itself best, and in a form adapted to his condition, his
disposition, his powers and his means. Thus the duckling hastens to the
pond and into the water, while the chicken scratches the ground and the
young swallow catches its food upon the wing. We grant space and time to
young plants and animals because we know that, in accordance with the
laws that live in them, they will develop properly and grow well;
arbitrary interference with their growth is avoided because it would
hinder their development; but the young human being is looked upon as a
piece of wax, a lump of clay, which man can mould into what he pleases.
O man, who roamest through garden and field, through meadow and grove,
why dost thou close thy mind to the silent teaching of nature? Behold
the weed; grown among hindrances and constraint, how it scarcely yields
an indication of inner law; behold it in nature, in field or garden, how
perfectly it conforms to law--a beautiful sun, a radiant star, it has
burst from the earth! Thus, O parents, could your children, on whom you
force in tender years forms and aims against their nature, and who,
therefore, walk with you in morbid and unnatural deformity--thus could
your children, too, unfold in beauty and develop in harmony."

At first play is activity for the sake of activity, not for the sake of
results, "of which the child has as yet no idea." Very soon, however,
having man's special capacity of learning through experience, the child
does gather ideas. By this time he has passed through the stage of
infancy, and now his play becomes to the philosopher the highest stage
of human development at this stage, because now it is self-expression.

When Froebel wrote in 1826, there had been but little thought expended
on the subject of play, and probably none on human instincts, which were
supposed to be nonexistent. The hope he expressed that some philosopher
would take up these subjects has now been fulfilled, and we ought now to
turn to what has been said on a subject all-important to those who
desire to help in the education of young children.



     Play, which is the business of their lives.

There may be nothing new under the sun, but it does seem to be a fair
claim to make for Froebel that no one before or since his time has more
fully realised the value to humanity of what in childhood goes by the
name of play. Froebel had distinct theories about play, and he put his
theories into actual practice, not only when he founded the
Kindergarten, but in his original school for older children at Keilhau.

Before going into its full meaning, it may be well first to meet the
most common misconception about play. It is not surprising that those
who have given the subject no special consideration should regard play
from the ordinary adult standpoint, and think of it as entirely opposed
to work, as relaxation of effort. But the play of a child covers so much
that it is startling to find a real psychologist writing that "education
through play" is "a pernicious proposition."[10] Statements of this kind
spring from the mistaken idea, certainly not derived from observation,
that play involves no effort, that it runs in the line of least
resistance, and that education through play means therefore education
without effort, without training in self-control, education without
moral training. The case for the Kindergarten is the opposite of this.
Education through play is advocated just because of the effort it calls
forth, just because of the way in which the child, and later the boy or
girl, throws his whole energy into it. What Froebel admired, what he
called "the most beautiful expression of childlife," was "the child that
plays thoroughly, with spontaneous determination, perseveringly, until
physical fatigue forbids--a child wholly absorbed in his play--a child
that has fallen asleep while so absorbed." That child, he said, would be
"a thorough determined man, capable of self-sacrifice for the promotion
of the welfare of himself and others." It is because "play is not
trivial, but highly serious and of deep significance," that he appeals
to mothers to cultivate and foster it, and to fathers to protect and
guard it.

[Footnote 10: _The Educative Process_, p. 255 (Bagley).]

The Kindergarten position can be summed up in a sentence from Dr.
Clouston's _Hygiene of Mind_: "Play is the real work of children."
Froebel calls activity of sense and limb "the first germ," and
"play-building and modelling the tender blossoms of the constructive
impulse"; and this, he says, is "the moment when man is to be prepared
for future industry, diligence and productive activity." He points out,
too, the importance of noticing the habits which come from spontaneous
self-employment, which may be habits of indolent ease if the child is
not allowed to be as active as his nature requires.

There were no theories of play in Froebel's day, but he had certainly
read _Levana_, and in all probability he knew what Schiller had said in
his _Letters on Aesthetic Education_. The play theories are now too well
known to require more than a brief recapitulation.

It will generally be allowed that the distinctive feature of play as
opposed to work is that of spontaneity. The action itself is of no
consequence, one man's play is another man's work. Nor does it seem to
matter whence comes the feeling of compulsion in work, whether from
pressure of outer necessity, or from an inner necessity like the
compelling force of duty. Where there is joy in creation or in discovery
the work and play of the genius approach the standpoint of the child,

  Indulging every instinct of the soul,
  There, where law, life, joy, impulse are one thing.

In the play of early childhood there may be freedom, not only from adult
authority, but even from the restrictions of nature or of circumstances
since "let's pretend" annihilates time and space and all material

Among theories of play first comes what is known as the Schiller-Spencer
theory, in which play is attributed to the accumulation of surplus
energy. When the human being has more energy than he requires in order
to supply the bodily needs of himself and his family, then he feels
impelled to use it. As the activities of his daily life are the only
ones known to him, he fights his battles over again, he simulates the
serious business of life, and transfers, for instance, the incidents of
the chase into a dance. In this Way he reaches artistic creation, so
that "play is the first poetry of the human being."

As an opposite of this we get a Re-creation theory, where play, if not
too strenuous, understood as a change of occupation, rests and

Another theory is that of recapitulation, which has been emphasised by
Stanley Hall, according to which children play hunting and chasing
games, or find a fascination in making tents, because they are passing
through that stage of development in which their primitive ancestors
lived by hunting or dwelt in tents.

Lastly, a most interesting theory is that which is associated with the
name of Groos, and which is best expressed in the sentence: "Animals do
not play because they are young, but they have their youth because they
must play," play being regarded as the preparation for future life
activities. The kitten therefore practises chasing a cork, the puppy
worries boots and gloves, the kid practises jumping, and so on.

A full account of play will probably embrace all these theories, and
though they were not formulated in his day, Froebel overlooked none,
though he may have laid special stress on the preparation side. Yet
another value of play emphasised by Professor Royce, viz. its enormous
importance from the point of view of mental initiative, is strongly
urged by Froebel. Professor Royce argues that "in the mere persistence
of the playful child one has a factor whose value for mental initiative
it is hard to overestimate." Without this "passionately persistent
repetition," and without also the constant varying of apparently useless
activities, the organism, says Professor Royce, "would remain the prey
of the environment."

To Froebel, as we have seen, the human being is the climax of animal
evolution and the starting-point of psychical development. The lower
animal, he maintained, as all will now agree, is hindered by his
definite instincts, but the instincts or instinctive tendencies of the
human being are so undefined that there is room for spontaneity, for new
forms of conduct.

Professor Royce says that "a general view of the place which beings with
minds occupy in the physical world strongly suggests that their
organisms may especially have significance as places for the initiation
of more or less novel types of activity." And to Froebel the chief
significance of play lies in this spontaneity.

"Play is the highest phase of human development at this stage, because
it is spontaneous expression of what is within produced by an inner
necessity and impulse. Play is the most characteristic, most spiritual
manifestation of man at this stage, and, at the same time, is typical
of human life as a whole."

These various theories seem to reinforce rather than to contradict each
other, and it is more important to avoid running any to an extreme than
to differentiate between them. In the case of recapitulation, we must
certainly bear in mind Froebel's warning that the child "should be
treated as having in himself the present, past and future." So, as Dr.
Drummond says: "If we feel constrained to present him with a tent
because Abraham lived in one, he no doubt enters into the spirit of the
thing and accepts it joyfully. But he also annexes the ball of string
and the coffee canister to fit up telephonic communication with the
nursery." He may play robbers and hide and seek because he has reached a
"hunting and capture" stage, but the physiologist points out that
violent exercise is a necessity for his circulation and nutrition, and
to practise swift flight to safety is useful even in modern times.[11]
Gardening may take us back to an agricultural stage, but digging is most
useful as a muscular exercise, and "watering" is scientific experiment
and adds to the feeling of power, while the flowers themselves appeal to
the aesthetic side of the sense-play, which is not limited to any age,
though conspicuous so soon.

[Footnote 11: An up-to-date riddle asks the difference between the quick
and the dead, and answers, "The quick are those who get out of the way
of a motor-bus and the dead are those who do not."]

Froebel recognised many kinds of play. He realised that much of the play
of boyhood is exercise of physical power, and that it must be of a
competitive nature because the boy wants to measure his power. Even in
1826 he urges the importance not only of town playgrounds but of play
leaders, that the play may be full of life. Among games for boys he
noted some still involving sense-play, as hiding games, colour games and
shooting at a mark, which need quick hearing and sight, intellectual
plays exercising thought and judgement, _e.g._ draughts and dramatic
games. One form of play which seemed to him most important was
constructive play, where there is expression of ideas as well as
expression of power. This side of play covers a great deal, and will be
dealt with later; its importance in Froebel's eyes lies in the fact that
through construction, however simple, the child gains knowledge of his
own power and learns "to master himself." Froebel wanted particularly to
deepen this feeling of power, and says that the little one who has
already made some experiments takes pleasure in the use of sand and
clay, "impelled by the previously acquired sense of power he seeks to
master the material."

In order to gain real knowledge of himself, of his power, a child needs
to compare his power with that of others. This is one reason for the
child's ready imitation of all he sees done by others. Another reason
for this is that only through real experience or action can a child gain
the ideas which he will express later, therefore he must reproduce all
he sees or hears.

"In the family the child sees parents and others at work, producing,
doing something; consequently he, at this stage, would like to represent
what he sees. Be cautious, parents. You can at one blow destroy, at
least for a long time, the impulse to activity and to formation if you
repel their help as childish, useless or even as a hindrance....
Strengthen and develop this instinct; give to your child the highest he
now needs, let him add his power to your work, that he may gain the
consciousness of his power and also learn to appreciate its

As the child's sense of power and his self-consciousness deepen he
requires possessions of his "very own." Says Froebel: "The feeling of
his own power implies and demands also the possession of his own space
and his own material belonging exclusively to him. Be his realm, his
province, a corner of the house or courtyard, be it the space of a box
or of a closet, be it a grotto, a hut or a garden, the boy at this age
needs an external point, chosen and prepared by himself, to which he
refers all his activity."

As ideas widen the child's purposes enlarge, and he finds the need for
that co-operation which binds human beings together. And so by play
enjoyed in common, the feeling of community which is present in the
little child is raised to recognition of the rights of others; not only
is a sense of justice developed, but also forbearance, consideration and

"When the room to be filled is extensive, when the realm to be
controlled is large, when the whole to be produced is complex, then
brotherly union of similar-minded persons is in place." And we are
invited to enter an "education room," where boys of seven to ten are
using building blocks, sand, sawdust and green moss brought in from the
forest. "Each one has finished his work and he examines it and that of
others, and in each rises the desire to unite all in one whole," so
roads are made from the village of one boy to the castle of another: the
boy who has made a cardboard house unites with another who has made
miniature ships from nut-shells, the house as a castle crowns the hill,
and the ships float in the lake below, while the youngest brings his
shepherd and sheep to graze between the mountain and the lake, and all
stand and behold with pleasure and satisfaction the result of their

The educative value of such play has been brought forward in modern
times in _Floor Games_ by Mr. Wells, _Magic Cities_ by Mrs. Nesbit, and
notably in Mr. Caldwell Cook's Play City in _The Play Way_.

Joining together for a common purpose does not only belong to younger
boys. "What busy tumult among those older boys at the brook! They have
built canals, sluices, bridges, etc.... at each step one trespasses on
the limits of another realm. Each one claims his right as lord and
maker, while he recognises the claims of others, and like States, they
bind themselves by strict treaties."

"Every town should have its own common playground for the boys. Glorious
results would come from this for the entire community. For, at this
period, games, whenever possible, are in common, and develop the feeling
and desire for community, and the laws and requirements of community.
The boy tries to see himself in his companions, to weigh and measure
himself by them, to know and find himself by their help."

"It is the sense of sure and reliable power, the sense of its increase,
both as an individual and as a member of the group, that fills the boy
with joy during these games.... Justice, self-control, loyalty,
impartiality, who could fail to catch their fragrance and that of still
more delicate blossoms, forbearance, consideration, sympathy and
encouragement for the weaker.... Thus the games educate the boy for
life and awaken and cultivate many social and moral virtues."

In England we have always had respect for boys' games and more and more,
especially in America, people are realising the need for play places and
play leaders. But all this was written in 1826, when for ten years
Froebel had been experimenting with boys of all ages. At Keilhau play of
all kinds had an honoured place. We read of excursions for all kinds of
purposes, of Indian games out of Fenimore Cooper, and of "Homeric
battles." It was "part of Froebel's plan to have us work with spade and
pick-axe," and every boy had his own piece of ground where he might do
what he pleased. Ebers, being literary, constructed in his plot a bed of
heather on which he lay and read or made verses. The boys built their
own stage, painted their own scenery, and in winter once a week they
acted classic dramas. Besides this, there was a large and complete
puppet theatre belonging to the school. Bookbinding and carpentry were
taught, and at Christmas "the embryo cabinet-maker made boxes with locks
and hinges, finished, veneered and polished."

In England in 1917 we have given to us _The Play Way_, in which one who
has tried it gives the results of his own experiments in education
through play. Mr. Caldwell Cook was not satisfied with the condition of
affairs when "school above the Kindergarten is a nuisance because there
is no play." His dream is that of a Play School Commonwealth, where
education, which is the training of youth, shall be filled with the
spirit of youth, namely, "freshness, zeal, happiness, enthusiasm."

The next chapter will show that it has taken us exactly a hundred years
to reach as far as public recognition of the Nursery School where play
is the only possible motive. It is for the coming generation of teachers
to act so that the dream of the Play School Commonwealth shall be
realised more quickly. It is a significant fact that the lines quoted as
heading for the next chapter are written by a modern schoolmaster.


FROM 1816 TO 1919

     Poor mites; you stiffen on a bench
     And stoop your curls to dusty laws;
     Your petal fingers curve and clench
     In slavery to parchment saws;
     You suit your hearts to sallow faces
         In sullen places:
         But no pen
     Nor pedantry can make you men.
     Yours are the morning and the day:
     You should be taught of wind and light;
     Your learning should be born of play.


Had England but honoured her own prophets, we should have had Nursery
Schools a hundred years ago. In 1816, the year in which Froebel founded
his school for older boys at Keilhau, Robert Owen, the Socialist,
"following the plan prescribed by Nature," opened a school where
children, from two to six, were to dance and sing, to be out-of-doors as
much as possible, to learn "when their curiosity induced them to ask
questions," and not to be "annoyed with books." They were to be
prevented from acquiring bad habits, to be taught what they could
understand, and their dispositions were to be trained "to mutual
kindness and a sincere desire to contribute all in their power to
benefit each other." They "were trained and educated without punishment
or the fear of it.... A child who acted improperly was not considered an
object of blame but of pity, and no unnecessary restraint was imposed on
the children."

But the world was not ready. Owen's "Rational Infant School" attracted
much notice, and an Infant School Society was founded. But even the
enlightened were incapable of understanding that any education was
possible without books, and the promoters rightly, though quite
unconsciously, condemned themselves when they kept the title Infant
School but dropped the qualifying "Rational." Still, Infant Schools had
been started and interest had been aroused. When the edict abolishing
Kindergartens was promulgated in Germany, some of Froebel's disciples
passed to other lands, and Madame von Marenholz came to England in 1854.
Already one Kindergarten had been opened by a Madame Ronge, to which
Rowland Hill sent his children, and to which Dickens paid frequent
visits. In the same year there was held in London an "International
Educational Exposition and Congress," and to this Madame von Marenholz
sent an exhibit, which was explained by Madame Ronge, and by a Mr.
Hoffmann. Dickens, who had watched the actual working of a Kindergarten,
gave warm support to the new ideas, and wrote an excellent article on
"Infant Gardens" for _Household Words_, urging "that since children are
by Infinite Wisdom so created as to find happiness in the active
exercise and development of all their faculties, we, who have children
round about us, shall no longer repress their energies, tie up their
bodies, shut their mouths.... The frolic of childhood is not pure
exuberance and waste. 'There is often a high meaning in childish play,'
said Froebel. Let us study it, and act upon the hints--or more than
hints--that Nature gives."

Dr. Henry Barnard represented Connecticut at this Congress, and he took
the Kindergarten to America, in whose virgin soil the seed took root,
and quickly brought forth abundantly. But the soil was virgin and the
fields were ready for planting, for America in these days had nothing
corresponding to our Infant Schools. The Kindergarten was welcomed by
people of influence. Dr. Barnard found his first ally in Miss Peabody,
one of whose sisters was married to Nathaniel Hawthorne, while another
was the wife of Horace Mann. Miss Peabody began to teach in 1860, but
eight years later, after a visit to Europe, she gave up teaching for
propaganda work. Owing to her efforts the first Free Kindergarten was
opened in Boston in 1870. Philanthropists soon recognised its importance
as a social agency, and by 1883 one lady alone supported thirty-one such
institutions in Boston and its surroundings. In New York, Dr. Felix
Adler established a Free Kindergarten in 1878, and Teachers' College was
influential in helping to form an association which supports several.
Another name well known in this country is that of Miss Kate Douglas
Wiggin,[12] who was a Kindergarten teacher for many years before she
became known as a novelist. It is Miss Wiggin who tells of a quaint
translation of Kindergarten heard by a San Francisco teacher making
friendly visits to the mothers of her children. While she stood on a
door-step sympathising with one poor woman she heard a "loud, but not
unfriendly" voice from an upper window. "Clear things from under foot!"
it pealed in stentorian accents. "The teacher o' the _Kids' Guards_ is
comin' down the street."

[Footnote 12: Writer of _Penelope in England_, etc., and of a capital
collection of essays entitled _Children's Rights_.]

In England things were very different, because of the Infant Schools
which had already been established, but which had fallen far below the
ideal set up by Robert Owen. As every one knows, the education given in
those days to teachers of Elementary Schools was but meagre, and the
results were often so bad that, to justify the expenditure of public
money, "payment by results" was introduced. In 1870 came the Education
Act, and the year 1874 saw a good deal of movement. Miss Caroline Bishop
was appointed to lecture to the Infants' teachers under the London
School Board; Miss Heerwart took charge of a training college for
Kindergarten teachers in connection with the British and Foreign School
Society; the Froehel Society was founded, and Madame Michaelis took the
Kindergarten into the newly established High Schools for Girls. For the
children of the well-to-do Kindergartens spread rapidly, but for the
children of the poor there was no such happiness; the Infant School was
too firmly established as a place where children learned to read, write
and count, and above all to sit still. Infants' teachers received no
special training for their work; their course of study, in which
professional training played but a small part, was the same as that
prescribed for the teachers of older children. Some colleges, notably
The Home and Colonial, Stockwell, and Saffron Walden, did try to give
their students some special training, but it was not of much avail, and
the word Kindergarten came to mean not Nursery School, as was the idea
of its founder, but dictated exercises with Kindergarten material, a
kind of manual drill supposed to give "hand and eye training," and with
this meaning it made its appearance on the time-table.

Visitors from America were shocked to find no Kindergartens in England,
but only large classes of poor little automatons sitting erect with
"hands behind" or worse still "hands on heads," and moving only to the
word of command. One lady who ultimately found her way to our own
Kindergarten told me that she had been informed at the L.C.C. offices
that there were no Kindergartens in London.

It was partly the scandalised expressions of these American teachers
that stimulated Miss Adelaide Wragge to take her courage into her hands,
and in the year 1900 to open the first Mission Kindergarten in England.
She called it a Mission, not a Free Kindergarten, partly because the
parents paid the trifling fee of one penny per week, and partly because
it was connected with the parish work of Holy Trinity, Woolwich, of
which her brother was vicar. The first report says: "The neighbourhood
was suitable for the experiment; little children, needing just the kind
of training we proposed to give them, abounded everywhere.... The
Woolwich children were typical slum babies, varying in ages from three
to six years; very poor, very dirty, totally untrained in good habits.
At first we only admitted a few, and when these began to improve,
gradually increased the numbers to thirty-five. They needed great
patience and care, but they responded wonderfully to the love given
them, and before long they were real Kindergarten children, full of
vigour, merriment and self-activity."

As is done in connection with all Free Kindergartens, Parents' Evenings
were instituted from the first, and the mothers were helped to
understand their children by simple talks.

Sesame House for Home Life Training had been opened six months before
this Mission Kindergarten. It was founded by the Sesame Club, and at its
head was Miss Schepel, who for twenty years had been at the head of the
Pestalozzi Froebel House. The idea of Home Life Training attracted
students who were not obliged by stern necessity to earn their daily
bread. Though the methods were not quite in line with progressive
thought, the atmosphere created by Miss Schepel, warmly seconded by Miss
Buckton,[13] was one of enthusiasm in the service of children. The
second Nursery School in London had its origin in this enthusiasm. Miss
Maufe left Sesame House early in 1903, and started a free Child Garden
in West London. Four years later she moved to Westminster to a block of
workmen's dwellings erected on the site of the old Millbank Prison. This
"child garden" has a special interest from the fact that it was carried
on actually in a block of workmen's dwellings like The Children's
Houses of a later date. The effort was voluntary and the rooms were
small, but, if the experiment had been supported by the authorities, it
would have been easy to take down dividing walls to get sufficient
space. Miss Maufe gave herself and her income for about twelve years,
but difficulties created by the war, the impossibility of finding
efficient help and consequent drain upon her own strength have forced
her to close her little school, to the grief of the mothers in 48 Ruskin
Buildings. Another Sesame House student, Miss L. Hardy, in her charming
_Diary of a Free Kindergarten_, takes us from London to Edinburgh, but
the first Free Kindergarten in Edinburgh began in 1903 and had a
different origin. Miss Howden was an Infants' Mistress in one of the
slums, and knew well the needs of little children in that wide street,
once decked with lordly mansions, which leads from the Castle to
Holyrood Palace. Some of the fine houses are left, but the inhabitants
are of the poorest, and Miss Howden left her savings to start a Free
Kindergarten in the Canongate. The sum was not large, but it was seed
sown in faith, and its harvest has been abundant, for Edinburgh with its
population of under 400,000 has five Free Kindergartens, in all of which
the children are washed and fed and given restful sleep, as well as
taught and trained with intelligence and love. London with its
population of 6,000,000 had but eight up to the time of the outbreak of
the war.

[Footnote 13: Author of the beautiful mystery play of _Eager Heart_.]

In 1904 the Froebel Society took part in a Joint Conference at Bradford,
where one sitting was devoted to "The Need for Nursery Schools for
Children from three to five years at present attending the Public
Elementary Schools." The speakers were Mrs. Miall of Leeds, and Miss K.
Phillips, who had wide opportunities for knowledge of the unsuitable
conditions generally provided for these little children. Among those who
joined in this discussion was Miss Margaret M'Millan, so well known for
her pioneer work in connection with School Clinics, and more recently
for her now famous Camp School. Miss M'Millan had already done yeoman
service on the Bradford Education Committee, but was now resident in
London, and she had been warmly welcomed on the Council of the Froebel
Society. It was from the date of this Conference that the name Nursery
School became general, though it had been used by Madame Michaelis as
early as 1891. In the following year, 1905, the Board of Education
published its "Reports on Children under Five Years of Age," with its
prefatory memorandum stating that "a new form of school is necessary for
poor children," and that parents who must send their little ones to
school "should send them to nursery schools rather than to schools of
instruction," to schools where there should be "more play, more sleep,
more free conversation, story-telling and observation." It would seem
that the recommendations of 1905 may begin to be carried out in 1919, a
consummation devoutly to be wished.

In the meantime voluntary effort has done what it could. Birmingham had
good reason to be in the forefront, since many of its public-spirited
citizens had in their own childhood the benefit of the excellent works
of Miss Caroline Bishop, a disciple of Frau Schrader. The Birmingham
People's Kindergarten Association opened its first People's Kindergarten
at Greet, in 1904, and a second, the Settlement Kindergarten, in 1907.
Sir Oliver Lodge spoke strongly in favour of these institutions, calling
them a protest against the idea of the comparative unimportance of

Miss Hardy opened her Child Garden in 1906, and that work has grown so
that the children are now kept till they are eight years old. The
Edinburgh Provincial Council for the Training of Teachers opened another
Free Kindergarten as a demonstration school for Froebelian methods, a
practising school for students, and also as an experimental school,
where attempts might be made to solve problems as to the education of
neglected children under school age. It was the Headmistress of this
school, Miss Hodsman, who invented the net beds now in general use. She
wanted something hygienic and light enough to be carried easily into the
garden, that in fine weather the children might sleep out of doors.

Another Sesame House student, Miss Priestman, opened a Free Kindergarten
in the pretty village of Thornton-le-Dale, where the children have a
sand-heap in a little enclosure allowed them by the blacksmith, and sail
their boats at a quiet place by the side of the beck that runs through
the village.

It was in 1908 that Miss Esther Lawrence of the Froebel Institute
inspired her old students to help her to open The Michaelis Free
Kindergarten. Since the war, the name has been altered to The Michaelis
Nursery School, which is in Netting Dale, on the edge of a very poor
neighbourhood, where large families often occupy a single room. As in
the Edinburgh Free Kindergartens, dinner is provided, for which the
parents pay one penny. The first report tells how necessary are Nursery
Schools in such surroundings. "The little child who was formerly tied to
the leg of the bed, and left all day while his mother was out at work,
is now enjoying the happy freedom of the Kindergarten. The child whose
clothes were formerly sewn on to him, to save his mother the periodical
labour of sewing on buttons, is now undressed and bathed regularly. The
attacks on children by drunken parents are less frequent. When the
Kindergarten was first opened, many of the children were quite listless,
they did not know how to play, did not care to play. Now they play with
pleasure and with vigour, and one can hardly believe they are the
listless, spiritless children of a year ago."

In 1910 Miss Lawrence succeeded in opening what was called from the
first the "Somers Town Nursery School," where the same kind of work is
done. One of the reports says: "It is interesting to see the children
sweeping or dusting a room, washing their dusters and dolls' clothes,
polishing the furniture, their shoes, and anything which needs
polishing. On Friday morning the 'silver' is cleaned, and the brilliant
results give great pleasure and satisfaction to the little polishers.
'Have you done your work?' was the question addressed to a visitor by a
three-year-old child, and the visitor beat a hasty retreat, ashamed
perhaps of being the only drone in the busy hive. At dinner time four
children wait on the rest, and very well and quickly the food is handed
round and the plates removed."

There are other Free Kindergartens at work. One is in charge of Miss
Rowland, and is in connection with the Bermondsey Settlement. It is Miss
Rowland who tells of the "candid mother" she met one Saturday who
remarked, "I told the children to wash their faces in case they met

The Phoenix Park Kindergarten in Glasgow is interesting because the site
was granted by an enlightened Corporation and the Parks Committee laid
out the garden, while the real start came from the pupils of a school
for girls of well-to-do families. By this time other social agencies
have been grouped round the Kindergarten as a centre.

The Caldecott Nursery School was opened in 1911 and has grown into the
Caldecott Community, which has now taken its children to live altogether
in the country. This Nursery School was never intended to be a
Kindergarten; it was started as an interesting experiment, "chiefly
perhaps in the hope that the children might enjoy that instruction which
is usually absorbed by the children of the wealthy in their own
nurseries by virtue of their happier surroundings."

And in the very year in which we were plunged into war Miss Margaret
M'Millan put into actual shape what she had long thought of, and opened
her "Baby Camp" and Nursery School, with a place for "toddlers" in
between, the full story of which is told in _The, Camp School_. In the
Camp itself the things which impress the visitor most are first the
space and the fresh air, the sky above and the brown earth below, and
next the family feeling which is so plain in spite of the numbers. The
Camp existed long before it was a Baby Camp and Nursery School, for Miss
M'Millan began with a School Clinic and went on to Open-Air Camps for
girls and for boys, before going to the "preventive and constructive"
work of the Baby Camp. Clean and healthy bodies come first, but to Miss
M'Millan's enthusiasm everything in life is educative.

The war has increased the supply of Nursery Schools, because the need
for them has become glaringly apparent. Many experiments are going on
now, and it seems as if experimental work would be encouraged, not
hampered by unyielding regulations. The Nursery School should cover the
ages for which the Kindergarten was instituted, roughly from three to
six years old. Already there are excellent baby rooms in some parts of
London, and no doubt in other towns, and the only reason for disturbing
these is to provide the children with more space and more fresh air, or
with something resembling a garden rather than a bare yard.

One school in London has a creche or day nursery, not exactly a part of
it, but in closest touch, established owing to the efforts of an
enthusiastic Headmistress working along with the Norland Place nurses.
Its space is at present insufficient, but the neighbouring buildings are
condemned, and will come down after the war. They need not go up again.
Then the space could be used in the same way as in the Camp School. That
would be to the benefit of the whole neighbourhood, and there could be
at least one experiment where from creche to Standard VII. might be in
close connection.

Miss M'Millan's ideal is to have a large space in the centre of a
district with covered passages radiating from it so that mothers from a
large area could bring their little ones and leave them in safety. It
would be safety, it would be salvation. But, as the Scots proverb has
it, "It is a far cry to Loch Awe."

Another question much debated is, who is to be in charge of these
children. The day nursery or crèche must undoubtedly be staffed with
nurses, but with nurses trained to care for children, not merely sick
nurses. There are, however, certain people who believe that the "trained
nurse" is the right person to be in charge of children up to five, while
others think that young girls or uneducated women will suffice. We are
thankful that the Board of Education takes up the position that a
well-educated and specially trained teacher is to be the person

We certainly want the help both of the trained nurse and of the motherly
woman. The trained nurse will be far more use in detecting and attending
to the ailments of children than the teacher can be, and the motherly
woman can give far more efficient help in training children to decent
habits than any young probationer, useful though these may be. But there
is always the fear that the nurses may think that good food and
cleanliness are all a child requires, and, as Miss M'Millan says, "The
sight of the toddlers' empty hands and mute lips does not trouble them
at all."

But every man to his trade, and though the teacher in charge must know
something about ailing children, it is very doubtful if a few months in
a hospital will advantage her much. Here she trenches on the province of
the real nurse, whose training is thorough, and the little knowledge,
as every one knows, is sometimes dangerous. One Nursery School teacher,
with years of experience, says that what she learned in hospital has
been of no use to her, and it is probable that attendance at a clinic
for children would be really more useful. Certainly the main concern of
the Nursery School teacher is sympathetic understanding of children.
There must be no more of _Punch's_ "Go and see what Tommy is doing in
the next room and tell him not to," but "Go and see what Tommy is trying
to accomplish, and make it possible for him to carry on his
self-education through that 'fostering of the human instincts of
activity, investigation and construction' which constitutes a



     A box of counters and a red-veined stone,
     A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
     And six or seven shells.

If early education, consist in fostering natural activities, there can
be no doubt that Froebel hit upon the activity most prominent of all in
the case of young children, viz. the impulse to investigate. For his
crest, the little child should share in the "motto given to the mongoose
family, in Kipling's _Rikki-Tikki_, 'Run and find out.'"

Most writers on the education of young children have emphasised the
importance of what is most inadequately called sense training, and it is
here that Dr. Montessori takes her stand with her "didactic apparatus."
Froebel's ideas seem wider; he realises that the sword with which the
child opens his oyster is a two-edged sword, that he uses not only his
sense organs as tools for investigation, but his whole body. His pathway
to knowledge, and to power over himself and his surroundings, is action,
and action of all kinds is as necessary to him as the use of his senses.

"The child's first utterance is force," says Froebel, and his first
discovery is the resistance of matter, when he "pushes with his feet
against what resists them." His first experiments are with his body,
"his first toys are his own limbs," and his first play is the use of
"body, senses and limbs" for the sake of use, not for result. One use
of his body is the imitation of any moving object, and Froebel tells the

  If your child's to understand
  Action in the world without,
  You must let his tiny hand
  Imitative move about.
  This is the reason why
  Baby will, never still,
  Imitate whatever's by.

At this stage the child is "to move freely, and be active, to grasp and
hold with his own hands." He is to stand "when he can sit erect and draw
himself up," not to walk till he "can creep, rise freely, maintain his
balance and proceed by his own effort." He is _not_ to be hindered by
swaddling bands--such as are in use in Continental countries--nor, later
on, to be "_spoiled by too much assistance_," words which every mother
and teacher should write upon her phylacteries. But as soon as he can
move himself the surroundings speak to the child, "outer objects
_invite_ him to seize and grasp them, and if they are distant, they
invite him who would bring them nearer to move towards them."

This use of the word "invite" is worthy of notice, and calls to mind a
sentence used by a writer on Freud,[14] that "the activity of a human
being is a constant function of his environment." We adults, who are so
ready with our "Don't touch," must endeavour to remember how everything
is shouting to a child: "Look at me, listen to me, come and fetch me,
and find out all you can about me by every means in your power."

[Footnote 14: _The Freudian Wish_, Edwin Holt.]

If we have anything to do with little children, we must face the fact
that the child is, if not quite a Robinson Crusoe on his island, at
least an explorer in a strange country, and a scientist in his
laboratory. But there is nothing narrow in his outlook: the name of this
chapter is deliberately chosen, the whole world is the child's oyster,
his interests are all-embracing.

From his first walk he is the geographer. "Each little walk is a tour
of discovery; each object--the chair, the wall--is an America, a new
world, which he either goes around to see if it be an island, or whose
coast he follows to discover if it be a continent. Each new phenomenon
is a discovery in the child's small and yet rich world, _e.g._ one may
go round the chair; one may stand before it, behind it, but one cannot
go behind the bench or the wall."

Then comes an inquiry into the physical properties of surrounding
objects. "The effort to reach a particular object may have its source in
the child's desire to hold himself firm and upright by it, but we also
observe that it gives him pleasure to touch, to feel, to grasp, and
perhaps also--which is a new phase of activity--to be able to move
it.... The chair is hard or soft; the seat is smooth; the corner is
pointed; the edge is sharp." The business of the adult, Froebel goes on
to say, is to supply these names, "not primarily to develop the child's
power of speech," but "to define his sense impressions."

Next, the scientist must stock his laboratory with material for

"The child is attracted by the bright round smooth pebble, by the gaily
fluttering bit of paper, by the smooth bit of board, by the rectangular
block, by the brilliant quaint leaf. Look at the child that can scarcely
keep himself erect, that can walk only with the greatest care--he sees a
twig, a bit of straw; painfully he secures it, and like the bird carries
it to his nest. See him again, laboriously stooping and slowly going
forward on the ground, under the eaves of the roof (the deep eaves of
the Thuringian peasant house). The force of the rain has washed out of
the sand smooth bright pebbles, and the ever-observing child gathers
them as building stones as it were, as material for future building. And
is he wrong? Is he not in truth collecting material for his future life

The "box of counters, and the red-veined stone," the brilliant quaint
leaf, the twig, the bit of straw, all the child's treasures--these are
the stimuli which, according to the biologist educator, must be supplied
if the activities appropriate to each stage are to be called forth.
Every one knows for how long a period a child can occupy himself
examining, comparing and experimenting.

"Like things," says Froebel, "must be ranged together, unlike things
separated.... The child loves all things that enter his small horizon
and extend his little world. To him the least thing is a new discovery,
but it must not come dead into the little world, nor lie dead therein,
lest it obscure the small horizon and crush the little world. Therefore
the child would know why he loves this thing, he would know all its
properties. For this reason he examines the object on all sides; for
this reason he tears and breaks it; for this reason he puts it in his
mouth and bites it. We reprove the child for naughtiness and
foolishness; and yet he is wiser than we who reprove him."

This experimenting is one side of a child's play, and the things with
which he thus experiments are his toys, or, as Froebel puts it, "play
material." Much of this is and ought to be self found, and where the
child can find his own toys he asks for little more. The seaside
supplies him with sand and water, stones, shells, rock pools, seaweed,
and he asks us for nothing but a spade, which digs deeper than his naked
hands, and a pail to carry water, which hands alone cannot convey.

  The vista of the sand
  is the child's free land;
  where the grown-ups seem half afraid;
  even nurse forgets to sniff
  and to call "come here"
  as she sits very near
  to the far up cliff
  and you venture alone with your spade....

Even indoors, a child could probably find for himself all the material
for investigation, all the stimuli he requires, if it were not that his
investigations interfere with adult purposes. Even in very primitive
times the child probably experimented upon the revolving qualities of
his mother's spindle till she found it more convenient to let him have
one for himself, and it became a toy or top.

Froebel, who made so much of play, to whom it was spontaneous education
and self realisation, was bound to see that toys were important. "The
man advanced in insight," he said, "even when he gives his child a
plaything, must make clear to himself its purpose and the purpose of
playthings and occupation material in general. This purpose is to aid
the child freely to express what lies within him, and to bring the outer
world nearer to him, and thus to serve as mediator between the mind and
the world." Froebel's "Gifts" were an attempt to supply right play
material. True to his faith in natural impulse, Froebel watched children
to see what playthings they found for themselves, or which, among those
presented by adults, were most appreciated. Soft little coloured balls
seemed right material for a baby's tender hand, and it was clear that
when the child could crawl about he was ready for something which he
could roll on the floor and pursue on all fours. As early as two years
old he loves to take things out of boxes and to move objects about, so
boxes of bricks were supplied, graded in number and in variety of form.
Not for a moment did Froebel suggest that the child was to be limited to
these selected playthings, he expressly stated the contrary, and he
frequently said that spontaneity was not to be checked. But from what
has followed, from the way in which these little toys have been misused,
we are tempted to speculate on whether these "Gifts" supplied that
definite foundation without which, in these days, no notice would have
been taken of the new ideas, or whether they have proved the sunken
rock on which much that was valuable has perished. The world was not
ready to believe in the educational value of play, just pure play. Nor
is it yet. For the new system in its "didactic" apparatus out-Froebels
Froebel in his mistake of trying to systematise the material for
spontaneous education. Carefully planned, as were Froebel's own "gifts,"
the new apparatus presents a series of exercises in sense
discrimination, satisfying no doubt while unfamiliar, but suffering from
the defect of the "too finished and complex plaything," in which Froebel
saw a danger "which slumbers like a viper under the roses." The danger
is that "the child can begin no new thing with it, cannot produce enough
variety by its means; his power of creative imagination, his power of
giving outward form to his own ideas are thus actually deadened."

"To realise his aims, man, and more particularly the child, requires
material, though it be only a bit of wood or a pebble, with which he
makes something or which he makes into something. In order to lead the
child to the handling of material we give him the ball, the cube and
other bodies, the Kindergarten gifts. Each of these gifts incites the
child to free spontaneous activity, to independent movement."

Froebel would have sympathised deeply with the views of Peter as
expressed by Mr. Wells in regard to Ideals, which he, however, called

"The theory of Ideals played almost as important a part in the early
philosophy of Peter as it did in the philosophy of Plato. But Peter did
not call them Ideals, he called them 'toys.' Toys were the simplified
essences of things, pure, perfect and manageable. Real things were
troublesome, uncontrollable, over-complicated and largely irrelevant. A
Real Train, for example, was a poor, big, clumsy, limited thing that was
obliged to go to Redhill, or Croydon, or London, that was full of
unnecessary strangers, usually sitting firmly in the window seats, that
you could do nothing with at all. A Toy Train was your very own; it
took you wherever you wanted, to Fairyland, or Russia, or anywhere, at
whatever pace you chose."[15]

[Footnote 15: _Joan and Peter_, p. 77.]

Froebel asks what presents are most prized by the child and by mankind
in general, and answers, "Those which afford him a means of developing
his mind, of giving it freest activity, of expressing it clearly." For
her ideas as to educative material Dr. Montessori went, not to normal
life, not even to children, but to what may he called curative
appliances, to the material invented by Séguin to develop the dormant
powers of defective children. She herself came to the study of education
from the medical side, the curative. Froebel, with his belief in human
instinct, naturally went to what he called the mother's room, which we
should call the nursery, and to the garden where the child finds his
"bright round smooth pebble" and his "brilliant quaint leaf." No one
would seek to under-value the importance of sense discrimination, but it
can be exercised without formalism, and it need not be mere
discrimination. It is in connection with the Taste and Smell games that
Froebel tells the mother that "the higher is rooted in the lower,
morality in instinct, the spiritual in the material." The baby enjoys
the scent, thanks the kind spirit that put it there, and must let mother
smell it too, so from the beginning there is a touch of aesthetic
pleasure and a recognition of "what the dear God is saying outside." As
to how sense discrimination may be exercised without formality, there is
a charming picture in _The Camp School_:

"And then that sense of _Smell_, which got so little exercise and
attention that it went to sleep altogether, so that millions get no
warning and no joy through it. We met the need for its education in the
Baby Camp by having a Herb Garden. Back from the shelters and open
ground, in a shady place, we have planted fennel, mint, lavender, sage,
marjoram, thyme, rosemary, herb gerrard and rue. And over and above
these pungently smelling things there are little fields of mignonette.
We have balm, indeed, everywhere in our garden. The toddlers go round
the beds of herbs, pinching the leaves with their tiny fingers and then
putting their fingers to their noses. There are two little couples going
the rounds just now. One is a pair of new comers, very much astonished,
the other couple old inhabitants, delighted to show the wonders of the
place! Coming back with odorous hands, they perhaps want to tell us
about the journey. Their eyes are bright, their mouths open."

In Chapter II. we quoted the biologist educator's ideal conception of
the surroundings best suited to bring about right development. Let us
now visit one or two actual Kindergartens and see if these conditions
are in any way realised by the followers of Froebel.

The first one we enter is certainly a large bright room, for one side is
open to light, with two large windows, and between them glass doors
opening into the playground. There is no heap of sand in a corner, nor
is there a tub of water; for the practical teacher knows how little
hands, if not little feet, with their vigorous but as yet uncontrolled
movements would splash the water and scatter the sand with dire effects
as to the floor, which the theorist fondly imagines would always be
clean enough to sit upon. But there is a sand-tray big enough and deep
enough for six to eight children to use individually or together. As
spontaneous activity, with its ceaseless efforts at experimenting,
ceaselessly spills the sand, within easy reach are little brushes and
dustpans to remedy such mishaps. The sand-tray is lined with zinc so
that the sand can be replaced by water for boats and ducks, etc., when

The low wall blackboard is there ready for use. Bright pictures are on
the walls, well drawn and well coloured, some from nursery rhymes, some
of Caldecott's, a frieze of hen and chickens, etc. Boxes for houses and
shops are not in evidence, but their place is taken by bricks of such
size and quantity that houses, shops, motors, engines and anything else
may be built large enough for the children themselves to be shopkeepers
or drivers, and there are also pieces of wood to use for various
purposes of construction. There is no cooking stove, but simple cooking
can be carried out on an open fire, and when a baking oven is required,
an eager procession makes its way to the kitchen, where a kindly
housekeeper permits the use of her oven. There is a doll's cot with a
few dolls of various sizes. There are flowers and growing bulbs. There
are light low tables and chairs, a family of guinea pigs in a large
cage, and there is a cupboard which the children can reach.

Water is to be found in a passage room, between the Kindergarten and the
rooms for children above that stage, and here, so placed that the
children themselves can find and reach everything, are the sawdust, bran
and oats for the guinea pigs, with a few carrots and a knife to cut
them, some tiny scrubbing-brushes and a wiping-up cloth. Here also are
stored the empty boxes, corrugated paper and odds and ends in constant
demand for constructions.

In the cupboard there are certain shelves from which anything may be
taken, and some from which nothing may be taken without leave. For the
teacher here is of opinion that children of even three and four are not
too young to begin to learn the lesson of _meum_ and _tuum_, and she
also thinks it is good to have some treasures which do not come out
every day, and which may require more delicate handling than the
ordinary toy ought to need. For this ought to be strong enough to bear
unskilled handling and vigorous movements, for a broken toy ought to be
a tragedy. At the same time it is part of a child's training to learn to
use dainty objects with delicate handling, and such things form the
children's art gems, showing beauty of construction and of colour.
Children as well as grown-ups have their bad days, when something out of
the usual is very welcome. "Do you know there's nothing in this world
that I'm not tired of?" was said one day by a boy of six usually quite
contented. "Give me something out of the cupboard that I've never seen
before," said another whose digestion was troublesome. The open shelves
contain pencils and paper, crayons, paint-boxes, boxes of building
blocks, interlocking blocks, wooden animals, jigsaw and other puzzles,
coloured tablets for pattern laying, toy scales, beads to thread,
dominoes, etc., the only rule being that what is taken out must be
tidily replaced. This Kindergarten is part of a large institution, and
the playground, to which it has direct access, is of considerable
extent. There is a big stretch of grass and another of asphalt, so that
in suitable weather the tables and chairs, the sand-tray, the bricks and
anything else that is wanted can be carried outside so that the children
can live in the open, which of course is better than any room. In the
playground there is a bank where the children can run up and down, and
there are a few planks and a builder's trestle,[16] on which they can be
poised for seesaws or slides, and these are a constant source of

[Footnote 16: See p. 55.]

In another Kindergarten we find the walls enlivened with Cecil Aldin's
fascinating friezes: here is Noah with all the animals walking in
cheerful procession, and in the next room is an attractive procession of
children with push-carts, hoops and toy motor cars. When we make our
visit the day is fine and the room is empty, the children are all
outside. The garden is not large, but there is some space, and under the
shade of two big trees we find rugs spread, on which the children are
sitting, standing, kneeling and lying, according to their occupation.
One is building with large blocks, and must stand up to complete her
erection; another is lying flat putting together a jigsaw; another, a
boy, is threading beads; while another has built railway arches, and
with much whistling and the greatest carefulness is guiding his train
through the tunnels. The play is almost entirely individual, but very
often you hear, "O Miss X, _do_ come and see what I've done!" After
about an hour, during which a few of the children have changed their
occupations, those who wish to do so join some older children who are
playing games involving movement. This may be a traditional game like
Looby Loo, or Round and round the Village, or it may be one of the best
of the old Kindergarten games. After lunch the washing up is to be done
in a beautiful new white sink which is displayed with pride.

Our next visit is to a Free Kindergarten. The rooms are quite as
attractive, as rich in charming friezes as in the others, and the
furnishing in some ways is much the same. But here we see what we have
not seen before, for here is a large room filled with tiny hammock beds.
The windows are wide open, but the blinds are down, for the children are
having their afternoon sleep.

Here, as in all Free Kindergartens, the children are provided with
simple but pretty overalls which the parents are pleased to wash. House
shoes are also provided, partly to minimise the noise from active little
feet, but principally because the poor little boots are often a
painfully inadequate protection from wet pavements. The children are
trained to tidy ways and to independence. They cannot read, but by
picture cards they recognise their own beds, pegs and other properties.
They take out and put away their own things, and give all reasonable
help in laying tables and serving food, in washing, dusting and sweeping
up crumbs, as is done in any true Kindergarten.

In the garden of this Free Kindergarten there is a large sand-pit,
surrounded by a low wooden framework, and having a pole across the
middle so that it resembles a cucumber frame and a cover can be thrown
over the sand to keep it clean when not in use.

Froebel's own list of playthings contains, besides balls and building
blocks, coloured beads, coloured tablets for laying patterns, coloured
papers for cutting, folding and plaiting; pencils, paints and brushes;
modelling clay and sand; coloured wool for sewing patterns and pictures;
and such little sticks and laths as children living in a forest region
find for themselves. Considered in themselves, apart from the traditions
of formality, these are quite good play material or stimuli, and Froebel
meant the time to come "when we shall speak of the doll and the hobby
horse as the first plays of the awakening life of the girl and the boy,"
but he died before he had done so. In the _Mother Songs_, too, we find
quite a good list of toys which are now to be found in most

Toys for the playground should be provided--a sand-heap, a seesaw, a
substantial wheel-barrow, hoops, balls, reins and perhaps
skipping-ropes. Something on which the child can balance, logs or planks
which they can move about, and a trestle on which these can be
supported, are invaluable. It was while an addition was being made to
our place that we realised the importance of such things, and, as in
Froebel's case, "our teachers were the children themselves." They were
so supremely happy running up and down the plank roads laid by the
builders for their wheel-barrows, seesawing or balancing and sliding on
others, that we could not face the desolation of emptiness which would
come when the workmen removed their things. So, for a few pounds, all
that the children needed was secured, ordinary planks for seesawing,
narrower for balancing and a couple of trestles. One exercise the
children had specially enjoyed was jumping up and down on yielding
planks, and this the workmen had forbidden because the planks might
crack. But a sympathetic foreman told us what was needed: two planks of
special springy wood were fastened together by cross pieces at each end,
and besides making excellent slides, these made most exciting

For representations of real life the children require dolls and the
simplest of furniture--a bed, which need only be a box, some means of
carrying out the doll's washing, her personal requirements as well as
her clothes; some little tea-things and pots and pans. A doll's house is
not necessary, and can only be used by two or three children, but will
be welcomed if provided, and its appointments give practice in dainty
handling. Trains and signals of some kind, home-made or otherwise;
animals for farm or Zoo; a pair of scales for a shop, and some sort of
delivery van, which, of course, may be home-made.

There must also be provision for increase of skill and possibility of
creation. If the Kindergarten can afford it, some of the Montessori
material may be provided; there is no reason, except expense, why it
should not be used if the children like it, and if it does not take up
too much room. But it has no creative possibilities, and even at three
years old this is required. Scissors are an important tool, and an old
book of sample wall-papers is most useful; old match-boxes and used
matches, paste and brushes and some old magazines to cut. Blackboard
chalks and crayons, paint-boxes with four to six important colours, some
Kindergarten folding papers, all these supply colour. Certain toys seem
specially suited to give hand control, _e.g._ a Noah's Ark, where the
small animals are to be set out carefully, tops or teetotums and
tiddlywinks, at which some little children become proficient. The puzzle
interest must not be forgotten, and simple jigsaw pictures give great
pleasure. It is interesting to note here that the youngest children fit
these puzzles not by the picture but by form, though they know they are
making a picture and are pleased when it is finished. The puzzle with
six pictures on the sides of cubes is much more difficult than a simple

All sorts of odds and ends come in useful, and especially for the poorer
children these should be provided. Any one who remembers the pleasure
derived from coloured envelope bands, from transparent paper from
crackers, and from certain advertisements, will save these for children
to whose homes such treasures never come. A box containing scraps of
soft cloth, possibly a bit of velvet, some bits of smooth and shining
coloured silk give the pleasure of sense discrimination without the
formality of the Montessori graded boxes, and are easier to replace.
Some substitute for "mother's button box," a box of shells or coloured
seeds, a box of feathers, all these things will be played with, which
means observation and discrimination, comparison and contrast, and in
addition, where colour is involved, there is aesthetic pleasure, and
this also enters into the touching of smooth or soft surfaces. Softness
is a joy to children, as is shown in the woolly lambs, etc., provided
for babies. A little one of my acquaintance had a bit of blanket which
comforted many woes, and when once I offered her a feather boa as a
substitute she sobbed out: "It isn't so soft as the blanket!"

In one of Miss McMillan's early books she wrote: "Very early the child
begins more or less consciously to exercise the basal sense--the sense
of touch. On waking from sleep he puts his tiny hands to grasp
something, or turns his head on the firm soft pillow. He _touches_
rather than looks, at first (for his hands and fingers perform a great
many movements long before he learns to turn his eyeballs in various
directions or follow the passage even of a light), and through touching
many things he begins his education. If he is the nursling of wealthy
parents, it is possible that his first exercises are rather restricted.
He touches silk, ivory, muslin and fine linen. That is all, and that is
not much. But the child of the cottager is often better off, for his
mother gives him a great variety of objects to keep him quiet. The
ridiculous command, 'Do not touch,' cannot be imposed on him while he is
screaming in his cradle or protesting in his dinner chair; and so all
manner of things--reels, rings, boxes, tins, that is to say a variety of
surfaces--is offered to him, to his great delight and advantage. And
lest he should not get the full benefit of such privilege he carries
everything to his mouth, where the sense of touch is very keen."[17]

[Footnote 17: _Early Childhood_: Swan Sonnenschein, published 1900.]

Among the treasures kept for special occasions there may be pipes for
soap-bubbles, a prism of some kind with which to make rainbows, a tiny
mirror to make "light-birds" on the wall and ceiling, and a magnet with
the time-honoured ducks and fish, if these are still to be bought, along
with other articles, delicately made or coloured, which require care.

Pictures and picture-books should also be considered; some being in
constant use, some only brought out occasionally. For the very smallest
children some may be rag books, but always children should be taught to
treat books carefully. The pictures on the walls ought to be changed,
sometimes with the children's help, sometimes as a surprise and
discovery. For that purpose it is convenient to have series of pictures
in frames with movable backs, but brown-paper frames will do quite well.
The pictures belonging to the stories which have been told to the
children ought to have a prominent place, and if the little ones desire
to have one retold they will ask for it.

It is of course not at all either necessary or even desirable for any
one school to have everything, and children should not have too much
within the range of their attention at one time. Individual teachers
will make their own selections, but in all cases there must be
sufficient variety of material for each child to carry out his natural
desire for observation, experiment and construction.



     A wedding or a festival, a mourning or a funeral...
     As if his whole vocation were endless imitation.

In every country and in every age those who have eyes to see have
watched the same little dramas. What Wordsworth saw was seen nineteen
hundred years ago in the Syrian market-place, where the children
complained of their unresponsive companions: "We have piped the glad
chaunt of the marriage, but ye have not danced, we have wailed our
lamentation, but ye have not joined our mourning procession."

Since the very name Kindergarten is to imply a teaching which fulfils
the child's own wants and desires, it must supply abundant provision for
the dramatic representation of life. Adults have always been ready to
use for their own purposes the strong tendency to imitate, which is a
characteristic of all normal children, but few even now realise to what
extent a child profits by his imitative play. The explanation that
Froebel found for this will now be generally accepted, viz. that only by
acting it out can a child fully grasp an idea, "For what he tries to
represent or do, he begins to understand." He thinks in action, or as
one writer put it, he "apperceives with his muscles." This explanation
seems to cover imitative play, from the little child's imitative wave of
the hand up to such elaborate imitations as are described in Stanley
Hall's _Story of a Sand Pile,_[18] or in Dewey's _Schools of
To-morrow._ But when we think of the joy of such imaginative play as
that of Red Indians, shipwrecks and desert islands, we feel that these
show a craving for experience, for life, such a craving as causes the
adult to lose himself in a book of travels or in a dramatic performance,
and which explains the phenomenal success of the cinema, poor stuff as
it is.

[Footnote 18: Or that delightful "Play Town" in _The Play Way_.]

We thirst for experiences, even for those which are unpleasant; we
wonder "how it feels" to be up in an aeroplane or down in a submarine.
We are far indeed from desiring air-raids, but if such things must be,
there is a curious satisfaction in being "in it." And though the
experiences they desire may be matters of everyday occurrence to us,
children probably feel the craving even more keenly. "You may write what
you like," said a teacher, and a somewhat inarticulate child wrote, "I
was out last night, it was late." "Why, Jack," said another, "you've
painted your cow green; did you ever see a green cow?" "No," said Jack,
"but I'd like to."

In early Kindergarten days this imitative and dramatic tendency was
chiefly met in games, and the children were by turns butterflies and
bees, bakers and carpenters, clocks and windmills. The programme was
suggested by Froebel's _Mother Songs_, in which he deals with the
child's nearest environment. Too often, indeed, the realities to which
Froebel referred were not realities to English children, but that was
recognised as a defect, and the ideas themselves were suitable.
Chickens, pigeons and farmyard animals; the homely pussy cat or canary
bird; the workers to whom the child is indebted, farmer, baker, miner,
builder or carpenter; the sun, the rain, the rainbow and the
"light-bird"--such ideas were chosen as suitable centres, and stories
and songs, games and handwork clustered round.

What was the reason for this binding of things together? Why did
Froebel constantly plead for "unity" even for the tiny child, and tell
us to link together his baby finger-games or his first weak efforts at
building with his blocks chairs, tables, beds, walls and ladders?

Looking back over the years, it seems as if this idea of joining
together has been trying to assert itself under various forms, each of
which has reigned for its day, has been carried to extremes and been
discarded, only to come up again in a somewhat different form. It has
always seemed to aim at extending and ordering the mind content of
children. For the Froebelian it was expressed in such words as "unity,"
"connectedness" and "continuity," while the Herbartians called it
"correlation." Under these terms much work has been, and is still being,
carried out, some very good and some very foolish. Ideas catch on,
however, because of the truth that is in them, not because of the error
which is likely to be mixed with it, and even the weakest effort after
connection embodies an important truth. When we smile over absurd
stories of forced "correlation," we seldom stop to think of what went on
before the Kindergarten existed, for instance the still more absurd and
totally disconnected lists of object lessons. One actual list for
children of four years old ran: Soda, Elephant, Tea, Pig, Wax, Cow,
Sugar, Spider, Potatoes, Sheep, Salt, Mouse, Bread, Camel.

Kindergarten practice was far ahead of this, for here the teacher was
expected to choose her material according to (1) Time of Year; (2) Local
Conditions, such as the pursuits of the people; (3) Social Customs. When
it was possible the children went to see the real blacksmith or the real
cow, and to let game or handwork be an expression, and a re-ordering of
ideas gained was natural and right. Connectedness, however, meant more
than this, it meant that the material itself was to be treated so that
the children would be helped to that real understanding which comes
from seeing things in their relations to each other. As Lloyd Morgan
puts it, "We are mainly at work upon the mental background. It is our
object to make this background as rich and full and orderly as possible,
so that whatever is brought to the focus of consciousness shall be set
in a relational background, which shall give it meaning; and so that our
pupils may be able to feel the truth which Browning puts into the mouth
of Fra Lippo Lippi:

  This world's no blot for us
  Nor blank; it means intensely and means good:
  To find its meaning is my meat and drink."

According to Professor Dewey, some such linking or joining is necessary
"to foster that sense which is at the basis of attention and of all
intellectual growth, the sense of continuity." The Herbartian
correlation was designed to further that well-connected circle of
thought out of which would come the firm will, guided by right insight,
inspired by true feeling, which is their aim in education.

Froebelian unity and connectedness have, like the others, an
intellectual and a moral aspect. Intellectually "the essential
characteristic of instruction is the treatment of individual things in
their relationships"; morally, the idea of unity is that we are all
members one of another. The child who, through unhindered activity, has
reached the stage of self-consciousness is to go on to feel himself a
part, a member of an ever-increasing whole--family, school, township,
country, humanity--the All; to be "one with Nature, man and God."

Every one has heard something of the new teaching--which, by the way,
sheds clearer light over Froebel's warning against arbitrary
interference--viz. that a great part of the nervous instability which
affects our generation is due to the thwarting and checking of the
natural impulses of early years. But this new school also gives us
something positive, and reinforces older doctrines by telling us to
integrate behaviour. "This matter of the unthwarted lifelong progress
of behaviour integration is of profound importance, for it is the
transition from behaviour to conduct. The more integrated behaviour is
harmonious and consistent behaviour toward a larger and more
comprehensive situation, toward a bigger section of the universe; it is
lucidity and breadth of purpose. The child playing with fire is only
wrong conduct because it is behaviour that does not take into account
consequences; it is not adjusted to enough of the environment; it will
be made right by an enlargement of its scope and reach."[19]

All selfish conduct, all rudeness and roughness come from ignorance; we
are all more or less self-centred, and the child's consciousness of self
has to be widened, his scope has to be enlarged to sympathy with the
thoughts, feelings and desires of other selves. "The sane man is the man
who (however limited the scope of his behaviour) has no such suppression
incorporated in him. The wise man must be sane and must have scope as

[Footnote 19: _The Freudian Wish_, Edwin Holt.]

[Footnote 20: _The Freudian Wish_, Edwin Holt.]

Professor Earl Barnes always used to describe the child mind as
"scrappy." How can we best aid development into the wholeness or
healthiness and the scope of sanity and wisdom? For it may well be that
this widening and ordering of experience, of consciousness, of behaviour
into moral behaviour is our most important task as teachers. Froebel
emphasised the "crying need" for connection of school and life, pointing
out how the little child desires to imitate and the older to share in
all that, as Professor Dewey puts it, is "surcharged with a sense of the
mysterious values that attach to whatever their elders are concerned
with." This is one of the points to which Professor Dewey called
attention in his summing up of Froebel's educational principles, this
letting the child reproduce on his own plane the typical doings and
occupations of the larger, maturer society into which he is finally to
go forth.

It is in this connection that he says the Kindergarten teacher has the
opportunity to foster that most important "sense of continuity." In
simple reproduction of the home life while there is abundant variety,
since daily life may bring us into contact with all the life of the city
or of the country, yet, because the work is within a whole, "there is
opportunity to foster that sense which is at the basis of attention and
of all intellectual growth, a sense of continuity."

Since Professor Dewey gave to the world the results of his experimental
school, all the Kindergartens and most of the Infant Schools in England
have tried to carry out their accustomed reproduction of home
surroundings, more or less on the lines of the Primary Department of his
experimental school. They have extended their scope, and in addition to
the material already taken from workman and shop, from garden and farm,
have also with much profit to older children used his suggestions about
primitive industries.

Reproduction of home surroundings can be done in many ways, one of which
is to help the children to furnish and to play with a doll's house. But
the play must be play. It is not enough to use the drama as merely
offering suggestions for handwork, and one small doll's house does not
allow of real play for more than one or two children.

Our own children used to settle this by taking out the furniture, etc.,
and arranging different homes around the room. I can remember the
never-ending pleasure given by similar play in my own nursery days, when
the actors were the men and boys supplied by tailors' advertisements.
Many and varied were the experiences of these paper families, families,
it may be noted, none of whom demeaned themselves so far as to possess
any womankind. For that nursery party of five had lost its mother sadly
early and was ruled by two boys, who evidently thought little of the
other sex.

Professor Dewey tells us that "nothing is more absurd than to suppose
that there is no middle term between leaving a child to his unguided
fancies, or controlling his activities by a formal succession of
dictated directions." It is the teacher's business to know what is
striving for utterance and to supply the needed stimulus and materials.

To show how under the inspiration of a thoroughly capable teacher this
continuity may be secured and prolonged for quite a long period, an
example may be taken from the work of Miss Janet Payne, who is
remarkably successful in meeting and stimulating, without in any way
forcing the "striving for utterance" mentioned by Dewey. On this
occasion Miss Payne produced a doll about ten inches high, dressed to
resemble the children's fathers, and suggested that a home should be
made for him. The children adopted him with zeal, named him Mr. Bird,
and his career lasted for two years.

Mr. Bird required a family, so Mrs. Bird had to be produced with her
little girl Winnie, and later a baby was added to the family. Beds,
tables and chairs, including a high chair for Winnie, were made of
scraps from the wood box, and for a long time Mr. Bird was most
domesticated. Miss Payne had used ordinary dolls' heads, but had
constructed the bodies herself in such a way that the dolls could sit
and stand, and use their arms to wield a broom or hold the baby. After
some time, one child said, "Mr. Bird ought to go to business," and after
much deliberation he became a grocer. His shop was made and stocked, and
he attended it every day, going home to dinner regularly. One day he
appeared to be having a meal on the shop counter, and it was explained
that he had been "rather in a hurry" in the morning, so Mrs. Bird had
given him his breakfast to take with him. The Bird family had various
adventures, they had spring cleanings, removals, visited the Zoo and
went to the seaside. One morning a little fellow sat in a trolley with
the Bird family beside him for three-quarters of an hour evidently
"imagining." I did inquire in passing if it was a drive or a picnic, but
the answer was so brief, that I knew I was an interruption and retired.
But a younger and bolder inquirer, who wanted to conduct an experiment
in modelling, ventured to ask if Mr. Bird wanted anything that could be
made "at clay modelling." "Yes, he wants some ink-pots for his
post-office shop," was the answer, with the slightly irate addition,
"but I _wish_ you'd call it the china factory."

When these children moved to an upper class, Mr. Bird was laid away, but
the children requested his presence. So he entered the new room and
became a farmer. He had now to write letters, to arrange rents, etc.,
and the money had to be made and counted. The letters served for writing
and reading lessons, and Miss Payne was careful to send the answers
through the real post, properly addressed to Mr. Bird with the name of
class and school. Mr. Bird hired labourers, the children grew corn, and
thrashed it and sent it to the mill. A miller had to be produced, and
the children, now his assistants, ground the wheat, and Mr. Bird came in
his cart to fetch the sacks of flour, which ultimately became the Birds'
Christmas pudding and was eaten by the labourers, now guests at the
feast. In spring, after careful provision for their comfort, Mr. Bird
went to the cattle market and bought cows. Though the milking had to be
pretence, the butter and cheese were really made.

The first question of the summer term was, "What's Mr. Bird going to do
this term?" Like other teachers inspired by Professor Dewey, we have
found our children most responsive to the suggestion of playing out
primitive man. But with some, not of course with the brightest, it is
too great a stretch to go at one step from the present to the most
primitive times, and we often spend a term over something of the nature
of Robinson Crusoe, where the situation presents characters accustomed
to modern civilisation and deprived of all its conveniences. Miss Payne
is careful to give the children full opportunity for suggestions--one
dull little boy puzzled his mother by telling her "I made a very good
'gestion' to-day"--so though she had not contemplated the renewed
appearance of Mr. Bird she said, "What do you want him to do?" "Let him
go out and shoot bears," cried an embryo sportsman. Somewhat taken
aback, Miss Payne temporised with, "He wouldn't find them in this
country." "Then let him go to India," cried one child, but another
called out, "No, no, let him go to a desert island!" and that was
carried with acclamation. Mr. Bird's various homes were on a miniature
scale, and were contained in a series of zinc trays, which we have had
made to fit the available tables and cupboard tops. We find these trays
convenient, as a new one can be added when more scope is required to
carry out new ideas.

The following accounts taken from the notes of Miss Hilda Beer, while a
student in training, show another kind of play where the children
themselves act the drama. The notes only cover a short period, but they
show how the play may arise quite incidentally.

_Mon., June 18._--As the ground is too damp for out-of-doors work, if
the children were not ready with plans, I meant to suggest building a
railway station, tunnel, etc., and later, I thought perhaps we might
paint advertisements of seaside resorts for our station.

But the children brought several things with them, and Dorothy brought
her own doll. Marie had left the baby doll from the other room in the
cot, so Dorothy and Sylvia said they must look after the babies. So
Cecil, Josie and I swept and dusted.

Then we began to play house. Cecil and Dorothy were Mr. and Mrs. Harry,
Sylvia was Mrs. Loo (husband at the war). Josie was Nurse and I was
Aunt Lizzie. The dolls were Winnie Harry, and Jack and Doreen Loo. Mr.
and Mrs. Harry built themselves a house and so did we. Cecil said, "But
what is the name of the road?" Mrs. Harry chose 25 Brookfield Avenue,
and Mr. Harry 7 Victoria Street, but he gave in and Mrs. Loo took his
name for her house. We had to put numbers on the houses; Sylvia could
make 7, but the others could not make 25, so I put it on the board and
they copied it. Josie having also made a 7 wanted to use it, but Mrs.
Loo objected, and said, "The mother is more important than the nurse,"
so Josie fixed her 7 on the house opposite.

After lunch we bathed the babies and put them to sleep, and as it was
time for the children's own rest, we all went to bed. When rest was
over, we washed and dressed, and then Mrs. Harry asked for clay to make
a water-tap for her house. That made all the children want to make
things in clay, so we made cups and saucers, plates, and a baby's
bottle, then scones and sponge-cakes, bread and a bread-board, and one
of the children said we must put a B on that.

Then Mrs. Loo said, "But we haven't any shelves." I had to leave my
class in Miss Payne's charge, and they spent the rest of the time
fitting in shelves, water-taps, and sinks.

_June 19._--After sweeping, dusting, and washing and dressing the dolls,
I read to the children "How the House was built." Then we all pretended
to bake, making rolls and cakes as next day was to be the doll Winnie's
birthday. We baked our cakes on a piece of wood on the empty fireplace.

The other children were invited to Winnie's party, so we went out to
shop. The children wanted lettuces from their own garden, but the grass
was too wet, so we pretended. The shop was on the edge of the grass and
we talked to imaginary shopmen, Cecil often exclaiming, "Eightpence!
why, it's not worth it!"

As neither of the houses would hold all the guests invited to the party,
we had to have a picnic instead.

_June_ 20.--I must see that Sylvia and Dorothy do the sweeping
to-morrow, and let Josie bath the doll; she is very good-natured, and I
see that they give her the less attractive occupation. I think too that
the food question has played too large a part, so if the children
suggest more cooking I shall look in the larder and say that really we
must not buy or bake as food goes bad in hot weather, and we must not
waste in war time.

The children have suggested making cushions, painting pictures, and
making knives and forks, but we have not had time.

_Report_.--Dorothy and Sylvia swept, Cecil mended the wall of the house,
Josie took the children down to the beach (the sand tray), and I dusted.
We looked into the larder and found that yesterday's greens were going
bad, so decided not to buy more. Then we took the babies for a walk. We
noticed how many nasturtiums were out, how the blackberry bushes were in
flower and in bud, and the runner-bean was in flower, and the red
flowers looked so pretty in the green leaves. We looked at the
hollyhocks, because I have told the children that they will grow taller
than I am, and they are always wondering how soon this will be. The
children found some cherries which had fallen, and Dorothy said how
pretty they were on the tree. I called attention to one branch that was
laden with fruit, and looked particularly pretty with the sun shining on
it. We also looked at the pear tree and the almond. Everything has come
on so fast, and the children were ready to say it was because of the

After rest, we went to the Hall to see the chickens. To-day they were
much bigger, and Sylvia said had "bigger wings." We were able to watch
them drinking, how they hold up their heads to let the water run down.
The rest of the morning we made curtains, and the children loved it.
There was much discussion and at first the children suggested making
them all different, but they agreed that curtains at windows were
usually alike. Mr. and Mrs. Harry nearly quarrelled, as one wanted green
and the other pink. I suggested trimming the green with a strip of pink,
and they were quite pleased. Mrs. Loo and Nurse chose green which was to
be sewn with red silk. Sylvia said, "A pattern," and I said, "You saw
something red and green to-day," and she called out, "Oh! cherries." She
cut out a round of paper and tried to sew round it, holding it in place
with her other hand. I suggested putting in a stitch to hold the paper.
Cecil was absorbed in sewing, and it seemed quieting for such an
excitable boy and good for his weak hands. One child said, "Fancy a boy
sewing," so I told how soldiers and sailors sewed. They sewed just as
they liked.

These notes are continued in Chapter IX., where they are used to show
children's attitude towards Nature. Though separated here for a special
purpose it is clear that there neither is nor ought to be any real
separation in the lives of the children. Their lives are wholes and they
continually pass from one "subject" to another, because life and its
circumstances are making new demands. If it rains and you cannot gather
the lettuces you have grown from seed, you take refuge in happy
pretence; if it clears and the sun calls you out of doors, you take your
doll-babies for their walk.



     I, too, will something make, and joy in the making.


     Built by that only Law, that Use be suggester of Beauty.

          ARTHUR CLOUGH.

There has always been _making_ in the Kindergarten, since to Froebel the
impulse to create was a characteristic of self-conscious humanity.
Stopford Brooke points out that Browning's Caliban, though almost brute,
shows himself human, in that, besides thinking out his natural religion,
he also dramatises and creates, "falls to make something."

  'Tis solace making baubles, ay, and sport.
  Tasteth, himself, no finer good i' the world
  Than trying what to do with wit and strength--

What does a child gain from his ceaseless attempts at making? Froebel's
answer was that intellectually, through making he gains ideas, which,
received in words, remain mere words. "To learn through life and action
is more developing than to learn through words: expression in plastic
material, united with thought and speech, is far more developing than
mere repetition of words." Morally, it is through impressing himself on
his surroundings, that the child reaches the human attributes of
self-consciousness and self-control. One of the most important passages
Froebel ever wrote is this:

"The deepest craving of the child's life is to see itself mirrored in
some external object. Through such reflection, he learns to know his own
activity, its essence, direction and aim, and learns to determine his
activity in accordance with outer things. Such mirroring of the inner
life is essential, for through it the child comes to self-consciousness,
and learns to order, determine and master himself."

It is from the point of view of expression alone that Froebel regards
Art, and drawing, he takes to be "the first revelation of the creative
power within the child." The very earliest drawing to which he refers is
what he calls "sketching the object on itself," that is, the tracing
round the outlines of things, whereby the child learns form by
co-ordinating sight and motor perceptions, a stage on which Dr.
Montessori has also laid much stress. Besides noting how children draw
"round scissors and boxes, leaves and twigs, their own hands, and even
shadows," he sees that from experimentation with any pointed stick or
scrap of red stone or chalk, may come what Mr. E. Cooke called a
language of line, and now "the horse of lines, the man of lines" will
give much pleasure. After this it is true that "whatever a child knows
he will put into his drawing," and the teacher's business is to see that
he has abundant perceptions and images to express.

Another kind of drawing which children seem to find for themselves is
what they call making patterns. Out of this came the old-fashioned
chequer drawing, now condemned as injurious to eyesight and of little

When children see anything rich in colour the general cry is "Let's
paint it," which is their way of taking in the beauty. We should not,
says Froebel, give them paints and brushes inconsiderately, to throw
about, but give them the help they need, and he describes quite a
sensible lesson given to boys "whose own painting did not seem to paint
them long."

Teachers who want real help in the art training of children should read
the excellent papers by Miss Findlay in _School and Life_, where we are
told that we must rescue the term "design" from the limited uses to
which it is often condemned in the drawing class, viz. the construction
of pleasing arrangements of colour and form for surface decoration. "We
shall use it in its full popular significance in constructive work....
The term will cover building houses, making kettles, laying out streets,
planning rooms, dressing hair, as well as making patterns for cushion
covers and cathedral windows.... In thus widening our art studies, we
shall be harking back in a slight degree to the kind of training that in
past ages produced the great masters.... Giotto designed his Campanile
primarily for the bells that were to summon the Florentines to their
cathedral; the Venetians wanted façades for their palaces, and made
façades to delight their eyes; the Japanese have wanted small furniture
for their small rooms, and have developed wonderful skill and taste in
designing it. Neither art nor science can remain long afloat in high
abstract regions above the needs and interests of human life. To quote
A.H. Clough:

  'A Cathedral Pure and Perfect.
  Built by that only Law, that Use be suggester of Beauty;
  Nothing concealed that is, done, but all things done to adornment;
  Meanest utilities seized as occasions to grace and embellish.'"

If this is true of the interests of the professional artist, much more
must it be true of the art training of the child. We must not then
despise the rough and ready productions of a child, nor force upon him a
standard for which he is not ready.

Before any other construction is possible to him, a child can _make_
with sand, and this is a constant joy, from the endless puddings that
are turned out of patty pans, up to such models as that of the whole
"Isle of Wight" with its tunnelled cliffs and system of railways, made
by an ex-Kindergarten boy as yet innocent of geography lessons.

The child then who is making, especially making for use, is to a certain
extent developing himself as an artist.

The little boys at Keilhau were well provided with sand, moss, etc., to
use with their building blocks, and it was a former Keilhau boy who
suggested to his old master that some kind of sand-box would make a good
plaything for the children in his new Kindergarten. Miss Wiggin tells us
that indirectly we owe the children's sand-heaps in the public parks to
Froebel, since these were the result of a suggestion made by Frau
Schrader to the Empress Frederick, and the idea was carried out during
her husband's too brief reign.

Another very early "making" is the arranging of furniture for shops,
carriages, trains, and the "ships upon the stairs," which made bright
pictures in Stevenson's memory.

Building blocks are truly, as Froebel puts it, "the finest and most
variable material that can be offered a boy for purposes of
representation." The little boxes associated with the Kindergarten were
originally planned for the use of nursery children two to three years of
age, and in most if not in all Kindergartens these have been replaced by
larger bricks. It is many years now since, at Miss Payne's suggestion,
we bought some hundreds of road paving blocks, and these are such a
source of pleasure that the children often dream about them. Living out
the life around presents much opportunity for making, which may be done
with blocks, but which even in the Kindergarten can be done with tools.
Care must be exercised, but children have quite a strong instinct for
self-preservation, and if shown how real workmen handle their tools,
they are often more careful than at a much later stage. To make a
workable railway signal is more interesting and much more educative than
to use one that came from a shop. The teacher may make illuminating
discoveries in the process, as when one set of children desired to make
a counter for a shop, and arranged their piece of wood vertically so
that the counter had no top. It was found that to these very little
people the most important part was the high front against which they
were accustomed to stand, not the flat top which they seldom saw.
Another set of children made a cart on which the farmer was to carry his
corn, and exemplified Dewey's "concrete logic of action." At first they
only wanted a board on wheels, but the corn fell off, so they nailed on
sides, but the cart never had either back or front and resembled some
seen in Early English pictures.

Any kind of cooking that can be done is a most important kind of making;
even the very little ones can help, and they thoroughly enjoy watching.
"Her hands were in the dough from three years old," said a north-country
mother, "so I taught her how to bake, and now (at seven) she can bake as
well as I can."

Children delight in carrying out the processes involved in the making of
flour, and they can easily thrash a little wheat, then winnow, grind
between stones and sift it. Their best efforts produce but a tiny
quantity of flour, but the experience is real, interest is great, and a
new significance attaches to the shop flour from which bread is
ultimately produced.

Butter and cheese can easily be made, also jam, and even a Christmas
pudding. In very early Kindergartens we read of the growing, digging and
cooking of potatoes, and of the extraction of starch to be used as

Special anniversaries require special making. We possess a doll of 1794
to whom her old mother bequeathed her birthday. The doll's birthday is
a great event, and on the previous day each class in turn bakes tiny
loaves, or cakes or pastry for the party.

Christmas creates a need for decorations, Christmas cards and presents,
and Empire Day and Trafalgar Day for flags, while in many places there
is an annual sale on behalf of a charity.

It does not do to be too modern and to despise all the old-fashioned
"makings," which gave such pleasure some years ago. Kindergarten
Paper-folding has fallen into an undeserved oblivion. The making of
boats or cocked-hats from old newspaper is a great achievement for a
child, and to make pigs and purses, corner cupboards and chairs for
paper dolls is still a delight, and calls forth real concentration and

Making in connection with some whole, such as the continuous
representation of life around us, and, at a later stage, the
re-inventing of primitive industries, or making which arises out of some
special interest may have a higher educational value, but apart from
this, children want to make for making's sake. "Can't I make something
in wood like Boy does?" asked a little girl. There is joy in the making,
joy in being a cause, and for this the children need opportunity, space
and time. There is a lesson to many of us in some verses by Miss F.
Sharpley, lately published (_Educational Handwork_), which should be
entitled, "When can I make my little Ship?"

  I'd like to cut, and cut, and cut,
   And over the bare floor
  To strew my papers all about,
    And then to cut some more.

  I'd sweep them up so neatly, too,
    But mother says, "Oh no!
  There is no time, it's seven o'clock;
    To bed you quickly go!"

  In school, I'd just begun to make
    A pretty little ship,
  But I was slow, and all the rest
    Stood up to dance and skip.

  When shall I make my little ship?
    At home there is no gloy,
  And father builds it by himself
    Or goes to buy a toy.



     Let me tell the stories and I care not who makes the textbooks.

          STANLEY HALL.

"Is it Bible story to-day or any _kind_ of a story?" was the greeting of
an eager child one morning. "Usually they were persuading him to tell
stories," writes Ebers, from his recollections of Froebel as an old man
at Keilhau. "He was never seen crossing the courtyard without a group of
the younger pupils hanging to his coat tails and clasping his arms.
Usually they were persuading him to tell stories, and when he
condescended to do so, the older ones flocked around him, too, and they
were never disappointed. What fire, what animation the old man had

So Froebel could write with feeling of "the joyful faces, the sparkling
eyes, the merry shouts that welcome the genuine story-teller"; he had a
right to pronounce that "the child's desire and craving for tales, for
legends, for all kinds of stories, and later on for historical accounts,
is very intense."

Surely there was never a little one who did not crave for stories,
though here and there may be found an older child, who got none at the
right time, and who, therefore, lost that most healthy of appetites.
Most of us will agree that there is something wrong with the child who
does not like stories, but it may be that the something wrong belonged
to the mother. One such said to the Abbé Klein one day, "My children
have never asked for stories." "But, madame," was the reply, "neither
would they ask for cake if they had never eaten it, or even seen it."

It is easy for us to find reasons why we should tell stories. We can
brush aside minor aims such as increasing the child's vocabulary.
Undoubtedly his vocabulary does increase enormously from listening to
stories, but it is difficult to imagine that any one could rise to real
heights in story-telling with this as an aim or end. That the narrator
should clothe his living story in words expressive of its atmosphere,
and that the listener should in this way gain such power over language,
that he, too, can fitly express himself is quite another matter.

First, then, we tell stories because we love to tell them and because
the children love to listen. We choose stories that appeal to our
audience. It is something beautiful, humorous, heroic or witty that we
have found, and being social animals we want to share it. As educators
with an aim before us, we deliberately tell stories in order to place
before our children ideals of unselfishness, courage and truth. We know
from our own experience, not only in childhood, but all through life how
the story reaches our feelings as no sermon or moralising ever does, and
we have learned that "out of the heart are the issues of life." Unguided
feelings may be a danger, but the story does more than rouse
feelings--it gives opportunity for the exercise of moral judgement, for
the exercise of judgement upon questions of right and wrong. Feeling is
aroused, but it is not usually a personal feeling, so judgement is
likely to be unbiassed. It may, however, be biassed by the tone absorbed
from the environment even in childhood, as when the mother makes more of
table etiquette than of kindness, and the child, instead of condemning
Jacob's refusal to feed his hungry brother with the red pottage, as all
natural children do condemn, says: "No, Esau shouldn't have got it,
'cause he asked for it."

As a rule, the children's standard is correct enough, and approval or
condemnation is justly bestowed, provided that the story has been chosen
to suit the child's stage of development. One little girl objected
strongly to Macaulay's ideal Roman, who "in Rome's quarrel, spared
neither land nor gold, nor son nor wife." "That wasn't right," she said
stoutly, "he ought to think of his own wife and children first." She was
satisfied, however, when it was explained to her that Horatius might be
able to save many fathers to many wives and children. In my earliest
teaching days, having found certain history stories successful with
children of seven, I tried the same with children of six, but only once.
Edmund of East Anglia dying for his faith fell very flat. "What was the
good of that?" said one little fellow, "'cause if you're dead you can't
do anything! But if you're alive, you can get more soldiers and win a
victory." The majority of the class, however, seemed to feel with
another who asked, "Why didn't he promise while the Danes were there? He
needn't have kept it when they went away."

Another way of stating our aim in telling stories to children is that a
story presents morality in the concrete. Virtues and vices _per se_
neither attract nor repel, they simply mean nothing to a child, until
they are presented as the deeds of man or woman, boy or girl, living and
acting in a world recognised as real. One telling story is that of the
boy who got hold of Miss Edgeworth's _Parent's Assistant_ and who said
to his mother, "Mother, I've been reading 'The Little Merchants' and I
know now how horrid it is to cheat and tell lies." "I have been telling
you that ever since you could speak," said his mother, to which the boy
answered, "Yes, I know, but that didn't interest me." Our children had
been told the story of how the Countess of Buchan crowned the Bruce, a
duty which should have been performed by her brother the Earl of Fife,
who, however, was too much afraid of the wrath of English Edward. A few
days after, an argument arose and one little girl was heard to say, "I
don't want to be brave," and a boy rejoined, "Girls don't need to be
brave." I said, "Which would you rather be, the Countess who put the
crown on the King's head, or the brother who ran away?" And quickly came
the answer, "Oh! the brave Countess," from the very child who didn't
want to be brave!

Froebel sums up the teacher's aim in the words: "The telling of stories
is a truly strengthening spirit-bath, it gives opportunity for the
exercise of all mental powers, opportunity for testing individual
judgement and individual feelings."

But why is it that children crave for stories? "Education," says Miss
Blow, a veteran Froebelian, "is a series of responses to indicated
needs," and undoubtedly the need for stories is as pressing as the need
to explore, to experiment and to construct. What is the unconscious need
that is expressed in this craving, why is this desire so deeply
implanted by Nature? So far, no one seems to have given a better answer
than Froebel has done, when he says that the desire for stories comes
out of the need to understand life, that it is in fact rooted in the
instinct of investigation. "Only the study of the life of others can
furnish points of comparison with the life the boy himself has
experienced. The story concerns other men, other circumstances, other
times and places, yet the hearer seeks his own image, he beholds it and
no one knows that he sees it."

Man cannot be master of his surroundings till he investigates and so
gathers knowledge. But he has to adapt himself not only to the physical
but to the human environment in which he lives. In stories of all
kinds, children study human life in all kinds of circumstances, nay, if
the story is sufficiently graphic they almost go through the experiences
narrated, almost live the new life.

With very young children the most popular of all stories is the "The
Three Bears" and it is worth a little analysis. A little girl runs away,
and running away is a great temptation to little girls and boys, as
great an adventure as running off to sea will be at a later stage. She
goes into a wood and meets bears: what else could you expect! The story
then deals with really interesting things, porridge, basins, chairs and
beds. The strong contrast of the bears' voices fascinates children, and
just when retribution might descend upon her, the heroine escapes and
gets safe home. Children revel in the familiar details, but these alone
would not suffice, there must be adventure, excitement, romance. One
feels that Southey had the assistance of a child in making his story so
complete, and we can hear the questions: "How did the big bear know that
the little girl had tasted his porridge? Oh, because she had left the
spoon. How did he know that she had sat in his chair? Because she left
the cushion untidy, and as for the little bear's chair, why, she sat
that right out."

That quite little children desire fresh experiences or adventures and
really exciting ones, is shown by the following stories made by
children. The first two are by a little girl of two-and-a-half, the
third is taken from Lady Glenconner's recently published _The Sayings of
the Children_.

"Once upon a time there was a giant and a little girl, and he told a
little girl not to kiss a bear acos he would bite her, and the little
girl climbed right on his back and she jumped right down the stairs and
the bear came walking after the little girl and kissing her, and she
called it a little bear and it was a big bear! (immense amusement).

"Once upon a time there was a little piggy and he was right in a big
green and white fire and he didn't hurt hisself, and (told as a
tremendous secret) he touched a fire with his handie. 'What a naughty
piggy,' said Auntie, 'and what next?' He jumped right out of a fire.
Auntie, can you smile? (For aunties cannot smile when people are

The third story is said to have been filled with pauses due to a certain
slowness of speech, but the pauses are "lit by the lightning flash of a
flying eyebrow, and the impressive nodding of a silken head."

"Once, you know, there was a fight between a little pony and a lion, and
the lion sprang against the pony and the pony put his back against a
stack and bited towards the lion, and the lion rolled over and the pony
jumped up, and he ran up ... and the pony turned round and the lion ..."

His mother felt she had lost the thread. "Which won?" she asked. "Which
won!" he repeated and after a moment's pause he said, "Oh! the little

This surprising conclusion points to a stage when it is difficult for a
child to hold the thread of a narrative, and at this stage, along with
simple stories of little ones like themselves, repetition or
"accumulation" stories seem to give most pleasure. "Henny Penny" and
"Billy Bobtail"--told by Jacobs as "How Jack went to seek his
Fortune"--are prime favourites. Repetition of rhythmic phrases has a
great attraction, as in "Three Little Pigs," with its delightful
repetition of "Little pig, little pig, let me come in," "No, no, by the
hair of my chinny chin chin," "Then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll
blow your house in."

Very soon, however, the children are ready for the time-honoured
fairy-tale or folk-tale.

The orthodox beginning, "Once upon a time, in a certain country there
lived ...," fits the stage when neither time nor place is of any
consequence. Animals speak, well why not, we can! The fairies
accomplish wonders, again why not? Wonderful things do happen and they
must have a wonderful cause, and, as one child said, if there never had
been any fairies, how could people have written stories about them?
Goodness is rewarded and wickedness is punished, as is only right in the
child's eyes, and goodness usually means kindness, the virtue best
understood of children. Obedience is no doubt the nursery virtue in the
eyes of authority, but kindness is much more human and attractive.

"Both child and man," says Froebel, "desire to know the significance of
what happens around them; this is the foundation of Greek choruses,
especially in tragedy, and of many productions in the realm of legends
and fairy-tales. It is the result of the deep-rooted consciousness, the
slumbering premonition of being surrounded by that which is higher and
more conscious than ourselves." The fairy tale is the child's mystery
land, his recognition that there are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in our philosophy or in our science. Dr. Montessori
protests against the idea that fairy-tales have anything to do with the
religious sense, saying that "faith and fable are as the poles apart."
She does not understand that it is for their truth that we value
fairy-tales. The truths they teach are such as that courage and
intelligence can conquer brute strength, that love can brave and can
overcome all dangers and always finds the lost, that kindness begets
kindness and always wins in the end. The good and the faithful marries
the princess--or the prince--and lives happy ever after. And assuredly
if he does not marry his princess, he will not live happy, and if she
does not marry the prince, she will live in no beautiful palace. And
there is more. Take for instance, the story of "Toads and Diamonds." The
courteous maiden who goes down the well, who gives help where it is
needed, and who works faithfully for Mother Holle,[21] comes home again
dropping gold and diamonds when she speaks. Her silence may be silver,
but her speech is golden, and her words give light in dark places. The
selfish and lazy girl, who refuses help and whose work is unfaithful and
only done for reward, has her reward. Henceforth, when she speaks, down
fall toads and snakes her words are cold as she is, they may glitter but
they sting.

[Footnote 21: This version is probably a mixture of the versions of
Perrault and Grimm but Mother Holle shaking her feathers is worth
bringing in.]

Fairy- and folk-tales give wholesome food to the desire for adventure,
whereas in what we may call realistic stories, adventure is chiefly
confined to the naughty child, who is therefore more attractive than the
good and stodgy. Even among fairy-tales we may select. "Beauty and the
Beast" and "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Snow-white and Rose-red" are
distinctly preferable to "Jack the Giant Killer" or "Puss in Boots,"
while "Bluebeard" cannot be told. It seems to me that children can often
safely read for themselves stories the adult cannot well tell. The
child's notion of justice is crude, bad is bad, and whether embodied in
an ogre or in Pharaoh of Egypt, it must be got rid of, put out of the
story. No child is sorry for the giant when Jack's axe cleaves the
beanstalk, and as for Pharaoh, "Well, it's a good thing he's drowned,
for he was a bad man, wasn't he?" Death means nothing to children, as a
rule, except disappearance. When children can read for themselves, they
will take from their stories what suits their stage of development,
their standard of judgement, and we need not interfere, even though they
regard with perfect calm what seems gruesome to the adult.

As a valuable addition to the best-known fairy-tales, we may mention one
or two others: _Grannie's Wonderful Chair_ is a delightful set of
stories, full of charming pictures, though the writer, Frances Brown,
was born blind. Mrs. Ewing's stories for children, _The Brownies_, with
_Amelia and the Dwarfs_ and _Timothy's Shoes_, are inimitable, and her
_Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales_ are very good, but not for very young
children. Her other stories are certainly about children, but are, as a
rule, written for adults.

George Macdonald's stories are all too well known and too universally
beloved to need recommendation. But in telling them, _e.g._ "The
Princess and the Goblins" or "At the Back of the North Wind," the young
teacher must remember that they are beautiful allegories. Before she
ventures to tell them, the beginner should ponder well what the
poet--for these are prose poems--means, and who is represented by the
beautiful Great-great-grandmother always old and always young, or "North
Wind" who must sink the ship but is able to bear the cry from it,
because of the sound of a far-off song, which seems to swallow up all
fear and pain and to set the suffering "singing it with the rest."

_Water-Babies_ is a bridge between the fairy-tale of a child and equally
wonderful and beautiful fairy-tales of Nature, and it, too, is full of
meaning. If the teacher has gained this, the children will not lag
behind. It was a child of backward development, who, when she heard of
Mother Carey, "who made things make themselves," said, "Oh! I know who
that was, that was God."

Such stories must be spread out over many days of telling, but they gain
rather than lose from that, though for quite young children the stories
do require to be short and simple, and often repeated. If children get
plenty of these, the stage for longer stories is reached wonderfully

Pseudo-scientific stories, in which, for example, a drop of water
discusses evaporation and condensation, are not stories at all, but a
kind of mental meat lozenge, most unsatisfying and probably not even
fulfilling their task of supplying nourishment in form of facts. Fables
usually deal with the faults and failings of grown-ups, and may be left
for children to read for themselves, to extract what suits them.

Illustrations are not always necessary, but if well chosen they are
always a help. Warne has published some delightfully illustrated stories
for little children, "The Three Pigs," "Hop o' my Thumb," "Beauty and
the Beast," etc. They are illustrated by H.M. Brock and by Leslie
Brooke, and they really are illustrated. The artists have enjoyed the
stories and children equally enjoy the pictures.

The teacher must consider what ideas she is presenting and whether words
alone can convey them properly. We must remember that most children
visualise and that they can only do so from what they have seen. So,
without illustrations, a castle may be a suburban house with Nottingham
lace curtains and an aspidistra, while Perseus or Moses may differ
little from the child's own father or brothers. Again, town children
cannot visualise hill and valley, forest and moor, brook and river, not
to mention jungles and snowfields and the trackless ocean. It is not
easy to find pictures to give any idea of such scenes, but it is worth
while to look for them, and it is also worth while for the teacher to
visualise, and to practise vivid describing of what she sees. Children,
of course, only want description when it is really a part of the story,
as when Tom crosses the moor, descends Lewthwaite Crag, or travels from
brook to river and from river to sea.

As to how a story should be told, opinions differ. It must be well told
with a well-modulated voice and with slight but effective gesture. But
the model should be the story as told in the home, not the story told
from a platform. The children need not be spellbound all the time, but
should be free to ask sensible questions and to make childlike comments
in moderation. The language should fit the subject; beautiful thoughts
need beauty of expression, high and noble deeds must be told in noble
language. A teacher who wishes to be a really good teller of stories
must herself read good literature, and she will do well not only to
prepare her stories with care, but to consider the language she uses in
daily life. There is a happy medium between pedantry and the latest
variety of slang, and if daily speech is careless and slipshod, it is
difficult to change it for special occasions. Our stories should not
only prepare for literature, they should be literature, and those who
realise what the story may do for children will not grudge time spent in
preparation. If the story is to present an ideal, let us see that we
present a worthy one; if it is to lead the children to judge of right
and wrong, let us see that we give them time and opportunity to judge
and that we do not force their judgement.

Lastly, if the story is to make the children feel, let us see that the
feeling is on the right side, that they shrink from all that is mean,
selfish, cruel and cowardly, and sympathise with whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good



     My heart leaps up when I behold
       A rainbow in the sky,
     So was it when my life began
     So be it when I shall grow old,
       Or let me die.

What is the real aim of what we call Nature-lessons, Nature-teaching,
Nature-work? It is surely to foster delight in beauty, so that our
hearts shall leap up at sight of the rainbow until we die. For, indeed,
if we lose that uplift of the heart, some part of us has died already.
Yet even Wordsworth mourns that nothing can bring back the hour of
splendour in the grass and glory in the flower!

In its answer to the question "What is the chief end of man?" the old
Shorter Catechism has a grand beginning: "Man's chief end is to glorify
God and to enjoy Him for ever." Do we lose the vision because we are not
bold enough to take that enjoyment as our chief end? To enjoy good is to
enjoy God.

Our ends or aims are our desires, and Mr. Clutton Brock, in his
_Ultimate Belief_, urges teachers to recognise that the spirit of man
has three desires, three ends, and that it cannot be satisfied till it
attains all three. Man desires to do right, so far as he sees it, for
the sake of doing right; he desires to gain knowledge or to know for the
sake of knowing, for the sake of truth; and he desires beauty.

"We do not value that which we call beautiful because it is true, or
because it is good, but because it is beautiful. There is a glory of the
universe which we call truth which we discover and apprehend, and a
glory of the universe which we call beauty and which we discover or

Froebel begins his _Education of Man_ by an inquiry into the reason for
our existence and his answer is that _all_ things exist to make manifest
the spirit, the _élan vital_, which brought them into being. "_Sursum
corda_," says Stevenson,

  Lift up your hearts
  Art and Blue Heaven
  April and God's Larks
  Green reeds and sky scattering river
  A Stately Music
      Enter God.

And Browning? "If you get simple beauty and nought else, you get about
the best thing God invents."

To let children get that beauty should be our aim, and they must get it
in their own way. "Life in and with Nature and with the fair silent
things of Nature, should be fostered by parents and others," Froebel
tells us, "as a chief fulcrum of child-life, and this is accomplished
chiefly in play, which is at first simply natural life."

Let us surmount the ruts of our teaching experience and climb high
enough to look back upon our own childhood, to see where beauty called
to us, where we attained to beauty.

Among my own earliest recollections come a first view of the starry sky
and the discovery of Heaven. No one called attention to the stars, they
spoke themselves to a child of four or five and declared "the glory of
God." Heaven was not on high among these glorious stars, however. It was
a grassy place with flowers and sunshine. It had to be Heaven because
you went through the cemetery to reach it, and because it was so bright
and flowery and there were no graves in it. I never found it again,
because I had forgotten how to get there.

Another very early memory is one of grief, to see from the window how
the gardener was mowing down all the daisies, and there were so many, in
the grass; and yet another is of a high, grassy, sunny field with a
little stream running far down below. It was not really far and there
was nothing particularly beautiful in the place to grown-up eyes, but
the beholder was very small and loved it dearly. To his Art and Blue
Heaven Stevenson might have added Sun and Green Grass. For he knew what
grassy places are to the child, and that "happy play in grassy places"
might well be Heaven to the little one.

A most interesting little book called _What is a Kindergarten?_[22] was
published some years ago in America. It is written by a landscape
gardener, and contains most valuable suggestions as to how best to use
for a Kindergarten or Nursery School plots of ground which may be
secured for that purpose. Naturally the writer has much to say on the
laying out and stocking the available space to the best advantage,
choosing the most suitable positions for the house, where the teacher
must live, he says, to supply the atmosphere of a home; for animal
hutches, for sand-heaps and seesaws; for the necessary shelter, for the
children's gardens, and for the lawn, for even on his smallest plan, a
"twenty-five-foot lot," we find "room for a spot of green." Later he
explains that for this green one must use what will grow, and if grass
will not perhaps clover will. The way in which the trees and plants are
chosen is most suggestive. Beauty and suitability are always considered,
but he remembers his own youth, and also considers the special joys of
childhood. For it is not Nature lessons that come into his calculations
but "the mere association of plants and children." So the birch tree is
chosen, partly for its grace and beauty, but also because of its bark,
for one can scribble on its papery surface; the hazel, because children
delight in the catkins with their showers of golden dust, and the nut
"hidden in its cap of frills and tucks." And he adds: "How much more
alluring than the naked fruit from the grocer's sack are these nuts,
especially when dots for eyes and mouth are added, and a whole little
face is tucked within this natural bonnet."

[Footnote 22: G. Hansen, pub. Elder, Morgan & Shepherd, San Francisco,

In addition to the flowers chosen for beauty of colour, this lover of
children and of gardens wants Canterbury Bells to ring, Forget-me-nots
because they can stand so much watering, and "flowers with faces,"
pansies, sweet-peas, lupins, snapdragons, monkey flowers, red and white
dead nettles, and red clover to bring the bees. Some of these are chosen
because the child can do something with them, can find their own uses
for them, can play with them. And, speaking generally, playing with them
is the child's way of appreciating both plant and animal. Picking
feathery grasses, red-tipped daisies, sweet-smelling clover and golden
dandelions; feeding snapdragons with fallen petals, finding what's
o'clock by blowing dandelion fruits, paying for dock tea out of a fairy
purse, shading poppy dolls with woodruff parasols, that is how a child
enjoys the beauty of colour, scent and form. He gets not more but less
beauty when he must sit in a class and answer formal questions. "Must we
talk about them before we take the flowers home?" asked a child one day;
"they are so pretty." Clearly, the "talk" was going to lessen, not to
deepen the beauty. And animals? The child plays with cat and dog, he
feeds the chickens, the horse and the donkey, he watches with the utmost
interest caterpillar, snail and spider, but he does not want to be asked
questions about them--he does want to talk and perhaps to ask the
questions himself--nor does he always want even to draw, paint or model
them. Mostly he wants to watch, and perhaps just to stir them up a
little if they do not perform to his satisfaction. He does not
necessarily mean to tease, only why should he watch an animal that does
nothing? "The animals haven't any habits when I watch them," a little
girl once said to Professor Arthur Thomson.

All children should live in the country at least for part of the year.
They should know fields and gardens, and have intercourse with hens and
chickens, cows and calves, sheep and lambs; should make hay and see the
corn cut. They would still want the wisely sympathetic teacher, not to
arouse interest--that is not necessary, but to keep it alive by keeping
pace with the child's natural development. It is not merely living in
the country that develops the little child's interest in shape and
colour and scent into something deeper. People still "spend all their
time in the fields and forests and see and feel nothing of the beauties
of Nature, and of their influence on the human heart"; and this, said
Froebel--and it is just what Mr. Clutton Brock is saying now--is because
the child "fails to find the same feelings among adults." Two effects
follow: the child feels the want of sympathy and loses some respect for
the elder, and also he loses his original joy in Nature.

"There is in every human being the passionate desire for this
self-forgetfulness--to which it attains when it is aware of beauty--and
a passionate delight in it when it comes. The child feels that delight
among spring flowers; we can all remember how we felt it in the first
apprehension of some new beauty of the universe, when we ceased to be
little animals and became aware that there was this beauty outside us to
be loved. And most of us must remember, too, the strange indifference of
our elders. They were not considering the lilies of the field; they did
not want us to get our feet wet among them. We might be forgetting
ourselves, but they were remembering us; and we became suddenly aware of
the bitterness of life and the tyranny of facts. Now parents and nurses
(and teachers) have, of course, to remember children when they forget
themselves. But they ought to be aware that the child, when he forgets
himself in the beauty of the world, is passing through a sacred
experience which will enrich and glorify the whole of his life.
Children, because they are not engaged in the struggle for life, are
more capable of this aesthetic self-forgetfulness than they will
afterwards be; and they need all of it that they can get, so that they
may remember it and prize it in later years. In these heaven-sent
moments they know what disinterestedness is. They have a test by which
they can value all future experience and know the dullness and staleness
of worldly success. Therefore it is a sin to check, more than need be,
their aesthetic delight" (_The Ultimate Belief_).

We cannot all give to our children the experiences we should like to
supply, but if we are clear that we are aiming at enjoyment of Nature,
and not at supplying information, we shall come nearer to what is
desirable. For years, almost since it opened in 1908, Miss Reed of the
Michaelis Free Kindergarten has taken her children to the country. It
means a great deal of work and responsibility, it means collecting funds
and giving up one's scanty leisure, it means devoted service, but it has
been done, and it has been kept up even during war time, though with
great difficulty as to funds, because of the inestimable benefit to the
children. Miss Stokes of the Somers Town Nursery School secured a
country holiday for her little ones in various ways, partly through the
Children's Country Holiday Fund, but since the war she has been unable
to secure help of that kind, and has managed to take the children away
to a country cottage. A paragraph in the report says: "The children in
the country had a delightful time, and what was seen and done during
their holiday is still talked about continually. These joys entered into
all the work of the nursery school and helped the children for months
to retain a breath of the country in their London surroundings. They
realised much from that visit. Cows now have horns, wasps have wings and
fly--alas they sting also. Hens sit on eggs, an almost unbelievable
thing. Fishes, newts, tadpoles, were all met with and greeted as
friends. Children and helpers alike returned home full of health and
vigour and longing for the next time. One little maid wept bitterly, and
there seemed no joy in life at home until she came across the school
rabbit, which was tenderly caressed, and consoled her with memories of
the country and hopes for future visits."

In the days when teachers argued about the differences between
Object-lessons and Nature-lessons, one point insisted upon was that the
Nature-lesson far surpassed the Object-lesson because it dealt with

We have learned now that we should as much as we can surround our
children with life and growth. Even indoors it is easy to give the joy
of growing seeds and bulbs and of opening chestnut branches: without any
cruelty we can let them enjoy watching snails and worms and we can keep
caterpillars or silkworms and so let them drink their fill of the
miracle of development. But beauty comes to children in very different
ways, and always it is Nature, though it may not be life.

Children revel in colour, colour for its own sake, and should be allowed
to create it. In a modern novel there is a description of a mother doing
her washing in the open air and "at her feet sat a baby intent upon the
assimilation of a gingerbread elephant, but now and then tugging at her
skirts and holding up a fat hand. Each time he was rewarded by a dab of
soapsuds, which she deposited good-naturedly in his palm. He received it
with solemn delight; watching the roseate play of colour as the bubbles
shrank and broke, and the lovely iridescent treasure vanished in a smear
of dirty wetness while he looked. Then he would beat his fists
delightedly against his mother's dress and presently demand another

The following notes from another student's report show how this may
spring naturally out of the children's life:[23]

[Footnote 23: Miss Edith Jones.]

"We were spinning the teetotum yesterday and it did not spin well so we
made new ones. While the children were painting their tops, Oliver grew
very eager when he found he could fill in all the spaces in different
colours, but Betty made her colours very insipid. I want them to get the
feeling of beautiful colour, so I shall show them a book with the
colours graded in it, and we shall each have a paper and paint on it all
the rich colours we can think of. The colours will probably run into
each other, and so the children will get ideas about the blending of
colours, but I will watch to see that they do not get the colour too
wet. If they are not tired of painting I want to show them a painted
circle to turn on a string and they can make these for themselves, using
the colours they have already used.

"I want the children to do some group work, and I thought we might make
a village with shops and houses under the trees in the garden and have
little men and women to represent ourselves. The suggestion will
probably have to come from the teacher, but the children will probably
have the desire when it is suggested, and I hope we shall be able to go
on enlarging our town on the pattern of the towns the children know. If
they want bricks for their houses they can dig clay in the garden.

"_Report_.--The children wanted to make a tea-set, so we carried our
clay outside. They began discussing why their china would not be so fine
as the china at home, and I said the clay might be different. Then
Bernard asked what sort of china we should get from the clay in the
garden, and I told him that kind of clay was generally made into
bricks, and suggested making bricks. From that we went on to the use of
bricks, and to-morrow we are going to dig, and make bricks to build a
town. Bernard is anxious to know how we shall make mortar. Just then it
started to rain, and Bernard said that if the sun kept shining and it
rained hard enough we should have a rainbow, and he wished it would come
so as to see the beautiful colours. I thought this rather a coincidence,
and told him I had a book with all the rainbow colours in it. They asked
to see it, so I showed it and suggested painting the colours ourselves.
Those who had finished their dishes started, and we talked about the
richness of the colours. One or two children started with very watery
colour, so I showed them the book and began to paint myself. They all
enjoyed it very much, especially the different colours made where the
colours ran into each other. The results pleased them and they are to be
used as wall-papers to sell in our town, but Sybil wants to have a toy
shop, and she is going to make a painted circle for it like the one I

This is clearly the time to show a glass prism and to let these children
make rainbows for themselves, to tell the story of Iris, and to use any
colour material, Milton Bradley spectrum papers, Montessori silks,
colour top, and anything else so long as the children keep up their
interest. The interest in colour need never die out; it will probably
show itself now in finer discrimination, and more careful reproduction
of the colours of flowers and leaves, and the sympathy given will
heighten interest and increase enjoyment.

Here are some notes showing children's numerous activities in a suburban
garden where they were allowed to visit a hen and chickens.

"_Monday_[24]--To-day the children took up their mustard and cress, dug
and raked the ground ready for transplanting the lettuces. After their
rest we went to see the chickens at the Hall (the Students' Hostel), and
the Hall garden seemed to them a wonderful place. They watched the
trains go in and out of the station at the foot of the garden, and
explored all the side doors, going up and down all the steps and into
the cycle shed. They helped Miss S. to stir the soot water, then they
went to the grassy bank and ran down it, slid down it, and rolled down
it. They peeped over the wall into the next garden, they peeped through
holes in the fences and finished up with a swing in the hammock. Each
child had twenty swings, and they enjoyed counting in time with the
swaying of the hammock, and swayed their own bodies as they pushed.

[Footnote 24: These notes are part of those already given on pp. 68-71.]

"Another example of love and rhythm was when they went to say good-bye
to the hen and chickens, and kept on repeating 'Good-bye, good-bye' all
together, nodding their heads at the same time.

"I did not know if I should have let them do so much, but I was not sure
that we should be allowed to come back and I wanted them to enjoy the

"_Wednesday_.--First we watered the lettuces we had transplanted, and
transplanted more. Then, as we had permission to come again, we took
some of our lettuces to the chickens. We saw the mother hen with one
wing spread right out, and the children were much surprised to see how
large it was. We looked at the roses, and saw how the bud of yesterday
was full blown to-day. The children again ran down and rolled down the
bank, and had turns in the hammock, this time to the rhythm of "Margery
Daw" sung twice through, and then counting up to twenty. Very often
they went to watch the trains. Cecil is particularly interested in them,
and wanted to know how long was the time between. He said three minutes,
I guessed nine, but we found they were irregular. In the intervals while
waiting for a train to pass, we played a 'listening' game, listening to
what sounds we could hear. A thrush came and sang right over our heads,
so the listening was concentrated on his song, and we tried to say what
we thought he meant to say. One child said, 'He says, "Come here, come
here,"' but they found this too difficult. We also watched a boy
cleaning the station windows, and Dorothy said, 'Miss Beer, isn't it
wonderful that you can see through glass?' I agreed, but made no other
remark because I did not know what to say.

"We rested outside to-day under an almond tree. I pointed out how pretty
the sky looked when you only saw it peeping through the leaves. After
rest the children noticed feathery grasses, and spent the rest of the
morning gathering them. I suggested that they should see how many kinds
they could find. They found three, but were not enthusiastic about it,
being content just to pluck, but they were delighted when they found
specially long and beautiful grasses hidden deep under a leafy bush.
They also found clover leaves, and I told them its name and sang to them
the verse from 'The Bee,' with 'The sweet-smelling clover, he, humming,
hangs over.'

"_Thursday._--Brushed and dusted the room, gave fresh water to the
flowers, and then went to gardening. The children were delighted to find
ladybirds on the lettuces they were transplanting, and we also noticed
how the cherries were ripening.

"They joined the Transition Class for games. Later, while playing with
the sand, Cecil made a discovery. He said, 'Miss Beer, do you know, I
know what sand is, it's little tiny tiny stones.'"

It may be worth while to notice some things in these notes. First the
pleasure in exploring the new surroundings and then the variety of
delights. Our landscape gardener mentions that "any slope to our grounds
should be welcomed.... For as we leave the level land and flee to the
mountains to spend our vacation, so will a child avoid the street and
seek the gutter and the bank on the unimproved lot to enjoy its
pastime." Our own children have been fortunate enough to have a bank for
their play, and though, unfortunately, extension of buildings has taken
away much of this, we have had abundant opportunity to see the value of
sloping ground. Then there are the discoveries, the feathery grasses,
especially those which were hidden, the ladybirds, that sand is really
"tiny tiny stones"--has every adult noticed that, or is sand "just
sand"?--and the "wonder" that we can see through glass, a wonder
realised by a little girl of four years old. Also we can notice what the
children did not desire. They liked listening to the thrush, but to make
out what the thrush was "saying" was beyond them. They liked gathering
feathery grasses, but to sort these into different kinds gave no
pleasure, though older children would have enjoyed trying to find many

Perhaps teachers with a fair amount of experience might have felt like
the beginner who frankly says, "I didn't say anything more because I
didn't know what to say," when Dorothy discovered the wonderfulness of
glass. Perhaps we are silent because the child has gone ahead of us. It
is wonderful, but we have never thought about it. In such cases we must,
as Froebel says, "become a learner with the child" and humbly, with real
sympathy and earnestness, ask, "Is it wonderful, I suppose it is, but I
never thought about it, why do _you_ call it wonderful?" If the child
answers, it is well, if not the teacher can go on thinking aloud,
thinking with the child. "Let's think what other things we can see
through." We can never understand it, we can only reach the fact of
"transparency" as a wonderful property of certain substances and
consider which possess this magic quality. There is water of course, and
there is jelly or gelatine, but these are not hard, they are not stones
as glass seems to be. The child will be pleased too to see a crystal or
a bit of mica, but the main thing is that we should not imagine we have
disposed of the wonder by a mere name with a glib, "Oh, that's just
because it's transparent," but that we realise, and reinforce and
deepen the child's sense of wonderfulness. So teacher and child enter
into the thoughts of Him

    Who endlessly was teaching
  Above my spirits utmost reaching,
  What love can do in the leaf or stone,
  So that to master this alone,
  This done in the stone or leaf for me,
  I must go on learning endlessly.



     Wonders chiefly at himself
     Who can tell him what he is
     Or how meet in human elf
     Coming and past eternities.


It is of set purpose that this short chapter, referring to what we
specially call religion, is placed immediately after that on the child's
attitude to Nature. The actual word religion, which, to him, expressed
being bound, did not appeal to Froebel so much as one which expressed
One-ness with God.

As a son can share the aspirations of his father, so man "a thought of

            can aspire
  From earth's level where blindly creep
  Things perfected more or less
  To the heaven's height far and steep.

But we begin at earth's level, and a child's religion must be largely a
natural religion.

How to introduce a child to religion is a problem which must have many
solutions. In Froebel's original training course, his Kindergarten
teachers were to be "trained to the observation and care of the earliest
germs of the religious instinct in man." These earliest beginnings he
found in different sources. First come the relations between the child
and the family, beginning with the mother; fatherhood and motherhood
must be realised before the child can reach up to the Father of all.
Then there is the atmosphere of the home, the real reverence for higher
things, if it exists, affects even a little child more than is usually
supposed, but children are quick to distinguish reality from mere
conventionality though the distinction is only half conscious. Reality
impresses, while conventionality is apt to bore. Even to quite young
children Froebel's ideal mother would begin to show God in nature. Some
one put into the flowers the scent and colour that delight the
child--some one whom he cannot see. The sun, moon and stars give light
and beauty, and "love is what they mean to show." This mother teaches
her little one some sort of prayer, and the gesture of reverence, the
folded hands, affects the child even if the words mean little or
nothing. Akin to the "feeling of community" between the child and his
family is the joining in religious worship in church, "the entrance in a
common life," and the emotional effect of the deep tones of the organ.
Then there is the interdependence of the universe: the baby is to thank
Jenny for his bread and milk, Peter for mowing the grass for the cow,
"until you come to the last ring of all, God's father love for all."
Next to this comes the child's service; others work for him and he also
must serve. "Every age has its duties, and duties are not burdens," and
it is necessary that feeling should have expression, "for even a child's
love unfostered (by action in form of service) droops and dies away."
There is also the desire for approbation. The child "must be roused to
good by inclination, love, and respect, through the opinion of others
about him," and this should be guided until he learns to care chiefly
for the approval of the God within. Right ideals must be provided:
religion is "a continually advancing endeavour," and its reward must
not be a material reward. We ought to lift and strengthen human nature,
but we degrade and weaken it when we seek to lead it to good conduct by
a bait, even if this bait beckons to a future world. The consciousness
of having lived worthily should be our highest reward. Froebel goes so
far as to say that instead of teaching "the good will be happy," and
leaving children to imagine that this means an outer or material
happiness, we ought rather to teach that in seeking the highest we may
lose the lower. "Renunciation, the abandonment of the outer for the sake
of securing the inner, is the condition for attaining highest
development. Dogmatic religious instruction should rather show that
whoever truly and earnestly seeks the good, must needs expose himself to
a life of outer oppression, pain and want, anxiety and care." Even a
child, though not a baby, can be led to see that to do good for outer
reward is but enlightened selfishness.

These suggestions are taken for the most part from the _Mother Songs_,
some from _The Education of Man_. Each parent or teacher must use what
seems to her or to him most valuable. Some may from the beginning desire
to teach the child a baby prayer, or at least to let him hear "God bless
you." Others may prefer to wait for a more intelligent stage, perhaps
when the child begins to ask the invariable questions--who made the
flowers, the animals; who made me? If so, we must remember that children
see, and hear, and think, that often in thoughtless ejaculations, or in
those of heartfelt thankfulness, children may hear the name of God; that
a simple story may have something that stirs thought; that churches are
much in evidence; and that the conversation of little playfellows may
take an unexpected turn.

To me it seems a great mistake to put before young children ideas which
are really beyond the conception of an adult. There are many stories
told of how children receive teaching about the Omniscience or
Omnipotence of God. The stories sound irreverent, and are often repeated
as highly amusing, but they are really more pathetic. Miss Shinn tells
of one poor mite who resented being constantly watched and said, "I will
not be so tagged," and another said, "Then I think He's a very rude
man," when, in reply to her puzzled questions, she was told that God
could see her even in her bath. And the boy who said, "If I had done a
thing, could God make it that I hadn't?" must have made his instructor
feel somewhat foolish.

It never does harm for us honestly to confess our own limitations and
our ignorance, and that is better than weak materialistic explanations,
which after all explain nothing. To tell a child that the Great Father
is always grieved when we are unkind or cowardly, always ready to help
us and to put kindness and bravery into our hearts, that we know He has
power to do that if we will let Him, but that His power is beyond our
understanding: to say that He is able to keep us in all danger, and that
even if we are killed we are safe in His keeping, surely that is enough.
He who blessed the children uttered strong words against him who caused
the little ones to stumble.

"From every point, from every object of nature and life there is a way
to God.... The things of nature form a more beautiful ladder between
heaven and earth than that seen by Jacob.... It is decked with flowers,
and angels with children's eyes beckon us toward it." This is true, but
it does not mean that we are always to be trying to make things sacred,
but that we are to realise that all beauty and all knowledge and all
sympathy are already sacred, and that to love such things is to love
something whereby the Creator makes Himself known to us, that to enjoy
them is to enjoy God.

Religion is not always explained as implying the idea of being bound,
but sometimes as being set free from the bonds of the lower or animal
nature. In this sense Mr. Clutton Brock may well call it "a sacred
experience" for the child, when he forgets himself in the beauty of the
world. If we could all rise to a wider conception of the meaning of the
word religion, we should know that it comes into all the work of the
day, that it does not depend alone upon that special Scripture lesson
which may become mere routine.

The greatest Teacher of all taught by stories, and when any story
deepens our feelings for human nature and our recognition of the heights
to which it can rise, when it makes us long for faith, courage, and love
to go and do likewise, who shall say that this is not religious
teaching, teaching which helps to deliver us from the bonds that hamper
spiritual ascent.

Many of us will feel with Froebel that the fairy-tale, with its
slumbering premonition of being surrounded by that which is higher and
more "conscious than ourselves,"[25] has its place, and an important
place, in religious development.

[Footnote 25: P. 85.]

The "fairy sense," says Dr. Greville Macdonald, "is innate as the
religious sense itself ... the fairy stories best beloved are those
steeped in meaning--the unfathomable meaning of life ... such stories
teach--even though no lesson was intended--the wisdom of the Book of
Job: wisdom that by this time surely should have made religious teaching
saner, and therefore more acceptable."[26]

[Footnote 26: "The Fairy-Tale in Education," by Greville Macdonald, M.D.,
_Child Life_, Dec. 1918.]

Fairies, like angels, may be God's messengers. A child who had heard of
St. Cuthbert as a shepherd boy being carried home from the hillside when
hurt, by a man on a white horse, repeated the story in her own words,
"and he thought it was a fairy of God's sent to help him."

There is, however, nothing the children love more than the Bible story,
the story which shows, so simply, humanity struggling as the children
struggle, failing as the children fail, and believing and trusting as
the children believe, and as we at least strive to do, in the ultimate
victory of Right over Wrong, of Good over Evil. But just because the
stories are often so beautiful and so inspiring, the teacher should have
freedom to deal with them as the spirit moves her.

What experience has taught me in this way has already been passed on to
younger teachers in _Education by Life_, and there seems little more to

  Wonders chiefly at himself
  Who can tell him what he is.

It is for us to tell the child what he is, that he, too, like all the
things he loves, is a manifestation of God. "I am a being alive and
conscious upon this earth; a descendant of ancestors who rose by gradual
processes from lower forms of animal life, and with struggle and
suffering became man."[27]

[Footnote 27: _The Substance of Faith Allied with Science_, Sir Oliver
Lodge (Methuen).]

"The colossal remains of shattered mountain chains speak of the greatness
of God; and man is encouraged and lifts himself up by them, feeling
within himself the same spirit and power."[28]

[Footnote 28: _The Education of Man_.]



     Lo with the ancient roots of Man's nature
     Twines the eternal passion of song.

The very existence of lullabies, not to mention their abundance in all
countries, the very rockers on the cradles testify to the rhythmic
nature of man in infancy.

In his _Mother Songs_, Froebel couples rhythm with harmony of all kinds,
not only musical harmony but harmony of proportion and colour, and in
urging the very early training of "the germs of all this," he gives
perhaps the chief reason for training. "If these germs do not develop
and take shape as independent formations in each individual, they at
least teach how to understand and to recognise those of other people.
This is life-gain enough, it makes one's life richer, richer by the
lives of others."

It is to the genius of M. Jacques Dalcroze that the world of to-day owes
some idea of what may be effected by rhythmic training, and M. Dalcroze
started his work with the same aim that Froebel set before the mother,
that of making the child capable of appreciation, capable of being made
"richer by the lives of others." But Froebel prophesied that far more
than appreciation would come from proper rhythmic training, and this M.
Dalcroze has amply proved.

"Through movement the mother tries to lead the child to consciousness
of his own life. By regular rhythmic movement--this is of special
importance--she brings this power within the child's own conscious
control when she dandles him in her arms in rhythmic movements and to
rhythmic sounds, cautiously following the slowly developing life in the
child, arousing it to greater activity, and so developing it. Those who
regard the child as empty, who wish to fill his mind from without,
neglect the means of cultivation in word and tone which should lead to a
sense of rhythm and obedience to law in all human expression. But an
early development of rhythmic movement would prove most wholesome, and
would remove much wilfulness, impropriety and coarseness from his life,
movements, and action, and would secure for him harmony and moderation,
and, later on, a higher appreciation of nature, music, poetry, and art"
_(Education of Man_).

Here, then, is an aim most plainly stated, "higher appreciation of
nature, music, poetry and art," and if we adopt it, we must make sure
that we start on a road leading to that end.

To Kindergarten children, apart from movement, rhythm comes first in
nursery rhymes, and if we honestly follow the methods of the mother we
shall not teach these, but say or sing them over and over again, letting
the children select their favourites and join in when and where they
like. This is the true _Babies' Opera_, as Walter Crane justly names an
illustrated collection. Froebel's _Mother Songs_, though containing a
deal of sound wisdom in its mottoes and explanations, is an annotated,
expurgated, and decidedly pedantic version of the nursery rhymes of his
own country. That these should ever have been introduced to our children
arose from the fact that the first Kindergarten teachers, being
foreigners, did not know our own home-grown productions. Long since we
have shaken off the foreign product, in favour of our own "Sing a Song
of Sixpence," "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" and their refreshingly cheerful
compeers. Froebel's book suggests songs to suit all subjects and all
frames of mind--the wind, the moon, and stars, the farm with its cows
and sheep, its hens and chickens, the baker and carpenter, fish in the
brook and birds in nests, the garden and the Christmas fair.

We can supply good verses for all these if we take pains to search, and
if we eschew ignorant and unpoetic modern doggerel as we eschew poison.
Besides the nursery rhymes, we have Stevenson, with his "Wind,"
"Shadow," and "Swing," Christina Rossetti's "Wrens and Robins," her
"Rainbow Verses" and "Brownie, Brownie, let down your milk, White as
swansdown, smooth as silk." There are many others, and a recent charming
addition to our stock is "Chimneys and Fairies," by Rose Fyleman. One
thing we should not neglect, and that is the child's sense of humour.
For the very young this is probably satisfied by the cow that jumps over
the moon, the dish that runs after the spoon, Jill tumbling after Jack,
and Miss Muffet running away from the spider. But older children much
enjoy nonsense verses by Lewis Carroll or by Lear, and "John Gilpin" is
another favourite.

It is a mistake to keep strictly within the limits of a child's
understanding of the words. What we want here, as in the realm of
Nature, is joy and delight, the delight that comes from musical words
and rhythm, as well as from the pictures that may be called up. Even a
child of four can enjoy the poetry of the Psalms without asking for much

The mother repeats her rhymes and verses solely to give pleasure, and if
our aim is the deepening of appreciation, there is no reason for leaving
the green and grassy path that Nature has showed to the mother for the
hard and beaten track of "recitation." In our own Kindergarten there
has never been either rote learning or recitation. The older children
learn the words of their songs, but not to a word-perfect stage, because
words and music suggest each other. Except for that we just enjoy our
verses, the children asking for their favourites and getting new ones
sometimes by request sometimes not. Anything not enjoyed is laid aside.
We need variety, but everything must be good of its kind, and verses
about children are seldom for children. Because children love babies,
they love "Where did you come from, baby dear?" but nothing like
Tennyson's "Baby, wait a little longer," and especially nothing of the
"Toddlekins" type has any place in the collection of a self-respecting
child. It is doubtful if Eugene Field's verses are really good enough
for children.

All children enjoy singing, but here, as in everything, we must keep
pace with development, or the older ones, especially the boys, may get
bored by what suits the less adventurous. In all cases the music should
be good and tuneful, modelled not on the modern drawing-room inanity,
but on the healthy and vigorous nursery rhyme or folk song.

Children also enjoy instrumental music, and will listen to piano or
violin while quietly occupied, for example if they are drawing. One
Nursery School teacher plays soft music to get her babies to sleep, and
our little ones fidget less if some one sings softly during their
compulsory rest.

"The Kindergarten Band" is another way in which children can join in
rhythm. It came to us from Miss Bishop and is probably the music
referred to in the description of the Pestalozzi-Froebel House. The
children are provided with drums, cymbals, tambourines, and triangles,
and keep time to music played on the piano. They can do some analysis in
choosing which instruments are most suitable to accompany different
melodies or changes from grave to gay, etc. A full account was given in
_Child Life_ for May 1917.

Several years ago, knowing nothing of M. Dalcroze, Miss Marie Salt
began an experiment, the results of which are likely to be far-spreading
and of great benefit. Desiring to help children to appreciation of good
music, Miss Salt experimented deliberately with the Froebelian "learn
through action," and her success has been remarkable. Because of its
freedom from any kind of formality, this system is perhaps better suited
to little children than the Dalcroze work, unless that is in the hands
of an exceptionally gifted teacher. M. Dalcroze himself is delightfully
sympathetic with little ones.

Miss Salt tells her own story in an appendix to Mr. Stewart Macpherson's
_Aural Culture based on Musical Appreciation._

Good music is played and the children listen and move freely in time to
it, sometimes marching or dancing in circles, sometimes quite freely
"expressing" whatever feeling the music calls forth in them. The stress
is laid on listening; if you see a picture you reproduce it, if the
music makes you think of trees or wind, thunder or goblins, you become
what you think of. It is astonishing to see how little children learn in
this way to care for music by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Dvorák,
Brahms, Chopin, and Beethoven. The music is of course selected with
skill, and care is taken that the "expression" shall not make the
children foolishly self-conscious. Emphasis is always placed on
listening, and the children's appreciation is apparent. Such
appreciation must enrich their lives.



     Creeps ever on from fancy to the fact.

Fairy tales suit little children because their knowledge is so limited,
that "the fairies must have done it" is regarded as a satisfactory
answer to early problems, just as it satisfied childlike Man. Things
that to us are wonderful, children accept as commonplace, while others
commonplace to us are marvels to the child. But fairy tales do not
continue to satisfy all needs. As knowledge grows the child begins to
distinguish between what may and what may not happen, though there will
always be individual differences, and the more poetic souls are apt to
suffer when the outrush of their imagination is checked by a barbed wire
of fact. The question "Is it true?" and the desire for true stories
arise in the average child of seven to eight years, and at that age
history stories are enjoyed. Real history is of course impossible to
young children, whose idea of time is still very vague, and whose
understanding of the motives and actions of those immediately around
them is but embryonic. They still crave for adventure and romance, and
they thrill to deeds of bravery. Bravery in the fight appeals to all
boys and to most girls, and it is a question for serious consideration
how this admiration is to be guided, it certainly cannot be ignored. It
is legitimate to admire knights who ride about "redressing human
wrongs," fighting dragons and rescuing fair ladies from wicked giants,
and at this stage there is no need to draw a hard and fast line between
history and legendary literature. It is good to introduce children,
especially boys, to some of the Arthurian legends if only to impress the
ideal, "Live pure, speak true, right wrong, else wherefore born?"
Stories should always help children to understand human beings, men and
women with desires and feelings like our own. But in history and
geography stories we deal particularly with people who are different
from ourselves, and we should help children to understand, and to
sympathise with those whose surroundings and customs are not ours. They
may have lived centuries ago, or they may be living now but afar off,
they may be far from us in time or space, but our stories should show
the reasons for their customs and actions, and should tend to lessen the
natural tendency to feel superior to those who have fewer advantages,
and gradually to substitute for that a sense of responsibility.

But the narration of stories is not the only way in which we can treat
history. Our present Minister of Education says that history teaching
ought to give "discipline in practical reasoning" and "help in forming
judgements," not merely in remembering facts. Indeed he went so far as
to say "eliminate dates and facts" by which, of course, he only meant
that the power of reasoning, the power of forming judgements is of far
more consequence than the mere possession of any quantity of facts and
dates. Training in reasoning, however, must involve training in
verification of facts before pronouncing judgement.

Training in practical reasoning takes a prominent place in that form of
history teaching introduced by Professor Dewey. According to him,
history is worth nothing unless it is "an indirect sociology," an
account of how human beings have learned, so far as the world has yet
learned the lesson, to co-operate with one another, a study of the
growth of society and what helps and hinders. So he finds his
beginnings in primitive life, and although there is much in this that
will appeal to any age, there is no doubt that children of seven to ten
or eleven revel in this material.

If used at all it should be used as thinking material--here is man
without tools, without knowledge, everything must be thought out. It
does not do much good to hand over the material as a story, as some
teachers use the Dopp series of books. These books do all the children's
thinking for them. Every set of children must work things out for
themselves, using their own environments and their own advantages. The
teacher must read to be ready with help if the children fail, and also
to be ready with the actual problems. It is astonishing how keen the
children are, and how often they suggest just what has really happened.
Where there is space out-of-doors and the children can find branches for
huts, clay for pots, etc., the work is much easier for the teacher and
more satisfactory. But even where that is impossible and where one has
sometimes to be content with miniature reproductions, the interest is
most keen. Children under eight cannot really produce fire from flints
or rubbing sticks, nor can they make useable woollen threads with which
to do much weaving. But even they can get sparks from flint, make a
little thread from wool, invent looms and weave enough to get the ideas.

The romance of "long ago" ought to be taken advantage of to deepen
respect for the dignity of labour. Our lives are so very short that we
are apt to get out of perspective in the ages. Reading and writing are
so new--it is only about four hundred years since the first book was
printed in England, the Roman occupation lasted as long, and who thinks
of that as a long period? Perhaps it is because we are in the reading
and writing age that our boys and girls must become "braw, braw clerks,"
instead of living on and by the land. History, particularly primitive
history, should help us all to be "grateful to those unknown pioneers
of the human race to whose struggles and suffering, discoveries and
energies our present favoured mode of existence on the planet is due.
The more people realise the effort that has preceded them and made them
possible, the more are they likely to endeavour to be worthy of it: the
more pitiful also will they feel when they see individuals failing in
the struggle upward and falling back toward a brute condition; and the
more hopeful they will ultimately become for the brilliant future of a
race which from such lowly and unpromising beginnings has produced the
material vehicle necessary for those great men who flourished in the
recent period which we speak of as antiquity."[29]

[Footnote 29: _The Substance of Faith_, p. 18.]

Professor Dewey urges that "the industrial history of man is not a
materialistic or merely utilitarian affair," but a matter of
intelligence, a record of how men learned to think, and also an ethical
record, "the account of the conditions which men have patiently wrought
out to serve their ends."

This interest in how human beings have created themselves and their
surroundings ought to be deeply interesting to any and every age. Young
children can reach so little that one hopes the interest aroused will be
lasting and lead to fruitful work later. But it certainly makes a good
foundation for the study of history and geography, if history is treated
as sociology and if geography is recognised as the study of man in his

Coming now to practical details, in our own work we have followed fairly
closely the suggestions made by Professor Dewey, but everything must
vary from year to year according to the suggestions of the children or
their apparent needs. One extra step we have found necessary, and that
is to spend some time over a desert island or Robinson Crusoe stage.
Some children can do without it, but all enjoy it, and the duller
children find it difficult to imagine a time when "you could buy it in
a shop" does not fit all difficulties. They can easily grasp the idea of
sailing away to a land "where no man had ever been before," and playing
at desert island has always been a joy.

The starting-points for primitive life have been various; sometimes the
work has found its beginning in chance conversation, as when a child
asked, "Are men animals?" and the class took to the suggestion that man
meant thinking animal, and began to consider what he had thought. Often
after Robinson Crusoe there has been a direct question, "How did
Robinson Crusoe know how to make his things; had any one taught him? Who
made the things he had seen; who made the very first and how did he
know?" One answer invariably comes, "God taught them," which can be met
by saying this is true, but that God "teaches" by putting things into
the world and giving men power to think. This leads to a discussion
about things natural, "what God makes" and what man makes, which is
sometimes illuminating on the limited conceptions of town children.
Years ago we named primitive man "the Long-Ago People," and the title
has seemed to give satisfaction, though once we had the suggestion of
"Old-Time Men."

We always start with the need for food, and the children suggest all the
wild fruits they know, often leaving out nuts till asked if there is
anything that can be stored for winter. Roots are not always given, but
buds of trees is a frequent answer. Children in the country ought to
explore and to dig, and in our own playground we find at least wild
barley, blackberries of a sort, cherries, hard pears, almonds and cherry
gum. Killing animals for food is suggested, and the children have to be
told that the animals were fierce and to realise that in these times man
was hunted, not hunter. Little heads are quite ready to tackle the
problem of defence and attack. They could throw stones, use sticks that
the wind blew down, pull up a young tree, or "a lot of people could
hang on to a branch and get it down." When one child suggested finding a
dead animal and using it for food, some were disgusted, but a little
girl said, "I don't suppose they would mind, they wouldn't be very

The idea of throwing stones starts the examination of different kinds,
which have to be provided for the purpose. Flint is invariably selected,
and for months the children keep bringing "lovely sharp flints," but
there is much careful observation, observation which has a motive. "I
would put a stone in a stick and chuck it at them" is followed by much
experiment at fixing. String is of course taboo, but bass is allowed
because it grows, also strips of skin. We very often get the suggestion
"they might find a stone with a hole in it," which leads to renewed
searching and to the endeavour to make holes. To make a hole in flint is
beyond us, but in a softer stone it can be done.

Then may come the question of safety and tree-climbing, and how to
manage with the babies. Children generally know that tiny babies can
hold very tight, and have various ideas for the mother. How to keep the
baby from falling brings the idea of twisting in extra branches, which
is recognised as a cradle in the tree, and the children delight in this
as a meaning for "Rock-a-bye, baby, in the tree-top." The possibility of
tree-shelters comes in, and various experiments are made, sometimes in
miniature, sometimes in the garden. Out of this comes the discussion of
clothes. Animals' skins is an invariable suggestion, though all children
do not realise that what they call "fur" means skin.

Skin is provided, and much time is taken in experimenting to see if it
can be cut with bits of flint. How could the long-ago people fasten on
the skins, brings the answers "by thorns," "tie with narrow pieces," and
the children are pleased to see that their own leather belts are strips
or straps. Sometimes much time is taken up in cutting out "skins to
wear" from paper or cheap calico, the children working in pairs, one
kneeling down while the other fits on the calico to see where the head
and legs come. The skins are painted or chalked, and pictures are
consulted to see whether the chosen animals are striped or spotted.

It may be stated here that we are not very rigid about periods or
climates, and that our long-ago people are of a generalised type. Our
business is not to supply correct information on anthropological
questions, but to call forth thought and originality, to present
opportunities for closer observation than was ever evoked by observation
lessons, and for experiments full of meaning and full of zest. Naturally
we do not despise correct information, but these children are very young
and all this work is tentative. We are never dogmatic, it is all "Do you
think they might have ..." or "Well, I know what I should have done; I
should have ..." and the teacher's reply is usually "Suppose we try."

Children are apt of course to make startling remarks, but it is only the
teacher who is startled by: "Was all this before God's birthday?" "I
don't think God had learned to be very clever then." It is a curious
fact, but orthodox opinion has only twice in the course of many years
brought up Adam and Eve. Probably this is because we never talk about
the first man, but about how things were discovered. The first time the
question did come up Miss Payne was taking the subject, and she
suggested that Adam and Eve were never in this country, which disposed
of difficulties so well that I gave the same answer the only time I ever
had to deal with the question.

When we come to the problem of fire, we always use parts of Miss Dopp's
story of _The Tree-Dwellers_. If the children are asked if they ever
heard of fire that comes by itself, or of things being burned by fire
that no human being had anything to do with, one or two are sure to
suggest lightning. They will tell that lightning sometimes sets trees on
fire, that thunderstorms generally come after hot dry weather, and that
if lightning struck a tree with dry stuff about the fire would spread,
and the long-ago people would run away. A question from the teacher as
to what these people might think about it may bring the suggestion of a
monster; if not, one only has to say that it must have seemed as if it
was eating the trees to get "They would think it was a dreadful animal."
Then the story can be told of how the boy called Bodo stopped to look
and saw the monster grow smaller, so he went closer, fed it on wood, and
liked to feel its warm breath after the heavy rain that follows
thunder--why had the monster grown smaller?--found that no animal would
come near it and so on. We never tell of the "fire country," though
sometimes the children read the book for themselves a little later.

We have never succeeded in making flames, but it is thrilling to get
sparks from flint. Once a child brought an old tinder box with steel and
flint, but even then we were not skilful enough to get up a flame. Still
it is something to have tried, and we are left with a respectful
admiration for those who could so easily do without matches.

What made these long-ago people think of using their fire to cook food?
Our children have suggested that a bit of raw meat fell into the fire by
accident, and we have also worked it out in this way. We were pretending
to warm ourselves by the fire, and I said my frozen meat was so cold
that it hurt my teeth. "Hold it to the fire then." We burned our
fingers, and sticks were suggested, but we sucked the burnt fingers, and
I said, "it tastes good," and the children shouted with glee "Because
the meat's roasted really." Then something was supposed to drop, and the
cry was "Gravy! catch it in a shell, dip your finger in and let your
baby suck it." A small shell was suggested, and the boy who said "And
put a stick in for a handle" was dubbed "the spoon-maker." At that time
we were earning names for ourselves by suggestions; we started with Fair
Hair, Curly Hair, Big Teeth, Long Legs, and arrived at Quick Runner,
Climber, and even Thinker.

We have got at pottery in a similar way. The meat was supposed to be
tough. "Soak it" came at once, and "Could you get hot water?" Then came
suggestions: a stone saucepan, scoop out a stone and put it on the fire,
build a stone pan and fix the stones with cherry gum, dig a hole in the
ground and put fire under; "_that_ would be a kind of oven." When asked
if water would stay in the hole, and if any kind of earth would hold
water, the answer may be, "No, nothing but clay, and you'd have to make
that." "No! you get clay round a well. My cousin has a well, and there's
clay round it." "Why, there's clay in the playground." "You could put
the meat into a skin bag or a basket." Asked if the skin or basket could
be set on the fire, or if anything could be done to keep the basket from
catching fire, the answer comes, "Yes, dab clay round it. Then,"
joyfully, "it would hold water and you _could_ boil." "What would happen
to the clay when it was put on the fire?" This has to be discovered by a
quick experiment, but the children readily guess that when the hot water
is taken off the fire there would be "a sort of clay basin. Then they
could make more! and plates and cups!"

Experiments depend upon circumstances and upon the age of the children.
A thick and tiny basin put into a hot part of an ordinary fire does
harden and hold water to a certain extent even without glazing. But
elaborate baking may also be done.

I have found it convenient to take weaving as a bridge to history
stories, by using Sir Frederick Leighton's picture of the Phoenicians
bartering cloth for skins with the early Britons. The children are told
that the people dressed in cloth come from near the Bible-story country,
and those dressed in skins are the long-ago people of this very country.
What would these people think of the cloth? "They would think it was
animals' skins." And what would they do? "They'd feel it and look at
it." So cloth is produced and we pull it to pieces, first into threads
and then into hairs, and the children say the hairs are like "fur." Then
sheep's wool is produced and we try to make thread. Attempts at
thread-making and then at weaving last a long time, and along with this
come some history stories, probably arising out of the question, "How
did people know about all this?" The children are told about the
writings of Julius Caesar, and pictures of Roman ships and houses are
shown, beside pictures of coracles and bee-hive dwellings, etc. Old
coins, a flint battle-axe, some Roman pottery are also shown, along with
descriptions and pictures of the Roman villa at Brading and other Roman
remains. The children are thus helped to realise that other countries
exist where the people were far ahead of those in this country, and they
can begin to understand how social conditions vary, and how nations act
upon each other.

The work varies considerably from year to year, according to how it
takes hold upon the children's interest. But children of eight to nine
are usually considered ready for broad ideas of the world as a whole,
and the inquiry into where Julius Caesar came from, and why he came,
gives a fair start.



     I am old, so old, I can write a letter.

Writing and reading have no place in the actual Kindergarten, much less
arithmetic. The stories are told to the child; drawing, modelling and
such-like will express all he wants to express in any permanent form,
and speech, as Froebel says, is "the element in which he lives." His
counting is of the simplest, and the main thing is to see that he does
not merely repeat a series while he handles material, but that the
series corresponds with the objects. Even this can be left alone if it
seems to annoy the little one. In the school he is on a very different
level, he has attained to the abstract, he can use signs: he can express
thoughts which he could not draw, and can communicate with those who are
absent. He can read any letter received and he is no longer dependent on
grown-ups for stories. He can count his own money and can get correct
change in small transactions, and he can probably do a variety of sums
which are of no use to him at all.

Between these two comes what Froebel called the Transition or Connecting
Class, in which the child learns the meaning of the signs which stand
for speech, and those which make calculation less arduous for weak

Much has been written as to when and how children are to be taught to
read. Some great authorities would put it off till eight or even ten.
Stanley Hall says between six and eight, while Dr. Montessori teaches
children of five and even of four. Froebel would have supported Stanley
Hall and would wait till the age of six. The strongest reason for
keeping children back from books is a physiological one. In the
_Psychology and Physiology of Reading_[30] strong arguments are adduced
against early reading as very injurious to eyesight, so it is surprising
that Dr. Montessori begins so soon. It has been said that her children
only learn to write, not to read, but it is to be supposed that they can
read what they write, and therefore can read other material.

[Footnote 30: Macmillan.]

If we agree not to begin until six years old, the next question is the
method. The alphabetic, whereby children were taught the letter names
and then memorised the spelling of each single word, has no supporters.
But controversy still goes on as to whether children shall begin with
word wholes or with the phonic sounds. It is not a matter of vital
importance, for the children who begin with words come to phonics later,
and so far as English is concerned, the children who begin with phonics
cannot go far without meeting irregularities, unless indeed they are
limited to books like those of Miss Dale.

In other languages which are phonic the difficulties are minimised.
Children in the ordinary Elementary Schools in Italy, though taught in
large classes, can write long sentences to dictation in four or five
months.[31] But in Italian each letter has its definite sound and every
letter is sounded. It is true that these children appear to spend most
of their time in formal work.

[Footnote 31: A class of children who began in the middle of October
wrote correctly to dictation on March 28, "Patria e lavoro siamo, miei
cari bambini, parole sante per voi. Amate la nostra cara e bella Italia,
crescete onesti e laboriosi e sarete degni di lei."]

The Froebelian who believes in learning by action will, of course,
expect the children to make or write from the beginning as a method of
learning, whether she begins with words or with sounds. But in English,
unless simplified spelling is introduced, the time must soon come when
reproduction must lag behind recognition. One child said with pathos one
day, "May we spell as we like to-day, for I've got such a lot to say?"

The phonic method dates back to about 1530. The variety used in the
Pestalozzi-Froebel House is said to have originated with Jacotot
(1780-1840). It is called the "Observing-Speaking-Writing and Reading
Method." Froebel's own adaptation was simpler; it was his principle to
begin with a desire on the part of the child, and he gives his method in
story form, "How Lina learned to write and read." Lina is six, she has
left the Kindergarten and is presently to attend the Primary School. She
notices with what pleasure her father, perhaps a somewhat exceptional
parent, receives and answers letters. She desires to write and her
mother makes her say her own name carefully, noticing first the "open"
or vowel sounds and then by noting the position of her tongue she finds
the closed sounds. As she hears the sound she is shown how to make it.
Her father leaves home at the right moment, Lina writes to him, receives
and is able to read his answer, printed like her own in Roman capitals.
He sends her a picture book and she is helped to see how the letters
resemble those she has learned and the reading is accomplished.

In England the phonic method best known is probably Miss Dale's. It is
very ingenious, the analysis is thorough and the books are prettily got
up, but to those who feel that reading, though a most valuable tool,
still is but a tool and one not needed for children under seven, the
method seems over-elaborate. Much depends upon the teacher but to see
fifty children sitting still while one child places the letters in their
places on the board suggests a great deal of lost time. The system is
also so rigidly phonic that it is a long time before a child can pick up
an ordinary book with any profit.

Stanley Hall holds that it is best to combine methods, and probably most
of us do this. "The growing agreement" is, he says, "that there is no
one and only orthodox way of teaching and learning this greatest and
hardest of all the arts, in which ear, mouth, eye and hand must each in
turn train the others to automatic perfection, in ways hard and easy, by
devices old and new, mechanically and consciously, actively and
passively ... this is a great gain and seems now secure. While a good
pedagogic method is one of the most economic--both of labour and of
money--of all inventions, we should never forget that the brightest
children, and indeed most children, if taught individually or at home,
need but very few refinements of method. Idiots, as Mr. Seguin first
showed, need and profit greatly by very elaborated methods in learning
how to walk, feed and dress themselves, which would only retard a normal
child. Above all it should be borne in mind that the stated use of any
method does not preclude the incidental use of any and perhaps of _all_

An adaptation of phonic combined with the word method can be found in
_Education by Life_. It is simpler than Miss Dale's, and being combined
with the word method, children get much more quickly to real stories.
Stanley Hall advocates the individual teaching of reading, and since Dr.
Montessori called every one's attention to this we have used it much
more freely, and have found that once the children know some sounds,
there is a great advantage in a certain amount of individual learning,
but class teaching has its own advantages and it seems best to have a
combination. Long since we taught a boy who was mentally deficient and
incapable of intelligent analysis, by whole words and corresponding
pictures. Miss Payne has developed this to a great extent. It is
practically an appeal to the interest in solving puzzles. The children
choose their own pictures and are supplied with envelopes containing
either single sounds, or whole words corresponding with the picture.
They lay _h_ on the house, _g_ on the girl, _p_ on the pond, and later
do the same with words. They certainly enjoy it, and no one is ever kept
waiting. Sometimes the puzzle is to set in order the words of a nursery
rhyme which they already know, sometimes it is to read and draw
everything mentioned.

It is not only how children learn to read that is important: even more
so is what they read. Much unintelligent reading in later life is due to
the reading primer in which there was nothing to understand. Children
should read books, as adults do, to get something out of them. The time
often wasted in teaching reading too soon would be far better employed
in cultivating a taste for good reading by telling or reading to the
children good stories and verses.[32]

[Footnote 32: It is difficult to find easy material that is worth giving
to intelligent children, and we have been glad to find Brown's _Young
Artists' Readers_, Series A.]

A revolution is going on just now in the method of teaching writing. It
is now generally recognised that much time and effort have been wasted
in teaching children to join letters which are easier to read unjoined.

A very interesting article appeared in the Fielden School Demonstration
Record No. II., and Mr. Graily Hewitt has brought the subject of writing
as it was done before copperplate was invented very much to the fore.
The Child Study Society has published a little monograph on the subject
giving the experience of different teachers and specimens of the

Little Marjorie Fleming was a voracious reader with a remarkable
capacity for writing. Her spelling was unconventional at times, but
there was never any doubt about her meaning. She expressed herself
strongly on many subjects, and one of these was arithmetic. "I am now
going to tell you the horrible and wretched plaege (plague) that my
multiplication gives me you cant conceive it the most Devilish thing is
8 times 8 and 7 times 7 it is what nature itself cant endure." Yet "if
you speak with the tongues of men and angels and make not mention of
arithmetic it profiteth you nothing," says Miss Wiggin.

There are a few little children who are really fond of number work.
There are not many of them, and they would probably learn more if they
were left to themselves. There are even a few mathematical geniuses who
hardly want teaching, but who are worthy of being taught by a Professor
of Mathematics, always supposing that he is worthy of them. But the
majority of children would probably be farther advanced at ten or twelve
if they had no teaching till they were seven. They ought to learn
through actual number games, through keeping score for other games, and
through any kind of calculation that is needed for construction or in
real life.

There are but few true number games, but dominoes and card games
introduce the number groups. In "Old maid" the children pair the groups
and so learn to recognise them; in dominoes they use this knowledge,
while "Snap" involves quick recognition. Any one can make up a game in
which scoring is necessary. Ninepins or skittles is a number game, and
one can score by using number groups, or by fetching counters, shells,
beads, etc., as reminders. The number groups are important; they form
what Miss Punnett calls "a scheme" for those who have no great
visualising power, and they combine the smallest groups into large ones.
It ought to be remembered that the repetition of a group is an easier
thing to deal with than the combination of two groups, that is, six is
a name for two threes and eight for two fours, but five and seven have
not so definite a meaning.[33]

[Footnote 33: This very morning a child cutting out brown paper pennies
for a shop said, 'Look! there are two sixes; that _would_ be a big

The Tillich bricks are good playthings, and so is cardboard
money--shillings, sixpences, threepences, pence and halfpence.

When the names have a meaning the children will want signs, i.e.
figures. Clock figures (Roman) can be used first as simplest, showing
the closed fingers and the thumb for V; the only difficulty is IX. The
Arabic figures can be made by drawing round the number groups, or by
laying out their shapes in little sticks. 5 and 8 show very plainly how
to arrange five and eight sticks; for two and three they are placed
horizontally, the curves merely joining the lines.

In teaching children to count, the decimal system should be kept well in
mind, and the teacher should see that thirteen means three-ten, and that
the children can touch the three and the ten as they speak the word.
Eleven and twelve ought to be called oneteen and twoteen, half in joke.
The idea of grouping should never be lost sight of, and larger numbers
should at first be names for so many threes, fours, fives, etc. In order
to keep the meaning clear the children should say threety, fourty and
fivety, but there should be no need to write these numbers. The
Kindergarten sticks tied in bundles of ten are quite convenient counting
material when any counting is necessary. Tram tickets and cigarette
pictures can be used in the same way.

The decimal notation is a great thing to learn, how great any one will
discover who will take the trouble to work a simple addition sum,
involving hundreds, in Roman figures. Children are always taught the
number of the house they live in, which makes a starting-point. If, for
instance, 35 is compared with XXXV a meaning is given to the 3.

Many teachers make formal sums of numbers which could quite well be
added without any writing at all. By using any kind of material by which
ten can be made plain as a higher unit--bundles of sticks or tickets,
Sonnenschein's apparatus, Miss Punnett's number scheme, or the new
Montessori apparatus with its chains of beads: the material used is of
no great consequence--children should be able to deal as easily with
tens as with ones, and there is no need for little formal sums which
have no meaning.

Everything in daily life should be used before formal work is attempted.
"Measure, reckon, weigh, compare," said Rousseau. Children love to
measure, whether by lineal or liquid measure, or by learning to tell the
time or to use a pair of scales.

There are a few occasions when interest is in actual number relations,
as when a child for himself discovers that two sixes is six twos. One
boy on his own account compared a shilling and an hour, and said that he
could set out a shilling in five parts by the clock. He looked at the
clock and chose out a sixpence, a threepence, and 3 pennies. But usually
what is abstract belongs to a stage farther on.

So we can end where we began, by letting Froebel once more define the

"Crèches and Infant Schools must be raised into Kindergartens wherein
the child is treated and trained according to his whole nature, so that
the claims of his body, his heart and his head, his active, moral and
intellectual powers, are all satisfied and developed.

"Not the training of the memory, not learning by rote, not familiarity
with the appearances of things, but culture by means of action,
realities and life itself, bring a blessing upon the individual, and
thereby a blessing upon the whole community; since each one, be he the
highest or the humblest, is a member of the community."






Early in the nineteenth century two men, moved by very different
impulses, founded what might be considered the beginnings of the Infant
School. For nearly fifty years their work grew separately, but now they
are merged together into something that seems to be permanent.

In a bleak Lanarkshire factory village in the south of Scotland, Robert
Owen, millowner, socialist and Welshman, found that unless he could
provide for the education of the children of his factory hands, no
parents would consent to settle in the district and he would be without
workers in his mill. As a consequence Owen found himself in the position
of education authority, privy purse and organiser, and he did not flinch
from the situation; he imposed no cheap makeshift, because he believed
in education as an end and not as an economic means; a twofold
institution was therefore established by him in 1816, one part for the
children of recognised school age, presumably over six, and one for
those under school age, whose only entrance test was their ability to
walk. It is with the latter that we are concerned.

The instructions given by Owen to the man and the women he chose for
his Infant School may serve to show his general aim; the babies under
their care were above all to be happy, to lead a natural life, outdoor
or indoor as weather permitted; learning their surroundings, playing,
singing, dancing, "not annoyed with books," not shadowed by the needs of
the upper school, but living the life their age demanded. In the light
of the 1918 Education Bill this seems almost prophetic.

Their guardians were selected solely on the grounds of personality, and
expected to work in the spirit in which Owen conceived the school. They
were gentle, without personal ambition, fond of children, caring only
for their welfare; but the sole guiding principle was Owen, and this was
at once the success and doom of the school, for the personality of Owen
was thus made the pivot round which the school revolved; without him
there was nothing to take hold of.

Very soon the experiment became known: persons with the stamp of
authority came to see it, and even official hearts were moved by the
reality of the children's happiness and their consequent development.
The visitors felt, rather than knew, that the thing was right.
Arrangements were made to establish similar institutions in London, and
after one or two experiments, a permanent one was founded which was
under the control of a man named Wilderspin.

Wilderspin's contribution to education is difficult to estimate;
certainly he never caught Owen's spirit, or realised his simple purpose:
he had ambitions reaching beyond the happiness of the children; and far
from trying to make their education suit their stage of growth, he
sought to produce the "Infant Prodigy," just as a contemporary of his
sought to produce the "Infant Saint." From what we can see, his aim was
what he honestly believed to be right, as far as his light went; but he
sought for no light beyond his own; and his outlook was not so narrow
as his application was unintelligent. Owen was still in Lanarkshire to
be consulted; Rousseau had already written _Émile_, Pestalozzi's work
was by this time fairly well known in England, the children were there
to be studied, but Wilderspin pursued his limited and unenlightened
work, until the Infant School was almost a dead thing in his hands and
in the hands of those who followed. The following is Birchenough's

"The school was in charge of a master and a female assistant, presumably
his wife. Much attention was given to training children in good personal
habits, cleanliness, tidiness, punctuality, etc., and to moral training.
Great stress was laid on information.... The curriculum included
reading, writing, arithmetic, geometry, lessons on common objects,
geography, singing and religion, and an effort was made to make the work
interesting and 'concrete.' To this end much importance was attached to
object-lessons, to the use of illustrations, to questioning and
exposition, while the memory was aided by means of didactic verse....
The real teaching devolved upon the master and mistress. This was of two
kinds: class teaching to a section of the children of approximately
equal attainments either on the floor or in the class-room, and
collective teaching to the whole school, regardless of age, on the

It is a curious coincidence that in 1816, the year of Owen's experiment,
a humble educational experiment was begun by Frederick Froebel in a very
small village in the heart of the Thuringian forest. Like Owen, his aim
was education solely for its own sake, and he had a simple faith in the
human goodness of the older Germany. But he came to education as a
philosopher rather than a social reformer, with a strong belief in its
power to improve humanity. This belief remained with him; it is embodied
in his aim, and leavened all his work.

The first twenty years of his experience convinced Froebel that the
neglect or mismanagement of the earliest years of a child's life
rendered useless all that was done later. What came to Owen as an
inspiration grew in Froebel to be a reasoned truth, and like Owen he put
it into practice. In 1837 the little Kindergarten at Blankenburg was
begun, with the village children as pupils; the beautiful surroundings
of forest-covered hills and green slopes made a very different
background from the bleak little Lanarkshire village, overshadowed by
the factory, where Owen's school stood, but the spirit was the same; the
children were in surroundings suitable for their growth, and the very
name of Kindergarten does more to make Froebel's aim clear than any
explanation. He lived to see other Kindergartens established in
different parts of Thuringia, and about the middle of the nineteenth
century some of his teachers came to England, and did similar work in
London, Croydon and Manchester. The private Kindergarten became an
established thing, and educationalists came to understand something of
its meaning.

In 1870 the London School Board suggested that the Kindergarten system
should be introduced into their Infant Schools, and in doing so they
were unconsciously the factors in bringing together the work initiated
by Owen and by Froebel. The Infant School of Wilderspin, already briefly
described, was almost a dead thing, with its galleries and its
mechanical prodigies, its object-lessons and its theology; now it was
breathed upon by the spirit of the man who said: "Play is the highest
phase of child development, of human development at this period: for it
is the spontaneous representation of the inner, from inner necessity and
impulse." "Play is the purest, most spiritual activity of man." "The
plays of childhood are the germinal leaves of all later life." "If the
child is injured at this period, if the germinal leaves of the future
tree of his life are marred at this time, he will only with the
greatest difficulty and the utmost effort grow into strong manhood."

It is perhaps not altogether to be wondered at that teachers at first
seized the apparatus rather than the spirit of the Kindergarten when we
remember that we have not accepted in anything like its fulness the
teaching of Froebel. Formalism and materialism always die slowly: play
in the Board School was interpreted as something that had to be dictated
and taught: the gifts, occupations and games were organised, and
appeared on the time-table as subjects side by side with Wilderspin's
theology and object-lessons. The combination must have been curious, but
even with its formalism the change was welcome to the children: at least
they could use their hands and do something; at least they could leave
their back-breaking galleries and dance and skip, even though the doing
and the dancing were according to strict rule.

The change was not welcome to all teachers. As late as 1907 a
headmistress who was a product of the training of that time remarked:
"We have Kindergarten on Wednesday afternoons and then it is over for
the week." But there were teachers who saw beneath the bricks and sticks
and pretty movements, who felt the spiritual side and kept themselves
alive till greater opportunities came. What was imperishable has
remained; the system of prescribed activities is nearly dead, but the
spirit of the true Kindergarten is more alive than ever.

The change from the early 'eighties till now is difficult to describe,
because it is a growth of spirit, a gradual change of values, rather
than a change in outward form; there has been no definite throwing off,
and no definite adoption, of any one system or theory; but the
difference between the best Infant Schools of 1880 and the best Infant
Schools of to-day is chiefly a difference in outlook. The older schools
aimed at copying a method, while the schools of to-day are more
concerned with realising the spirit.

At present we are trying to reconstruct education for the new world
after the war, and so it is convenient to regard the intervening period
of nearly half a century as a transition period: during that time the
education of the child under eight has changed much more than the
education of older children, at least in the elementary school; and
there have been certain marked phases that, though apparently
insignificant in themselves, have marked stages of progress in thought.

Perhaps the most significant and most important of these was the effect
of the child-study movement on the formal and external side of
Kindergarten work. It is first of all to America that we owe this, to
the pioneer Stanley Hall, and more especially here to Mr. Earl Barnes.
Very slowly, but surely, it was evident to the more enlightened teachers
that children had their own way of learning and doing, and the
adult-imposed system meant working against nature. For the logical
method of presenting material from the simple to the complex, from the
known to the unknown, from the concrete to the abstract, was substituted
the psychological method of watching the children's way of learning and
developing. Teachers found that what they considered to be "the simple"
was not the simple to children; what they took to be "the known" was the
unfamiliar to children. For instance, the "simple" in geography, in the
adult sense, was the definition of an island, with which most of us
began that study, and in geometry it was the point. To children of the
ordinary type, both are far-away ideas, and not related to everyday
experiences; "the known" in arithmetic, for example, was to teachers the
previous lesson, quite regardless of the fact that arithmetic enters
into many problems of life outside school. The life in school and the
life outside school were, in these early days of infant teaching, two
separate things, and only occasionally did a teacher stoop to take an
example from everyday life. A little girl in one of the poorest schools
brought her baby to show her teacher, and proudly displayed the baby's
powers of speech--"Say a pint of 'alf-an-'alf for teacher," said the
little girl to the baby by way of encouragement to both. This is the
kind of rude awakening teachers get, from time to time, when they
realise how much of the real child eludes them. Psychology has made it
clear that life is a unity and must be so regarded.

Part of this child-study movement has resulted in the slow but sure
death of formalism: large classes, material results, and a lack of
psychology made formalism the path of least resistance. Painting became
"blobbing," constructive work was interpreted as "courses" of paper
folding, cutting, tearing; books of these courses were published with
minute directions for a graduated sequence. The aim was obedient
imitation on the part of the child, and the imagined virtues accruing to
him in consequence were good habits, patience, accuracy and technical
skill. Self-expression and creativeness were still only theories.

A second interesting phase of the transition period was the method
adopted for the training of the senses. From the days of Comenius till
now the importance of this has held its place firmly, but the means have
greatly changed. Pestalozzi's object-lesson was adopted by Wilderspin
and thoroughly sterilised; many teachers still remember the lessons on
the orange, leather, camphor, paper, sugar, in which the teacher's
senses were trained, for only she came in contact with the object, and
the children from their galleries answered questions on an object remote
from most of their senses, and only dimly visible to their eyes. Similar
lessons were given after 1870 on Froebel's gift II. in which the ball,
cylinder and cube were treated in the same manner: progress was slow,
but sometimes the children followed nature's promptings and played with
their specimens; this was followed by books of "gift-plays," where
organised play took the place of organised observation.

About 1890 or thereabouts the Nature Study movement swept over the
schools, and "nature specimens" then became the material for sense
training: as far as possible each child had a specimen, and by the
minute examination of these, stimulated their senses and stifled their
appreciation of all that was beautiful.

Question and answer still dominated the activity; the poor little
withered snowdrop took the place of the dead camphor or leather. But
underlying all the paralysing organisation the truth was slowly growing,
and the children were being brought nearer to real things.

A third phase in this transition period is that known as "correlation";
most teachers remember the elaborate programmes of work that drove them
to extremes in finding "connections." The following, taken from a
reputable book of the time, will exemplify the principle:


  Object Lesson         The Horse.
  Phonetics             The Foal, _oa_ sound.
  Number                Problems on the work of horses.
  Story                 The Bell of Atri [story of a horse ringing a bell].
  Song                  Busy Blacksmith [shoeing a horse].
  Game                  The Blacksmith's Shop.
  Reading               On the Horse.
  Poetry                Kindness to Animals.
  Paper Cutting         The Bell of Atri.
  Paper Folding         A Trough.
  Free-arm Drawing      A Horseshoe.
  Clay Modelling        A Carrot for the Horse.
  Brushwork             A Turnip for the Horse.
  Brown Paper Drawing   A Stable.

Underneath it all the truth was growing, namely, the need of making
associations and so unifying the children's lines. But the process of
finding the truth was slow and cumbersome.

A fourth phase of the early Infant School was the strong belief of both
teachers and inspectors in uniformity of work and of results. It is
difficult to disentangle this from the paralysing influences of payment
by results and large classes: it was probably the teachers' unconscious
expression of the instinct of self-preservation, when working against
the heaviest odds. But it was constantly evident to the teacher that any
attempt on a child's part to be an individual, either in work or in
conduct, had to be arrested: and the theory of individual development
was regarded as so Utopian that the idea itself was lost. Goodness was
synonymous with uniform obedience and silence; naughtiness with
individuality, spontaneity and desire to investigate. A frequently-heard
admonition on the part of the teacher was, "Teacher didn't tell you to
do it that way--that's a naughty way"; but such an attitude of mind was
doubtless generated by the report of the inspector when he commended a
class by saying: "The work of the class showed a satisfactory

To obtain uniform results practice had to come before actual
performance, and many weary hours were spent over drill in reading,
drill in number, drill in handwork, drill in needlework. The extreme
point was reached when babies of three had thimble and needle drill long
before they began needlework. There were also conduct drills; Miss
Grant, of Devons Road School, remembers a school where the babies
"practised" their conduct before the visit of the "spectre," as they
called him, he being represented as a stick set up on a chair. There is
a curious symbolism in the whole occasion.

It is difficult to see the good underlying this phase, but it was
there. There is undoubtedly a place for practice, though not before
performance, and uniformity was undoubtedly the germ of an ideal.

All these phases stand for both progress and arrest. The average person
is readier to accept methods than investigate principles; but we must
recognise that all struggles and searchings after truth have made the
road of progress shorter for us by many a mile.

Perhaps the chief cause of stumbling lay in the fact that there was no
clearly realised aim or policy except that of material results. There
were many fine-sounding principles in the air, but they were unrelated
to each other; and the conditions of teaching were likely to crush the
finest endeavours, and to make impossible a teaching that could be
called educative.



Taking neither the best nor the worst, but the average school of to-day,
it will be profitable to review shortly where it stands, to consider how
far it has learnt the lessons of experience, and what kind of ideal it
has set before itself.

In externals there have been many improvements. Modern buildings are
better in many ways; there is more space and light, and the surroundings
are more attractive. Most of the galleries have disappeared, but the
furniture consists chiefly of dual desks, fixed and heavy, so that the
arrangement of the room cannot be changed. The impression given to a
visitor is that it is planned for listening and answering, except in the
Baby Room, where there are generally light tables and chairs, and
consequently no monotonous rows of children, unless a teacher arranges
them thus from sheer habit. In each room is a high narrow cupboard about
one quarter of the necessary size for all that education demands; most
education authorities provide some good pictures, but the best are
usually hung on the class-room wall behind the children, and all are
above the children's eye level. "Oh, teacher, my neck do ache!" was the
only appreciative remark made by a child after a tour made of the school
pictures, which were really beautiful.

As a rule the windows are too high for the children to see from, and
the lower part is generally frosted. In a new school which had a view up
one of the loveliest valleys in Great Britain, the windows were of this
description; the head of the school explained that it was a precaution
in case the children might see what was outside; in other words, they
might make the mistake of seeing a real river valley instead of
listening to a description of it.

In country schools of the older type the accommodation is not so good,
but the newer ones are often very attractive in appearance, and have
both space and light. The school garden is a common feature in the
country, and it is to be regretted so few even of the plot description
are to be found in town schools.

Of late years the apparatus has improved, though there is still much to
be done in this direction. Instead of the original tiny boxes of gifts
we have frequently real nursery bricks of a larger and more varied
character, and many other nursery toys. One of the best signs of a
progressive policy is that large numbers of _little_ toys have taken the
place of the big expensive ones that only an occasional child could use.
It is a pity that the use of toys comes to so sudden an end, and that
learning by this method does not follow the babies after they have
officially ceased to be babies, as is the custom in real life.

One of the most striking changes for the better is the evidence of care
of the children's health, of which some of the external signs are
doctor, nurse and care committee. A sense of responsibility in this
respect is gradually growing in the schools; a fair number provide for
sleep, a few try to train the children to eat lunch slowly and
carefully, and some try to arrange for milk or cod-liver oil in the case
of very delicate children. Though these instances are very much in the
minority, they represent a change of spirit. This is one of the striking
characteristics of the new Education Bill. A legacy from the old
formalism lies in the fact that every room has a highly organised
time-table, except perhaps in the Babies' Room, where the children's
actual needs are sometimes considered first. The morning in most classes
is occupied with Scripture, Reading, Arithmetic, Writing, and some less
formal work, such as Nature lesson or Recitation; some form of Physical
Exercise is always taken. The afternoons are mostly devoted to Games,
Stories, Handwork and Singing: this order is not universal, but the
general principle holds, of taking the more difficult and formal
subjects in the morning. In the Babies' Room some preparation for
reading is still too frequent. The lessons are short and the order
varied, but in one single morning or afternoon there is a bewildering
number of changes. Some years ago the unfortunate principle was laid
down in the Code, that fifteen minutes was sufficient time for a lesson
in an Infant School, and though this is not strictly followed the
lessons are short and numerous, giving an unsettled character to the
work; children appear to be swung at a moment's notice from topic to
topic without an apparent link or reason: for example, the day's work
may begin with the story of a little boy sent by train to the country,
settled at a farm and taken out to see the _cow_ and the _sow_: soon
this is found to be a reading lesson on words ending in "ow," but after
a short time the whole class is told quite suddenly, that one shilling
is to be spent at a shop in town, and while they are still interested in
calculating the change, paints are distributed, and the children are
painting the bluebell. The whole day is apt to be of this broken
character, which certainly does not make for training in mental
concentration, or for a realisation of the unity of life. Some teachers
still aim at correlation, but in a rather half-hearted way: others have
entirely discarded it because of its strained applications, but nothing
very definite has taken its place.

The curriculum which has been given is varied in character, and
sometimes includes a "free period." Except in the Babies' Class the
three R's occupy a prominent place, and children under six spend
relatively a great deal of time in formal subjects, while children
between six and seven, if they are still in the Infant School, are
taught to put down sums on paper, which they could nearly always
calculate without such help. As soon as a child can read well, and work
a fair number of sums on paper, he is considered fit for promotion, and
the question of whether he understands the method of working such sums,
is not considered so important as accuracy and quickness. The test of
so-called intelligence for promotion is reading and number, but it is
really the test of convenience, so that large numbers of children may be
taught together and brought, against the laws of nature, to a uniform

This poison of the promotion and uniformity test works down through the
Infant School: it can be seen when the babies are diverted from their
natural activities to learn reading, or when they are "examined": it can
be seen when a teacher yields up her "bright" children to fill a few
empty desks, it can be seen in the grind at reading and formal
arithmetic of the children under six, when weary and useless hours are
spent in working against nature, and precious time is wasted that will
never come back. Yet we _say_ we believe that "Children have their youth
that they may play," and that "Play is the purest, most spiritual
activity of man at this stage" [childhood].

The lack of any clear aim shows itself in the fluid nature of the term
"results"; to some teachers it signifies readiness for promotion, or a
piece of work that presents a satisfactory external appearance, such as
good writing, neat handwork, an orderly game, fluent reading. To others
it means something deeper, which they discover in some chance remark of
a child's that marks the growth of the spirit, or the awakening of the
interest of a child whose development is late, or the quickened power of
a child to express; or evidence of independent thought and the power to
use it, in some piece of handwork, or appreciation of music or
literature. According to the meaning attached to the term "results" so
the method of the teacher must vary; but one gets the general impression
that in this respect matters are in a transitional state; the first kind
of teacher is always a little uncertain of her ground and a little
fearful that she is not quite "up-to-date," while the second class of
teacher is sometimes a little timid, and not quite sure that she is
prepared to account for the rather subtle and intangible outcome of her

The same transitional character holds in the case of discipline: while
what is known as "military" discipline still prevails in many schools,
there are a very fair number with whom the grip has relaxed; but it is a
courageous teacher that will admit the term "free discipline" which has
nearly as bad a reputation as "free thought" used to have, and few are
prepared to go all the way. Probably the reason lies in the vagueness of
the meaning of the term, and the fact that its value is not clearly
realised because it is not clearly understood. Teachers have not faced
the question squarely: "What am I aiming at in promoting free

Taking a general view of the present school, one gets the impression of
a constant change of activity on the part of the children, but very
little change of position, a good deal of provision for general class
interest, but little for individual interest; of less demand than
formerly for uniformity of results, but the existence of a good deal of
uniformity of method, arresting the teacher's own initiative; of very
constant teaching on the part of the teacher and a good deal of
listening and oral expression on the part of the children, of many
lessons and little independent individual work. Below all this there is
evident a very friendly relationship between the teacher and the
children, a good deal of personal knowledge of the children on the part
of the teacher, and a good deal of affection on both sides. There is
less fear and more love than in the earlier days, less government and
more training, less restraint and more freedom. And the children are
greatly attached to their school.

From consideration of the foregoing summary it will be seen that
education in the Infant School is a thing of curious patches, of
strength and weakness, of light and shade; perhaps the greatest weakness
is its lack of cohesion, of unification: on the one hand we find much
provision for the children's real needs, much singleness of purpose in
the teacher's work, such a genuine spirit of whole-hearted desire for
their education: on the other hand, an unreasoning sense of haste, of
pushing on, of introducing prematurely work for which the children
admittedly are unready; an acceptance of new things on popular report,
without scientific basis, and a lack of courage to maintain the truth
for its own sake, in the face of so-called authority, and a craving to
be modern. At the root of all this inconsistency and possibly its cause,
is the lack of a guiding policy or aim, the lack of belief in the
scientific or psychological basis of education, and consequently the
want of that strong belief in absolute truth which helps the teacher to
pass all barriers.



If it be true that the Infant School of to-day suffers from lack of a
clear basis for its general policy, it will be profitable to have
clearly before us such principles as great educators have found to be
most vital to the education of young children.

We all believe that we have an aim and a high aim before us: it has been
variously expressed by past educationalists, but in the main they all
agree that the aim of education is conduct.

In actual practice, however, we act too often as if we only cared for
economic values. If we are to live up to our educational profession, we
must look our aim in the face and honestly practise what we believe.

While training of character and conduct is the accepted aim for
education in general, to make this useful and practical each teacher
must fix her attention on how this ultimate aim affects her own special
part of the whole work. By watching the free child she will discover how
best she can help him: he knows his own business, and when unfettered by
advice or command shows plainly that he is chiefly concerned with
_gaining experience_. He finds himself in what is to him a new and
complex world of people and things; actual experience is the foundation
for complete living, and the stronger the foundation the better the
result of later building. _The first vital principle then is that the
teacher of young children must provide life in miniature; that is, she
must provide abundant raw material and opportunities for experience_.

The next question is that of the best method of gaining this actual
experience. The child is unaware that he is laying foundations, he is
only vaguely conscious that he finds great pleasure in certain
activities, and that something impels him in certain directions. He
realises no definite future, he is content with the present; he cannot
work for a purpose other than the pleasure of the moment; without this
stimulus concentration is impossible. In the activities of this stage he
probably assimilates more actual matter than at any other period of his
life, and it is the same with his acquirements of skill. In happy
unconsciousness he gains knowledge of his own body and of its power, of
the external world, of his mother tongue and of his relations to other
people: he makes mistakes and commits faults, but these do not
necessarily cripple or incriminate him. He is not considered a social
outcast because he once kicked or bit, or because he threw his milk over
the table; he learns to balance and adjust his muscles on a seesaw, when
a fall on soft grass is a matter of little importance, and this is
better than waiting till he is compelled hastily to cross a river on a
narrow plank. It is all a kind of joyous rehearsal of life which we call
Play. We can force a child to passivity, to formal repetitions of
second-hand knowledge, to the acquisition of that for which he has no
apparent need, but we can never _educate_ him by these things. "Children
do not play because they are young, they have their youth that they may
play," as surely as they have their legs that they may walk.

_The second principle is therefore that the method of gaining experience
lies through Play, and that by this road we can best reach work_.

The third principle is the nature of the experience that a child seeks
to gain--the life he desires to live. How can we he sure that the
surroundings we provide and the activities we encourage are in accord
with children's needs?

Let us imagine a child of about five to six years of age, one of a
family, living in a small house to which a garden is attached; inside he
has the run of the house, but keeps his own toys, picture books and
collections of treasures. We will suppose that not being at school he is
free to arrange his own day, sometimes alone, and sometimes with other
children, or with his parents. What does he do?

He is interested in inanimate things, especially in using them, and so
he plays with his toys. He builds bricks, runs engines, solves simple
puzzle pictures, asks to work with his father's gardening tools, or his
mother's cooking utensils. He is interested in the life of the garden,
in the growing things, in the snail or spider he finds, in the cat, dog
or rabbit of the family; he wants to dig, water and feed these various
things, but he declines regular responsibility; his interest is in

He is interested in sounds, both in those he can produce and in those
produced by others: soon he is interested in music, he will listen to it
for considerable periods, and may join in it: at first more especially
on the rhythmical side. So, too, he likes the rhythm of poetry and the
melody sounds of words. He is interested in making things; on a wet day
he will ask for scissors and paste, or bring out his paint box or
chalks; on a fine day he mixes sand or mud with water, or builds a
shelter with poles and shawls; at any time when he has an opportunity he
shuts himself into the bathroom and experiments with the taps, sails
boats, colours water, blows bubbles, tries to mix things, wet and dry.

He is interested in the doings of other people, in their conduct and in
his own; he is more interested in their badness than in their goodness:
"Tell me more of the bad things your children do," said a little boy to
his teacher aunt, and the request is significant and general; we learn
so little by mere uncontrasted goodness. He is interested in the words
that clothe narrations and in their style, he is impatient of a change
in form of an accepted piece of prose or poetry. He is hungry for the
sounds of telling words and phrases.

He is interested in reproducing the doings of other people so that he
may experience them more fully, and this involves minute observation,
careful and intelligent imitation, and vivid imagination. His own word
for it is pretence.

There are other things that he grasps at more vaguely and later; he is
dimly aware that people have lived before, and he is less dimly aware
that people live in places different from his own surroundings. He
realises that some of the stories, such as the fairy stories, are true
in one sense, a sense that responds to something within himself; that
some are true in another more material, and external sense, one
concerned with things that really happen. He hears of "black men," and
of "ships that carry people across the sea," and of "things that come
back in those ships."

He is interested in the immaterial world suggested by the mysteries of
woods and gardens, he has a dim conception that there is some life
beyond the visible, he feels a power behind life and he reveals this in
his early questions. He is keenly interested in questions of birth and
death, and sometimes comes into close contact with them. He feels that
other wonders must be accounted for--the snow, thunder and lightning,
the colours of summer, the changeful sea. At first the world of fairy
lore may satisfy him, later comes the life of the undying spirit, but
the two are continuous. He may attend "religious observances," and these
may help or they may hinder.

He is keenly interested in games, whether they are games of physical
skill, of mental skill, or games of pretence. Here most especially he
comes into contact with other people, and here he realises some of the
experiences of social life.

Such are the most usual sides of life sought by the ordinary child, and
on such must we base the surroundings we provide for our children in
school, and the aspects of life to which we introduce them, commonly
called subjects of the curriculum.

_Our third principle is therefore, evident: we find, in the child's
spontaneous choice, the nature of the surroundings and of the activities
that he craves for; in other words, he makes his own curriculum and
selects his own subject matter_.

The next consideration is the atmosphere in which a child can best
develop character by means of these experiences. A young child is a
stranger in an unknown, untried country: he has many strange promptings
that seek for satisfaction; he has strong emotions arising from his
instincts, he feels crudely and fiercely and he must act without delay,
as a result of these emotions. He is like a tourist in a new strange
country, fresh and eager, and with a similar holiday spirit of
adventure: the stimulation of the new arouses a desire to interpret, to
investigate and to ask questions: it arouses strong emotions to like or
dislike, to fear, to be curious; it leads to certain modes of conduct,
as a result of these emotions. Picture such a young tourist buttonholed
by a blasé guide, who had forgotten what first impressions meant, who
insisted on accompanying him wherever he went, regulating his procedure
by telling him just what should be observed and how to do so, pouring
out information so premature as to be obnoxious, correcting his taste,
subduing his enthusiasm, and modifying even his behaviour. The tourist
would presumably pay off the unwelcome guide, but the children cannot
pay off the teacher: they can and do rebel, but docility and
adaptability seem to play a large part in self-preservation. For the
young child freedom must precede docility, because the only reasonable
and profitable docility is one that comes after initiative and
experiment have been satisfied, and when the child feels that he needs

The world that the free child chooses represents every side of life that
he is ready to assimilate, and his freedom must be intellectual,
emotional and moral freedom. In the school with the rigidly organised
time-table, where the remarks of the children provoke the constantly
repeated reproach: "We are not talking of that just now," where the
apparatus is formal and the method of using it prescribed, where home
life and street life are ignored, where there are neither garden nor
picture books, where childish questions are passed over or hastily
answered, where the room is full of desks and the normal attitude is
sitting, where the teacher is teaching more often than the children are
doing, there is no intellectual freedom.

Where passion and excitement are instantly arrested, where appreciation
for strong colours, fierce punishments, loud noises, is killed, where
fear is ridiculed, where primitive likes and dislikes are interpreted as
coarseness, there is no emotional freedom. A child must have these
experiences if he is to come to his own later: this is not the time to
stamp out but only to deflect and guide; otherwise he becomes a weak and
pale reflection of his elders, with little resource or enthusiasm.

Where it is almost impossible to be openly naughty, where there is no
opportunity for choice or for making mistakes, where control is all from
the teacher and self-control has no place, there is no moral freedom.
The school is not for the righteous but for the so-called sinner, who is
only a child learning self-control by experience.

Self-control is a habit gained through habits; a child must acquire the
habit of arresting desire, of holding the physical side in check, the
habit of reflection, of choice, and most of all the habit of either
acting or holding back, as a result of all this. If in the earliest
years his will is in the hands of others, and he has the habit of
obedience to the exclusion of all other habits, then his development as
a self-reliant individual is arrested, and may be permanently weakened.
There is no other way to learn life, and build up an ideal from the raw
material he has gained in other ways. In the rehearsal of life at school
he can do this without serious harm; but every time a mode of conduct is
imposed upon him when he might have chosen, every time he is externally
controlled when he might have controlled himself, every time he is
balked in making a mistake that would have been experience to him, he
will be proportionally less fit to choose, to exercise self-control, to
learn by experience, and these are the chief lessons at this
impressionable period.

_The fourth principle therefore is that the atmosphere of freedom is the
only atmosphere in which a child can gain experiences that will help to
develop character and control conduct._

These four vital principles will be applied to practical work in the
following chapters.


Before applying these principles it is necessary for practical
considerations to set out clearly the various stages of this period.
During the first eight years of life, development is very rapid and not
always relatively continuous. Sometimes it takes leaps, and sometimes
appears for a time to be quiescent. But roughly the first stage, of a
child's developing life ends when he can walk, eat more or less ordinary
food, and is independent of his mother. At this point the Nursery School
stage begins: the child is learning for himself his world by experience,
and through play he chooses his raw material in an atmosphere of
freedom. When the period of play pure and simple begins to grow into a
desire to do things better, to learn and practise for a more remote
end--in other words, when the child begins to be willing to be taught,
the transitional period from play to work begins. It can never be said
to end, but the relative amount of play to work gradually defines the
life of the school: and so the transitional period merges into the
school period. Thus we are concerned first with the Nursery School
period which corresponds to what Froebel meant by his Kindergarten and
Owen by his Infant School; secondly, with the transitional period which
has been far too long neglected or rushed over, and which roughly
corresponds to the Standard I. of the Elementary School; and thirdly, we
have the beginnings of the Junior School where work is the predominant
factor. In spite of Shakespeare's assertion, there is much in a name,
and if these names were definitely adopted, teachers would realise
better the nature of their business.

The following chapters seek to apply practically the four vital
principles to these periods of a child's life, but in many cases the
Transition Classes and the Junior School are considered together.



     "The first vital principle is that the teacher of young
     children must provide for them life in miniature, i.e. she
     must provide abundant raw material and opportunities for
     acquiring experience."

The practical translation of this in the words of the teacher of to-day
is, "I must choose furniture, and requisition apparatus." The teacher of
to-morrow will say to her children, "I will bring the world into the
school for you to learn." The Local Education Authority of to-day says,
"We must build a school for instruction." The Local Education Authority
of to-morrow will say, "We must make a miniature world for our

The world of the Nursery School child probably requires the most careful
thought in this respect: a large room with sunlight and air, low clear
windows, a door leading to a garden and playground, low cupboards full
of toys, low-hung pictures, light chairs and tables that can be pushed
into a corner, stretcher beds equally disposable, a dresser with pretty
utensils for food; these are the chief requirements for satisfying
physical needs, apparent in the actual room. Physical habits will be
considered later, under another heading.

Outside, in the playground, there should be opportunities for physical
development, for its own sake: swings, giant strides, ladders laid
flat, slightly sloping planks, and a seesaw should all be available for
constant use; if the children are not warned or given constant advice
about their own safety, there is little fear of accidents.

Thus the purely physical side of the children is provided for, the side
that they are, if healthy, quite unconscious of; what else does
experience demand at this stage?

Roughly classified, the raw experience of this stage may be divided into
the experience of the natural world of living things, the world of
inanimate things, and the social world. For the natural world there
should be the garden outside, with its trees, grass and flower beds;
with its dovecot and rabbit hutch, and possibly a cat sunning herself on
its paths; inside there will be plants and flowers to care for; the
elements, especially water, earth and air, are very dear to a young
child, and it is quite possible to satisfy his cravings with a large
sand-heap of _dry_ and _wet_ sand; a large flat bath for sailing boats
and testing the theory of sinking and floating; a bin of clay; a pair of
bellows and several fans to set the air in motion. There is always the
fire to gaze at on the right side of the fire-guard, and appreciation of
the beauty of this element should be encouraged.

The world of inanimate things includes most of the toys that stimulate
activity and give ideas. The chief that should be found in the
cupboards, round the walls, or scattered about the room, are bricks of
all sizes and shapes, skittles, balls and bats or rackets, hoops, reins,
spades and other garden tools; pails and patty pans for the sand-heap;
pipes for bubbles, shells, fir-cones, buttons, acorns, and any
collection of small articles for handling; all kinds of vehicles that
can be pushed, such as carts, barrows, prams, engines; drums and other
musical instruments; materials for construction and expression, such as
chalks, boards, paints and paper.

For experiences of the social world, which is not very real at this
individualistic period, come the dolls and doll's house, horses and
stables, tea-things, cooking utensils, Noah's ark, scales for a shop,
boats, soldiers and forts: a very important item in this connection is
the collection of picture-books: they must be chosen with the greatest
care, and only pictures of such merit as those of Caldecott, Leslie
Brooke and Jessie Wilcox Smith should be selected. Pictures form one of
the richest sources of experience at this stage, as indeed at any stage
of life, and truth, beauty and suggestiveness must be their chief

The toys should be above all things durable, and if possible washable.
Broken and dirty toys make immoral children.

Besides the material surroundings there are opportunities, the seizing
of which gives valuable experiences. These belong to the social world,
and lie chiefly in the training in life's social observances and the
development of good habits. This side of life is one of the most
important in the Nursery School, and needs material help. The lavatories
and cloakrooms should be constructed so that there is every chance for a
child to become self-reliant and fastidious. The cloakrooms should be
provided with low pegs, boot holes, clothes brushes and shoe brushes:
there should be low basins with hot and cold water, enamel mugs and
tooth brushes _for each child,_ nail brushes, plenty of towels, and
where the district needs it, baths. The type provided by the Middlesex
Education Authority at Greenford Avenue School, Hanwell, gives a shower
bath to a whole group of children at once, thus making a more frequent
bath possible. Perhaps for very small children of the Nursery School age
separate baths are more suitable. This is a question for future
experience on the part of teachers. There should be plenty of time for
the children to learn to wash and dress themselves.

In the school-room there should either be tablecloths, or the tables
should be capable of being scrubbed by the children after each meal.
Their almost inevitable lack of manners at table gives an invaluable
opportunity for training, and again in such a case there should be no
question of haste. The meals should be laid, waited on and cleared away,
and the dishes washed by the children themselves, and they should be
responsible for the general tidiness of the room. This involves
tea-cloths, mops, dusters, washing bowls, brushes and dustpans.

In the Transition Classes and Junior School the furniture and apparatus
can be to a great extent very much the same, their difference lying
chiefly in degree. It is a pity to bring the age of toys to an abrupt
conclusion; in real life the older children still borrow the toys of the
younger ones while there are some definitely their own: such are, jigsaw
and other puzzles, dominoes, articles for dramatic representation,
playing cards, toys for games of physical skill, such as tops, kites,
skipping ropes, etc. Such prepared constructive materials as
meccano--and a great mass of raw material for construction, generally
termed "waste." There should be a series of boxes or shelves where such
waste products of the home, or of the woods, or of the seashore, or of
the shop, might be stored in some classified order: the collective
instinct is stronger than the more civilised habit of orderliness: here
is an opportunity for developing a habit from an instinct. There should
also be materials for expression, such as clay, paper, chalk, pencil,
paints, weaving materials, cardboard, and scenery materials; and such
tools as scissors, cardboard knives, needlework tools, paste brushes,
and others that may be necessary and suitable. The rooms should be large
and suitable for much moving about: the most usual conditions should be
a scattered class and not a seated listening class. This means light
chairs and tables or benches where handwork can be done; low cupboards
and lockers so that each child can get at his own things; broad
window-sills for plants and flowers and a bookcase for reading and
picture books. Here again good picture-books are as essential as, even
more essential than, readers in the Transition Class. They will be a
little more advanced than in the Nursery School, and will be of the type
of the Pied Piper illustrated, or pictures of children of other lands
and times. Some of Rackham's, of Harold Copping's, of the publications
by Black in _Peeps at Many Lands_, are suitable for this stage. Readers
should be chosen for their literary value from the recognised children's
classics, such as the Peter Rabbit type, _Alice in Wonderland,
Water-Babies,_ and not made up for the sake of reading practice.

The pictures on the walls should be hung at the right eye-level, and the
windows low enough for looking at the outside world--whatever it may be.
The teacher's desk should be in a corner, not in the central part of the
room, for she must remember that the children are still in the main
seeking experience, not listening to the experience of another. They
should have access to the garden and playground, and all the incitements
to activity should be there--similar to those of the Nursery School, or
those provided by the London County Council in parks. The bare
wilderness of playground now so familiar, where there is neither time
nor opportunity for children to be other than primitive savages, does
not represent the outside world of beauty and of adventure.

The lower classes of Junior School should differ very little in their
miniature world. Life is still activity to the child of eight, and
consequently should contain no immovable furniture. There will be more
books, and the children may be in their seats for longer periods; the
atmosphere of guided but still spontaneous work is more definite, but
the aim in choice of both furniture and apparatus is still the gaining
of experience of life, by direct contact in the main. Such is the
Requisition Sheet to be presented to the Stores Superintendent of the
Local Education Authority in the future, with an explanatory note
stating that in a general way what is actually required is the world in



     "The Second Principle is that the method of gaining
     experience lies through Play and that by this road we can
     best reach work."

Play is marked off from work chiefly by the absence of any outside
pressure, and pleasure in the activity is the characteristic of play
pure and simple: if a child has forced upon him a hint of any ulterior
motive that may be in the mind of his teacher, the pleasure is spoilt
for him and the intrinsic value of the play is lost. In bringing
children into school during their play period, probably the most
important formative period of their lives, and in utilising their play
consciously, we are interfering with one of their most precious
possessions when they are still too helpless to resent it directly. Too
many of us make play a means of concealing the wholesome but unwelcome
morsel of information in jam, and we try to force it on the children
prematurely and surreptitiously, but Nature generally defeats us. The
only sound thing to do is to _play the game_ for all it is worth, and
recognise that in doing so education will look after itself. To
understand the nature of play, and to have the courage to follow it, is
the business of every teacher of young children. The Nursery School,
especially if it consists chiefly of children under five, presents at
first very hard problems to the teacher; however strong her belief in
play may be, it receives severe tests. So much of the play at first
seems to be aimless running and shouting, or throwing about of toys and
breaking them if possible, so much quarrelling and fighting and weeping
seem involved with any attempts at social life on the part of the
children; there seems very little desire to co-operate, and very little
desire to construct; as a rule, a child roams from one thing to another
with apparently only a fleeting attempt to play with it; yet on the
other hand, to make the problem more baffling, a child will spend a
whole morning at one thing: quite lately one child announced that he
meant to play with water all day, and he did; another never left the
sand-heap, and apparently repeated the same kind of activity during a
complete morning; visitors said in a rather disappointed tone, "they
just play all the time by themselves." One teacher brought out an
attractive picture and when a group of children gathered round it she
proceeded to tell the story; they listened politely for a few minutes,
and then the group gradually melted away; they were not ready for
concentrated effort. If those children had been in the ordinary Baby
Room of a school they would have been quite docile, sitting in their
places apparently listening to the story, amiably "using" their bricks
or other materials according to the teacher's directions, but they would
not, in the real sense, have been playing. This is an example of the
need for both principle and courage.

It is into this chaotic method of gaining experience that the teacher
comes with her interpretive power--she sees in it the beginnings of all
the big things of life--and like a bigger child she joins, and like a
bigger child she improves. She sees in the apparent chaos an attempt to
get experience of the different aspects of life, in the apparently
aimless activity an attempt to realise and develop the bodily powers, in
the fighting and quarrelling an attempt to establish a place in social
life. It is all unconscious on the part of a child, but a necessary
phase of real development.

Gradually the little primitive man begins to yield to civilisation. He
is interested in things for longer and asks for stories, music and
rhymes, and what does this mean?

As he develops a child learns much about life in his care of the garden,
about language in his games, about human conduct from stories; but he
does these things because he wants to do them, and because there is a
play need behind it all, which for him is a life need; in order to build
a straight wall he must classify his bricks, in order to be a real
shopman he must know his weights, in order to be a good workman he must
measure his paper; all the ideas gained from these things come to him
_along with sense activity_; they are associated with the needs and
interests of daily life; and because of this he puts into the activity
all the effort of which he is capable, or as Dewey has expressed it,
"the maximum of consciousness" into the experience which is his play.
This is real sense training, differing in this respect from the training
given by the Montessori material, which has no appeal to life interest,
aims at exercising the senses separately, and discourages _play_ with
the apparatus. It is activity without a body, practice without an end,
and nothing develops from it of a constructive or expressive nature.

In the nursery class therefore our curriculum is life, our apparatus all
that a child's world includes, and our method the one of joyful
investigation, by means of which ideas and skill are being acquired. The
teacher is player in chief, ready to suggest, co-operate, supply
information, lead or follow as circumstances demand: responsibility must
still belong to the children, for while most of them know quite
naturally how to play, there are many who will never get beyond a rather
narrow limit, through lack of experience or of initiative.

It is quite safe to let experience take its chance through play, but
there are certain things that must be dealt with quite definitely, when
the teacher is not there as a playmate, but as something more in the
capacity of a mother. It is impossible to train all the habits necessary
at this time, through the spontaneous play, although incidentally many
will be greatly helped and made significant by it. If the children come
from poor homes where speech is imperfect, probably mere imitation of
the teacher, which is the chief factor in ordinary language training,
will be insufficient. It will be necessary to invent ways, chiefly
games, by which the vocal organs may be used; this may be considered
play, but it is more artificial and less spontaneous than the informal
activity already described. It is well to be clear as to the kind of
exercises best suited to make the vocal organs supple, and then to make
these the basis of a game: for example, little children constantly
imitate the cries of ordinary life; town children could dramatise a
railway station where the sounds produced by engines and by porters give
a valuable training; they could imitate street cries, the sound of the
wind, of motor hooters, sirens, or of church bells. Country children
could use the sounds of the farm-yard, the birds, or the wind. In the
recognition of sound, which is as necessary as its production, such a
guessing game could be taught as "I sent my son to be a grocer and the
first thing he sold began with _s_ and ended with _p_," using the
_sounds_, not names of the letters. For the acquisition of a vocabulary,
such a game as the Family Coach might be played and turned into many
other vehicles or objects about which many stories could be told. All
the time the game must be played with the same fidelity to the spirit of
play as previously, but the introduction must be recognised as more
artificial and forced, and this can be justified because so many
children are not normal with regard to speech, and only where this is
the case should language training be forced upon them. Habits of
courtesy, of behaviour at table, of position, of dressing and
undressing, of washing hands and brushing teeth, and many others, must
all be _taught_, but taught at the time when the need comes. Occasions
will certainly occur during play, but the chances of repetition are not
sufficient to count on.

Thus we summarise the chief business of the Nursery School teacher when
we say that it is concerned chiefly with habits and play and right

Play in the Transition Class is less informal. After the age of six
certain ambitions grow and must be satisfied. The aspects of life are
more separated, and concentration on individual ones is commoner; this
means more separation into subjects, and thus a child is more willing to
be organised, and to have his day to _some_ extent arranged for him.
While in the nursery class only what was absolutely necessary was fixed,
in the Transition Class it is convenient to fix rather more, for the
sake of establishing certain regular habits, and because it is necessary
to give the freshest hours to the work that requires most concentration.
We must remember, however, that it _is_ a transition class, and not set
up a completely fashioned time-table for the whole day. Reading and
arithmetic must be acquired both as knowledge and skill, the mother
tongue requires definite practice, there must be a time for physical
activity, and living things must not be attended to spasmodically.
Therefore it seems best that these things be taken in the morning hours,
while the afternoon is still a time for free choice of activity.

The following is a plan for the Transition Class, showing the bridge
between absolute freedom and a fully organised time-table--

               MORNING.                             AFTERNOON.

  Monday   |Nature |Reading    |Stories from       |Organised games and
           |work.  |and Number.|Scripture or other |handwork.
  ---------|Care   |-----------|literature, and    |-----------------------
  Tuesday  |of the |Reading    |stories of social  |Music and handwork.
           |room.  |and Number.|life; music and    |
  ---------|Nature |-----------|singing; industrial|-----------------------
  Wednesday|chart  |Reading    |activities such as |Excursion or handwork.
           |and    |and Number.|solving puzzles,   |
  ---------|General|-----------|playing games of   |-----------------------
  Thursday |talk.  |Reading    |skill, looking at  |Dramatic representation
           |       |and Number.|pictures, arranging|including preparations.
  ---------|       |-----------|collections.       |-----------------------
  Friday   |       |Reading    |                   |Gardening or handwork.
           |       |and Number.|                   |

Granting this arrangement we must be clear how play as a method can
still hold.

It does not hold in the informal incidental sense of the Nursery School:
there are periods in the Transition Class when the children know that
they are working for a definite purpose which is not direct play--as in
reading; and there are times when they are dissatisfied with their
performances of skill and ask to be shown a better way, and voluntarily
practise to secure the end, as in handwork, arithmetic and some kinds of
physical games. The remainder is probably still pursued for its own
sake. How then can this play spirit be maintained side by side with

First of all, the children should not be required to do anything without
having behind it a purpose that appeals to them; it may not be the
ultimate purpose of "their good," but a secondary reason may be given to
which they will respond readily, generally the pretence reason.
Arithmetic to the ordinary person is a thing of real life; we count
chiefly in connection with money, with making things, with distributing
things, or with arranging things, and we count carefully when we keep
scores in games; in adult life we seldom or never count or perform
arithmetical operations for sheer pleasure in the activity, but there
are many children who do so in the same spirit as we play patience or
chess. And all this is our basis. The arithmetical activities in the
Transition Class should therefore be based on such everyday experiences
as have been mentioned, else there will be no associations made between
the experiences of school and those of life outside. The two must merge.
There is no such thing as arithmetic pure and simple for children unless
they seek it; they must play at real life, and the real life that they
are now capable of appreciating.

Skill in calculation, accuracy and quickness can be acquired by a kind
of practice that children are quite ready for, if it comes when they
realise the need; most children feel that their power to score for games
is often too slow and inaccurate; as store clerks they are uncertain in
their calculations; they will be willing to practise quick additions,
subtractions, multiplications and divisions, in pure arithmetical form,
if the pretence purpose is clearly in view, which to them is a real
purpose; the same thing occurs in writing which should be considered a
side issue of reading; meaningless words or sentences are written
wearily and without pains, but to write the name of a picture you have
painted, at the bottom of it, or to write something that Cinderella's
Godmother said, or bit by bit to write a letter, will be having a
purpose that gives life to an apparently meaningless act, and
thoroughness to the effort.

In handwork, too, at this stage, practice takes an important place: a
child is willing to hem, to try certain brush strokes, to cut evenly,
and later on to use his cardboard knife to effect for the sake of a
future result if he has already experimented freely. This is in full
harmony with the spirit of play, when we think of the practiced
"strokes" and "throws" of the later games, but it is a more advanced
quality of play, because there is the beginning of a purpose which is
separated from immediate pleasure in the activity, there is the hint of
an end in view though it is a child's end, and not the adult or economic

The training of the mother tongue can be made very effective by means
of games: in the days when children's parties were simple, and family
life was united, language games in the long dark evenings gave to many a
grip of words and expressions. Children learnt to describe accurately,
to be very fastidious in choice of words, to ask direct questions, to
give verbal form to thought, all through the stress of such games--Man
and his Shadow, Clumps, Subject and Object, Russian Scandal, the
Minister's Cat, I see a Light, Charades, and acting of all kinds. No
number of picture talks, oral compositions, or observations can compete
in real value with these games, because behind them was a purpose or
need for language that compelled the greatest efforts.

Physical development and its adjustment to mental control owes its
greatest stimulus to games. When physical strength, speed, or nimble
adjustability is the pivot upon which the game depends, special muscles
are made subservient to will: behind the game there is the stimulus of
strong emotion, and here is the greatest factor in establishing
permanent associations between body and mind; psychologists see in many
of these games of physical activity the evolution of the race: drill
pure and simple has its place partly in the same sense as "practice" in
number or handwork, and partly as a corrective to our fallacious system
of education by listening, instead of by activity: and we cannot in a
lifetime acquire the powers of the race except by concentrated practice.
But no amount of drill can give the all-round experience necessary for
physical readiness for an emergency, physical and mental power to
endure, active co-operation, where self-control holds in check ambitious
personal impulses: and no drill seems to give grace and beauty of motion
that the natural activity of dancing can give. It is through the games
that British children inherit, and by means of which they have
unconsciously rehearsed many of the situations of life, that they have
been able to take their place readily in the life of the nation and even
to help to save it. Again, as in other directions, children must be made
to play the game in its thoroughness, for a well-played game gives the
right balance to the activities: drill is more specialised, and has
specialisation for its end: a game calls on the whole of an individual:
he must be alert mentally and physically; and at the same time the sense
of fairness cannot be too strongly insisted on; no game can be tolerated
as part of education where there is looseness in this direction, from
the skittles of the nursery class to the cricket and hockey of the
seventh standard, and nothing will so entirely outrage the children's
feelings as a teacher's careless arbitration. In physical games, too,
the social side is strongly developed: leadership, self-effacement and
co-operation are more valuable lessons of experience than fluent reading
or neat writing or accurate additions: but they have not counted as such
in our economic system of education; they have taken their chance: few
inspectors ask to see whether children know how to "play the game," and
yet they are so soon to play the independent game of life. But the
individual output of reading and sums of a sneaking and cowardly, or
assertive and selfish child, is as good probably as that of a child that
has the makings of a hero in him. And then we wonder at the propensities
of the "lower classes." It is because we have never made sure that they
can play the game.

To summarise: play in the Nursery School stage is unorganised, informal,
and pursued with no motive but pleasure in the activity itself; it is
mainly individual. Play in the Transition Class is more definitely in
the form of games, _i.e._ organised play, efforts of skill, mental or
physical; it becomes social. Play in the Junior School is almost an
occasional method, because the work motive is by this time getting



     "We find in the child's spontaneous choice the nature of the
     surroundings and of the activities he craves for; in other
     words, he makes his own curriculum, and selects his own
     subject matter."

The next problem we have to solve is how to unify the bewildering
variety of ideas and activities that a child seeks contact with during a
day. We found that the curriculum of the Infant School of to-day
presented a rather confusing variety of ideas, not necessarily arranged
as the children would have chosen; they would certainly not have chosen
to break off some intense interest, because an arbitrary timetable
hurried them to something else, and they would have been right. If we
asked the children their reasons for choosing, we would find no clue
except that they chose what they wanted to, neither could they tell us
why they spent so much more time over one thing than another. If a
similar study were to be made of a child from a slum also free to
arrange his day, we should find that while certain general features were
the same others would be different: he would ask for different stories,
probably play different games, or the same games in a different way, his
back-yard would present different aspects, the things he made would be

It is evident that the old correlation method has little or nothing to
do with the matter; a child may or may not draw the rabbit he feeds, he
certainly does not play a rabbit game because of the rabbit he has fed,
nor does he build a rabbit-hutch with his bricks. He might try to make a
real one if the rabbit really needed it, but that arises out of an
obvious necessity. If he could put his unconscious promptings into
words, he would say he did the things because he wanted to, because
somebody else did them, or because of something he saw yesterday, and so
on; but he would always refer back to _himself_. The central link in
each case is in the child, with his special store of experiences derived
from his own particular surroundings; he brings to new experiences his
store of present experiences, his interests not always satisfied, his
powers variously used, he interprets the new by these, and seeks for
more in the line of the old. It is life he has experienced, and he seeks
for more life.

How then can we secure for him that the new experiences presented to him
in school will be in line with the old? We will take three typical cases
of children to illustrate the real nature of this problem.

The first is the case of a child living in a very poor district of
London or of any large town. The school is presumably situated in a
narrow street running off the High Street of the district, the street
where all the shopping is done; at the corner is a hide factory with an
evil smell. Most of the dwelling-houses abut on the pavement, some with
a very small yard behind, some without any. Several families live in one
house, and often one room is all a family can afford; as that has to be
paid for in advance the family address may change frequently. The father
may be a dock labourer with uncertain pay, a coster, a rag and bone
merchant, or he may follow some unskilled occupation of a similarly
precarious nature; in consequence the mother has frequently to do daily
work, the home is locked up till evening, and she often leaves before
the children start for morning school. It is a curious but very common
fact that, free though these children are, they know only a very small
radius around their own homes. They are accustomed to be sent shopping
into High Street, where household stores are bought in pennyworths or
twopennyworths, owing to uncertain finance and no storage accommodation.
Generally there is one tap and one sink in the basement for the needs of
all the families in the house. There is usually a park somewhere within
reach, but it may be a mile away; in it would, at least, be trees, a
pond, grass, flowers. But an excursion there, unless it is undertaken by
the school, can only be hoped for on a fine Bank Holiday; there is
neither time nor money to go on a Saturday, and Sunday cannot be said to
begin till dinner-time, about 3 P.M., when the public-houses close, and
the father comes home to dinner.

It is difficult to imagine the conversation of such a household; family
life exists only on Sunday at dinner-time; the child's background of
family life is a room which is at once a bedroom, living room and
laundry. There is nearly always some part of a meal on the table, and
some washing hanging up. Outside there are the dingy street, the crowded
shops, the pavement to play on, and both outside and in, the bleaker and
more sordid aspects of life, sometimes miserable, sometimes exciting. On
Saturday night the lights are brilliant and life is at least intense.
Bed is a very crowded affair, in which many half-undressed children
sleep covered with the remainder of the day's wardrobe.

What store of experiences does a child from such a neighbourhood bring
to school, to be assimilated with the new experiences provided there?
What do such terms as home, dinner, bed, bath, birth, death, country,
mean to him? They mean _something_.[34]

[Footnote 34: See _Child Life_, October 1916.]

Not a mile away we may come to a very respectable suburb of the average
type; and what is said of it may apply in some degree to a provincial
or country town or, at least, the application can easily be made. The
school probably stands at the top corner of a road of houses rented, at
£25 to £35 per annum, with gardens in front and behind. The road
generally runs into a main road with shops and traffic. Here and there
in the residential road are little oases of shops, patronised by the
neighbourhood, and some of the children may live over these. The home
life is more ordinary and needs less descriptive detail, but there are
some features that must be considered. The decencies, not to say
refinements of eating, sleeping and washing are taken for granted: there
is often a bath-room and always a kitchen. The father's occupation may
be local, but a good many fathers will go to town; there is generally a
family holiday to the sea, or less often to the country. In the house
the degree of refinement varies; there are nearly always pictures of a
sort, books of a sort, and the children are supplied with toys of a
sort. They visit each other's houses, and the observances of social life
are kept variously. Often the horizon is very narrow; the mother's
interest is very local and timid; the father's business life may be
absolutely apart from his home life and never mentioned there. The
family conversation while quite amiable and agreeable may be round very
few topics, and the vocabulary, while quite respectable, may be most
limited. Children's questions may be put aside as either trivial or
unsuitable. In one sense the slum child may be said to have a broader
background, the realities of life are bare to him on their most sordid
side, there is neither mystery nor beauty around life, or death, or the
natural affections. The suburban child may on the contrary be balked and
restricted so that unnecessary mystery gives an unwholesome interest to
these things and conventionality a dishonest reserve.

A suburb of this type is described by Beresford in _Housemates_:--"In
such districts (as Gospel Oak) I am depressed by the flatness of an
awful monotony. The slums vex me far less. There I find adventure and
jest whatever the squalor; the marks of the primitive struggle through
dirt and darkness towards release. Those horrible lines of moody,
complacent streets represent not struggle, but the achievement of a
worthless aspiration. The houses, with their deadly similarity, their
smug, false exteriors, their conformity to an ideal which is typified by
their poor imitative decoration, could only be inhabited by people who
have no thought or desire for expression.... The dwellers in such
districts are cramped into the vice of their environment. Their homes
represent the dull concession to a state rule; and their lives take tone
from the grey, smoke-grimed repetition of one endlessly repeated design.
The same foolish ornamentation on every house reiterates the same
suggestion. Their places of worship, the blank chapels and pseudo-Gothic
churches rear themselves head and shoulders above the dull level, only
to repeat the same threat of obedience to a gloomy law.... The thought
of Gospel Oak and its like is the thought of imitation, of imitation
falling back and becoming stereotyped, until the meaning of the thing so
persistently copied has been lost and forgotten."

A third case is that of the country child, the child who attends the
village school. Many villages lie several miles from a railway station,
so that the younger children may not see a railway train more than once
or twice a year. The fathers may be engaged in village trades, such as a
shoemaker, carpenter, gardener, general shop merchant, farm labourer, or
farmer. The village houses are often cramped and small, but there is
wholesome space outside, and generally a good garden which supplies some
of the family food; milk and eggs are easily obtainable, and conditions
of living are seldom as crowded as in a town. The country children see
more of life in complete miniature than the slum or the suburban child
can do, for the whole life of the village lies before him. The school
is generally in the centre, with a good playground, and of late years a
good school garden is frequent. The village church, generally old, is
another centre of life, and there is at least the vicarage to give a
type of life under different social conditions.

The home intellectual background may vary, but on the whole cannot be
reckoned on very much; though in some ways it is more narrow than the
suburban one, it is often less superficial. In a different way from the
slum child, but none the less definitely, the country child comes face
to face with the realities of life, in a more natural and desirable way
than either of the others. It is difficult to estimate some of the
effects of living in the midst of real nature on children;
unconsciously, they acquire much deep knowledge impossible to learn
through nature study, however good, a kind of knowledge that is part of
their being; but how far it affects them emotionally or enters into
their scheme of life, is hard to say. As they grow up much of it is
merely economic acquirement: if they are to work on the land, or rear
cattle, or drive a van through the country, it is all to the good; but
one thing is noticeable, that they take very quickly to such allurements
of town life as a cinema, or a picture paper or gramophone, and this
points to unsatisfied cravings of some sort, not necessarily so unworthy
or superficial as the means sought to satisfy them.

From these rather extreme cases we get near the solution of the problem;
it is quite evident that each of these children brings to school very
different contributions of experience on which to build, though their
general needs and interests are similar. Therefore the curriculum of the
school will depend on the general surroundings and circumstances of the
children, and all programmes of work and many questions of organisation
will be built on this. The model programme so dear to some teachers must
be banished, as a doctor would banish a general prescription; no honest
teacher can allow this part of her work to be done for her by any one

Therefore the central point is the child's previous experience, and on
this the experience provided by school, _i.e._ curriculum and subject
matter, depends. One or two examples of the working out of this might
make the application clearer. Probably the realities of life in relation
to money differ greatly. The kind of problem presented to the poor town
child will deal with shopping in pennyworths or ounces, with getting
coals in pound bagfuls. Clothes are generally second-hand, and so
ordinary standard prices are out of the question. Bread is bought stale
and therefore cheaper, early in the morning. Preserved milk only is
bought, and that in halfpenny quantities. Only problems based on these
will be real to this child at first.

The suburban child's economic experience may be based on his
pocket-money, money in the bank, and the normal shopping of ordinary

The country child is frequently very ignorant of money values; probably
it will be necessary to take the country general shop as the basis. He
could also begin to estimate the produce of the school garden.


It is quite obvious from the nature of play at this stage that a
time-table is out of the question and in fact an outrage against nature.
Only for social convenience and for the establishment of certain
physical habits can there be fixed hours. There must be approximate
limits as to the times of arrival and departure, but nothing of the
nature of marking registers to record exact minutes. Little children
sometimes sleep late, or, on the other hand, the mothers may have to
leave home very early; all this must be allowed for. There should be
fixed times for meals and for sleep, and these should be rigidly
observed, and there should be regular times for the children to go to
the lavatories; all these establish regularity and self-control, as well
as improving general health. But anything in the nature of story
periods, games periods, handwork periods, only impedes the variously
developing children in their hunger for experiences.

Their curriculum is life as the teacher has spread it out before them;
there are no subjects at this stage; the various aspects ought to be of
the nature of a glorious feast to these young children. Traherne says in
the seventeenth century:--

"Will you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness? Those
pure and virgin apprehensions I had in my infancy, and that divine light
wherewith I was born, are the best unto this day wherein I can see the
Universe.... Verily they form the greatest gift His wisdom can bestow,
for without them all other gifts had been dead and vain. They are
unattainable by books and therefore will I teach them by experience....
Certainly Adam in Paradise had not more sweet and curious apprehensions
of the world than I when I was a child.

"All appeared new and strange at first, inexpressibly rare and
delightful and beautiful. I was a little stranger which at my entrance
into the world was saluted and surrounded with innumerable joys.... I
knew by intuition those things which since my apostasy I collected again
by the highest reason.... All things were spotless and pure and
glorious; yea, and infinitely mine, and joyful and precious.... I saw in
all the peace of Eden.... Is it not that an infant should be heir of the
whole world, and see those mysteries which the books of the learned
never unfold?

"The corn was orient and immortal wheat which never should be reaped,
nor was ever sown. I thought it stood from everlasting to everlasting.
The dust and stones of the street were as precious as gold: the gates
were at first the end of the world. The green trees when I saw them
first through one of the gates transported and ravished me: ... the
skies were mine, and so were the sun and moon and stars, and all the
world was mine: and I the only spectator and enjoyer of it.... So that
with much ado I was corrupted and made to learn the dirty devices of
this world, which I now unlearn, and become, as it were, a little child
again that I may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

If this is what life means to the young child, and Traherne only records
what many of us have forgotten there is little need for interference: we
can only spread the feast and stand aside to watch for opportunities.

The following extract is given from a teacher's note-book: it shows how
many possibilities open out to a teacher, and how impossible it is to
keep to a time-table, or even to try to name the activities. The
children concerned were about five years old, newly admitted to a poor
school in S.E. London. The records are selected from a continuous
period, and do not apply to one day:--


_Number Occupations._--This will    The children played, freely
be entirely free and the children        chalking most of the time; those
will choose their own toys and           threading beads were most
put them away.                           interested. Again I noticed the
                                         lack of idea of colour; I found
                                         one new boy placing his sticks
                                         according to colour, without
                                         knowing the names of the colours.
                                         The boys thought the soldiers
                                         belonged to them, and laughed at
                                         a little girl for choosing them.

_Language Training._--I have        I realised this was a failure,
discovered that they love to             for I asked the children to use
imitate sounds, so we will play          their boards and chalks for a
at this. They could draw a cat           definite drawing, and they should
and say "miauw," and a duck and          have had the time to use them
say "quack." They could also             freely and discover their use. I
imitate the wind.                        got very little information about
                                         their vocabulary.

_Language Training_ (_another     I found that many children
day_).--I shall try to induce the     pronounced words so strangely
children to speak to me about their      that I could only with difficulty
homes, in order to discover any          recognise them. One said she
difficulties of pronunciation and        had a "bresser" with "clates"
to make them more fluent.                on it and "knies" Others spoke
                                         of "manckle," "firebrace," "forts."
                                         One child speaking of curly hair
                                         called it "killeyer." We had no
                                         time for the story.

_Playing with Toys._--The           Noah's arks, dolls, and bricks
children will choose their own toys,     were used, and I found that the
and as far as possible I will put        girls who had no dolls at home
a child who knows how to use them        were delighted to be able to dress
next to one who desires to sit           and undress them and put them
still.                                   to bed. One little girl walked
                                         backwards and forwards before
                                         the class getting her doll to
                                         sleep; the boys were making a
                                         noise with their arks and she
                                         remarked on this, so we induced
                                         them to be silent while the dolls
                                         were put to sleep. The boys
                                         arranged their animals in long
                                         lines. The bricks were much more
                                         carefully put away to-day.


Even after the Nursery School period much of the curriculum and subject
matter is in the hands of the children themselves, though the relative
proportions will vary according to the children's experiences. It is
pretty evident to the honest-minded teacher that the subjects are, in
school terms, nature work and elementary science, mathematics,
constructive and expressive work, literature, music, language, physical
exercise and religion. The business of the younger child is with real
things and activity, not with symbols and passivity, therefore he is not
really in need of reading, writing, or arithmetic. We hear arguments
from ambitious teachers that children are fond of reading lessons
because they enjoy the fantasies in which these lessons are wrapped, or
the efforts made by the teacher to create interest; we hear that
children ask to be taught to read; they also ask to be taught to drive a
tram or to cook a dinner; but it is all part of the pretence game of
playing at being grown up. They do not need to read while stories and
poetry can be told or read to them; they are not ready to make the
effort of working for a remote economic end, where there is no real
pleasure in the activity, and no opportunity of putting their powers to
use. No child under six wants to sit down and read, and it would be very
harmful if he did; his business is with real things and with his
vocabulary, which is not nearly ready to put into symbols yet. If
reading is delayed, hours of weary drudgery will be saved and energy
stored for more precious attainments.

Therefore in the transition class (_i.e._ children over six at lowest)
the only addition to the curriculum already set out for the nursery
class, would be arithmetic and reading, including writing. The other
differences would be in degree only. In the junior class (with children
over seven at lowest) a desire to know something of the doings of people
in other countries, to hear about other parts of our own land, will lead
to the beginnings of geography; while with this less imaginative and
more literal period comes the request for stories that are more verbally
true, and questions about origins, leading to the beginnings of history.

It is very much easier to give the general curriculum than to deal with
the choice of actual material, because that is involved largely with the
principle of the unity of experience, and, as we know, experiences vary.
The normal town and country child, and the abnormal child of poverty
have all certain human cravings in common, and these are provided for in
the aspects of life or subjects that have been named--but this is far
too general an application to be the end of the matter; each subject has
many sides to offer. There may be for example the pottery town, the
weaving town, the country town, the fishing town, the colliery town: in
the country there is the district of the dairy farmer, of the sheep
farmer, of the grain grower and miller, of the fruit farmer, of the hop
grower, and many districts may partake of more than one characteristic.
Perhaps the most curious anomaly of experience is that of the child of
the London slums who goes "hopping" into some of the loveliest parts of
Kent, in early autumn. And so in a general way at least the concentrated
experience of school must fill gaps and supply experiences that life has
not provided for.

One of the pottery towns in Staffordshire is built on very unfertile
clay; there are several potteries in the town belching out smoke, and,
in addition, rows of monotonous smoke-blackened houses; almost always a
yellow pall of smoke hangs over the whole district, and even where the
edge of the country might begin, the grass and trees are poor and
blackened, and distant views are seen through a haze. There are almost
no gardens in the town, and very little attempt has been made to
beautify it, because the results are so disappointing. Beauty,
therefore, in various forms must be a large part of the curriculum:
already design is a common interest in the pottery museums of the
district, and this could be made a motive for the older children; but in
the Junior and Nursery School pictures of natural beauty, wild flowers
if it is possible to get them, music, painting and drawing, and
literature should bulk largely enough to make a permanent impression on
the children. In a very remote country village where life seems to go
slowly, and days are long, children should be encouraged, by means of
the school influence, to make things that absorb thought and interest,
to tell and hear stories. Storytelling in the evening round the fire is
a habit of the past, and might well supply some of the cravings that
have to be satisfied by the "pictures." Most of us have to keep
ourselves well in hand when we listen to a recitation in much the same
way as when a slate pencil used to creak; it would be very much better
if the art of storytelling were cultivated at school, encouraged at
home, and applied to entertainments. Indeed the entertainments of a
village school, instead of being the unnatural and feverish production
of hours of overtime, might well be the ordinary outcome of work both at
school and at home--and thus a motive for leisure is naturally supplied
and probably a hobby initiated.

It is profitable sometimes to group the subjects of experience in order
to preserve balance. All getting of experience is active, but some kinds
more obviously than others. Undoubtedly in hearing stories and poetry,
in watching a snail or a bee, in listening to music, the activity is
mental rather than physical and assimilation of ideas is more direct; in
discovering experiences by means of construction, expression, experiment
or imitation, assimilation is less direct but often more permanent and
secure. Froebel discriminates between impression and expression, or
taking in and giving out, and although he constantly emphasised that the
child takes in by giving, it is convenient to recognise this
distinction. Another helpful grouping is the more objective one. Some
subjects refer more particularly to human conduct, the enlargement of
experiences of human beings, and the building up of the ideal: these are
literature, music, history and geography; others refer to life other
than that of human beings, commonly known as nature study and science;
others to the properties of inanimate things, and to questions
throughout all life of measurement, size and force--this is known as
mathematics; others of the life behind the material and the spiritual
world--this is known as religion.



     "The atmosphere of freedom is the only atmosphere in which a
     child can gain experiences that will help to develop

The principle of Freedom underlies all the activities of the school and
does not refer to conduct simply; intellectual and emotional aspects of
discipline are too often ignored and we have as a product the
commonplace, narrow, imitative person, too timid or too indolent to
think a new thought, or to feel strongly enough to stand for a cause.
Self-control is the goal of discipline, but independent thinking,
enthusiasm and initiative are all included in the term.

It will be well to discriminate between the occasions, both in the
Nursery School and in the transition and junior classes, when a child
should be free to learn by experience and when he should be controlled
from without. We shall probably find occasions which partake of the
nature of each.

The Nursery School is a collection of individuals presumably from 2-1/2
to 5-1/2 years of age. They know no social life beyond the family life,
and family experience is relative to the size of the family. In any case
they have not yet measured themselves against their peers, with the
exception of the occasional twin. A few months ago about twenty children
of this description formed the nucleus of a new Nursery School where, as
far as possible, the world in miniature was spread out before them, and
they were guided in their entrance to it by an experienced teacher and
a young helper. For the first few weeks the chief characteristic was
noise; the children rushed up and down the large room, shouting, and
pushing any portable toys they could find. One little boy of 2-1/2
employed himself in what can only be called "punching" the other
children, snatching their possessions away from them and responding to
the teacher by the law of contra-suggestion. He was the most intelligent
child in the school. He generally left a line of weeping children behind
him, and several began to imitate him. The pugnacious instinct requires
little encouragement. Lunch was a period of snatching, spilling, and
making plans to get the best. Many of the toys provided were carelessly
trampled upon and broken: requests to put away things at the end of the
day were almost unavailing.

When the time for sleeping came in the afternoon many of the children
refused to lie down: some consented but only to sing and talk as they
lay. Only one, a child of 2-1/2, slept, because he cried himself to
sleep from sheer strangeness. This apparently unbeautiful picture is
only the first battle of the individual on his entrance to the life of
the community.

On the other hand, there were intervals of keen joy: water, sand and
clay chiefly absorbed the younger children: the older ones wanted to
wash up and scrub, and many spent a good deal of time looking at
picture-books. This was the raw material for the teacher to begin with:
the children came from comfortable suburban homes: none were really
poor, and many had known no privation. They were keen for experiences
and disposed to be very friendly to her.

After five months there is a marked difference in spirit. The noise is
modified because the children found other absorbing interests, though at
times nature still demands voice production. During lunch time and
sleeping time there is quiet, but the teacher has never _asked_ for
silence unless there was some such evident reason. There is no silence
game. The difference has come from within the children. All now lie down
in the afternoon quietly, and the greater number sleep; but there has
been no command or any kind of general plan: again the desire has
gradually come to individuals from suggestion and imitation. Lunch is
quite orderly, but not yet without an occasional accident or struggle.
There is much less fighting, but primitive man is still there. The most
marked development is in the growth of the idea of "taking turns"; the
children have begun to master this all-important lesson of life. The
strong pugnacious habit in the little punching boy reached a point that
showed he was unable to conquer it from within: about two months after
his arrival the teacher consulted his mother, who confirmed all that the
teacher had experienced: her prescription was smacking. After a good
deal of thought and many ineffectual talks and experiments with the boy,
the teacher came to the conclusion that the mother was right: she took
him to the cloakroom after the next outbreak and smacked his hands: he
was surprised and a little hurt, but very soon forgot and continued his
practices: on the next occasion the teacher repeated the punishment and
it was never again necessary. For a few days he was at a loss for an
occupation because punching had become a confirmed habit, but soon other
interests appealed to him: he has never changed in his trust in his
teacher of whom he is noticeably very fond, and he has now realised that
he must control a bad habit. This example has been given at length to
illustrate the relation of government to freedom.

If these children had been in the ordinary Baby Room, subject to a
time-table, to constant plans by the teacher for their activities, few
or none of these occasions would have occurred: the incipient so-called
naughtiness would have been displayed only outside, in the playground or
at home: there would have been little chance of chaos, of fighting, of
punching, of trying to get the best thing and foremost place, there
would have been little opportunity for choice and less real absorption,
because of the time-table. The children would have been happy enough,
but they would not have been trained to live as individuals. Outward
docility is a fatal trait and very common in young children; probably it
is a form of self-preservation. But the real child only lies in wait to
make opportunities out of school. The school is therefore not preparing
him for life.

       *       *       *       *       *

Freedom in the transition and the junior school must be differently
applied: individual life begins to merge into community life, and the
children begin to learn that things right for individuals may be wrong
for the community. But the problem of freedom is not as easy as the
problem of authority: standards must be greatly altered and outward
docility no longer mistaken for training in self-control. Individual
training cannot suddenly become class discipline, neither can children
be switched from the Nursery School to a full-blown class system.

The idea of class teaching must be postponed, for out of it come most of
the difficulties of discipline, and it is not the natural arrangement at
this transitional period. A teacher is imposing on a number of very
different individuals a system that says their difficulties are alike,
that they must all work at one rate and in one way: and so we have the
weary "reading round" class, when the slow ones struggle and the quick
ones find other and unlawful occupation: we have the number lessons
broken by the teacher's breathless attempts to see that all the class
follows: we have the handwork that imposes an average standard of work
that fits nobody exactly. Intellectual freedom can only come by
individual or group work, while class teaching is only for such
occasions as a literature or a singing lesson, or the presentation of an
occasional new idea in number. Individual and group work need much
organisation, but while classes consist of over forty children there is
no other way to permit intellectual and moral freedom. Of course the
furniture of the room will greatly help to make this more possible, and
it is hoped that an enlightened authority will not continue to supply
heavy iron-framed desks for the junior school, those described as "desks
for listening."

The prevailing atmosphere should be a busy noise and not silence--it
should be the noise of children working, oftener than of the teacher
teaching, _i.e._ teaching the whole class. The teacher should be more
frequently among the children than at her desk, and the children's
voices should be heard more often than hers.

Such children will inevitably become intellectually independent and
morally self-controlled. Most of the order should be taken in hand by
children in office, and they should be distinguished by a badge: most
questions of punishment should be referred to them. This means a
constant appeal to the law that is behind both teacher and children and
which they learn to reach apart from the teacher's control.

"Where 'thou shalt' of the law becomes 'I will' of the doer, then we are


The aim of the following chapters is to show how principles may be
applied to what are usually known as subjects of the curriculum, and
what place these subjects take in the acquisition of experience. An
exhaustive or detailed treatment of method is not intended, but merely
the establishment of a point of view and method of application.



It is always difficult to see the beginnings of things: we know that
stories form the raw material of morality, it is not easy to trace
morality in _Little Black Sambo, The Three Bears, Alice in Wonderland,_
or _The Sleeping Beauty,_ but nevertheless morality is there if we
recognise morality in everyday things. It is not too much to say that
everybody should have an ideal, even a burglar: his ideal is to be a
good and thorough burglar, and probably if he is a burglar of the finer
sort, it is to play fair to the whole gang. It is better to be a burglar
with an ideal than a blameless person with very little soul or
personality, who just slides through life accepting things: it is better
to have a coster's ideal of a holiday than to be too indifferent or
stupid to care or to know what you want.

Now ideals are supposed to be the essence of morality and morality comes
to us through experience, and only experience tests its truth. The
story with a moral is generally neither literature nor morality, except
such unique examples as _The Pilgrim's Progress _or _Everyman_. The kind
of experience with which morality is concerned is experience of human
life in various circumstances, and the way people behave under those
circumstances. The beginning of such experience is our own behaviour and
the behaviour of other people we know, but this is too limited an
experience to produce a satisfactory ideal; so we crave for something
wider. It is curious how strong is the craving for this kind of
experience in all normal children, in whom one would suppose sense
experiences and especially muscular experiences to be enough. The need
to know about people other than ourselves, and yet not too unlike, in
circumstances other than our own, and yet not too strange, seems to be a
necessary part of our education, and we interpret it in the light of our
own personal conduct. Out of this, as well as out of our direct
experience, we build our ideal. When one realises how an ideal may
colour the whole outlook of a person, one begins to realise what
literature means to a child. The early ideal is crude; it may be Jack
the Giant-Killer, or an engine-driver, Cinderella, or the step-cleaner;
this may grow into Hiawatha or Robinson Crusoe, for boys, and a fairy
tale Princess or one of the "Little Women" for girls. In every hero a
child half-unconsciously sees himself, and the ideal stimulates all that
hidden life which is probably the most important part of his growth. As
indirect experiences grow, or in other words as he hears or reads more
stories, his ideal widens, and his knowledge of the problems of life is
enlarged. This is the raw material of morality, for out of his answers
to these problems he builds up standards of conduct and of judgement. He
projects himself into his own ideal, and he projects himself into the
experiences of other people: he lives in both: this is imagination of
the highest kind, it is often called sympathy, but the term is too
limited, it is rather imaginative understanding.

There is another side of life grasped by means of this new world of
experience, and that is, the spiritual side that lies between conduct
and ideals; children have always accepted the supernatural quite readily
and it is not to be wondered at, for all the world is new and therefore
supernatural to them. Magic is done daily in children's eyes, and there
is no line between what is understandable and what is not, until adults
try to interpret it for them.

They are curious about birth and death and all origins: thunder is
terrifying, the sea is enthralling, the wind is mysterious, the sky is
immense, and all suggest a power beyond: in this the children are
reproducing the race experience as expressed in myths, when power was
embodied in a god or goddess. Therefore the fairy world or the giant
world, or the wood full of dwarfs and witches' houses, is as real to
them, and as acceptable, as any part of life. It is their recognition of
a world of spirits which later on mingles itself with the spiritual life
of religion. That life is behind all matter, is the main truth they
hold, and while it is difficult here to disentangle morality from
religion, it is supremely evident that a very great and significant side
of a child's education is before us.

It is by means of the divine gift of imagination, probably the most
spiritual of a child's gifts, that he can lay hold of all that the world
of literature has to offer him. Because of imagination he is independent
of poverty, monotony, and the indifference of other people; he has a
world of his own in which nothing is impossible. Edwin Pugh says of a
child of the slums who was passionately fond of reading cheap
literature:--"It was by means of this penny passport to Heaven that she
escaped from the Hell of her surroundings. It was in the maudlin fancies
of some poor besotted literary hack maybe, that she found surcease from
the pains of weariness, the carks and cares of her miserable estate."

A teacher realising this, should feel an almost unspeakable sense of
responsibility in having to select and present matter: but the problem
should be solved on the one hand by her own high standard of story
material, and on the other by her knowledge of the child's needs.
According to his experiences of life the interpretation of the story
will differ: for example, it was found that the children of a low slum
neighbourhood translated _Jack the Giant-killer_ into terms of a street
fight: to children living by a river or the sea, the _Water-Babies_ would
mean very much, while _Jan of the Windmill_ would be more familiar
ground for country children. Fairy stories of the best kind have a
universal appeal.

In choosing a story a teacher should be aware of the imperishable part
of it, the truth around which it grew; sometimes the truth may seem a
very commonplace one, sometimes a curious one. For example, very young
children generally prefer stories of home life because round the family
their experience gathers: the subject seems homely, but it is really one
of the fundamental things of life and the teacher should realise this in
such a way that the telling or reading of the story makes the kernel its
central point. To some children the ideal home life comes only through
literature: daily experiences rather contradict it. Humour is an
important factor in morality; unless a person is capable of seeing the
humor of a situation he is likely to be wanting in a sense of balance;
the humor of a situation is often caused by the wrong proportion or
wrong balance of things: for example the humour of _The Mad Tea-Party_
lies, partly at least, in the absurd gravity with which the animals
regarded the whole situation, the extreme literal-mindedness of Alice,
and the exaggerated imitation of human beings: a really moral person
must have balance as well as sympathy, else he sees things out of
proportion. These examples make evident that we are not to seek for
anything very patently high-flown in the stories for children; it is
life in all its phases that gives the material, but it must be true
life: not false or sentimental or trivial life: this will rule out the
"pretty" stories for children written by trivial people in teachers'
papers, or the pseudo-nature story, or the artificial myth of the "How
did" type, or the would-be childish story where the language is rather
that of the grown-up imitating children than that of real children. Of
late years, with the discovery of children, children's literature has
grown, and there is a good deal to choose from past and present writers.

There is no recognised or stereotyped method of telling a story to
children: it is something much deeper than merely an acquired art, it is
the teacher giving something of her personality to the children,
something that is most precious. One of the finest of our English
Kindergarten teachers once said, "I feel almost as if I ought to prepare
my soul before telling a story to young children," and this is the sense
in which the story should be chosen and told. There are, of course,
certain external qualifications which must be so fully acquired as to be
used unconsciously, such as a good vocabulary, power over one's voice, a
recognition of certain literary phases in a story, such as the working
up to the dramatic crisis, the working down to the end so that it shall
not fall flat, and the dramatic touches that give life; these are
certainly most necessary, and should be studied and cultivated; but a
teacher should not be hampered in her telling by being too conscious of
them. Rather she should feel such respect and even reverence for this
side of a child's education that the framework and setting can only be
of the best, always remembering at the same time what is framework and
setting, and what is essence.

Much that has been said about the method and aim of stories might apply
to those taken from the Bible, but they need certain additional
considerations. Here religion and morality come very closely together:
the recognition of a definite personality behind all circumstances of
life, to whom our conduct matters, gives a soul to morality. The Old
Testament is a record of the growth of a nation more fully conscious of
God than is the record of any other nation, and because of this children
can understand God in human life when they read such stories as the
childhood of Moses and of Samuel. Children resemble the young Jewish
nation in this respect: they accept the direct intervention of God in
the life of every day. Their primitive sense of justice, which is an eye
for an eye, will make them welcome joyfully the plagues of Egypt and the
crossing of the Red Sea. It would be premature to force on them the more
mature idea of mercy, which would probably lead to confusion of
judgement: they must be clear about the balance of things before they
readjust it for themselves.

Much of the material in the Old Testament is hardly suitable for very
young children, but the most should be made of what there is: the lives
of Eastern people are interesting to children and help to make the
phraseology of the Psalms and even of the narratives clear to them.
Wonder stories such as the Creation, the Flood, the Burning Bush,
Elijah's experiences, appeal to them on another side, the side that is
eager to wonder: the accounts of the childhood of Ishmael, Isaac,
Joseph, Moses, David and Samuel, and the little Syrian maid, come very
close to them. Such stories should be given to young children so that
they form part of the enchanted memory of childhood--which is permanent.

With the New Testament the problem is more difficult: one hesitates to
bring the life of Christ before children until they are ready to
understand, even in some degree, its significance; the subject is apt to
be dealt with either too familiarly, and made too commonplace and
everyday a matter, or as something so far removed from human affairs as
to be mysterious and remote to a child. To mix Old and New Testament
indiscriminately, as, for example, by taking them on alternate days, is
unforgivable, and no teacher who has studied the Bible seriously could
do so, if she cared about the religious training of her children, and
understood the Bible.

If the children can realise something of the sense in which Christ
helped human beings, then some of the incidents in His life might be
given, such as His birth, His work of healing, feeding and helping the
poor, and some of His stories, such as the lost sheep, the lost son, the
sower, the good Samaritan. It is difficult to speak strongly enough of
the mistreatment of Scripture, under the name of religion: it has been
spoilt more than any other subject in the curriculum, chiefly by being
taken too often and too slightly, by teachers who may be in themselves
deeply religious, but who have not applied intelligence to this matter.
The religious life of a young child is very direct: there is only a
little in the religious experiences of the Jews that can help him, and
much that can puzzle and hinder him; their interpretation of God as
revengeful, cruel and one-sided in His dealings with their enemies must
greatly puzzle him, when he hears on the other hand that God is the
Father of all the nations on the earth. What is suitable should be taken
and taken well, but there is no virtue in the Bible misunderstood.

Poetry is a form of literature which appeals to children _if they are
not made to learn it by rote_. Unconsciously they learn it very quickly
and easily, if they understand in a general way the meaning, and if they
like the sound of the words. Rhythm is an early inheritance and can be
encouraged by poetry, music and movement. The sound of words appeals
strongly to young children, and rhyming is almost a game. The kind of
poetry preferred varies a good deal but on the whole narrative or
nonsense verses seem most popular; few children are ready for sentiment
or reflection even about themselves, and this is why some of Stevenson's
most charming poems about children are not appreciated by them as much
as by grown-up people. And for the same reason only a few nature poems
are really liked.

Without doubt, the only aim in giving poetry to children is to help them
to appreciate it, and the only method to secure this is to read it to
them appreciatively and often.

Besides such anthologies as _The Golden Staircase,_ E.V. Lucas's _Book
of Verses for Children,_ and others, we must go to the Bible for poems
like the Song of Miriam, or of Deborah, and the Psalms; to Shakespeare
for such songs as "Where the Bee Sucks," "I know a Bank," "Ye Spotted
Snakes," either with or without music; to Longfellow's _Hiawatha_ for
descriptive pieces, and to Scott and Tennyson for ballads and songs, and
to many other simple classic sources outside the ordinary collections.

In both prose and poetry, probably the ultimate aim is appreciation of
beauty in human conduct. Clutton Brock says, "The value of art is the
value of the aesthetic activity of the spirit, and we must all value
that before we can value works of art rightly: and ultimately we must
value this glory of the universe, to which we give the name of beauty
when we apprehend it." Again he says, "Parents, nurses and teachers
ought to be aware that the child when he forgets himself in the beauty
of the world is passing through a sacred experience which will enrich
and glorify the whole of his life."

If all this is what literature means in a child's experiences of life,
then it must be given a worthy place in the time-table and curriculum
and in the serious preparation by the teacher for her work.



The first experiences the child gains from the world of nature are those
of beauty, of sound, colour and smell. Flowers at first are just lovely
and sweet-smelling; the keen senses of a child are more deeply satisfied
with colour and scent than we have any idea of, unless some faint memory
of what it meant remains with us. But he begins to grasp real scientific
truth from his experiences with the elements which have for him such a
mysterious attraction; by the very contact with water something in the
child responds to its stimulus. Mud and sand have their charms, quite
intangible, but universal, from prince to coster; a bonfire is something
that arouses a kind of primeval joy. Again, race experience reproducing
itself may account for all this, and it must be satisfied. The demand
for contact with the rest of nature is a strong and fierce part of human
nature, and it means the growth of something in life that we cannot do
without. We induce children to come into our schools when this hunger is
at its fiercest, and very often we do nothing to satisfy it, but set
them in rooms to look at things inanimate when their very being is
crying out for life. "I want something and I don't know what to want" is
the expression of a state very frequent in children, and not infrequent
in grown-up people, because they have been balked of something.

How, then, can we provide for their experience of this side of life? We
have tried to do so in the past by object and nature lessons, but we
must admit that they are not the means by which young children seek to
know life, or by which they appreciate its beauty. We have been trying
to kill too many birds with one stone in our economic way; "to train the
powers of observation," "to teach a child to express himself," "to help
a child to gain useful knowledge about living things," have been the
most usual aims. And the method has been that of minute examination of a
specimen from the plant or animal world, utterly detached from its
surroundings, considered by the docile child in parts, such as leaves,
stem, roots, petals, and uses; or head, wings, legs, tail, and habits.
The innocent listener might frequently think with reason that a number
lesson rather than a nature lesson was being given. The day of the
object lesson is past, and to young children the nature lesson must
become nature work.

It is in the term "nature lesson" that the root of the mischief lies:
nature is not a lesson to the young child, it is an interest from which
he seeks to gain more pleasure, by means of his own activity: plants
encourage him to garden, animals stir his desire to watch, feed and
protect; water, earth and fire arouse his craving to investigate and
experiment: there is no motive for passive study at this juncture, and
without a motive or purpose all study leads to nothing. Adults compare,
and count the various parts of a living thing for purposes of
classification connected with the subdivisions of life which we call
botany and zoology; but such things are far removed from the young
child's world--only gradually does it begin to dawn on him that there
are interesting likenesses, and that in this world, as in his own, there
are relationships; when he realises this, the time for a nature lesson
has come. But much direct experience must come first.

In setting out the furnishing of the school the need for this activity
is implied. No school worthy of the name can do without a garden, any
more than it can do without reading books, or blackboards, indeed the
former need is greater: if it is possible, and possibilities gradually
merge into acceptances, a pond should be in the middle of the garden,
and trees should also be considered as part of the whole. It is not
difficult for the ordinary person to make a pond, or even to begin a

In a school situated in S.E. London in the midst of rows of monotonous
little houses, and close to a busy railway junction, a miracle was
performed: the playground was not very large, and of the usual
uncompromising concrete. The children, most of whose fathers worked on
the railway, lived in the surrounding streets, and most of them had a
back-yard of sorts; they had little or no idea of a garden. One of the
teachers had, however, a vision which became a reality. She asked her
children to help to make a garden, and for weeks every child brought
from his back-yard his little paper bag of soil which was deposited over
some clinkers that were spread out in a narrow border against the
outside wall; in a few months there was a border of two yards in which
flowers were planted: the caretaker, inspired by the sight, did his
share of fixing a wooden strip as a kind of supporting border to the
whole: in two years the garden had spread all round the outside wall of
the playground, and belonged to several classes.

An even greater miracle was performed in a dock-side school, where to
most of the children a back-yard was a luxury beyond all possibility.
The school playground was very small, and evening classes made a school
garden quite impossible. But the head mistress was one who saw life full
of possibilities, and so she saw a garden even in the sordidness. Round
the parish church was a graveyard long disused, and near one of the
gates a small piece of ground that had never been used for any
graveyard purpose: it was near enough to the school to be possible, and
in a short time the miracle happened--the entrance to the graveyard
became a children's flowering garden.

Inside the school where plants and flowers in pots are numerous, a part
of the morning should be spent in the care of these: few people know how
to arrange flowers, and fewer how to feed and wash them; if there are an
aquarium or chrysalis boxes, they have to be attended to: all this
should be a regular duty with a strong sense of responsibility attached
to it; it is curious how many people are content to live in an
atmosphere of decaying matter.

If the children enjoy so intensely the colour of the leaves and flowers
they will be glad to have the opportunity of painting them; this is as
much a part of nature work as any other, and it should be used as such,
because it emphasises so strongly the side of appreciation of beauty, a
side very often neglected. It is here that the individual paint box is
so important. If children are to have any sense of colour they must
learn to match very truthfully; there is a great difference between the
blue of the forget-me-not and of the bluebell, but only by experiment
can children discover that the difference lies in the amount of red in
the latter. By means of discoveries of this kind they will see new
colours in life around them, and a new depth of meaning will come to
their everyday observations. This is true observation, not the "look and
say" of the oral lesson, which has no purpose in it, and leads to no
natural activity, or to appreciation.

It is difficult to satisfy the interest in animals. In connection with
the Nursery School the most suitable have been mentioned. The transition
and junior school children may see others when they go for excursions.
At this stage, too, children have a great desire to learn about wild
animals, and the need often arises out of their literature: the camel
that brought Rebecca to Isaac, the wolf that adopted Mowgli, the
reindeer that carried Kay and Gerda, the fox that tried to eat the seven
little kids, Androcles' lion, and Black Sambo's tiger, might form an
interesting series, helped by pictures of the creature _in its own
home_. It is difficult to say whether this may be termed literature,
geography, or nature study. The difficulty serves to show the unity of
life at this period. Books such as Seton Thompson's, Long's, and
Kearton's, and many others, supply living experiences of animal life
impossible to get from less direct sources.

As children get older, and have the power to look back, they will feel
the necessity of keeping records; and thus the Nature Calendar,
forerunner of geography, will be adopted naturally.

Another important feature in nature experiences is the excursion.
Froebel says: "Not only children and boys, but indeed many adults, fare
with nature and her character as ordinary men fare with the air. They
live in it and yet scarcely know it as something distinct ... therefore
these children and boys who spend all their time in the fields and
forests see and feel nothing of the beauties of nature and their
influence on the human heart. They are like people who have grown up in
a very beautiful country and who have no idea of its beauty and its
spirit ... therefore it is so important that boys and adults should go
into the fields and forests, together striving to receive into their
hearts and minds the life and spirit of nature." It is evident from this
that excursions are as necessary in the country as in the town, where
instead of the "fields and forests" perhaps only a park is possible, but
there is no virtue in an excursion taken without preparation. The
teacher must first of all visit the place and see what it is likely to
give the children. She must tell them something of it, give them some
aim in going there, such as collecting leaves or fruits, or recording
different shapes of bare trees, or collecting things that grow in the
grass. These are examples of what a town park might yield. Within one
group of children there might be many with different aims. During the
days following the excursion time should be spent in using these
experiences, either by means of painting and modelling, or making
classified collections of things found, or compiling records, oral or
written. Otherwise the excursion degenerates into a school treat without
its natural enjoyment.

With regard to the inevitable gaps in the children's minds in connection
with the world of living things, such pictures as the following should
be in every town school: a pine wood, a rabbit warren, a natural pond, a
ditch and hedge, a hayfield in June, a wild daffodil patch, a sheet of
bluebells, a cornfield at different stages, an orchard in spring and in
autumn, and many others. These must be constantly used when they are
needed, and not misused in the artificial method known as "picture

There is another side to nature work. Froebel says: "The things of
nature form a more beautiful ladder between heaven and earth than that
seen by Jacob; not a one-sided ladder leading in one direction, but an
all-sided one leading in all directions. Not in dreams is it seen; it is
permanent, it surrounds us on all sides."

Froebel believed that contact with nature helps a child's realisation of
God, and any one who believes in early religious experience must agree;
a child's early questions and difficulties, as well as his early awe and
fear show it--he is probably nearer to God in his nature work than in
many of the _daily_ Scripture lessons. All his education should be
permeated by spiritual feeling, but there are some aspects in which the
realisation is clearer, and possibly his contact with nature stands out
as the highest in this respect. There is no conscious method or art in
bringing this about; the teacher must feel it and be convinced of it.

Thus we come to the conclusion that the Nursery School nature work can
be safely left to look after itself, provided the surroundings are
satisfying and the children are free.

In the transition and the junior school there should be no nature
lessons of the object lesson type, but plenty of nature work, leading to
talks, handwork, and poetry. The aim is not economic or informational at
this stage, but the development of pure appreciation and interest. There
can hardly be a regular place on the time-table for such irregular work,
comprising excursions, gardening, handwork, and literature at least, and
depending on the weather and the seasons. There should always be a
regular morning time for attending to plants and animals and for the
Nature Calendar, but no "living" teacher will be a slave to mere
time-table thraldom.



By means of toys, handwork and games, as well as various private
individual experiments, a child touches on most sides of mathematics in
the nursery class. In experimenting with bricks he must of necessity
have considered relative size, balance and adjustment, form and
symmetry; in fitting them back into their boxes some of the most
difficult problems of cubic content; in weighing out "pretence" sugar
and butter by means of sand and clay new problems are there for
consideration; in making a paper-house questions of measurement evolve.
This is all in the incidental play of the Nursery School, and yet we
might say that a child thus occupied is learning mathematics more than
anything else. Here, if he remained till six, he did a certain amount of
necessary counting, and he may have acquired skill in recognising
groups, he may have unconsciously and incidentally performed
achievements in the four rules, but never, of course, in any shortened
or technical form. Probably he knows some figures. It is best to give
these to a child when he asks for or needs them, as in the case of
records of games. On the other hand he may be content with strokes.
Various mathematical relationships are made clear in his games or trials
of strength, such as distance in relation to time or strength, weight in
relation to power and to balance, length and breadth in relation to
materials, value of material in relation to money or work. By means of
many of his toys the properties of solids have become working knowledge
to him. Here, then, is our starting-point for the transition period.


Undoubtedly the aim of the transition class is partly to continue by
means of games and dramatic play the kind of knowledge gained in the
Nursery School; but it has also the task of beginning to organise such
knowledge, as the grouping into tens and hundreds. This organisation of
raw material and the presenting of shortened processes, as occur in the
first four rules, forms the work also of the junior school. To give to a
child shortened processes which he would be very unlikely to discover in
less than a lifetime, is simply giving him the experience of the race,
as primitive man did to his son. But the important point is to decide
when a child's discovery should end and the teacher's demonstration

This is the period when we are accustomed to speak of beginning
"abstract" work; it is well to be clear what it means, and how it stands
related to a child's need for experience. When we leave the problems of
life, such as shopping, keeping records of games and making measurements
for construction; and when we begin to work with pure number, we are
said to be dealing with the abstract. Formerly dealing with pure number
was called "simple," and dealing with actual things, such as money and
measures, "compound," and they were taken in this order. But experience
has reversed the process, and a child comes to see the need of abstract
practice when he finds he is not quick enough or accurate enough, or his
setting out seems clumsy, in actual problems. This was discussed at
greater length in the chapter on Play.

For instance, he might set down the points of a game by strokes, each
line representing a different opponent:

John   ||||||||||||||||

Henry  |||||||||||

Tom    |||

He will see how difficult it is to estimate at a glance the exact score,
and how easy it is to be inaccurate. It seems the moment to show him
that the idea of grouping or enclosing a certain number, and always
keeping to the same grouping, is helpful:

John       ||||||||||   ||||||  =   1 ten and 6 singles.

Henry      ||||||||||   |       =   1 ten and 1 single.

Tom                     |||     =   3 singles.

After doing this a good many times he could be told that this is a
universal method, and he would doubtless enjoy the purely puzzle
pleasure in working long sums to perfect practice. This pleasure is very
common in children at this stage, but too often it comes to them merely
through being shown the "trick" of carrying tens. They have reached a
purely abstract point, but they cannot get through it without some more
material help. The following is an example of the kind of help that can
be given in getting clear the concept of the ten grouping and the
processes it involves:

[Illustration: Board with hooks, in ranks of nine, and rings]

The whole apparatus is a rectangular piece of wood about 3/4 of an inch
thick, and about 3x1-1/2 feet of surface. It is painted white, and the
horizontal bars are green, so that the divisions may be apparent at a
distance; it has perpendicular divisions breaking it up into three
columns, each of which contains rows of nine small dresser hooks. It can
be hung on an easel or supported by its own hinge on a table. Each of
the divisions represents a numerical grouping, the one on the right is
for singles or units, the central one for tens, and the left side one
for hundreds: the counters used are button moulds, dipped in red ink,
with small loops of string to hang on the hooks: it is easily seen by a
child that, after nine is reached, the units can no longer remain in
their division or "house," but must be gathered together into a bunch
(fastened by a safety pin) and fixed on one of the hooks of the middle

Sums of two or three lines can thus be set out on the horizontal bars,
and in processes of addition the answer can be on the bottom line. It is
very easy, by this concrete means, to see the process in subtraction,
and indeed the whole difficulty of dealing with ten is made concrete.
The whole of a sum can be gone through on this board with the
button-moulds, and on boards and chalk with figures, side by side, thus
interpreting symbol by material; but the whole process is abstract.

The piece of apparatus is less abstract only in degree than the figures
on the blackboard, because neither represents real life or its problems:
in abstract working we are merely going off at a side issue for the sake
of practice, to make us more competent to deal with the economic affairs
of life. There is a place for sticks and counters, and there is a place
for money and measures, but they are not the same: the former represents
the abstract and the latter the concrete problem if used as in real
life: the bridge between the abstract and the concrete is largely the
work of the transition class and junior school, in respect of the
foundations of arithmetic known as the first four rules.

Games of skill, very thorough shopping or keeping a bankbook, or selling
tickets for tram or train, represent the kind of everyday problem that
should be the centre of the arithmetic work at this transition stage;
and out of the necessities of these problems the abstract and
semi-abstract work should come, but it should _never_ precede the real
work. A real purpose should underlie it all, a purpose that is apparent
and stimulating enough to produce willing practice. A child will do much
to be a good shopkeeper, a good tram conductor, a good banker; he will
always play the game for all it is worth.



In the Nursery School activity is the chief characteristic: one of its
most usual forms is experimenting with tools and materials, such as
chalk, paints, scissors, paper, sand, clay and other things. The desire
to experiment, to change the material in some way, to gratify the
senses, especially the muscular one, may be stronger than the desire to
construct. The handwork play of the Nursery School is therefore chiefly
by means of imitation and experiment, and direct help is usually quite
unwelcome to the child under six. There is little more to be said in the
way of direction than, "Provide suitable material, give freedom, and
help, if the child wants it." But the case is rather different in the
transitional stage. As the race learnt to think by doing, so children
seem to approach thought in that way; they have a natural inclination to
do in the first case; they try, do wrongly, consider, examine, observe,
and do again: for example, a girl wants to make a doll's bonnet like the
baby's; she begins impulsively to cut out the stuff, finds it too small,
tries to visualise the right size, examines the real bonnet, and makes
another attempt. At some apparently odd moment she stumbles on a truth,
perhaps the relation of one form to another in the mazes of
bonnet-making; it is at these odd moments that we learn. Or a boy may be
painting a Christmas card, and in another odd moment he may _feel_
something of the beauty of colour, if, for example, he is copying
holly-berries. No purposeless looking at them would have stirred
appreciation. Whether the end is doing, or whether it is thinking, the
two are inextricably connected; in the earlier stages the way to know
and feel is very often by action, and here is the basis of the maxim
that handwork is a method.

This idea has often been only half digested, and consequently it has led
to a very trivial kind of application; a nature lesson of the "look and
say" description has been followed by a painting lesson; a geography
lesson, by the making of a model. If the method of learning by doing was
the accepted aim of the teacher then it was not carried out, for this is
learning and then doing, not learning for the purpose of doing, but
doing for the purpose of testing the learning, which is quite another
matter, and not a very natural procedure with young children. Many
people have tried to make things from printed directions, a woman may
try to make a blouse and a man to make a knife-box; their procedure is
not to separate the doing and the learning process; probably they have
first tried to do, found need for help, and gone to the printed
directions, which they followed side by side with the doing; and in the
light of former failures or in the course of looking or of
experimenting, they stumbled upon knowledge: this is learning by doing.

Therefore the making of a box may be arithmetic, the painting of a
buttercup may be nature study, the construction of a model, or of
dramatic properties may be geography or history, not by any means the
only way of learning, but one of the earlier ways and a very sound way;
there is a purpose to serve behind it all, that will lead to very
careful discrimination in selection of knowledge, and to pains taken to
retain it. If this is fully understood by a teacher and she is content
to take nature's way, and abide for nature's time to see results, then
her methods will be appropriately applied: she will see that she is not
training a race of box-makers, but that she is guiding children to
discover things that they need to know in a natural way, and ensuring
that as these facts are discovered they shall be used. Consequently
neither haste nor perfection of finish must cloud the aim; it is not the
output that matters but the method by which the children arrive at the
finished object, not forty good boxes, but forty good thinkers. Dewey
has put it most clearly when he says that the right test of an
occupation consists "in putting the maximum of consciousness into
whatever is done." Froebel says, "What man tries to represent or do he
begins to understand."

This is what we should mean by saying that handwork is a method of

But handwork has its own absolute place as well. A child wants to
acquire skill in this direction even more consciously than he wants to
learn: if he has been free, in the nursery class, to experiment with
materials, and if he knows some of his limitations, he is now, in the
transition class, ready for help, and he should get it as he needs it.
This may run side by side with the more didactic side of handwork which
has been described, but it is more likely that in practice the two are
inextricably mixed up; and this does not matter if the two ends are
clear in the teacher's mind; both sides have to be reckoned with.

The important thing to know is the kind of help that should be given,
and when and how it is needed. It is well to remember that in this
connection a child's limitations are not final, but only mark stages:
for example, in his early attempts to use thick cardboard he cannot
discover the neat hinge that is made by the process known as a
"half-cut"; he tries in vain to bend the cardboard, so as to secure the
same result. There are two ways of helping him: either he can be quite
definitely shown and made to imitate, or he can be set to think about
it; he is given a cardboard knife and allowed to experiment: if he
fails, it may be suggested that a clean edge can only be got by some
form of cutting; probably he will find out the rest of the process. The
second method is the better one, because it promotes thinking, while the
first only promotes pure imitation and the habit of reckoning on this
easy solution of difficulties. A dull child may have to be shown, but
there are few such children, unless they have been trained to dulness.

Imitation is not, however, always a medicine for dulness, nor does it
always produce dulness. There is a time for imitation and there is a
kind of imitation that is very intelligent. For example, a child may
come across a toy aeroplane and wish to make one; he will examine it
carefully, think over the uses of parts and proceed to make one as like
it as possible: here again is the maximum of consciousness, the essence
of thinking. Or the imitation may consist in following verbal
directions: this is far from easy if the teacher is at all vague, and
promotes valuable effort if she is clear but not diffuse: the putting of
words into action necessitates a considerable amount of imagining, and
the establishment of very important associations in brain centres. Such
cases might occur in connection with weaving, cardboard and paper work,
or the more technical processes of drawing and painting, where race
experience is actually _given_ to a child, by means of which he leaps
over the experiences of centuries. This is progress.

If a teacher is to take handwork seriously, and not as a pretty
recreation with pleasing results, she should be fully conscious of all
that it means, and apply this definitely in her work: it is so easy to
be trivial while appearing to be thorough by having well-finished work
produced, which has necessitated little hard thinking on the child's
part. Construction gives a sense of power, a strengthening of the will,
ability to concentrate on a purpose in learning, a social sense of
serviceableness, a deepened individuality: but this can only be looked
for if a child is allowed to approach it in the right way, first as an
experimenter and investigator, or as an artist, and afterwards as a
learner, who is also an individual, and learns in his own way and at his
own rate: but if the teacher's ambition is external and economic then
the child is a tool in her hands, and will remain a tool. We cannot
expect the fruits of the spirit if our goal is a material one.

One of the lessons of the war is economy. In handwork this has come to
us through the quest for materials, but it has been a blessing, if now
and then in disguise. In the more formal period of handwork only
prepared, almost patented material was used; everything was
"requisitioned" and eager manufacturers supplied very highly finished
stuff. Not very many years ago, the keeper of a "Kindergarten" stall at
an exhibition said, while pointing to cards cut and printed with
outlines for sewing and pricking, "We have so many orders for these that
we can afford to lay down considerable plant for their production." An
example in another direction is that of a little girl who attended one
of the best so-called Kindergartens of the time: she was afflicted,
while at home, with the "don't know what to do" malady; her mother
suggested that she might make some of the things she made at school, but
she negatived that at once with the remark, "I couldn't do that, you
see, because we have none of the right kind of stuff to make them of

It is quite unnecessary to give more direct details as to the kind of
work suitable and the method of doing it; more than enough books of help
have been published on every kind of material, and it might perhaps be
well if we made less use of such terms as "clay-modelling,"
"cardboard-work," "raffia," and took handwork more in the sense of
constructive or expressive work, letting the children select one or
several media for their purpose; they ought to have access to a variety
of material; and except when they waste, they should use it freely. It
is limiting and unenlightened to put down a special time for the use of
special material, if the end might be better answered by something else:
if modelling is at 11.30 on Monday and children are anxious to make
Christmas presents, what law in heaven or earth are we obeying if we
stick to modelling except the law of Red Tape.



This aspect of experience comes in two forms, the life of man in the
past, with the memorials and legacies he has left, and the life of man
in the present under the varying conditions of climate and all that it
involves. In other words these experiences are commonly known as history
and geography, though in the earlier stages of their appearance in
school it is perhaps better to call the work--preparation for history
and geography. They would naturally appear in the transition or the
junior class, preferably in the latter, but they need not be wholly new
subjects to a child; his literature has prepared him for both; to some
extent his experiments in handwork have prepared him for history, while
his nature work, especially his excursions and records, have prepared
him for geography. That he needs this extension of experience can be
seen in his growing demands for true stories, true in the more literal
sense which he is coming fast to appreciate; undoubtedly most children
pass through a stage of extreme literalism between early childhood and
what is generally recognised as boyhood and girlhood. They begin to ask
questions regarding the past, they are interested in things from
"abroad," however vague that term may be to them.

Perhaps it will be best to treat the two subjects separately, though
like all the child's curriculum at this stage they are inextricably
confused and mingled both with each other, and with literature, as
experiences of man's life and conduct.

The beginnings of geography lie in the child's foundations of
experience. Probably the first real contact, unconscious though it may
be, that any child has in this connection is through the production of
food and clothing. A country child sees some of the beginnings of both,
but it is doubtful how much of it is really interpreted by him; the
village shop with its inexhaustible stores probably means much more in
the way of origins, and he may never go behind its contents in his
speculations. It is true he sees milking, harvesting, sheep-shearing,
and many other operations, but he often misses the stage between the
actual beginning and the finished product--between the wool on the
sheep's back and his Sunday clothes, between the wheat in the field and
his loaf of bread. The town child has many links if he can use them: the
goods train, the docks, the grocer's, green-grocer's or draper's shop,
foreigners in the street, the vans that come through the silent streets
in the early morning; in big towns, such markets as Covent Garden or
Leadenhall or Smithfield; such a river as the Thames, Humber or
Mersey--from any one of these beginnings he can reach out from his own
small environment to the world. A town child has very confused notions
of what a farm really means to national life, and a country child of
what a big railway station or dock involves. All children need to know
what other parts of their own land look like, and what is produced; they
ought to trace the products within reach to their origin, and this will
involve descriptions of such things as fisheries at Hull or Aberdeen,
the coal mines of Wales or Lanarkshire, pottery districts of Stafford,
woollen and cotton factories of Yorkshire and Lancashire, mills driven
by steam, wind and water, lighthouses, the sheep-rearing districts of
Cumberland and Midlothian, the flax-growing of northern Ireland, and
much else, and the means of transit and communication between all these.
The children will gradually realise that many of the things they are
familiar with, such as tea, oranges, silk and sugar, have not been
accounted for, and this will take them to the lives of people in other
countries, the means of getting there, the time taken and mode of
travelling. They will also come to see that we do not produce enough of
the things that are possible to grow, such as wheat, apples, wool and
many other common necessaries, and that we can spare much that is
manufactured to countries that do not make them, such as boots, clothes,
china and cutlery. There will come a time when the need for a map is
apparent: that is the time to branch off from the main theme and make
one; it will have to be of the very immediate surroundings first, but it
is not difficult to make the leap soon to countries beyond. Previous to
the need for it, map-making is useless.

This working outwards from actual experiences, from the home country to
the foreign, from actual contact with real things to things of
travellers' tales, is the only way to bring geography to the very door
of the school, to make it part of the actual life.

The beginning of history, as of geography, lies in the child's
foundations of experience. In the country village he sees the church,
possibly some old cottages, or an Elizabethan or Jacobean house near; in
the churchyard or in the church the tombstones have quaint inscriptions
with reference possibly to past wars or to early colonisation. The slum
child on the other hand sees much that is worn out, but little that is
antiquated, unless the slum happen to be in such places as Edinburgh or
Deptford, situated among the remains of really fine houses: but he
realises more of the technicalities and officialism of a social system
than does the country child; the suburban child has probably the
scantiest store of all; his district is presumably made up of rows of
respectable but monotonous houses, and the social life is similarly
respectable and monotonous.

There are certain cravings, interests and needs, common to all children,
which come regardless of surroundings. All children want to know certain
things about people who lived before them, not so much their great
doings as their smaller ones; they want to know what these people were
like, what they worked at, and learnt, how they travelled, what they
bought and sold: and there is undoubtedly a primitive strain in all
children that comes out in their love of building shelters, playing at
savages, and making things out of natural material. One of the most
intense moments in _Peter Pan_ to many children is the building of the
little house in the wood, and later on, of the other on the top of the
trees: that is the little house of their dreams. They are not interested
in constitutions or the making of laws; wars and invasions have much the
same kind of interest for them as the adventures of Una and the Red
Cross Knight.

How are these cravings usually satisfied in the early stages of history
teaching of to-day? As a rule a series of biographies of notable people
is given, regardless of chronology, or the children's previous
experiences, and equally careless of the history lessons of the future;
Joan of Arc, Alfred and the Cakes, Gordon of Khartoum, Boadicea,
Christopher Columbus, Julius Caesar, form a list which is not at all
uncommon; there is no leading thread, no developing idea, and the old
test, "the children like it," excuses indolent thinking. On the other
hand, the desire to know more of the Robinson Crusoe mode of life has
been apparent to many teachers for some time, but the material at their
disposal has been scanty and uncertain. It is to Prof. Dewey that we owe
the right organisation of this part of history. He has shown that it is
on the side of industry, the early modes of weaving, cooking, lighting
and heating, making implements for war and for hunting, and making of
shelters, that prehistoric man has a real contribution to give: but for
the beginnings of social life, for realisation of such imperishable
virtues as courage, patriotism and self-sacrifice, children must go to
the lives of real people and gradually acquire the idea that certain
things are, so to speak, from "everlasting to everlasting," while others
change with changing and growing circumstances.

The prehistoric history should be largely concerned with doing and
experimenting, with making weapons, or firing clay, or weaving rushes,
or with visits to such museums as Horniman's at Forest Hill. The early
social history may well take the form best suited to the child, and not
appeal merely to surface interest. And the spirit in which the lives of
other people are presented to children must not be the narrow,
prejudiced, insular one, so long associated with the people of Great
Britain, which calls other customs, dress, modes of: living, "funny" or
"absurd" or "extraordinary," but rather the scientific spirit that
interprets life according to its conditions and so builds up one of its
greatest laws, the law of environment.

The geography syllabus, even more than the history one, depends for its
beginnings at least on the surroundings of the school--out of the mass
of possible materials a very rich and comprehensive syllabus can be
made, beginning with any one of the central points already suggested.
Above all there should be plenty of pictures, not as amplification, but
as material, by means of which a child may interpret more fully; a
picture should be of the nature of a problem or of a map--and picture
reading should be in the junior school what map reading is in the upper

In both history and geography the method is partly that of discovery;
especially is this the case in that part of history which deals with
primitive industries, and in almost the whole of the geography of this
period. The teacher is the guide or leader in discovery, not the
story-teller merely, though this may be part of his function.

The following is a small part of a syllabus to show how geography and
history material may grow naturally out of the children's experiences.
It is meant in this case for children in a London suburb, with no
particular characteristics:--


It grows out of the shops of the neighbourhood and the adjoining railway

  _Home-produced Goods_--

  A.  The green-grocer's shop.
      Tracing of fruit to its own home source, or to a foreign country.
      Home-grown fruit. The fruit farm, garden, orchard, and wood.
      The packing and sending of fruit.--Railway lines.
      Covent Garden; the docks; fruit stalls; jam factories.

  B.  A grocer's or corn-chandler's shop.
      Flour and oatmeal traced to their sources.
      The farm. A wheat and grain farm at different seasons. A dairy farm
          and a sheep farm.
      A mill and its processes.
      Woollen factories.
      A dairy. Making of butter and cheese
      Distribution of these goods.

  C.  A china shop, leading to the pottery district and making of pottery.

  _Foreign Goods_--

  Furs--Red Indians and Canada.
  Dates--The Arabs and the Sahara.
  Cotton--The Negroes and equatorial regions.
  Cocoa--The West Indies.
  The transit of these, their arrival and distribution.

[The need for a map will come early in the first part of the course, and
the need for a globe in the second.]


This grows naturally out of the geography syllabus and might be taken
side by side or afterwards.

  The development of industries.
  The growth of spinning and weaving from the simplest processes, bringing
      in the distaff, spinning-wheel, and loom.
  The making of garments from the joining together of furs.
  The growth of pottery and the development of cooking.
  The growth of roads and means of transit.

[This will involve a good deal of experimental and constructive handwork.]



Reading and writing are held to have lifted man above the brute; they
are the means by which we can discover and record human experience and
progress, and as such their value is incalculable. But in themselves
they are artificial conventions, symbols invented for the convenience of
mankind, and to acquire them we need exercise no great mental power. A
good eye and ear memory, and a certain superficial quickness to
recognise and apply previous knowledge, is all that is needed for
reading and spelling; while for writing, the development of a
specialised muscular skill is all that is necessary. In themselves they
do not as a rule hold any great interest for a child: sometimes they
have the same puzzle interest as a long addition sum, and to children of
a certain type, mechanical work such as writing gives relief; one of the
most docile and uninteresting of little boys said that writing was his
favourite subject, and it was easy to understand: he did not want to be
stirred out of his commonplaceness; unconsciously he had assimilated the
atmosphere and adopted the standards of his surroundings, which were
monotonous and commonplace in the extreme, and so he desired no more
adventurous method of expression than the process of writing, which he
could do well. Imitation is often a strong incentive to reading, it is
part of the craving for grown-upness to many children; they desire to
do what their brothers and sisters can do. But _during the first stage
of childhood, roughly up to the age of six or even later, no child needs
to learn to read or write, taking "need" in the psychological sense:_
that period is concerned with laying the foundation of real things and
with learning surroundings;--any records of experience that come to a
child can come as they did to his earliest forefathers--by word of
mouth. When he wants to read stories for himself, or write his own
letters, then he is impelled by a sufficiently strong aim or incentive
to make concentration possible, without resorting to any of the
fantastic devices and apparatus so dear to so many teachers. Indeed it
is safe to say of many of these devices that they prove the fact that
children are not ready for reading.

When a child is ready to read and write the process need not be a long
one: by wise delay many tedious hours are saved, tedious to both teacher
and children; they have already learnt to talk in those precious hours,
to discriminate sounds as part of language training, but without any
resort to symbols--merely as something natural. It has been amply proved
that if a child is not prematurely forced into reading he can do as much
in one year as he would have done in three, under more strained

With regard to methods a great deal has been written on the subject; it
is pretty safe to leave a teacher to choose her own--for much of the
elaboration is unnecessary if reading is rightly delayed, and if a child
can read reasonably well at seven and a half there can be no grounds for
complaint. If his phonetic training has been good in the earlier stages
of language, then this may be combined with the "look and say" method,
or method of reading by whole words. The "cat on the mat" type of book
is disappearing, and its place is being taken by books where the subject
matter is interesting and suitable to the child's age; but as in other
subjects the book chosen should be considered in reference to the
child's surroundings, either to amplify or to extend.

Writing is, in the first instance, a part of reading: when words are
being learnt they must be written, or in the earliest stages printed,
but only those interesting to the children and written for some definite
purpose should be selected: a great aid to spelling is transcription,
and children are always willing to copy something they like, such as a
verse of poetry, or their name and address. As in arithmetic and in
handwork, they will come to recognise the need for practice, and be
willing to undergo such exercise for the sake of improvement, as well as
for the pleasure in the activity--which actual writing gives to some

We must be quite clear about relative values. Reading and writing are
necessities, and the means of opening up to us things of great value;
but the art of acquiring them is of little intrinsic value, and the
recognition of the need is not an early one; nothing is gained by
beginning too early, and much valuable time is taken from other
activities, notably language. The incentive should be the need that the
child feels, and when this is evident time and pains should be given to
the subject so that it maybe quickly acquired. But the art of reading is
no test of intelligence, and the art of writing is no test of original
skill. _The claims of the upper departments must be resisted._



The _first_ thing that matters is what is commonly called the
personality of the teacher; she must be a person, unmistakable from
other persons, and not a type; what she has as an individual, of gifts
or goodness, she should give freely, and give in her own way; that she
should be trained is, of course, as indisputable as the training of a
doctor, but her training should have deepened her personality.
Pestalozzi's curriculum and organisation left much to be desired; what
he has handed down to us came from himself and his own experience, not
from anything superimposed: records of his pupils constantly emphasise
this: it was his goodness assimilated with his outlook on life and
readiness to learn by experience, that mattered, and it was this that
remained with his pupils. The teacher's own personality must dominate
her choice of principles else she is a dead method, a machine, and not a
living teacher. She must not keep her interests and gifts for
out-of-school use; if she has a sense of humour she must use it, if she
is fond of pretty clothes she must wear them in school, if she
appreciates music she must help her class to do the same, if she has
dramatic gifts she must act to them. Her standard of goodness must be
high, and she must be strong enough to adopt it practically, so that she
is unconscious of it: goodness and righteousness are as essential as
health to a teacher: for something intangible passes from the teacher
to her children, however young and unconscious they may be, and nothing
can awaken goodness but goodness.

Part of her personality is her attitude towards religion. It is
difficult to think of a teacher of young children who is not religious,
_i.e._ whose conduct is not definitely permeated by her spiritual life:
young children are essentially religious, and the life of the spirit
must find a response in the same kind of intangible assumption of its
existence as goodness. No form of creed or dogma is meant, only the life
of the spirit common to all. But of course there may be people who
refuse to admit this as a necessity.

The _next_ thing that matters is that all children must be regarded as
individuals: there has been much more talk of this lately, but practical
difficulties are often raised as a bar. If teachers and parents continue
to accept the conditions which make it difficult, such as large classes,
and a need to hasten, there will always be a bar: if individuality is
held as one of the greatest things in education, authorities cannot
continue to economise so as to make it impossible. It is the individual
part of each child that is his most precious possession, his immortal
side: Froebel calls it his "divine essence," and makes the cultivation
of it the aim of education; he is right, and any more general aim will
lead only to half-developed human beings. If we accept the principle
that only goodness is fundamental and evil a distortion of nature, we
need have no fear about cultivating individuals. Every doctor assures us
that all normal babies are naturally healthy; they are also naturally
good, but evil is easily aroused by arbitrary interference or by

The _third_ thing that matters belongs more especially to the
intellectual life; it might be described as the making of right
associations. More than any other side of training, the making of
associations means the making of the intelligent person. To see life in
patches is to see pieces of a great picture by the square inch, and
never to see the relationship of these to each other--never to see the

The _fourth_ thing that matters is the making of good and serviceable
habits: much has been said on this, in connection with the nursery
class, and it is at that stage that the process is most important, but
it should never cease. If a child is to have time and opportunity to
develop his individuality he must not be hampered by having to be
conscious of things that belong to the subconscious region. To start a
child with a foundation of good habits is better than riches.

The _fifth_ thing that matters is the realisation by teachers that
_opportunities_ matter more than results; opportunities to discover, to
learn, to comprehend all sides of life, to be an individual, to
appreciate beauty, to go at one's own rate; some are material in their
nature, such as the actual surroundings of the child in school; others
are rather in the atmosphere, such as refraining from interference,
encouragement, suggestion, spirituality. The teacher has the making of
opportunities largely in her own hands.

The _sixth_ thing, that matters is the cultivation of the divine gift of
imagination; both morality and spirituality spring from this; meanness,
cowardice, lack of sympathy, sensuality, materialism, quickly grow where
there is no imagination. It refines and intensifies personality, it
opens a door to things beyond the senses. It makes possible appreciation
of the things of the spirit, and appreciation is a thousand times more
important than knowledge.

The _last_ thing that matters is the need for freedom from bondage, of
the body and of the soul. Only from a free atmosphere can come the best
things--personality, imagination and opportunity; and all are great
needs, but the greatest of all is freedom.


FROEBEL. The Education of Man. (Appleton.)
MACDOUGALL. Social Psychology. (Methuen.)
GROOS. The Play of Man. (Heinemann.)
DRUMMOND. An Introduction to Child Study. (Arnold.)
KIRKPATRICK. Fundamentals of Child Study. (Macmillan.)
DEWEY. The School and the Child. (Blackie.)
The Dewey School. (The Froebel Society.)
STANLEY HALL. Aspects of Education.
FINDLAY. School and Life. (G. Philip & Son.)
SULLY. Children's Ways. (Longmans.)
CALDWELL COOK. The Play Way. (Heinemann.)
E.R. MURRAY. Froebel as a Pioneer in Modern Psychology. (G. Philip & Son.)
Edited by H. BROWN SMITH. Education by Life. (G. Philip & Son.)
MARGARET DRUMMOND. The Dawn of Mind. (Arnold.)
BOYD. From Locke to Montessori. (Harrap.)
KILPATRICK. Montessori Examined. (Constable.)
WIGGIN. Children's Rights. (Gay & Hancock.)
BIRCHENOUGH. History of Elementary Education. (Univ. Tutorial Press.)
MACMILLAN. The Camp School. (Allen & Unwin.)
HARDY. The Diary of a Free Kindergarten. (Gay & Hancock.)
SCOTT. Social Education. (Ginn.)
TYLOR. Anthropology. (Macmillan.)
KINGSTON QUIGGIN. Primeval Man. (Macdonald & Evans.)
SOLOMON. An Infant School. (The Froebel Society.)
FELIX KLEIN. Mon Filleul au Jardin d'Enfants. I. Comment il s'élève.
     II. Comment il s'instruit. (Armand Colin, Paris.)
E. NESBIT. Wings and the Child. (Hodder and Stoughton.)
WELLS. Floor Games. (Palmer.)
RUSKIN. The Two Paths.
DOPP. The Place of Industries in Industrial Education. (Univ. of Chicago
PRITCHARD AND ASHFORD. An English Primary School. (Harrap.)
HALL. Days before History. (Harrap.)
HALL. The Threshold of History. (Harrap.)
SPALDING. Piers Plowman Histories. Junior. Bk. II. (G. Philip & Son.)
SHEDLOCK. The Art of Story-telling.
BRYANT. How to Tell Stories. (Harrap.)
KLEIN. De ce qu'il faut raconter aux petits. (Blond et Gay.)
The Eurhythmics of Jaques-Dalcroze. (Constable.)
FINDLAY. Eurhythmics. (Dalcroze Society.)
WHITE. A Course in Music. (Camb. Univ. Press.)
STANLEY HALL. How to Teach Reading. (Heath.)
BENCHARA BRANFORD. A Study of Mathematical Education.
Fielden Demonstration School Record II. (Manchester Univ. Press.)
PUNNETT. The Groundwork of Arithmetic. (Longmans.)
ASHFORD. Sense Plays and Number Plays. (Longmans.)


Abrahall, Miss H.,
Adam and Eve question,
Adler, Dr. Felix,
Aim of education and of human life,
America, Kindergartens in,
Anderson, Professor A.,
Animals and nature study,
Apparatus. _See_ Equipment
  transition class,
Arnswald, Colonel von,
Art training, drawing, etc.,
  _See also_ Colour, Rhythm, etc.,
Assistance, warning,

"Baby Camp",
Barnard, Dr. H.,
Barnes, Prof. Earl,
  conduct, appreciation of beauty in,
  _See also_ Colour, Rhythm, etc.
Beer, Miss H., notes of,
Beresford's _Housemates_, description of a suburb,
Bermondsey Settlement Free Kindergarten,
Biological view of education,
Bird, Mr., and his family,
Birmingham Kindergartens,
Bishop, Miss Caroline,
Blankenberg Kindergarten,
Blow, Miss,
Bradford Joint Conference,
Brock, Mr. Clutton, quotations, etc.,
Brooke, Stopford,
Brown, Frances, _Grannie's Wonderful Chair_,
Brown's _Young Artists' Headers_,
Buckton, Miss,
Buildings. _See_ Equipment and Surroundings
Caldecott Nursery School,
Camp School,
Child study,
Class discipline,
Cleanliness and order,
Clough, A.H.,
Clouston, Dr.,
  aim of education,
  experiences of--_See also_ Moral Teaching
Connectedness, continuity. _See_ Unity
Constructive play,
  varieties of _making_--_See also_ Handwork
Cook, Mr. Caldwell, _The Play Way_, etc.,
Cooke, Mr. E.,
Co-operation in play,
  Infant School programme in Transition period,
  present-day Infant Schools,
Country child,
Country life for the child,
Crane, Walter,
Creation. _See_ Constructive Play
Crèche. _See_ Nursery School
  principle guiding selection,
  transition class,

Daleroze, M. Jacques, rhythmic training,
Dale, Miss, phonic reading books,
Decimal system,
Definition of education,
Desert island play,
Dewey, Prof., quotations, etc.,
Dickens on "Infant Gardens,"
Docility _v_. self-control,
Dopp Series,
Dramatic play,
Drill _v_. games,
Drummond, Dr.,

Edinburgh, Free Kindergartens,
Education Act of 1870,
  of 1919,
_Education by Life,_
_Education of Man,_
  school equipment, etc. _See_ Equipment
  source of child's experience,
Equipment  and   surroundings,
  miniature world,
  Montessori didactic apparatus,
  transition classes and Junior School,
Ewing, Mrs., stories of,
Experience, education by means of,
  child's desires and needs,
  grouping subjects of experience,
  material and opportunities,
  morality and indirect experiences,
  passing on experience,

Fairy tales,
Field, Eugene, verses of,
Findlay, Miss,
Fisher, Mr.,
Fleming, Marjorie,
_Floor Games_,
Flowers  and  plants,  93,  201. _See also_ Garden, Nature Work
  apparent result at first,
  Froebel on,
  Montessori, Dr., work of,
  vital principle,
  warning against interference,
Froebel and Froebelian principles--
  aim of education,
  biologist  educator  and   Froebel,
  definitions of Kindergarten,
  impression and expression,
  Montessori and Froebelian systems,
Furniture, _See also_ Equipment
Fyleman, Rose, _Chimney sand Fairies,_

  activities in a suburban garden,
  best use of ground,
  possibilities in difficult places,
  illustrative syllabus,
Glasgow, Phoenix Park Kindergarten,
Glenconner, Lady,
Grant, Miss,
Greenford Avenue School, Hanwell,

Habits, training in,
  physical habits and fixed hours,
Hall, Stanley, references to,
Hansen, G.,
Hardy, Miss L.,
Heerwart, Miss,
Herb garden and sense training,
Herbartian "correlation",
Hewit, Mr. Graily,
High Schools for Girls, Kindergartens in,
  discipline in practical reasoning,
  illustrative syllabus,
  indirect sociology,
  practical details,
Hodsman, Miss,
Hoffman, Mr.,
Home surroundings,
  reproduction in school,
  source of child's experience,
Howden, Miss,
Humour, factor in morality,
_Hygiene of Mind_,

Imagination and literature,
Imitative play,
Individual, child as,
  _See also_ Freedom
Infant Schools,
  early Infant Schools,
  formalism, causes, etc.,
  Kindergarten system, perversion of,
  present-day schools,
    buildings, furniture, etc.,
    change in spirit since the 'eighties, effect of child study
        movement, etc.,
    curriculum, lack of clear aim and continuity,
    formalism, promotion and uniformity,
    health, care of,
  teachers, training of,
  transition period,
Interests of a child,
Interference, warning,
International Educational Exposition and Congress of 1854,
Investigation impulse,

Junior School. _See_ Transition Classes and Junior School

Kindergarten Band,
Kindergartens, America,
  first English,
  Froebelian principles  _See_ Froebel,
  _Kids' Guards_,
  London School Board Infant Schools, proposed introduction,
  perversion of system in Infant Schools,
  Schrader, Henrietta, work of,
Klein, Abbé,

Language training,
  games for,
Lawrence, Miss Esther,
Literature  _See also_ Stories and Poetry
Lodge, Sir O.,

Macdonald, George, stories of,
Macdonald, Dr. Greville,
M'Millan, Miss Margaret,
Macpherson, Mr. Stewart,
_Magic Cities_,
Marenholz, Madame von,
  transition class,
Maufe, Miss,
Medical view of education, Dr. Montessori,
Meum and tuum training,
Miall, Mrs.,
Michaelis, Madame,
Michaelis Nursery School, Notting Dale,
Mission Kindergarten,
Moltke, von,
Montessori, Dr. Maria--
  Froebelian views of,
  medical  view  of education,
  play activities, failure to understand,
Moral teaching--
  humour as factor in morality,
  _See also_ Religion, Service for the Community, Stories
Morgan, Lloyd,
_Mother Songs_,
  Kindergarten Band,

Name of school for little children and its importance,
Nature work, experiences of the natural world,
  activities in a suburban garden,
  aim of,
  movement _c._ 1890,
  nature calendar,
  object lesson and nature lesson,
  pictures, use of,
  plants and flowers,
  religion and nature work,
Necessities of the Nursery School,
  _See also_ Equipment and Principles
Nesbit, Mrs., _Magic Cities_,
Net beds,
Number work. _See_ Mathematics
Nursery rhymes and nonsense verses,
Nursery School--
  name question,
  requirements of,

Obedience _v._ self-control,
Oberlin schools,
Object lessons,
Observation of children,
Odds and ends, use of,
Open-air question,
Owen, Robert, "Rational Infant School",

Parents' evenings,
Payne, Miss Janet,
Peabody, Miss,
Periods of a young child's life,
Pestalozzi-Froebel House,
Phillips, Miss K.,
Phonic method of teaching reading,
Physical requirements,
Picture books,
  biologist educator's view,
  co-operation in,
  courage in the teacher,
  distinction from work,
  Froebel's theory of,
      practice at Keilhau,
      Froebel's "Gifts," etc.,
  self-expression in,
  theories of,
  transition class,
_Play Way, The_,
Playground, equipment, etc.,
  garden essential,
  transition class,
Poor and well-to-do children, different requirements,
Possession, child's need of,
  meum and tuum training,
Preparation theory of play,
Priestman, Miss,
Principles, vital principles,
Pugh, Edwin,
Punnett, Miss,

Reading and writing,
  age for,
  matter and methods, phonic method, etc.,
Recapitulation theory of play,
Recreation theory of play,
Reed, Miss,
  age for first teaching, _See also_ Stories
Reproducing, _See_ Imitative Play
Results, payment by,
Rhythm and rhythmic training,
Robinson Crusoe stage of history teaching,
Ronge, Madame,
Rossetti, Christina, verses for children,
Rowland, Miss,
Royee, Prof.,

St. Cuthbert, story of,
Salt, Miss Marie,
_Sayings of the Children_,
Schepel, Miss,
Schiller, _Letters on Aesthetic Education_,
Schiller-Spencer theory of play,
_School and Life_,
_Schools of To-morrow_,
Schrader, Henrietta,
Self-control and external control,
  herb garden,
Service for the community, training to--
  Froebel and Montessori system,
  games, social side,
  idea of unity,
  religion, part of,
Sesame House for Home-Life Training,
Sharpley, Miss F.,
Shinn, Miss,
Sleep, provision for,
Slum child's experience,
Somers Town Nursery School,
Speech and vocabulary,
Spiritual life and stories,
Spontaneity in play,
Staff question, training, etc.,
  _See also_ Teachers
  nursery songs,
Stokes, Miss,
Stories and story-telling,
  fairy tales,
  how to tell,
  made by children,
  moral teaching,
  religious teaching,
  repetition or "accumulation" stories,
  "true" stories--history, legend, geography,
_Story of a Sand Pile_,
Suburban child's experience,
Supernatural, the child's acceptance of,
Surroundings. _See_ Equipment and Surroundings

Table manners,
  personality question,
Thornton-le-Dale Kindergarten,
Time-table thraldom,
  instance from a teacher's note-book,
Touch, sense of,
  transition classes and Junior School,
  Wells, Mr., on,
Transition classes and Junior School,
  bridge between freedom and timetable,
  equipment, etc.,
  freedom and class teaching,
      help, methods of,
  nature work,
  play spirit,

_Ultimate Belief_,
Uniformity in Infant Schools,
Unity of aim and unity in experience,
  cases illustrating problem,
  previous experience of the child, basing curriculum on,

War, effect on Nursery School movement,
Warne, illustrated stories for children,
Water, attraction of,
Wells, Mr.,
_What is a Kindergarten?_,
"When can I make my little Ship?",
Wiggin, Miss K.D.,
Wilderspin's Infant School,
Wragge, Miss Adelaide,
Writing. _See_ Reading and Writing


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