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IMMIGRANTS IN LABOR CAMPS Immigrants are to be found in all mining camps, lumber camps and construction camps as well as in the hopand fruit-picking camps.
Conditions in these camps are not very well known to the ordinary person because such places are far removed from his daily life. The sanitary conditions and educational facilities found in these places are certainly not conducive to the development of an efficient working class. During the last five years I have worked during three of the summer seasons in the logging camps of northern California, doing hard labor and sharing the lot of the other laborers of the camp. The sanitary and health conditions around one camp in particular, Camp ni Del Norte County, were revolting. The water used for cooking purposes was always dirty and muddy. There was no excuse for this, since there was an abundance of clear, cool springs on the hillsides from which water could have been piped down to the cook-house. The drainage system around the cook-house was shocking. Dish-water, tea and coffee grounds, tin cans and all sorts of slop and filth were allowed to accumulate and form a filthy pool within fifty feet of the dining-room. Nor was there any excuse for this condition to exist since it would have been an easy matter to have dug a drain ditch to the gulch not a hundred yards distant.
No provision whatever was made for bathing purposes. Such a thing as a bathtub would have been a curiosity. I have seen men dip water out of muddy water holes near their cabins for washing purposes, only to cast it aside because it was so filthy. The surprizing thing about the situation was that very few of the men got sick. The only explanation that I can give is that the heavy outdoor work made the men strong and built up a firm physical resistance to disease.
There were absolutely no educational opportunities in these camps. As soon as some of the men learned that I was interested in educational work, they came to me and urged me to start a class. Among these were Portuguese,
Greeks, Russians and Italians. But the “boss" was indifferent and said I was “foolish for trying to do anything for them fellows.
And yet some of the worst evils of the camps do not exist in these camps. Fortunately the padrone system has not yet been introduced here. This system, which so thoroly exploits the laborer in the eastern states, can only be remedied by the creation of state employment agencies.
In order to give some provision for education in these places the State Department of Education should authorize the creation of temporary schools in labor camps which remain in one place for a period of two or more years. Schools in English, civics and citizenship would be of great benefit to the laborer in these places.
DOMESTIC EDUCATION OF THE IMMIGRANT Domestic education would put particular emphasis upon the importance of educating immigrant women along the lines of sanitation, hygiene, foods, home nursing and sewing. Most immigrant women know very little about city life. For the most part they are of the peasant type; they have generally worked in the fields and have not lived in a city or close to neighbors. It becomes necessary to teach them the use of sinks, the care of toilets, the disposal of garbage, and other sanitary work. The immigrant mother must be taught the value of fresh air. She must be taught that fresh air will prevent sickness. It is a part of the domestic educator's duty to show her the relation between flies and disease. She must be taught how to ventilate her house and her clothing. The importance of personal cleanliness must be demonstrated to the mother and her family, but this often has to be done in the face of opposition and superstition. The nurse must personally demonstrate in the home of the immigrant how to bathe and keep a child clean. She must show the girls the folly of paint and powder and she must impress upon them the value of privacy, modesty and morality. Few immigrant women know food varieties and food values; nor do they know how to properly prepare a wholesome meal. Consequently meager and monotonous diets are served alike to all members of the family. Food selection should be taught by taking groups of buyers to the markets while food preparation should be taught in the home by a domestic science educator.
Many foreign women are totally ignorant of the methods of treating bruises, cuts or sprains. They are unable to render the simplest first aid to their children. They do not know the use of medicines nor do they know the parts of the body. I was told by a district nurse in Los Angeles of a case where a doctor was attending a sick Russian. He had prescribed hot pads and bandages to be applied to the chest of the patient but to his dismay on his return he found heavy poultices across the stomach of the sick
Prospective mothers are usually very ignorant as to how to care for themselves. The nurse who can gain entrance to the home can render more valuable service than can a male physician because of the fear of the latter.
Most immigrant women know how to sew a little but they need instruction in purchasing and in cutting materials. They must be taught how to select goods which are both durable and attractive. But all this work will be of but little avail unless the newcomer has a model to go by. How can we expect an immigrant family to know a decent American standard of living and home life when they are immediately rushed off to a tenement house in the crowded districts of the city? They find there nothing but low and vicious models. Can we wonder that they copy these very standards? There should be a model American home in every port of entry in America. Here the immigrant, and especially those who are detained for a few days, would get a correct impression of an American home. She would learn what a well-arranged and well
. ordered home was by actual contact. And then there should be another model home in every foreign district of the cities, where lessons in cooking, cleaning, sewing and care of the baby, are given during the day and in the evening. The power of example is a big factor in the education and development of the youth and this is no less true in the case of adult immigrants for they are in the youthful stage of experience after arriving in America.
EDUCATION OF THE IMMIGRANT CHILD The following are some of the main assimilative activities of the public school:
a. The school at once throws the children of various nationalities into mutual relationships. This breaks up the standards and habits of any one nationality and in order to progress the child finds that he must adopt a common way of thinking and acting, which means that he must adopt the American standard. A newcomer to foreign colonies sees very soon that his friends become partly Americanized, and he will learn American customs and habits from his foreign brother.
b. The public school teaches the children the English language which enables him to associate with Americans and various other nationalities, even outside of the school and his own district.
c. The schools tend to break up hostilities between nationalities. The teacher prevents hostilities in the schoolroom and this does away with strife on the playgrounds.
d. It teaches American traditions and the history of our institutions under which comes a growth of patriotism. Race ties are broken up and a social solidarity is secured.
e. The public schools by the introduction of manual training, not only give the child some idea of American industrial methods, but teach him that manual work is here the universal rule and not a stamp of inferiority.
The child must be made to feel from the beginning that he is learning something which fits him for his new surroundings. There must be an abundance of pictures and objects on hand in order to hold the child's attention. Ordinary toys serve the purpose for the concrete objects. The teacher will secure toys representing a cow, a chicken, a
hoe, a rake, a horse, a wagon, cups, saucers, plates, knives, forks; duck, baby, boy, girl, a broom and a dustpan. The children know the names of these objects and pictures in their native tongue and are very anxious to learn the English word for the same. As soon as the child knows the name of these objects he will begin to form sentences and converse.
One of the early lessons in the beginning class is the replying to the following questions: What is your name? Where do you live? Where do you go to school? What is the number of your room? A full statement is insisted on every time. This gives the necessary drill in repeating the proper form and it also serves as an exercise in pronunciation. The teacher should frequently repeat in order to give the correct tone and accent. Commands should be given and children obey the commands. Since this takes considerable time before all understand, the teacher should at first perform the act with the child. After the command is obeyed several children should be called upon to tell what they did. From the very first there should be plenty of work in phonetics and much exercise in ear training. The phonetic work is by far the most important work in the beginning class.
Children should not be taken out of the beginning class after they have learned a few words of English. They should learn a number of little things in this class before a transfer be made. Civics, geography and arithmetic should be taught in this special class but only as secondary subjects. The primary aim is to teach reading, writing and speaking in the English language.
All thru the elementary grades we must put before the children the moral duty they owe to their parents. We must teach them the love of home and the reverence of parents. Parents' meetings should be held at which the parents should be instructed as to their duty toward their children and home as well as toward the state and the government.
The children's room in the public library is beginning