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try to imitate, she usually needs an interpreter. That at least is my personal conviction based on the experiences of my own childhood and youth.
She can only smile and nod and beckon and to eager curiosity silently reply, “Search out my hidden secrets,”—yet eager curiosity unsatisfied may become indifference. And to the dormant mind unmoved by song of bird, odor of flower, or rift of light she may not come with earthquake power to startle into attention the sleeping senses.
She must wait, and one must come with the spoken word and delicate touch to bring hearing to unawakened ears and beauty to eyes that seeing, see not.
It is in this delightful relation to the children and to Nature that all teachers, may stand.
To secure it the first step is belief in the necessity of Nature-love, and a devotion of heart and intellect to the opportunity offered the interpreter. I place heart first advisedly, for the teacher with a great love for Nature may inspire that love in the hearts of others even if he has but little scientific knowledge of birds and trees and flowers. And his teaching is safe because where love goes the mind will follow.
Believing that we receive from things largely what we bring to them, I began my definite work with the children by encouraging them to become very familiar with the birds represented on the schoolroom chart,their names, appearance, and songs as given by good authorities—that they might be ready to recognize them quickly by and by in fields and woods.
At length, on March 23, we were rewarded by seeing our first bluebird,—and a flock of crows. At the suggestion of one of the little people we sang with
great appreciation that charming bit from Neidlinger's Small Songs for Small Singers,
"Pretty little bluebird, why do you go?
“I go," sang the bird as he flew on high,
On another day a small flock of bluebirds were haunting a cluster of white birches on the hill near us, and as they sang on unafraid and the bright sunlight brought out the color of breast and head and back, my clumsiest boy, my boy with perpetual evidence of close contact with Mother Earth, the one whose environment suggested least the cultivation of the aesthetic, he came close to me and with pointed finger and illumined face, whispered hoarsely his discovery, "He's got a blue cap on!" Then I knew that Nature had found that boy's soul and thereafter a new refining element would influence his development. And I could not imagine that in place of the love and tenderness that lighted his face would ever come the hard and cruel expression of the boy who stones and kills birds.
These incidents may serve to show how a real love for the birds is inspired and how our songs and poems of Nature help in the everyday interpretations.
Our method is to take the children directly into the fields and woods—which our location at Fitchburg makes possible-placing some of them in small groups in charge of kindergarten students for individual guidance in observation. It is almost impossible for a group of forty-five children to see and hear at close
range any but the most common birds, but a group of eight or ten may approach the thicket where the brown thrasher sings and hear an uninterrupted solo of ten minutes' length; or watch the mother robin make frequent trips to her nest at feeding time.
Occasionally, however, we take an excursion all together : to Fallulah Brook in the valley, to Frog Pond near "Chippy Hollow," to our neighbor's rabbit pen, to a hen yard where little ducklings, goslings, and chickens swim or scratch about according to inherited tendencies.
And we are free to accept all such invitations,- for first, last, and all the time we are to be an out-of-doors kindergarten seeking perfect health in the open air and gleaning as we may all broadening knowledge. For so may we lay the foundation for "complete living," through physical, mental, and spiritual nurture.
As we go and come, play attracts us: we attempt a rude see-saw, we chase our own shadows, we dig in a sand bank, we improvise a bridge, we “play horse.” The flowers beckon us into the fields, by woodpath, and roadside, and the shaded hillside tempts us to rest.
And so by the middle of June we have seen 24 different birds and have had 65 different flowers in kindergarten, all listed on the blackboard.
We believe that a real and lasting love for the birds and flowers has been inspired while at the same time the habit of definite observation is formed. Thereafter to see every flower, to identify every bird is part of the pleasure of all excursions with parents and friends as well as teachers, and the result is an awakened interest in Nature Study in the families and friends of the kindergarten pupils besides the grand
start which the children themselves make in physical, mental, and spiritual development, in actual seeing, hearing, and knowing, in God's out-of-door world.
KINDERGARTEN WORK IN MUSIC.
MARGARET C. SEAVER, BOSTON.
The American speaking voice is much criticised for its harsh and nasal quality. This is due to the lack of proper use of the vocal organs, and no doubt because of improper training or lack of training when young
A certain Dr. Fillebrown, a nose and throat specialist, who realizing these faults has set forth a simple method by which the quality of the speaking voice may be improved. This method is of a nature so simple, it is possible to begin the training of the young children in the kindergarten. Reforms of the race can only rightly begin with the children, and proper attention to the training of the young voice will surely improve the mature voice.
It is this method which we have used in our kindergarten that I am about to explain.
The main faults in the ordinary voice are: the neglect of sufficient use of the resonant cavities in the front part of the head, and also, the lack of free passage of sound through the nose.
We often hear the criticism: he talks through his nose. It is not so, it is because he does not talk through his nose, for if you will press your nose and talk, you will get that nasal quality and prove the fact.
The proper use of the vocal organs constitutes this method and resolves itself into three exercises : those of the lips, for the resonant; chambers of the tongue, for clear articulation ; and of the throat for magnifying the sound.
To begin with the lips : The word "sing" will always put the voice in proper focus. This should be done with the head up, the lips well extended and under jaw projecting, and said in a singing voice on the pitch of g. The “ng” of the word "sing” closes the throat and the tone is sent vibrating through the head cavities which are increased by the extended lips and jaw. Illustrate
"sing” This may be said several times to establish the focus. Then with this position to insure the vowel sounds taking proper course through the nasal passages, follow the word “sing” with the sounds, eaw — ah. Illustrate
“sing e” “sing o" "sing oo"
ah The exercises for the proper use of the tongue and lips for articulation, these same vowel sounds are used but with the prefix "T.” With the same position, as for "sing" in the same way say tee-to-too-tawtah - with great freedom of the lips. During the exercises return often to the word “sing” to be sure of the focus.