Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

ceptible to modification or improvement, as many claim. It is in harmony with the nature of children, whether German, French, Chinese, English, or the children of all nationalities as found in the United States.

It was my happiness to visit these Kinder-gartens in Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, and other cities, placing my children in them some months, and after giving special attention to them, examining also the seminaries where their teachers are trained in Berlin, I can speak in unqualified praise of the system as I understand it. As the system of Fröebel has not yet been adopted as part of the German in any German State, and is now merely tolerated in Prussia after years of entire prohibition, its only claim to be termed German is due to the fact that Fröebel was of that nationality. While, therefore, it affords me pleasure to bear this testimony.so unqualifiedly, its further consideration does not belong here.

I should be glad, if time allowed, to speak of other educational institutions more special in their character, such as seminaries for teachers, agricultural, forest, polytechnic, mining and art schools, conservatories of music, schools for deaf mutes, etc., for reformation of juvenile offenders, such as the “ Rauhehaus" at Hamburg, under its founder, Dr. Wichern, and with which I was not agreeably impressed, for in all the above classes of schools, it was my pleasure to make many visits. But the time is limited, and I pass at once to the third topic,

Schools for Girls.- In the German system of in

struction there is a direct and public acknowledgment of the mental inequality of the sexes.

Goethe says “ The highest attainment of woman is to comprehend what man writes," or to that effect, which also seems to be in accordance with the views of German philosophers and educators of the present time. This is seen in the radical difference in the study-plans of the schools for girls and those for boys.

Never are the two sexes permitted in the same school, except in the three lowest grades of schools, and then only during the first three years of attendance, save in the Dorf, or country school, where the population is sparse, and a separation would greatly increase the expense.

Burger Schools for Girls.—Here the study-plan is nearly identical with that in the same class of schools for boys, except that, in the girls' school, are never taught those elementary principles in geometry which enter into the boys' programme; the other branches, elementary and common, the girls have the same as the boys, and, in addition, often various forms of needle-work and cutting out, with embroidery, etc., are added. The girls receive drill in turning the same as the boys.

Generally, no opportunities are offered in the public schools for further education of girls than in these Burger schools, but within a few years superior advantages are afforded in several of the cities. Such are variously termed Töchter-Schule, HöherTöchter’s, or Girl's High School, and are admirably adapted for the instruction designed to impart in

them.. It must, however, be remembered that an exceedingly limited number of girls, comparatively, have the opportunity to attend such ; in fact they seemed an experiment with the Germans, and not yet fully acknowledged as an established fact, and making part of the system.

The Victoria school in Berlin is an excellent specimen of this class, though I judge the Rath's Töchter-Schule (city girls' school) in Dresden superior to any visited by me in Germany. The following is the course of study from which can be seen the highest facilities furnished girls or young ladies in any of the public schools in Germany, when it will be evident that not from Germany are we of the United States to seek information concerning the education of girls.

Study-plan of the Höher Töchter's Schule, Wiesbaden, Nassau.

First and second years, girls seven and eight years old. Religion, reading, writing, arithmetic and hand-work, needle-work, etc., in all, twenty-one recitations each week.

Third year. The same as the previous, omitting arithmetic and adding German and French grammar and fine penmanship, twenty-four recitations a week.

Fourth year. Religion, German, French, geography, arithmetic, singing, penmanship, hand-work, gymnastics, in all, thirty-one recitations each week.

Fifth year, girls eleven years old. The same as the previous, omitting arithmetic and adding drawing, history and English, thirty-three recitations a week.

Sixth year. Religion, German, French, English, history, natural history, geography, singing, arithmetic, fine penmanship, drawing, gymnastics and hand-work, thirty-seven recitations each week. Literature is added the seventh year, thirty-eight recitations a week.

Eighth and ninth years. Religion, German, French, English, literature, history, and geography, natural history, arithmetic, drawing, singing, hand-work, fine needle-work, embroidery and turning or gymnastics, thirty-six recitations a week.

When it is remembered that each recitation occupies fifty minutes followed by ten minutes recess, it will be seen that for the girls in these schools there are from six to seven hours occupied with recitations, listening to lectures, etc., each day of the week. Latin, geometry, algebra, the elements of chemistry, natural philosophy, physics, astronomy, and other equally useful branches, are entirely omitted even by oral lessons, so far as I learned. No attention whatever is given hygiene, deemed so essential with us.

It is thus seen how generally limited are the facilities offered for the school education of girls, for it must be remembered the above description is of the best and highest order of girls' schools and of which there are very few in all Germany.

Should a parent wish to furnish the means of a superior education to his daughter, it can only be done, and at great expense, through private tutors, for the private schools for young ladies are rarely superior to those described above. In all Germany there is no institution where the facilities for the highest culture of young ladies are at all comparable to those furnished at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., nor am I aware that such advantages are demanded by any considerable number of parents or educators.

The idea of decided mental inequality in the sexes, is seen, not alone in schools, but throughout the entire social life and in all classes of society in Germany of which, however, it is not my present purpose to speak. Such, in brief, is, in many respects, by far the most comprehensive, thorough and best system of public instruction ever adopted in any country, so admirably adapted to the purposé designed, wrought out with such consummate skill and exactness, and so all-embracing as to meet the wants of every child throughout Germany.

Nor is the perfect system of military drill and education carried out with much greater fidelity and exactness than this relating to the school education of the young. There is much in it from which we can profit, and let us adopt all which is adapted to us, and carry it into execution with the same faithfulness.

IV. Criticisms, Suggestions, etc.—The Prussian or German system of Public Instruction has impressed those of our teachers and educators who have visited the schools in those countries, or who have given some attention to them, so strongly and

« AnteriorContinuar »