Imagens da página

ture of labor. An educated people have the art of working both with their hands and with their brains, and they may be trusted to take care of themselves. It will be found that, as a rule, education never unfits a boy for manual labor, if it does not fit him for something else. False social ideas are doing the mischief, not schooling. The higher the education of a people, the greater is their thrift and enterprise. Idleness is the twin brother of ignorance.

The above propositions have reference to the industrial value of general education, but there is a growing demand for special industrial training. The rapid exhaustion of the fertility of our soil, the wide improvement in the taste of our people, and the great increase in the variety of our manufactures, all demand higher technical knowledge and skill on the part of the American workman. This is specially true in the mechanic arts, where well-known causes have almost discontinued the apprentice system. If this decline of apprenticeship is not made good by technical training, the American workman will soon be at the mercy of the skilled labor of Europe. The railroad and the steamship have destroyed isolation, and nearly all skilled labor is subjected to world-wide competition.

The American people are awakening to a recognition of these facts, and, as a consequence, there is a strong tendency in the direction of industrial education. The importance and value of such training are too evident to need discussion, and it is hoped that the time may soon come when those elements of technical knowledge which are of general application and utility will be taught in the public school, and when, in addition, every important American industry will have its technical schools.

But in the advocacy of industrial training, great care should be taken not to disparage the practical value of general education. The subversion of the primary function of the public school to teach trades would sacrifice the more important to the less important. All experience shows that, even for industrial purposes, no technical training can compensate for the lack of intelligence. Thought gives quickness and accuracy to the eye and.cunning to the fingers. What industrial skill and enterprise bave the common schools of New England produced! What a conserver of industry is character! All the technical schools of Europe do not create the industrial power which vice destroys. Its wasteful and injurious consumption of the products of human labor is appalling!

The public school assumes that every boy that crosses its threshold to receive instruction is to be a man, and that his first and highest need is to have all the elements of manhood within him devoloped, quickened, and energized. The primary element in this training is character. Integrity and thought are the most practical results of school-training.




NEW YORK. EDUCATION shall support the free development of the child without force or arbitrariness. This is rarely done, either in family or in school. The human instincts in the child develop gradually into individual dispositions which give to each being its own characteristics. The first free activity of the child needs to be guided and supported from the beginning, if its aim shall be reached, and if the powers and talents shall be directed to what is right and true. The immortal soul is born with the body, and discloses, like the body, from the beginning what it needs. Froebel studied the child's body and soul, and he found the key-note for the knowledge of the first instincts of the child's soul. The free and instinctive activity of the child's soul makes itself known in play, and nature gave this instinct to the child that it might develop bodily and mentally. The young and healthy child must play, and play is its work; and therefore through play, i. e., intelligent play, our first training must reach the child, both bodily and mentally. This is done by various means, for instance, by simple little games with the limbs of the body, and particularly by the activity of the hands, and through this children receive a knowledge of things, or of the elements of knowledge, and observation is awakened by what attracts the child's attention. Ready-made playthings hinder childish activity, and train to laziness and thoughtlessness, and hence are much more injurious than can be expressed. The impulse to activity then turns to destruction of the readymade things, and becomes at last a real spirit of destructiveness. Also merely mechanical work of the children, that which is done without exciting the imaginative faculties, is likewise injurious, because thereby the intellect becomes inactive. Froebel's method aims to give nothing but the material for play. The transforming of this material, wherein play and work consist, is done according to law in a free, inventive, productive manner.

6. Just there, where the critic commonly attacks the Kindergarten, lies its highest value.” It is thought by inany that Froebel gives to all children the same materials, prepared beforehand, so that they may make use of them; and that he obliges them to draw from these materials determined and foreseen results. But this would trammel all individuality. We do observe in many Kindergartens a disposition to make patterns and prepare elaborate materials for the Kindergartners ; but this is a deviation which annuls Froebel's principles. His method is very opposite. The child receives only simple material, which he can transform, or compose into new forms within the limits of their nature. Of importance is it that the Kindergartner should be thoroughly imbued with Froebel's principle. The individuality of children is neither constrained nor fettered when the Kindergartner knows how to lead him to appropriative use of materials suitable to his purpose. Nothing is more difficult to set forth in Froebll's method, nor more important to be compiehended, than the application to children's plays of the most general law of creation. But it is absolutely necessary to see how this application is made by the children, in order to appreciate the value of the method. The true Kindergarten is an ideal world for the child. In the Kindergarten the idea is realized which indicates the beginning and progress of mankind's culture: viz., first comes necessity with its demands; by and by one arrives at the comforts, luxuries, etc., of civilized life. Mankind made its first experiences actively in experimenting, i. e., working. The child must begin similarly · in order to rise by degrees to the height of the point of view of present society. Mankind, from the rudest beginnings of work, arrived gradually to the expression of the beautiful, to art, and this led to science. The child shall first form its heart and character by its will becoming active before school commences. In order to develop the physical powers, there are a series of gymnastic games, and each of these games is intended to exercise and develop the muscles and limbs in various ways. For instance, one game is for the clumsy little thumbs, in the “ bird's-nest game”; another for the fingers, when the "sunbeams” or the “ leaves ” of the trees are represented ; another for the hand and wrist, as in the 6 weathercock”; another for the arms, as in the “ windmill”; another for the arms, chest, and lower part of the body, as in the “ cooper"; another for the feet and legs, as in the bi skating game,” or “frog and bird games," and so forth. In various games different trades are imitated; for instance, the cobbler,

« AnteriorContinuar »