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athletic games, the school playgrounds should be open after school with teachers of play and athletics in attendance and constantly acting as teachers and supervisors rather than attendants. New play, game, and athletic spaces should be added until there is an ample provision for every schoolchild. Not only should there be ample provision made, but the same attention should be given to the child's education by play as there is to his education in arithmetic, but it should be seen to by our educators that a course of study is laid down, followed, learned, marked, and the student graduated therein. Instead of endeavoring, in an occasional way, to grudgingly increase play space as the budget or the tax rate will allow, we should change our point of regard and begin with the thesis that every child must be given a minimum of one hour of play every day of its school life: each hour to be made of value to itself and to the city. We must then survey our facilities and our corps, and increase the same intelligently with the definite end in view.
This will lead us first to the school playground, so often closed to the children, barred out by its gates, next to the parks and piers, and lastly to the streets. Let us first use the facilities at hand, providing proper instruction and supervision; if these are not adequate (which they are not), we will know how much further we must go.
So far, only the school life of the child has been considered. The duty of the city to provide play opportunity for its youngest children is equally obvious. The necessity of providing for the continuance of play after school life is over is one of the crying needs of the day. Our girls will less often go wrong and our young men live more clean lives if, during the natural playtimes of evening, Saturday and Sunday, they are given the opportunity of playing the games they have learned to love as their natural birthright during their schooldays.
Nor have we considered other than the educational values of the play and game. Play takes time away from perilous and stupid idleness. It gives strong bodies resistant to the omnipresent disease germs, and inspires as certainly as may be the continuance of a vigorous racial stock. The right way to begin the attack on the tuberculosis scourge is to see to it that each child has ample and appropriate play.
The fact that a child has a good time in his play, the joy of which makes childhood the subject of the pleasantest reminiscences of manhood and womanhood, has not been obtruded. Life would not be worth the living without the play of the children. Nor would it seem that children were worth while if they were not to play.
For their own education, for their health and their joy, and for the sake of a new generation, trained in the play ideals of vigor, honesty, tenacity, and courage, let us see to it that every child is given the most thoro course of play we can plan or our adult instincts can prompt.
C. WARD CRAMPTON DIRECTOR OF PHYSICAL TRAINING
New YORK, N. Y.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HISTORY OF
AMERICAN TEACHING (II) ·
When the traveler returns from a long journey, his resting hours take him in memory to the places and persons he has met. He reviews his associations, the delights once enjoyed are renewed, even tho the participants have gone to the beyond; so with me tonight. Places are not so vividly by, as are persons. My gratification is in the companionship of the men with whom I administered schools, by whose counsel much of what I have accomplished was attained.
The office of superintendent of schools is comparatively a new one. About sixty years ago, Providence, R. I., appointed the first. Nathan Bishop and S. S. Greene were the pioneers. The former early undertook the Boston field. As a pupil in those schools, I remember him as he was seen occasionally on trips of inspection. What he accomplished is not a matter of record.
The propriety of such a supervising and consulting officer soon became apparent, and rapidly other cities in the country installed a superintendent of schools, with varying powers and duties. The names on the permanent roll are those of noble men and patriots.
In view of the careers of these officers, one must conclude that no sordid or low motives lead men to enter upon the work. Only the highest and most lovely character can impel the cultured man of the present to embark upon a voyage that promises little material return. Financial remuneration is inadequate; a scholarly life is impossible; the probability of occupying a transient domicile faces him who enters upon the undertaking.
The administration of a public-school system demands every hour in the working day in the execution of duties which are
* The first paper in this series appeared in the EDUCATIONAL Review for September, 1909.
not directly related to literary or scientific pursuits. Those superintendents who have compiled textbooks have done so at the expense of force that rightfully should have been expended in a more loyal direction. If authorship be sought, the superintendent should retire from office while writing. When a man accepts the position, it is with the understanding that all of him is at the service of his employer; that he can not morally enter upon any other field during his incumbency. His time and talent are under contract.
First among the precious friends and notable superintendents whose name rushes promptly to me is that of Dr. W. T. Harris, now happily preserved with us, and in whose company, at his home in Providence, R. I., one is still permitted to drink from the great fountain of wisdom.
In the sixties, the superintendent of St. Louis was putting forth those incomparable school reports which so aroused the superintendent world. We joined our enthusiasm to his wisdom. We journeyed to him, and he, with that genial heartfulness which has ever been a chief part of him, frequently came to us. We had meetings of counsel at neighboring cities. We met at Indianapolis, Chicago, and journeyed to St. Louis to spend a few hours on Saturdays in his company. He was the greatest of us all; words inadequately tell what the educational world has profited in the forty years since, thru his pen and brain. The ordinary man is a pigmy in his presence. Europe has crowned him as the great educational philosopher, while we are vain in being acknowledged as his pupils.
It was about these times that a group of us, Pickard, Powell, Lane, and others, gathered in class to sit at the feet of Elizabeth Peabody, Horace Mann's sister-in-law, the advance apostle and instructor in the kindergarten school. She was old and learned and bright. Our first authoritative view of Froebel and his philosophy was gained that week. Years after, while a guest in Berlin, of Frau Schrader, Froebel's niece, a persistent kindergarten promoter, I failed to receive like inspiration to that which Miss Peabody's teaching accomplished. Berlin kindergartens in 1891 were a disappointment. With the failure to obtain assistance from the public treasury, and the coolness in the work maintained by the school circles, Frau Schrader had not the assistance that the work deserved. But she persisted in promoting the instruction and made remarkable showing with contributions from the private purses of herself and friends. The widow of Froebel was then living at Hamburg, but she had little interest in the great work commenced by her husband.
* Since the above was written Dr. Harris has died.
The kindergarten is effective principally in the United States, and even here the many attempts under that name are not encouraging to the intelligent student of Froebel's philosophy.
John D. Philbrick left Dartmouth College for the teacher's platform, and in due time was made the Superintendent of Boston. He was vigorous, learned, and ambitious. Among other advances, he caused to be constructed the first modern graded schoolhouse,—the old Brimmer. Suddenly, at the end of twenty-five years' service taken from the very pith of his strong manhood, he was dropt from the roll, cast out to look for the where-with-all for daily bread.
In a few years, with a brilliant, short directorate of American education at the Paris Exposition, after writing an exhaustive report on the city schools of the country under the auspices of the National Commissioner of Education, he died all too soon. Who shall say the cause of his hastened death? On my last visit to him at his farm home in Danvers, Mass., the delights in listening to his advances and conquests for Boston schools were side by side with the sadness caused by his grief at the treatment received from his associates on the Boston Board.
A. J. Rickoff, the banner superintendent of Cleveland, was not retained after having gained for that city the Paris award for the best system in the United States. Those of us who were with him during his last years know that he was broken in heart and spirit.
One of the dearest and sweetest characters, Stevenson of Columbus, Ohio, awoke one morning, after twenty-five years' commended administration, to find his successor elected, no