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ECHOES FROM THE I. K. U. MEETING
By Dr. Jenny B. Merrill New York
LETTER FROM MARIA KRAUS-BOELTE
(Continued from June No. Kg. Mag.)
That was a remarkably strong and virile letter sent by Mrs. Maria Kraus-Boelte to the Directors' conference of I. K. U. by the hand of Miss Anna E. Harvey. We hope all our readers noted it on p. 250
of the June magazine.
If Germany had known her kindergarten prophets she would not have driven them out in the early kindergarten days. She had no use for their theory of development but preferred the "iron hand."
A German lady now teaching in Boston but who once taught in a German elementary school, illustrated to a company of interested listeners recently how she was trained in the German training school she attended to deport herself towards children. It was with great rigidity and never a smile. She said in answer to the question of mothers' meetings with teachers, "O, never! No one ever thinks of connecting the thought of home and mother with school life." (How is it that those who have praised German educational methods have not made these facts known before?) It is "crude primitive control that commands instant obedience to its behests" that is considered the only real authority in German schools and in too many others. An eminent writer says of this sort of control, "It originated in the fascination of display of power. As man evolves he learns to depend less upon implied force and fear and more upon that personality that wins acquiescence because of the confidence which it inspires as well as from the reasonableness of its demands. This is a higher kind of power."
Mrs. Kraus continues her thoughts in the letter as follows:
"May strength, courage and enlightenment be given to all loyal and true workers devoted to the evolutionary thought of Froebel's educational meth
Dear Anna, you stand in my place, believing as I do in development, in the freedom of work and play, according to the law, believing in the idea rather than the mere word.
Froebel stated that he gave but the starting point, the idea, leaving to his followers the philosophical and practical standpoint to interpret and develop as does nature.
Froebel was liberal and progressive and we, as his followers, have to be so likewise. This does not mean arbitrariness or disconnected work.
Loyalty to Froebel is entirely co-incident with progress for his methods can be wonderfully expanded in the hands of a person who has taken hold of his spirit and basic principles.
His entire idea is to awaken and assist the inborn Godlike germ or spark, developing to self-activity.
I have written the above and send it with my loving greetings and good wishes to all of the sisterhood for a successful and helpful meeting. I wish that I could have been with you where I might have ! given a better expression of all I want to say. Affectionately,
REPORT ON THE DAILY VACATION
On Wednesday evening Dr. Merrill was invited by the Executive Committee to explain briefly the work being done by the Daily Vacation Bibie Schools with which she is now connected as supervisor of their kindergartens, and also of Bible study.
Dr. Merrill stated that the aim of these Bible schools as set forth by Dr. Robert G. Boville, their founder, is to take idle children off the streets of our large cities during vacation days for a few hours, giving them in addition to devotional exercises and a Bible story every day, some interesting music and also hand work. For the little ones a kindergartner is secured if possible. Special drills in music are given. Outings and excursions are sometimes enjoyed in the afternoon but the morning hours from 9:30 to 11:30 follow a definite program which is given in the manuals published by the International Association. This association has now a "Manual of Hymns and Songs," a "Manual of Handwork," and a "Manual of Graded Bible Courses and Habit and Health Talks." It holds conferences with its teach
The Daily Vacation Bible School has extended into twenty-five states and into Canada. In 1916 it organized nearly 400 vacation schools. Japan and China are asking for its help so that this year it has advanced from a National to an International Association and seeks affiliation with the I. K. U.
It depends largely upon kindergartners and young college men and women to carry on its work. It loves to think of its work as a "College and Church Ministry to City Children." It hopes that in thirty Bible lessons and stories it may not only supplement Sunday school work, but carry the Bible to many thousand children who go to no church or religious school.
It endeavors to be non-sectarian and welcomes all who will come.
This year it feels even greater responsibility than hitherto for the excitement of the streets has increased and the children feel the atmosphere.
Dr. Merrill urged kindergartners to interest their
Exhibits at the I. K. U.
Miss Caroline D. Aborn, Supervisor of Boston's Public Kindergartens, wisely decided to have individual exhibits in the kindergarten room or rooms adjoining. Such exhibits are more satisfactory than composite exhibits as one feels the atmosphere of the kindergarten, sees the children who made the work, and can inquire intelligently of the kindergartners under whose guidance it was produced.
In this way the writer enjoyed the exhibit of Miss Shute's Training class in the Boston Normal School, and later the exhibit of the Model School kindergarten. Both were excellent.
A special exhibit which is explained in the following circular was sent on from New York. No other cities were represented.
In this special exhibit several living animals appeared with special directions for their care. Several booklets by Miss Laura Garrett, who has made a careful study of teaching sex to children by breeding small animals in the primary grade, were exhibited.
Some of the superstitions about animals held by children of foreign parentage, as told by Miss Garrett, are astounding and forcibly indicate the value of the intelligent guidance which she is giving now in several of our public schools.
The suggestions do not belong to the kindergarten age but in these days when primary teachers are working in harmony with us, or striving to do so, it is desirable to know their difficulties as well as our own in nature study.
How early it is wise to reveal the mystery of sex to the child is a problem to be settled in individual cases but should not be shirked.
One very simple and practical suggestion given by Miss Garrett as a “stepping stone" as it were, is the use of animal pictures in pairs, and in showing "families of animals" as we so often do in the kindergarten. She advises that "father" and "mother" both appear whenever possible.
Carrying this suggestion into human life, many kindergartners are preferring Millet's "First Steps" a typical kindergarten picture for permanent place on the walls rather than a Madonna.
The object of this exhibit is to show a variety of school materials which are adapted to free use by children at the promptings of their own creative Impulses. While we recognize that all materials may lend themselves to directed work, we hope this idea will not attach itself to this particular exhibit. The material drawn from various schools was chosen to meet the needs of children-four, five, and six years old. We do not assume that these materials cover the whole field. Books and pictures, for instance, have been entirely omitted. This is not because these things are deemed irrelevant but because in
this matter the group of experimenters responsible for selecting this material have not yet arrived at a point where they feel competent to speak.
We also intend to suggest the kind of materials to be used with young children rather than to set forth any as the ideal or as having any exclusive right to the field. Indeed, the chief hope of this exhibit is that a collection of this kind may suggest to teachers and parents the rich possibilities of every environment, and stimulate them to gather their own material from their own environment for their own children.
It is important to keep in mind that at six years old children are just beginning to do things co-operatively. The impulse to play together is not strong enough at this age to overcome the stronger impulse to carry out individual play schemes unless the children are dominated by the teacher. The playthings exhibited here should serve for both individual play and the beginnings of co-operative play.
The out-of-door playthings are chosen both to encourage constructive play and to give exercise. We have also made an effort to show how small space may be utilized to give the maximum of exercise and constructive play without an expensive equipment. We wish to make acknowledgments to many who have contributed to the exhibit-Teachers' College, the University of Pittsburgh, the Ethical Culture School, the Play School, the Natural History Museum, and the Bronx Zoological Gardens have all cooperated with us, and various business houses have kindly loaned us materials as we have needed them. Committee on Toys and School Equipment, Bureau of Educational Experiments, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York.
REPORTS OF DELEGATES AND OF COMMITTEES
The march and display of banners from the various States is a pleasing feature of Delegates' Day.
Miss Alma L. Binzel presided. The reports of work are necessarily condensed, but it is nevertheless inspiring to feel this personal touch with so many representatives, especially as many of the younger members of I. K. U. make these reports. The reports of committees will be given in the Annual report.
Miss Clara Wheeler reported as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence and Miss Annie Larrs on Foreign Relations. Both chairmen reported difficulties in reaching our foreign delegates this year but there was encouraging word from Japan.
The lantern slides exhibited on Friday by Fuzi Takomari gave a pleasant insight into our good workers there as well as a closer knowledge of the country.
The Committee of Nineteen was continued and re
quested to take up the subject of the kindergartners' responsibilities to the country in these trying days of
A sub-committee prepared a comprehensive report for such short notice which was read by Miss Larrs on Friday. Our duty to take care of the children was its chief burden, profiting by the unfortunate experience of England where juvenile sickness and delinquencies have increased because of the withdrawal of parental care, fathers in the trenches, and mothers in the factories. The duty of kindergartners in homes, so strenuously urged on Monday evening and reported by us in the June number of this magazine, is the urgent need.
A report by Miss Winchester, from the Committee which works in touch with our Bureau of Education in Washington, D. C., was mainly a hopeful explanation of the difficulties that have been met in this united work. A speedy and happy solution is anticipated by many.
Music-A Required Subject in the High
BY HERMAN E. OWEN
Director of Music in the Public Schools of
No subject has greater cultural value than music. It is desirable in this materialistic age, when all too many subjects are judged by their money value, to hold fast to some of the subjects which contribute to culture. The teacher of music will be able to hold to higher standards when music becomes a required subject, and is not looked upon as a diversion. The adult's choice of entertainment depends upon the ideals formed in school days, hence it is important that his musical ideals are high for music is one of the greatest factors in entertainment. If left to their own choice, many students will fail to elect music at the time when it will be of most value to them. Even a single course in appreciation of music will make one a more intelligent listener. All will be listeners if not performers. The singing of patriotic songs is spasmodic in most schools,—an overindulgence on patriotic days, then forgotten for the rest of the year. These songs are generally learned in a haphazard way, with little attention to the meaning of the words.
A definite place for the study of patriotic songs should be given throughout the grades and high school. Each pupil should be required to commit to memory the melody and at least one or two of the most imporant verses of our leading national songs.
Sin may open bright as the morning, it will end dark as night.-Talmage.
Sarcasm is the language of the devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it.Carlyle.
STORIES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR STORY TELLING
The Mother and the Story
By ANNA MAE BRADY, Story Teller at the San Francisco Exposition
The mother who is able to tell a story always finds her services in great demand. Her popularity is not confined to her own family circle, but spreads like wild fire throughout the neighborhood. And other children who are not fortunate enough to have Mothers who are interested in story telling will sit at their feet in rapt adoration.
The strange thing is that more Mothers do not make use of the story as a means of education, discipline, moral training as well as pleasure giving, for the story does all of these things for the child-and more. Some Mothers do not realize the powerful and lasting influence of the story. Others knowing the benefits to be derived lack confidence in their ability as a story teller, thinking that one must have special training along this line in order to hold the interest of the children.
It is an admirable thing to give to children wellchosen, well-told, stories, but the Mother should not hesitate because she has never had any experience along this line. She should begin at once in order that no precious time be lost and through study and experience she will soon come to have faith in her story as well as in her ability to tell it.
She must first learn to know and love stories. Then she must make a study of them until she is able to judge a story as to its strong points as well as its weak ones. The ideal story should be (1) childlike, (2) full of action, (3) incident should be linked with incident and should follow each other in a natural way, (4) should correspond to age and development of child, (5) should end satisfactorily.
Then too, she must learn to select a story that will meet the needs of her children at different stages of their development. At the ages of three to five they are usually interested in Mother Goose Rhymes and simply nonsense tales. From six to nine year of age the Fairy Tale appeals to them because of their great imaginative power. They love to live again the fancies of the race which are revealed to us through these stories of mysterious people, who appear and disappear at will. Young children give to all inanimate objects the power of speech, so there is to them nothing out of the ordinary in a conversation between the Frost King and the window pane, or the Rabbit and the Jackal. Because of their love for animals they enjoy stories about them too.
When they are about ten years of age the myth proves most interesting and little later hero tales
as well as stories of adventure are in great demand. During the adolescent period their stories should be selected with the thought in mind that great changes are taking place in these children which may still seem to us to be scarcely more than babies. There is within them no belief nor even a possibility of a belief in faries-hence their self respect as the grown up individual which they believe themselves to be, would be outraged at the presentation of fairy tales for their pleasure. They are just awakening to the thought that they are individuals, and as such they long to take part in the affairs of the world-this being denied them to a certain extent, they enjoy hearing of the people who have done something worth while. Stories from the lives of great men and women not only hold their interest and give them pleasure, but aid in character building as well. Later in this stage of their development they come to care for realistic stories and then for tales of romance.
From this brief survey of their demands we find that fairy tales form the larger part of the stories of childhood. One can hardly make a mistake in selecting one of the old fairy tales of Perrault, Grimm, Anderson or Dasant.
These stories are all of the products of mature minds, and have been handed down to us through many ages. Hence they are richer than if they were created in one mind. Our later day fairy tales do not ring true for the authors did not believe what they wrote. The simple hearted writers of early times really believed in the existence of these creatures of fancy.
When the story is decided upon the Mother must then make it her own. Not that she should give the words of the author, but that she may have such a vivid mental picture that she will be able to imagine the scenes, creating again as she tells the story. In this way she is able to produce clear-cut mental pictures in the mind of her audience. The degree in which these pictures are made clear marks their value to the child.
She first reads the story over and over until she is familiar with it. Then she goes over it in her own mind until she is able to interlink incident with incident, and have each follow in their logical order. She must know the story so well that she will not change it as she tells it from time to time, for a good story should be told many times and she need not fear either that her children will tire of it if it is repeated. Better one story carefully selected and well told than a dozen chosen from any source, and told in a careless fashion. The last requisite for the Mother who is preparing herself to tell stories is that
she love her story. Mothers as a rule will do this for they more than anyone else, are able to put themselves on the same plane with their children, and because they love and understand them, they will love and understand these stories, which came from the hearts of people who were so unaffected, imaginative, and trusting as to be children themselves in development.
After once telling a story and seeing the results, no observing Mother will want to deprive her children of this means of mental growth. Through countless ages the story has proven one of the best means of teaching. It has always been used, but at the present time there is an awakened interest among teachers in the public school, Sunday School, and among workers on Playgrounds, and in libraries. The home is primarily the place for story telling, and the Mother the natural story teller, for it is the art of the fireside. And the time is speedily coming when more Mothers, because of their knowledge of the benefits to be derived will take up the work. For no one who has ever told stories to children, had them sit at their feet, and look up into their faces with such looks of trust, admiration, and awe for the story teller, mingled with love, and anticipation for the story, their little bodies taut with interestsuch person can doubt the great influence for good to be derived from the well-chosen, well-told story.
SEAT WORK AND DICTATION STORIES, BASED
Directions for using the stories.
After each story has been told and dramatized, provide the children with scissors, paper, colored crayons, blocks and clay as needed to illustrate it. Provide patterns for the animals for the children to trace around, later let them draw free-hand.
Provide real models when possible, and use pictures freely.
In connection with the seat work a chart or sand table may be used and the children's best efforts placed there as the work proceeds from day to day.
These stories may serve as a basis for many other lessons to be worked out in a similar way by the teacher and adapted to particular needs of the class. No. 1. The Fox and the Grapes.
"THE LITTLE SALLIE STORIES"
By Ella Bruce
Little Sallie lived on the top floor of a large tenement house in New York City.
She had a little baby brother Tommy, whom she loved very much. Tommy was two years old, and Sally had to be a regular little mother to him, as their own dear mother had to go out to work every day to support them, since they were very poor indeed. Their father was dead and they were left all alone; their mother had to work very hard to earn bread and butter for them.
Little Sallie used to take her baby brother in his go-cart up to Fifth Avenue some days to see the rich little girls and boys who played there. One day she was feeling very sad indeed. Tommy was crying for a stick of candy and poor Sally had not a penny to buy one for him. She was trundling him along on Fifth Avenue looking at the grand houses and the automobiles, the rich ladies in their beautiful furs, for it was winter, when suddenly she saw something glittering on the sidewalk.
She picked it up and saw that it was a beautiful steel handbag. She opened it and there she saw a large roll of money. Ten twenty dollar bills and a beautiful pin and two rings all shining with diamonds. She put the bag quickly in the go-cart and ran home as quickly as she could. Her mother had just come home and Sallie showed her the bag with the jewels and money. Sally said, "Now, mother, we are rich, you will not have to go to work any more and I can have a beautiful white dress and white shoes and Tommy can have lots of toys and all the candy he wants," and she jumped up and down with joy, and ran and kissed her little brother and gave him a bear's hug. Tommy crowed and laughed too. He seemed to know something good had happened to them.
But her mother said, "No, Sally, you must return the bag to the owner, we must be honest. In the bottom of the bag Sally's mother had found a card with the lady's name and address on it. She showed it to Sally. It said, "Mrs. Woods, 400 Fifth Ave." Her mother said, "As soon as you have your supper you must take the bag to its owner." Sally's heart felt sick, but she knew her mother was right and that she must be a good, honest girl.
After supper, which consisted of only bread and tea, they had no butter, Sally started for Fifth Avenue. She came to a large house and ran up the steps and rang the bell. Her heart beat loud for she was very much excited and frightened. A butler answered the bell. He had large brass buttons on his coat, and looked very cross. Sally said she would like to see Mrs. Woods. He looked at her ragged shoes and poor dress, and said, "You cannot