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KENSAL HOUSE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL
By Miss M. HAGON.
This special school for tuberculous children was opened in March, 1911. It was at that time maintained jointly by the London County Council and the Paddington Tuberculosis Dispensary, but it is now entirely maintained by the London County Council. There is accommodation for ninety children, and there are at the present time fortyfive boys and forty-eight girls on the roll. Children may be admitted at 5 years of age, and remain in attendance until they are 16. Each year, however, a certain number of children have so far improved as to be pronounced fit to attend ordinary elementary schools. The staff consists of a head teacher and four assistant mistresses. The children are grouped in four classes. Boys and girls are taught together. A nurse visits the school each morning, and is present at the routine medical examination of children on Thursdays. The children attend daily from 8.50 a.m. until 3.50 p.m. Those who live beyond walking distance of the school are supplied with tram or bus tickets.
Breathing exercises are given when the children assemble in the morning and at various times throughout the day. Each teacher takes the temperature of the children in her class morning and evening. Any child who has a temperature of 100° F., or who is otherwise unfit for lessons, is kept lying down all day under the supervision of the head teacher. Lessons usually given in the morning are : Religious instruction, arithmetic, physical exercises, reading, writing, singing, recitation, literature, &c. In the afternoons gardening, needlework, stories, and various handwork subjects are taken. Hot milk and cocoa are served during the morning play time, and all the children are required to stay for the midday meal, which is provided at a cost of 3 d. per day. From 11.30 to 12 and from 1 to 2 p.m. all children lie on stretcher beds to rest. During the midday meal and the rest hours the children are supervised by the teachers in turn. The health of the children is the first consideration. Only those children with “steady temperatures are allowed to do such physical work as gardening. Every endeavour is made to help the children to make up for lost time in essential subjects. Therefore, those children who are passed out to ordinary schools are generally able to work with others of the same age in such subjects as reading and arithmetic. The children enjoy rather more freedom than could be given in an ordinary elementary school where the classes are larger. Wherever possible opportunities are given to them to develop individual, tastes or to indulge in “hobbies.” Scoutcraft is a very popular lesson. The older girls formed a company of Girl Guides over a year ago, and a small troop of Boy Scouts was started in December last. Good reports of old pupils are frequently received. The improvement in health has been maintained in many cases. Nearly all the old pupils have become self-supporting or partly so.
ABSTRACTS AND EXTRACTS. Under this heading are gathered thoughts from literature, both ancient and modern, which seek to
provide information likely to be of assistance to students of child life and practical workers for child welfare. It is hoped that our readers will co-operate in making this section both suggestive and serviceable.
SEX EDUCATION. Sex is one of the most fundamental, dominating and permanent factors in human affairs. In all religious, social and educational systems the meaning and manifestations of the sex instinct must receive foremost consideration. Until recent years profound ignorance regarding the psychology and physiology of sexual relationships has prevailed, and medical advisers have been chiefly concerned with the study of pathological states. Now at last it is being recognized that a rational education must provide for adequate instruction in regard to sex hygiene, and much has recently been written and spoken respecting methods and manner and substance of the direction which should be provided. Parents and teachers and medical advisers will find much suggestive material in “ The Psychology of Marriage,” by Walter M. Gallichan, recently published by T. Werner Laurie, Ltd., 8, Essex Street, Strand, W.C.2 (price 5s. net). “There can be no understanding of the deepest problems of human life, no real valuation of sex love, and true appreciation of the sanctity of marriage, and no sound foundation for private and social sexual morality until a greater number of men and women apprehend the immense sway of the instinct of love in the destiny of mankind.” This is the opening sentence of the preface of Mr. Gallichan's informing and helpful book. It is a work which may well be studied by all prospective husbands and wives, potential and actual parents, and all who as medical advisers or other workers for human welfare believe in the self-directing, self-controlling force of knowledge and true wisdom. We desire to direct attention to a few portions of this timely and serviceable work which deal with certain sex problems as they relate to child welfare and the guidance of adolescence. Mr. Gallichan, we feel sure, will not object to
our bringing a few quotations before the notice of those who are striving for child betterment. “The investigations of psychologists demonstrate very forcibly that a strong curiosity concerning the origin of their existence pre-occupies the minds of very many young children. In the case of a normal intelligent child it would be strange were it otherwise. One of the first efforts of juvenile reflection must naturally find stimulation in the mystery of the beginning of human life. While some children inquire frankly for an explanation, others secretly meditate upon the problem, and give no hint of their curiosity to the parents. ... The usual evasiveness of those to whom the child turns naturally for enlightenment frequently produces a distrust, which may develop into a total loss of confidence when the truth has been learned from other sources. Most children who have been silenced, untaught, or misled by their parents in their first years never solicit instruction from the father or mother at the crisis of puberty. An undetected but very wide psychic gulf exists at this period between the great majority of children and parents. Any casual school acquaintance or street companion is selected as an informant in preference to the father and mother from whose bodies the child has grown. This is one of the grave anomalies of our attitude to questions of sex. That which should bring parent and child close together in trust, respect, and sympathy becomes the cause of emotional, psychic, and often moral, sundering. The vague manifestation of the life-force in children must not be regarded as abnormal or morbid unless precocity is strongly evident. It is fatal to close the understanding to the fact that emotional sex traits, like physical characters, can and do exist among quite young children. The ignorance of this immature development has led to endless error in the training of the young, and to much mental and moral
injury. Sex begins with life, and its functions may be noted sometimes in the newly born. ... Cases recorded from the lives of normal men and women often show an early arousing of the loveemotion. It is highly important that parents should be aware of the not un
close connection of physical punishment with the arousing of sexual thought and feeling. ... By comprehension, and the cultivation of will, the amative impulse can be directed to the noblest ends. The direction cannot begin too soon. Preliminary vague expressions of the life-energy must be understood by parents and teachers. These manifestations in childhood and youth are often spontaneous, and must not always be associated with abnormality or morbidity. On the contrary the force of the libido is often related to fine emotional traits, strong moral aspirations, and a vigorous physique. The right direction of the instinct is one of the chief responsibilities of all guardians and instructors of the young.” Mr. Gallichan has written wise words regarding masturbation in the young, and these sections we commend particularly to the consideration of parents, teachers, and medical advisers : “Parents should recognize that autoerotism is apt to manifest itself spontaneously in young children; that it is often the result of the example of playmates, and that the practice frequently begins at the age of 14 or 15, at the time when the sexual system begins to mature and new desires spring into being. The young child may be safeguarded by hygienic means, and by kindly instruction concerning the great importance of the sex organs in the scheme of life. Health measures should ensure a plain, nourishing, non-stimulating diet, rational clothing, ablution of the parts, free exercise, and encouragement of outdoor games, and the cultivation of engrossing interests and hobbies. The bed should not be too luxurious and warm, nor the hours spent in it too long. Over-excitement is prejudicial to the well-being of the child, but a reasonable amount of pleasure in pastimes and occasional “treats' necessary.
Lack of interest and amusement may foster the habit, while absorbing employment of body and mind may prevent it. It is apparent, from a careful
consideration of this difficult and important question, that all the stimuli to the formation of the auto-erotic habit should be removed as far as possible from the daily life of the child and the youth. This is problem for parents and teachers. The loving confidence of the child should be won, and the appeal based upon affection and sympathy. Any method of terrorism is likely to defeat its object. The boy who is told that he is 'abandoned' may actually become so, through sheer despair in the conflict with vehement impulse. It is better to impress the fact that the life-force must be preserved until marriage, that restraint is a fine kind of athletic discipline, and that idealism brings rare rewards in happiness and sound health. While active physical exercise is to be advised for both boys and girls, over-exertion must be avoided. Fatigue, as shown by Mosso and other investigators, may even increase erotic feeling. Absorption in healthy games and hobbies is a valuable preventive. The shy and retiring child should be gently encouraged to mix in company, and to find social interests and amusements. Above all, a rational and reverential attitude towards the human body, the functions of sex, and the emotions of love need to be cultivated from early childhood. .. The affectability and impressionableness of childhood demand
most serious consideration. It is within the power of the parent to shape a son into a fervent lover, a wise and affectionate father, and a responsible unit of the race; or into a callous sensualist, irresponsible libertine, a wretched neurotic, or a criminal. The daughter brought up in the most sheltered' of homes, where a
sane attitude towards sexual instruction is absent, may become a lifelong prey to brain disorder, or mental disequilibrium, an hysterical subject, a neurasthenic, or drift into. sexual promiscuity and commercialized prostitution. Should the boy or girl reared in the old tradition that ignorance spells innocence escape the worse risks, he or she is nevertheless still exposed to perils and trials. The ignorance or the distortion of view may lead to the profoundest misery in marriage. One acute infantile shock, one vivid painful memory, even the rebuff of a mother
when a question has been asked, may colour a life's thought, root itself in the mind, and shatter the capacity for a normal love and a happy, peaceful conjugal life. ... The early mental attitude determines the chief part of the conduct of life. This attitude must be neither prudish nor indecent and vulgar. It should be sane, clean, inspiring to chastity and to fine ideals of love, the sex relationship, parentage, and racial responsibility. A deadly solemn and mysterious manner should be avoided by the instructor quite as cautiously as flippancy. This is not a lugubrious topic. Love is the joy of life as well as the source of moral feeling. Just as religious creeds can be made dour and forbidding, so can sex be rendered a grim, purely physiological subject, or a matter of repulsion. We should sing and laugh for love as a mother sings and laughs for joy at the babe in her arms. We should be encouraged to rejoice at the vital spring in our bosoms that causes the young to revel in their strength, and brings to the mature man and woman the supreme solace of spiritual affinity, and the sense of oneness in union.” Mr. Gallichan also provides much helpful direction regarding the safeguarding of youth : “Adolescence is the period of the soul's unfolding, and the stage when temptations begin to assail the youth, with an often bewildering complexity and range. The adventurous, or the wander, instinct develops in many boys. There are almost always some of these symptoms—increased emotionableness, religious or moral aspiration, or scepticism and the arousing of a spirit of inquiry, keen joy in living, frequently dispelled by depression, a tendency
tendency to resent parental authority, irritability, indolence, moody withdrawal into self, taciturnity, enthusiasm, hero-worship, sentimentality, bashfulness, a love of secrecy, heightened imagination, predisposition to vice or crime, and intense energy and restlessness. These manifestations are more or less common in both sexes at the period of the maturing of the sex impulse. There is a physical and psychic crisis of vast importance. The boy who has lived without manifest sex desire may experience it suddenly, and quite accidentally, through suggestion, or spontaneously in
sleep. Children have their night terrors, but the day of terror of youth is more formidable. A physiological sign of virility may utterly perplex and alarm a sensitive refined boy. Thousands are thrown into this state by the nocturnal incident common to many celibate males. They seek information from comrades, and receive terrifying and misleading opinions; or, as mostly happens, they brood over the manifestation, and frequently imagine that their experience is highly extraordinary, even unique. Some, in alarm, begin to read medical works and books of sexual physiology; others keep the secret close, and pass through acute mental throes, partly from dread that they are immoral and impure, or because they suspect grave physical defect, or fear injury from the occurrence. Such agonies of untaught youth may recur throughout the whole of manhood.
No parent should permit his son to reach puberty without at least a little physiological instruction concerning the male fertilizing function. Amongst boys there is a crude mass of fallacy and ignorance. .. If we desire earnestly that our boys shall live chastely before and after marriage, we must tell them the truth about themselves and their impulses and temptations, and encourage an idealistic and reverential attitude to sex from their earliest years." The care and general management of the adolescent girl is also dealt with in a manner which will be of inestimable benefit to many. Finally, the convictions of the truly educated mind which ever seeks to keep an attitude directed towards the light are thus expressed : “ The only fear that we should have towards sex is the fear lest we besmirch or impair a precious thing. As one of the Christian fathers declared, there should be no shame about organs and functions that God has been pleased to create and to ordain. The first aim in the teaching of purity should be a wholesome and inspiring attitude of mind towards sex love. We have tried the traditional method of hushing inquiry and casting contempt on the subject, and it has been found wanting. The sexual life of our times in civilized communities, with all its gross materialism, vice, cruelties, travesties of love, diseases, and incalculable moral,