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YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND TO-MORROW. Under this general heading appear miscellaneous notes and records of current events and other topics relating to child welfare, and to this section it is earnestly hoped readers of this Journal will contribute.
SWIMMING BATHS AND PONDS
AND BATHING FOR SCHOOL
CHILDREN. The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust have recently issued through the Edinburgh University Press and Messrs. T. and A. Constable, 11, Thistle Street, Edinburgh, a large and notable volume of 265 pages forming a Report on Public Baths and Wash-houses in the United Kingdom.” The work has been ably carried through by Miss Agnes Campbell, B.A., and furnishes an authoritative directory to existing baths and wash-house provision, with particulars regarding the facilities available, the financial expenditure incurred, and a detailed discussion of factors which bear upon the subject generally. The Trust have had the cooperation of local authorities, voluntary organizations, and numerous experts and others in the preparation of this serviceable publication. Some idea of the wide scope of the Report will be indicated by an enumeration of the headings of sections : General Aspects of the Problem, Private Baths, Public Wash-houses, Swimming Baths, Bathing for School Children, Cleansing and Disinfection, The Sanitation of Swimming Ponds, Bath Construction and Staff, Finance and General Conclusions. A considerable proportion of the work is devoted to appendices, which provide in concise tabular form much statistical information as to public baths, wash-houses, and school baths in the United Kingdom. Particulars are also provided regarding legislation affecting public baths and washhouses. An excellent map is given to illustrate the distribution of public baths in relation to density of population. The whole question of public baths and washhouses has to be viewed and discussed as part of the larger question of how best to ensure a self-respecting life for every citizen. “It is possible that a solution of the dirt problem will be arrived at largely by means which do not consist simply in provision for washing. An abatement of
the smoke nuisance, less overcrowding, better education in the use of existing facilities, and more leisure in which to take advantage of them, will contribute in no small degree toward the end in view; above all these, the quickened sense of social obligation and of the solidarity of the nation as a whole which is at present so much in evidence should lead to far-reaching reforms.” We are glad to find that the Report very rightly urges that to inaugurate schemes for the physical welfare of mothers and children
the one hand, while reducing the means of cleanliness available on the other, is directly contrary to the reasoned opinions expressed in every report dealing with child welfare. “ The economy which closes swimming baths during the summer holidays, and leaves boys and girls to find what amusement they can in the streets, may prove decidedly expensive in the long run." The Report shows that lack of co-ordination between the various authorities concerned in the organization and administration of public baths and wash-houses may lead to inefficiency in administration; that there is need of a closer association of women with men in the work of baths and housing; that the want of any uniform system of statistics and definition, and the practice in certain places of lumping large sums under the heading “Miscellaneous” are serious obstacles in the way of progress. The Report shows that many bath and wash-house schemes have been thought out in sections which are illco-ordinated one with another. The complexity of the subject lies in the fact that there are different ends in view which should be clearly distinguished : (1) The cleansing of persons; (2) the cleansing of clothes; (3) the provision of wholesome recreation; (4) the teaching of swimming and life saving. A consideration of these aims in relation to present conditions leads to a further question : Are they of sufficient value to the community as a whole to justify their being made attainable by the poorest, or should there be an
income limit below which cleanliness is only possible for paupers and prisoners ? The vital query comes to this : Is the criterion of success the numbers who make use of the facilities, or the income derived from them ? Great possibilities may arise out of proper co-operation : “ The work done by voluntary associations with 'voluntary-minded' officials has advanced the movement for better facilities to the position it now occupies. It is possible to conceive of swimming baths with a well-planned system of showers, to which boys and girls who have left school come for their bath and a swim in summer, and for their bath and games in the winter evenings. Under the right leaders such places may exercise an influence for good which hardly be over-estimated. Again, it is possible to think of wash-houses in the construction of which modern science, with its knowledge of ventilation and noiseless machinery, has played a part, where mothers may get through their work without let or hindrance, while the children who have been left at the nursery school or baby-room are safeguarded from fire or scalding. That such schemes are not chimerical is evidenced by the work already achieved.” We would particularly commend to all teachers, school medical officers, managers of schools, and all interested in welfare work for school children the admirable sections on Swimming Baths and Bathing for School Children. The numerous illustrations and maps add much to the permanent value of the Report. With regard to the provision and value of swimming facilities the following statements appear :
“One of the most serious problems which face those who labour for the social betterment of our great cities, is that of providing wholesome recreation for young people who have left school and become wage-earners while the instincts for play are still strong and require direction into suitable channels. Generally speaking, wherever self-activity is developed as the result of recreation, foundations of future happiness are being laid; where, on the contrary, play resolves itself into a passive dependence on 'amusements' the appetite for enjoyment increases as the capacity for it grows less. Boys and girls should be actors rather than spectators, and the wisest policy on their behalf is
not to provide entertainment, but to give such training and opportunity as will enable them to entertain themselves. Among the forms of recreation which are possible under cramped conditions, swimming necessarily occupies a very high place. It is recognized as a first-rate physical exercise owing to the muscular training it affords, and the tonic effect of contact with cold water. It calls for a certain amount of pluck and endurance, and where water-polo is possible it possesses the further advantages claimed for organized games.
The importance of swimming is not to be measured only in terms of recreation. Every year a considerable number of persons in the United Kingdom lose their lives under circumstances where a knowledge of swimming would have saved them, and every year a certain number are pulled out of the water by those who have learned and practised 'life-saving. Although we are an island nation, and many of our industries are closely connected with water dangers, e.g., fishing, navigation, working in docks, numbers of boys leave school with no idea of how to swim or of what to do for others in case of accident. Lessons on the theory of what to do are almost valueless; the children can only learn by systematic practice in the water. The Royal Life-saving Society has done valuable work in encouraging thorough teaching of this branch of swimming by its system of examination for certificates." With regard to bathing for school children, it is shown that the subject can be best considered under three main divi. sions : (1) The learning and practice of swimming. (2) The formation of a habit of personal cleanliness, both as a matter of self-respect and of consideration for others. (3) The cleansing of verminous children. With regard to the provision and service of swimming baths for school children, the following general conclu. sions are formulated : (1) The main argument advanced against school swimming baths is that of expense. (2) The accommodation at the public baths is sometimes inadequate, and in consequence many children are prevented from attend. ing, e.g., in the London County Council Report on School Swimming, 1914, this reason is adduced in explanation of the fact that the number of swimming attend ances shows little increase.
In 1914 a
joint deputation to the Board of Education from the Amateur Swimming Association and the National Union of School Teachers urged that small teaching baths should be provided either at the public baths or, where these are inaccessible, at the schools. As the matter stands at present, the Association felt strongly that increased accommodation in one or other direction was essential. In county districts the provision of cheap open-air ponds for instruction in swimming and life-saving would cost comparatively little, and might do much to avert the bathing. fatalities so common among young boys. (3) Where children make use of the public swimming baths in great cities, it is desirable that special times should be reserved for them, and that adequate arrangements should be made for their instruction in classes, and for their supervision. We are glad to see that a plea appears for holiday bathing. The chief objections raised to bathing at school are said to be as follows : (1) That school time is lost which might be more profitably employed. (2) That the baths may come to be regarded as part of lessons, and dropped on leaving school. (3) That girls especially get their hair wet, and are apt to take cold. (4) That school baths detract from the responsibilities of parents at the expense of the teachers. The advantages claimed by the advocates for school baths are: (1) The parents become more careful about the cleanliness and underclothing of their children. (2) It is possible to observe bad physical conditions, vermin, or skin disease, which might otherwise be undetected until medical inspection. (3) There is an ample supply of hot water at the proper temperature and plenty of soap, instead of the very limited amount available at home. (4) The children get over their dislike to water, they enjoy the bath, and form cleanly habits. . (5) Children who have acquired the bathing habit are more likely to go to the public baths both for swimming and bathing after they leave school. (6) The atmosphere of the schoolrooms is much improved. There is a section on The Sanitation of Swimming Ponds. The following are enumerated as the chief sources of contamination : (1) Dirt and mud carried into the bath from the sides. (2) Excretions due to objectionable habits
on the part of the bathers—these excretions may include pathogenic organisms from persons suffering from disease. (3) Excretions from the skin and, in the case of girls, long hairs. (4) The fluff and dye from bathing costumes. The chief sanitary requirements appear to be : (1) A smooth bath lining which will afford no lodgment for the accumulation of dirt and bacteria, rounded tiles at the corners and at the angle between the sides and the bottom of the bath are of importance in this respect.
(2) Adequate arrangements for washing previous to entering the water. (3) Sufficient toilet arrange
(4) Surface overflows, so ranged that any dirt from the side-walks is caught there and does not pass into the pond water. (5) Side-walks sloping slightly away from the pond. (6) An efficient filtration plant. The extensive tabular appendices provide in convenient form for ready reference an immense amount of information regarding baths and wash-houses open to the public in the United Kingdom. All who have participated in the production of this serviceable Report are to be congratulated. It is a volume which will long remain an authoritative record regarding one of the most important branches of sanitary service. Every medical officer and all reference libraries in the country should possess a copy of this notable Report. Particulars regarding the issue of the work may be obtained from Mr. A. L. Hetherington, the Secretary of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, East Port, Dunfermline, Scotland.
TEACHERS FOR NURSERY
SCHOOLS. The Education Bill now before Parliament makes provision for the establishment of much-needed nursery schools. Many difficulties will attend the establishment of adequately equipped and properly managed educational centres for young children, and not one of the least will be the appointment of suitable teachers. The Training College Association, the Hon. Secretary of which is Major H. E. Griffiths, St. John's College, Battersea, S.W.11, have accomplished a really patriotic service by the issue of a suggestive Report on the Training of Teachers for Nursery Schools. This
constructive production deserves serious consideration. We here reproduce the essentials : (1) The Nursery School. The general character of the training which should be required of the future nursery school teacher must necessarily be determined by the aims and functions of the school. These aims and functions cannot be here discussed in detail, but it is necessary briefly to indicate the task of State-aided nursery schools, more particularly since some aspects of their work have not received the attention they deserve. The work of a nursery school may be regarded from three points of view : Firstly, it should promote the physical welfare of the children, both by providing a healthy environment, with special regard to fresh air, sleep, and space for freedom of movement, and also by securing careful attention to the health, the nourishment, and the cleanliness of the children, and their training in right habits. The life should be an open-air life, and not a schoolroom life, with visits, however frequent, to the playground. School baths will be essential, and school meals, and there should be a close connection between the nursery school and a school clinic. Secondly, the school must provide for the mental development of the children by giving them material and opportunities for play and for experiences suitable to their years in the life of garden and nursery. Standards of formal instruction are inapplicable in the nursery school. Thirdly, the school must be small and in close touch with the homes, for, when such young children are concerned, frequent consultation with their parents must be regarded as part of the teacher's work. The school should always be free for the parents to visit, and the teachers should be familiar with the children's homes. These aims may be very difficult to realize if the nursery school is invariably organized in connection with an existing elementary school. The work of the nursery school teacher would thus appear to be compounded of that of the nurse, the teacher and the social worker, and her training must have regard to the threefold rôle she should play. (2) The Teachers.-- The question at once arisesare all members of the staff of a nursery school to be of one type ? Is there need for differentiation beyond that of age and
experience ? The first step towards an answer is perhaps best taken by determining what should be the qualifications of those teachers who would be regarded as fully trained and certificated. We believe it to be of great importance for the future, not only of nursery schools, but also of educational knowledge and practice as a whole, that the nursery school teacher, whose work will lie with the critical years of early childhood, should not be inferior to other teachers either in general or in professional qualifications. It should not be possible for the less competent candidates for the teaching profession to gravitate naturally towards the nursery school. The nursery school teacher then, should, as regards her secondary school leaving certificate and the length of her training, comply with the conditions laid down for elementary teachers as a whole. The subjects of her study at college must vary, and the course of her training differ from theirs in many important features, but the final certificate awarded her should be the same as that given to other certificated elementary school teachers and should carry with it the same status and remuneration. (3) The Training.--(a) In planning the two year course of training the threefold rôle of the nursery school teacher must be kept in view. Skill in the physical care of young chldren must be developed, partly by appropriate lec
courses under the direction of a medical man or woman, and by practical work in nurseries and nursery schools, but also by adequate experience in a babies' or children's hospital or clinic, which will inculcate that high standard of hygiene which is of first importance in a nursery school. Secondly, the student must be introduced to the best modern theory and practice in the education of young children. She must continue her studies in those subjects the regulations describe as general, both to enrich her mind and personality, and to enable her to find and to seize opportunities for enlarging the children's interests and experiences. Considerable latitude is already allowed by the Board in the choice of subjects and the framing of syllabuses, and there should be no difficulty in the construction of suitable
In particular it might be urged that some genuine studies of literature on
the one hand, and of living plants and animals on the other, are indispensable. The value of handwork, art, and music, will be apparent. Thirdly, some study of social science, that shall bring the student into contact with the problems and conditions of life in the types of neighbourhood nursery schools are likely to serve, is essential. (6) One-year and special courses of training. Though in future it is probable that students will pass straight from an appropriate course in a training college to a post in a nursery school, yet there are doubtless many teachers of experience who, when these schools are first established, will desire to take up work in them. Such teachers, we would urge, should be adequately assisted by the local education authorities to take a one-year course of training specially devised for their needs. We would recommend the provision of such courses, as we believe it to be of vital importance that the nursery school movement should be well established by teachers of special aptitude and knowledge, and the average college course has not, in the past, been planned to give that thorough training in such subjects as child hygiene, nor that outlook on the social aspect of a teacher's work which are of first importance to the nursery school teacher. The teachers we are here considering are those eligible for a oneyear course under the existing regulations, and the course they take should be specially adapted to meet individual needs and to supplement individual experience. We believe, also, that the conditions of admission to a one-year course should be amended so as to admit those whose training and experience of child life may be regarded as equal in value to at least one year of the training college
It is probable that there are young women eminently well fitted for the work of the nursery school, and desirous of undertaking it, who possess the School Leaving Certificate demanded from entrants to elementary training colleges, and who have already taken a course of training in child management and welfare. When the new career of nursery school teachers opens before them they may desire to follow it. It might be required of such candidates that their training should have been taken in some
institution which could be officially recog. nized as providing a course appropriate .to part of the training of a nursery school teacher. The further course, leading to certification would, as in the case of the one-year students mentioned above, have special reference to those sides of the work with which the candidate has least experience. We do not anticipate that this avenue to nursery school teaching would ever be followed by many; but, especially when the schools are first being established, it is desirable that competent teachers should be drawn from as wide a field as possible. This will necessitate an extension of the conditions under which candidates may be admitted into training colleges for a one-year course. We do not consider that there should be in the nursery school any other teachers than those who would be recognized as fully trained and certificated.
(4) The Nurse Attendant. — The nurse attendant would be a member of the staff, working under the direction of the head of the school, and would be chiefly engaged in assisting to carry out the first aim of the nursery school, the promotion of the physical welfare of the children, the supervision of their personal cleanliness, the provision of meals, &c. Such attendants or nurses could be recruited as probationers from 14 years of age and upwards. They should be chosen for their personal qualifications, and receive a training in their work, under the direction of the head teacher, which might be recognized by a Certificate of Competency awarded to them after a period of satisfactory probation, but not earlier than the age of 17. From the first they should be paid a wage. The training the probationers would receive should fit them, not only for responsible posts as nurse attendants in nursery schools, but for attendants in infant welfare centres, nurses in crèches, or in private families. Some might proceed later to train as hospital nurses in general or children's hospitals, and the value of the training for home life and for motherhood will be obvious. (5) Co-ordination of Child Il'elfare Work.—The co-ordination of the various forms of child welfare work will doubtless be undertaken in the future, if not in general, at least in certain cases or localities. The association of the school