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by any question directed towards the intelligent treatment of numbers; for example, "If you had twenty beans, to how many children could you give one each ?" The actual production of the beans did not seem to help.
When I last saw Mary some weeks ago she was beginning to use her multiplication tables in connection with such questions as "How many 8's in 56?" but it was still easy to produce complete mental bewilderment. Hence it may be said that Mary's attitude towards number is not yet very intelligent; but at least she is able to do with fair speed and accuracy addition, subtraction, and multiplication, and is thus able to share the work of her class and to progress with the others. The great difficulty that she has with concrete number work probably arises from the fact that in early childhood she did not have nearly enough number experience. We hardly, I think, appreciate the enormous difference in experience that there may be between children who have as nearly as possible the same environment. Psychologists have again and again sought to bring home to us by words and illustrations that the kind of world we live in depends on selective attention. But we do not yet realize nearly all that is involved if this statement be true.
Probably most people depend chiefly on their social environment for the direction-at least the initial direction-of their attention. Thus a chance quotation made by a friend may, by its influence on my subsequent activities, make known to me a new world in literature. The little child is particularly dependent on those around him for the guidance of his attention, for he is outside the jurisdiction of the written word. If he were left entirely to himself, the numerical aspect of the world might easily escape his notice altogether.
Fortunately, numerical concepts play such an important part in practical life that most children have their thoughts turned to them at an early age. So long, however, as we allow the introduction of number to the baby mind to be a matter of chance, so long shall we continue to find five-year-olds who, on entering school, are far behind their fellows in their capacity to receive arithmetical instruction.
It should be one of the functions of the nursery school to direct the little ones' attention to number. The children themselves form excellent material, as they march in single file or take partners or "form fours." On a country walk the children can always be interested in-will themselves sometimes start number conversations about the things they see. In plays and games the teacher must be
ready every now and then to emphasize in a natural unforced way the number aspect. The children will thus be led to think about number, and they will go on to experiment by constantly applying this mode of conceiving things to their environment of the moment.
This experimental stage forms the only firm foundation for subsequent number work. It belongs naturally, I think, to the fourth and fifth years, and may without harm be prolonged through the sixth. It is essentially a self-directed activity; the teacher's part is to initiate and guide by means of very brief suggestions. She must waken ideas in the child's mind, and trust to his intelligence to work them out according to his own mental needs. When this is done carefully and systematically our infant class mistresses will, I believe, cease to meet with children who can make nothing of number. Provincial Training College,
THE NUTRITION OF THE CHILD.
By G. W. N. JOSEPH, M.D., D.P.H.
Of the many varied conditions associated with the production of malnutrition in the child the most outstanding, at any rate for the first nine or ten years, appears to be directly dependent on 'unsuitable or inadequate feeding. This question has probably not yet received the prominence it deserves, and possibly even the housing question, important as it is, should be relegated to second place. When one realizes the splendid general health of our soldiers during this War and the marked improvement of physique of the men in training, I think one must admit that good feeding and fresh air have probably more to do with it than anything else, and that given these two conditions men thrive, in spite of the crowded billet, exposure to weather, or the dampness and dangers of the trench.
One of the great problems of the future will be to see that all children receive ample and suitable nourishment. This is essential if a strong and healthy race is to grow up. Not only underfeeding, but overfeeding, particularly with excessive quantities of starchy matter, is often a potent cause of defective nutrition. Such children invariably suffer from chronic intestinal indigestion, and the consequent disordered function of assimilation following it.
In very few cases indeed is actual poverty shown to be a cause of malnutrition in childhood. The question is not so much one of poverty as of carelessness and ignorance of what constitutes a suitable diet. This is frequently seen in the feeding of infants from the earliest age. The mother is willing to spend money on all sorts of patent foods, but frequently never really tries to give her offspring its natural nourishment. Further, in a certain class, as the child grows older, tinned foods, fried fish and chipped potatoes, and sweet cakes become staple articles of diet, irrespective of the fact that at a less cost more suitable food can be procured. The secret of the popularity of the articles mentioned lies in the fact that they need little preparation to · form a meal. The class of woman concerned will not readily admit that she cannot cook, and she will not attend cookery, classes.
The teaching of cookery to the elder girls in the school is very valuable, although its good effects may not be much in evidence for another generation. It seems that these children (although often excellent cooks of simple food) are allowed little opportunity of cooking at home, and the mothers in many cases, in fact, seem to resent any attempt on their part to do so.
So far as the older members of the community are concerned, important progress has been made during the War by the institution of canteens and dining rooms in connection with many of the large works under Government control. In addition to improving the nutrition of the workers, these canteens may serve other useful purposes : (a) Education of the workers in acquiring a taste for simple, well-cooked, nourishing food. (b) Education of the women in the methods of preparing this food. Demonstrations and instructions in cookery might be arranged for the wives of any of the firms' workmen, and if the latter became interested a large number of the women would certainly take advantage of it.
The urgency of the whole problem of nutrition of both the school child and the child below school age has been intensified during the last few years, and increases as more women are employed away from their homes.
Any measure that tends to lessen parental responsibility is, as a rule, undesirable, but it is evident that something may have to be done to see that certain children obtain suitable food during the day. The provision of crêches and day nurseries to some extent solves the problem for the younger children, but for many reasons it is to be hoped that such places will be chiefly a temporary expedient necessitated by War conditions.
The institution of communal kitchens, too, will help, and in some instances such kitchens can conveniently be extensions of works canteens. An hour might be arranged for the children of workers to attend about midday at the canteen of the works in which the mothers are employed. A cheap and suitable meal could be provided in this way for those cases where there is no one at home to look after the preparation of the children's food. An alternative to this is, that where necessary the mother should be allowed to leave her work in time to go home and prepare the meals. This would not, however, get over the difficulty in those cases where the mother does not prepare proper meals. Public Health Offices, 78, Sankey Street,
IMPRESSIONS OF NATIONAL BABY WEEK, 1918.
BY ERIC PRITCHARD, M.D. Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Baby Week Council.
I GLADLY comply with the request of the Editor of The Child to furnish a brief account of my impressions of this year's National Baby Week. I can express them in quite a few words. I am immensely satisfied with the results, which have far surpassed our wildest expectation. We all feel intensely grateful to those who have contributed to the success of the Movement. Whether they be members of our various committees, speakers, preachers, lecturers, stall holders at the exhibition, or mere well-wishers, we thank them one and all. Last year our aims and programme were quite different from those of this year. In 1917 our object was to arrest the attention of the man in the street to the facts in connection with infant mortality, and to create an atmosphere of civic responsibility in relation to the safeguarding of the greatest asset the nation possesses-namely, its babies. This year our object has been to show how the babies can be saved. When all the factors concerned in infant mortality are examined and split up into their component constituents, it will be found that two common factors bulk so largely in the composition of each that they may be said to form more than three parts of the whole. The two common factors are: (1) want of knowledge; (2) want of character. Our object this year has been to supply the first of these wants. Ample, and more than ample, knowledge already exists in the hands of a few persons to save more than half the annual loss of babies. The difficulty is to pass
this knowledge on and put it in the right hands-namely, those of the mothers, the fathers, the nurses, and dare I say into the hands of the doctors ?
With these objects in view we have striven very hard to disseminate sound knowledge. From the very outset we realized that we had at call one of the very finest instruments for education it was possible to conceive-namely, a whole army of well-trained welfare workers, whose privilege it is to have the entrée into the British home and to have the confidence of mothers. We did everything we could to attract as many of these health workers as possible to London, where we provided for them a highly technical and educative exhibition of all phases of upto-date welfare work. We also arranged, with the generous co-operation of the National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality, a very valuable two days' conference on some of the most burning