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ST. PAUL, MINN., July 9, 1890. The Kindergarten Department was called to order at 3 P. M.; the President, Mrs. E. L. Hailmann, in the chair.
The singing of the Teachers' Hymn by the audience was followed by a prayer by the President.
The Secretary being absent, the reading of the official report was omitted; and Miss H. M. L. Eggleston was appointed Secretary pro tem.
The President made a short address, after which Mrs. Helen E. Starrett, of Chicago, read a paper on "The Kindergarten; by an outside observer.”
Then followed a vocal solo by Miss Morehouse.
Committee on Resolutions-W. N. Hailmann, La Porte, Ind.; Miss Eva B. Whitmore, Chicago; Miss Lucy F. Wheelock, Boston.
Committee on Nomination of Officers --Nathan C. Schaeffer, Kutztown, Pa.; Mrs. Eliza A. Blaker, Indianapolis, Ind.; Miss Mary S. Clark, St. Paul, Minn.
A resolution was adopted empowering the President to appoint a committee to advise concerning a kindergarten exhibit at the World's Fair at Chicago in '93; said committee to report at the meeting of the Kindergarten Department, Friday, July 11.
An address by Lucy F. Wheelock, on “They have Eyes and Ears," was followed by a paper on “ Effects of Kindergarden Training on Primary Work,” by Irwin Shepard, of Winona, Minnesota.
The audience then sang “Home, Sweet Home," and the meeting adjourned.
SECOND SESSION.—JULY 11. The meeting was called to order at 3 P. M. by the President, and was opened with singing and prayer.
Miss Anna E. Bryan, of Kentucky, then read a paper entitled “The Letter Killeth."
W. N. Hailmann followed with a paper on “Schoolishness in the Kindergarten.”
The last paper of the session was given by W. E. Sheldon, of Massachusetts, the subject being “Professional Training of Kindergartners and Primary Teachers.”
The minutes of the previous meeting were read, and adopted.
Miss Williams not being a member of the Association, the name of Mrs. E. A. Blaker, of Indianapolis, was substituted for Secretary; and with this change the report of the committee was adopted.
The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows:
1. Resolved, That our hearts are filled with gratitude for the growing recognition of the educational principles of the kindergarten in all departments of educational work, but more particularly in the primary schools of our land and in the homes of the people.
2. Resolved, That in our opinion, a full knowledge of the educational principles of Freebel, and familiarity with the ways and means of the kindergarten, is an essential part of the education of every woman as the prospective queen of a home.
3. Resolved, That it is desirable that the kindergartners of the land unite under the leadership of this Department, for a full and logical exposition, at the World's Fair of '93, of the aims and achievements of the kindergarten, and of the schools that follow Frobel's lead.
4. Resolved, That the officers of the Department be empowered and requested to send the affectionate greeting of this Department to the widow of Friedrich Fræbel, at Hamburg
5. Resolved, That W. N. Hailmann, of Indiana, be empowered and requested to collect and forward to Miss Eleanor Heerwart, whatever funds he may be able to secure for the Froebel Memorial Kindergarten, at Blankenburg.
6. Resolved, That we cordially thank the people of St. Paul, and particularly the members of the First M. E. Church and of the St. Paul Free Kindergarten Association, for the splendid hospitality extended to us; also Prof. Brown, organist of the church, and Miss Grace Morehouse, for the inspiration we obtained from their beautiful music.
7. Resolved, That we acknowledge and appreciate with gratitude the successful efforts of the officers of the Department, and of the ladies and gentlemen whom they associated with themselves on the program, to present current important questions in a manner that cannot fail to bring them nearer to a satisfactory solution.
These resolutions were adopted.
After the singing of “Auld Lang Syne" by the audience, the meeting adjourned.
H. M. L. EGGLESTON, Secretary pro tem.
THE KINDERGARTEN WORK AND MISSION FROM THE
STANDPOINT OF AN OUTSIDE OBSERVER.
HELEN E. STARRETT, CHICAGO, ILL.
No statement in regard to the work of the kindergarten is more earnestly made or more frequently reiterated by those preëminent among its advocates, than that its principles and methods cannot be understood without deep and earnest and systematic study. To those whose youth antedated the days of kindergartens, this is often a discouraging statement, and one calculated to make them feel that if they cannot understand it they are not bound to take any special interest in it. To the unreflective mind, even the popular statements and elucidations of the fundamental principles of kindergarten education are often mystifying on first presentation. When the uninitiated young mother (or young father) opens the little book entitled “Merry Songs and Games,” prepared especially for the little ones, and reads in the preface that, “The development of mind is a progressive self-recognition, and this recognition is effected through perception of the analogies between mind and nature, through the instinctive exertion of uncomprehended power, and through the participation of the one in the thought of the many,” he or she is apt to close the book just there, and wonder what all this metaphysical statement has to do with the little three- or four-year-old child about to be intrusted to the kindergarten training. It perhaps recalls to the mind Spencer's definition of evolution: "That it is an orderly progression from indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to definite, coherent heterogeneity,” and at once a comparison is instituted. We argue that Spencer wrote for thinkers, and is, therefore, excusable for metaphysical and abstract statements; but we feel that the philosophers and expounders of Freebel's system should speak in less abstract terms and sentences.
Now, nothing can be truer than that the philosophy of Froebel's system cannot be understood by the unthinking, nor mastered in a week or a month even by the student and thinker, but there are many of its most beautiful practical developments that can be understood by even the cursory observer, provided that observer is interested in the most interesting thing on this earth — the development of child-life. It was as an outside observer that I first learned to know and appreciate the kindergarten. As a result of a continued daily observation for four or five years of the work done in a kindergarten of about twenty or twenty-five little children, I have become an ardent enthusiast for its methods. I feel that I wish everybody to know what I know; to observe what I have observed, and to appreciate as I have learned to appreciate, a work which I earnestly believe to be fraught with the richest benefits to the human race, a work the most vital and far-reaching of any de partment of human beneficence.
I think the first thing that strikes one who enters a well-conducted kindergarten, is the evident happiness of the children. Now, happiness is the birthright of every little child; it is the normal concomitant of innocence; and no human being with a heart susceptible to the finer and higher feelings can see a little child unhappy without painful emotion. But here are a score of little ones, seated around their work-tables, or going through their little games, surrounded by an atmosphere of love, guarded by intelligent care, and every countenance expresses the happiness that we imagine existed in Eden. For my own part, it was a long time before this illustration of the happiness possible to the little children ceased to affect me to tears at the sight. It was to me an instant symbol of a children's heaven. It was a type of the possible care and loving guidance to which all little spirits go who pass from this life in tender age. It gave a new meaning to the expression of Christ: “I tell you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father.” It gave me a thought of the possible occupation in heaven of those who in this life loved little children, and that celestial city seemed always more attractive after I had seen the kindergarten here. I felt as if ever after I wanted to say to bereaved parents, “Your little child is in heaven - in a kindergarten - and the teachers are the angels.”
It was with surprise and delight in view of my thought, that I heard one of our teachers one day relate this incident. She pointed out to me a little golden-haired girl, not over three and a half years old, who had that morning leaned back in her little chair, and said to her companions, “Well, maybe heaven is nicer than this, but I don't know how it can be," and the thought came to me: here is a little one taught to think of heaven as a lovely and beautiful place, a place of happy occupation and tender associations, and loving guardianship. The old gloomy, repellent view that emphasized death and separation from friends, and the judgment-seat, and peopled heaven with congregations "that ne'er broke up," and "Sabbaths that had no end," all this was superseded by the child's thought of heaven - it was to be nicer than a kindergarten.
The occupations of the kindergarten, though devised and systematized in accordance with a profound philosophical principle or law of development, have an abiding charm and an abiding lesson for those who do not comprehend or realize all that is involved in this principle or law. We observe first in the gifts, as they are called, the elementary forms of the cube, the cylinder, and the ball. We observe the tables with their surfaces marked off in squares; we observe the colored beads, the straws, the weaving-paper, the blocks in all the forms of the cone, the parallelopiped, and the various geometrically exact