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forms. We see the little fingers joyfully playing with all these beautiful things, yet in their play directed to use their fingers with precision, to observe the difference between things straight and things crooked. We see them taught to use their eyes so as to discern and practice exactness and precision even in placing their playthings; we see them taught to observe the primary forms of color, and to have an artistic thought in combining them. I have heard parents who knew nothing of kindergarten work object that it seemed a forcing of the mental powers to thus direct the attention of children to all these principles. I do not agree with them. I think a little child taught to love to see things placed straight, or parallel, or at exact angles, will be just as happy and healthy, and have just as good a chance for a long life, as children who are allowed to play in confusion, and whose self-determined activity is allowed to express itself in destructiveness instead of constructiveness. I have thought, as I have watched the little fingers guided into deftness and order, that here is the true cure for that clumsiness, that is so often annoying destructiveness in little children. From the very start, the little ones are taught to love order and neatness, and to respect beauty and delicacy of structure. They are taught to handle delicate things carefully, and to shun all splotching or untidiness. To see a tableful of little children engaged either in paper-folding, or in pasting on sheets of paper the figures they have just been taught to cut out of colored paper, is to realize how such a training, if universal, would eliminate from our houses and storehouses all that clumsiness which in the ignorant and uneducated is a constant source of terror to the possessor of beautiful things. No boy thus trained in a kindergarten but would in future years be able to steer or carry a piece of furniture out of a parlor without knocking it against every intervening object, to the irreparable damage of all the articles; no young girl trained thus would in after years take the hearth-brush, all smudged with ashes, to dust the delicate satin damask embroidered furniture of her employer, as I have known to be done in homes near my own. In fact, looked at from a purely material and selfish standpoint, I believe the kindergarten training for the children of the poor and laboring classes, the one and only panacea for that almost universal stupidity and awkwardness, and lack of appreciation of fine and beautiful and delicate things, which makes the domestic servants in modern homes such a source of dismay by their utter unfitness to work with fine surroundings. With help trained in the kindergarten we could venture to have some really beautiful and delicate bric-a-brac in our parlors. We could venture to have beautiful vases, and beautiful china, and delicate embroideries, which are now in so many houses almost entirely dispensed with simply because no competent and appreciative workers can be found to help take care of them.

A further observation of the occupations of the kindergarten shows to any thoughtful person that here is the germ of all the manual training concerning which we hear so much. The education of the hand is at length beginning to assume its true place in modern educational systems. Books are written


about it; lectures are delivered by eminent thinkers upon the subject; institutions are organized with a view to making manual training an integral part of the best educational systems. But to have the best results of manual training as an adjunct of higher education, the work must be begun in the kindergarten. While the little fingers are pliable and delicate they can acquire a dexterity that will tell on all future work, and while acquiring this beautiful and useful dexterity the child is only giving expression to that instinct which will, perforce, find expression in some form of activity — if not in good, then in evil. This wise direction of the activity of little children is one of Froebel's fundamental principles, but no understanding of the principles is needed in order to appreciate the good results. I have known little children whose activity, or, as the parents named it, “nervousness," made them a torment to an entire household, so trained by one year in the kindergarten that this nervousness, or restlessness, or activity — whatever you choose to name it - was changed into a source of constant enjoyment to the child, because trained and directed into constant employment. This superabounding activity was directed to the production of form of some kind. They builded of blocks, or they cut ornamental paper-work with scissors, or they folded paper into beautiful symmetrical figures, or they made chains of paper rings or of beads; and since their activity was directed to some definite result it produced content in the mind and heart of the child—just as it does in the mind and heart of the maturer man or woman. To objectors to the kindergarten I have sometimes said, “Well, since a child will use scissors if it can get a chance, it is far better to have it learn to cut beautiful forms in paper than have it cut its apron to pieces.” For the former form of activity it will be praised, and the result will be happiness to the child; for the latter form of the same activity it will probably be punished, and its little heart filled with grief and resentment.

Another beautiful feature of the kindergarten, readily appreciated by the most casual observer, is the singing of the little ones.

And here I may say that among my many hopes for excellent and beautiful results from the general spread of kindergartens, one hope is preëminent—that they will in time restore to our homes the almost lost art of singing. Who hears singing nowadays — the simple, unaffected, natural singing which we who are past forty used to hear in our young days --singing that was like bird-singing - natural, spontaneous, sweet, joyous ?—singing in which the young folks and perhaps the old folks too joined with heartiness and delight. It has been eliminated from our homes and from our schools, partly by the neglect of parent and teachers, and partly by the conflicting criticisms of professional musicians. There is such diversity of opinion and theory among teachers of singing as to methods and as to the proper age for teaching singing, that it has becone almost impossible to have class singing taught in the ordinary school, because this child's parent or that child's teacher objects that the child is either too young or too old, or that the voice is changing, or that it must not be spoiled

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by practice with others. Or the children and young people have been critiicised and talked to about the “culture” of their voices till they have become self-conscious, or have lost all confidence and relish for sweet, simple singing. I witnessed not a great while ago what was to me a pathetic incident, which will illustrate the latter result. Two young girls who had been in their early youth noted for their sweet, simple, delightful singing, and for the pleasure they gave their friends by their ready compliance with requests for a song or a duet, were taken to Europe for two or three years, by their mother, to complete their education. When they returned, they were still gentle, ladylike girls, but they sang no more. They had been taught to regard all their former musical performances as "uncultivated." Their voices could not be made to reach the standard set before them by a high-priced operatic teacher, and so they simply gave up singing altogether. In a parlor among former friends when they now positively refused to sing, one turned to their father, a whitehaired old man, and said: “Why! do the girls really not sing any more?” There were tears in his eyes as he replied, “No, that is all past. They are too cultivated to sing now to their old father or anybody else."

But to return to the singing of the kindergarten. Here there is no objection made by anyone to the daily and hourly practice of song-singing. And here children who would never sing at home, and whose parents supposed them to be totally without the power to sing, have been known to develop beautiful voices. One instance I know of: a little one who did not join in the singing of the kindergarten, but who always listened intently, surprising her parents and her teachers near the close of the year by a perfect burst of song. She could and did sing every little song she had heard in the kindergarten, they having evidently been deeply impressed on the memory by the constant hearing of them. Her voice proved to be a beautiful one, a source of delight alike to parent and teacher. Then in connection with the singing are the beautiful and graceful class movements – - more beautiful than all the dancing in the world, in which the little ones move all together in rhythmic measures, reminding one who looks on of the movements of the celestial bodies in their order and harmony. And as one watches these beautiful movements one feels that it is but a part of that rhythmic motion and harmony which guides the suns and stars in their courses, and that the sweet little voices are but repeating a part of that chorus which the morning stars first sang together when all the sons of God shouted aloud for joy.

But the best work of the kindergarten, and that which makes the deepest impression upon the outside observer, is the effect it produces upon the unfolding spiritual nature of the little child. In these schools of Heaven, as I feel like naming them, the spiritual nature is developed in the direction of kindness, unselfishness, truthfulness, gentleness, love, through the child's association with other children. Here again I have been met with objections to the kindergarten on the part of parents or of the unthinking to the effect that it is a forcing process, tending to make the child self-conscious, to emphasize


so early the thought of duty. In my opinion no greater mistake can be made than this. The seeds of all the virtues, the germs of the most beautiful moral qualities, should all be implanted in the heart of the child with the dawn of intelligence. We all know that an only child, or a child brought up in isolation from its fellows, has little or no conception of the rights or regard for the feelings of companions when first brought into relation with them. All the relations of children to each other in the kindergarten, under the care of the true kindergarten teacher, are made to emphasize the duty and the beauty of unselfishness, of love and kindness, and helpfulness. Too few parents and teachers realize how the sentiments of love and kindness can be cultivated in a little child by the proper teaching and stimulation. It has often seemed to me, and I have often regarded with deep regret the apparently natural cruel instincts of very little children. Almost all very little children will kill or cruelly hurt any helpless little creature thrown in their power. They will pull the wings off flies and butterflies, and squeeze little chickens to death, or pull the tails of kittens, or beat or wound any helpless creature seemingly without any compunction. But the teaching of the kindergarten is almost always successful in a very short time in changing all this thoughtless cruel instinct into one of kindness and sympathy. It is one of the beautiful and most encouraging aspects of the very early moral training of little children that the sentiments of pity, kindness, love and sympathy are so easily and so quickly developed. We have only to tell the little child, as we show it the bird's nest with its beautiful eggs so softly cushioned there, about the mother-bird, and her loving care for these eggs, to fill its little heart with sympathy, and cause it to feel that the nest must be protected. All desire to steal the nest or break the eggs is eliminated. At the same time we may be teaching the child the very words of one of our sweet American poets:

“The blue eggs in the robin's nest
Will soon have wings and beak and breast,

And flutter and fly away." And who will presume to say that the little child's memory will not be a greater source of refined enjoyment, stored with such lines and thoughts as these, than if left to be filled with any or every description of the rude slang or ruder rhymes of the ordinary unguarded associated child-life?

And so I conclude that the most uninitiated outside observer can appreciate the influence of the songs and rhymes collected and prepared for the use of kindergartens, in their power to teach the little ones the law of love, and fill their memories with beautiful words and sentiments.

To turn aside a moment from a study of the effects of kindergarten training upon the little children, I wish to record the profound impression I have received of the value of the kindergarten work to the workers themselves, the young girls and women who devote themselves to a study of the principles of the kindergarten and to the application of these principles in the work of teaching. A very short time ago I heard a lady who herself had gradu


ated with high honor from Vassar ('ollege, and who was now the mother of two beautiful children, a boy and a girl, declare that if it were in her power she would make a course of training in kindergarten work a legal prerequisite to marriage for every young woman. She saiil, and I believe she was right, that the latter years of a young woman's school or college life, and the period which she so frequently spends in social pleasures after that school or college life is ended, tends to separation from child-life, and to cause forgetfulness of the feelings and sympathies of very little children. Hence, when the young wife is called to assume the duties of maternity, she is, with the exception of the maternal instinct of affection for her child, in the most utterly unfitted condition possible to rightly care for and understand that little one.

I am sure that nearly every observer of the development of young people has noticed that there is in most of them a period when they are unsympathetic and repellent toward small children. The big boy of eighteen or twenty does not want the little boy of three or four “bothering around,” as he calls it. The school-miss of the same age thinks the little brother or sister a necessary nuisance, only to be tolerated, scarcely ever to be loved and respected. All the stories of the mischief perpetrated, and the secrets unfolded by the small brother, to the discomfiture of his young lady sister, have their origin and point in this phase of the development of family life.

The only cure for this unsympathetic stage of mental and moral development in young women, is a conscientious return to the study of life and feelings of very young children. To the credit of young girls be it said, that there is scarcely any study in which it is so easy to interest them, or which they pursue with more persistent enthusiasm when once they are interested, than this same study of kindergarten principles. And what a beautiful preparation for motherhood is such a course of instruction and training. How it will quicken their apprehension and appreciation of the intelligence of young children! How careful will it make them of the impressions they themselves make upon the little ones. Never, among young mothers trained in the kindergarten, will we find that petulance and lack of self-control so often witnessed in those who have come into their maternal cares and duties without any such preparation. “I am going to give you a good, sound whipping, for I feel just like it," I heard a young mother say a short time since to a little child whose restlessness had, as she expressed it, worn her all out. And she was as good as her word, giving the little one so severe a punishment that it shortly after fell into a deep sleep of exhaustion; whereat the foolish young mother rejoiced, and said: “Just see what a good thing it is, once in a while, to give Robbie a regular trouncing.” Who in the possession of any right sentiment but would feel deeply sorry for both mother and child? And speaking of the knowledge gained by the young teacher of child-life and child-intelligence, we must not forget to notice how much can be learned from the simple, unsophisticated revelations of the little ones themselves. "Johnnie,” said a teacher in my kindergarten to a fractious little urchin who had

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