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the greatest suffering to Frederick Freebel. It was the Damocles' sword daily threatening his cherished plans. To a marked degree this is manifest in his conversations with the Baroness von Marenholz Bulow. Prophetically is it expressed in his words when he said: "Only the children educated in the kindergartens will ever understand me." And again: "If three hundred years after my death my method of education should be completely established according to its idea, I shall rejoice in heaven.” If his followers subject their work and their attitude toward it to frequent and strict examination in the light of his principles, can they feel that the subtle understanding of fine distinction between matter and spirit has been reached in the practical working of the system as seen to-day?

It requires not an inspired vision to see that the creative spontaneity of Freebel's idea has yet to be developed to its finest results. The work at best is but that of beginners; none can afford to boast; we can only hope it is vital enough to carry some life to the future, and grow into such conditions that its founder would not fail to recognize it as his own.

The distinctive feature of Freebel's genius was that which makes possible all the theories of past educators, in the practical system of means and method. The wonder ever grows that the universals of thought and experience could have been so reduced to their beginnings and traced to their springs in the child's life, and embodied in playthings as material counterparts to the early-developing mind. A poet, no less than a philosopher, was he to be able to so penetrate that region, vague and misty to our dull senses, where the beginnings of the physical and spiritual merge and are yet one in manifestation, and to discover how to satisfy the needs of both simultaneously—to minister to the unseen by means of the seen never to have lost sight of the reality of the spiritual being notwithstanding the predominance of physical manifestation. Who save Freebel thought out such voluminous resources — which, while scientific and philosophic, are feasible, and based upon the constitution and nature of the child ? Only he really met the needs of a creative being. Was ever before so delicate a work provided with means so delicate? In this lies the wonder; and in the abundance of his means is to be found the stumbling. block to his followers. It takes a Freebel to properly and skillfully use them; they overwhelm the student in their truth, simplicity, and possibility, making one feel narrow and uncreative.

Yet the machinery which moves the world is equally powerful to grind to powder, if it controls instead of being controlled. The tendency of all adherents to great systems is to pervert into injury and restriction that which was originally designed as a help to freedom. So does history repeat itself. All revolution is but an effort to restore the vital, and so scarcely has a reform been gained than it in turn needs reforming.

Because of the complete and comprehensive arrangement of materials Freebel has given as a system, there is great danger and temptation of mistaking the schools of work and the mathematical sequence in gift-work as a

prescribed, formal line of teaching, instead of tools to be skillfully and discriminatingly used.

Great clearness, balance, wholesomeness, and vitality of mind and character are required to avoid following slavishly the letter of Freebel's material, to avoid a stagnating literalness of interpretation, to keep one's mind free, creative, ever tracing spiritual relations, never losing sight of the child's immediate inward condition and needs, never becoming so fascinated by the tools as to study them more than the child: such watchfulness and care are constantly needed, to be a worthy disciple of Frobel.

A sense of fitness, order, harmony, the relatedness of all animate and inanimate things, the mutual dependence and service of all life -- the friendliness of life — the goodness of all creation — leading to the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God—is unity — Freebel's end and aim, to make the child feel and see that life is conditioned by law; that law is friendly, order, the very best way of helping us; in short, that law is love.

; . Fræbel, by directing his activity through the use of materials and games, would lead the child to trace relations in his earliest surroundings, to recognize in all his experiments and investigations growth; the dependence of one state upon another; finally, to relate ideas through feeling. But this requires an arrangement of material so in accordance with the child's needs, that he shall be enabled to always abstract from it some definite idea. To suppose that simply giving to the child a sequence of material will necessarily lead to a sequence of creative thought, is the root difficulty in the use of Freebel's school of work.

This illustrates a mechanical and empty use of sequence. It is the letter without the spirit. The story is only a succession of circumstances strung together to make an excuse for the moves in the blocks-simply a circumstantial sequence; no single idea is developed, no leading to any thought relations; only a bare copy of the letter of life, none of its deeper meaning involved - a rehearsal of facts leading to nothing. That it is a trip to Grandmother, and related to the child's experience, is an attempt to touch the sympathies. The child is not creatively active, only mechanically so. He has played from his spinal column, not his heart. It therefore may be called a barren, uneducative play. To properly use sequence as an instrument, a play should be started with one definite idea, which when developed will lead the child to feel and see some relation in cause and effect not before perceived. The result will be power of thought, and orderly thought.

In planning this play a subject was chosen which should be simple, and related to the child's experiences, but which would set the children thinking out and finding relationships for themselves. Instead of the teachers furnishing moves to be copied, the child himself created moves by the suggestiveness and relatedness of ideas, and is thus led to consciously work out the thought; to compare, measure, relate, judge, to determine the kind of form required by the necessities of the case, and thus to arrive at a conclusion. All this logical,



orderly process went on as a natural sequence in the child's mind. In order to give sequence in reality, there should pass through consciousness not a pour ive, literal sequence, but an active, creative one.

It is so easy to be self-deceived, so easy to cover over weakness and stupidity with voluminous, undigested theory; to feel that somehow we are safe and or thodox so long as we are using Froebel's material - yet constantly violatin. Freebel's idea by a misapplication of his form. There is, as I have before intimated, a tendency to allow the schools of work and the gift material to rule rather than serve. The material seems to be regarded as possessing of itself some magic. It is but lifeless, powerless, without a soulful teacher back of it. It gives otherwise what the letter alone can give—and the letter killeth. Trusting to mathematical sequence unaccompanied by a correspond ing creative thought sequence, and so not vitally answering to and created for the child's immediate needs, must cause a gravitation toward materialism substitution of mere mechanical skill for the development of faculty. “Sratem is a good servant, but a poor master.” Under such rule the child is in danger of having his spiritual creativeness stunted. One easily sees how plays too much systematized may reduce the kindergarten to a dead letter. The danger lies in the failing to recognize simultaneously the creative nature of the child, and the need of orderly method; either he is given license, under the supposition that it is freedom to create, or he is restricted with method. The opposites of creativeness and orderliness, freedom and obedience, are like all opposites, when understood, ministers to the same end. But we have not ourselves entirely assimilated this truth; our theory is not yet practice. The test of the kindergartner's mastery of the principles is the result in the child; when he becomes at the same time both orderly and creative, when our fruits do not contradict our theories, when we live the law, there will be less unprofitable talk about it. No play, however orderly, is true to Freebel's principles if it lacks creative

The orderliness is to no end. So far has the child been subordinatel to material that we have actual examinations in kindergarten —not, indeed, so called; they rank as gift-work. Can there be a more arbitrary performance, one which more utterly violates every law of the kindergarten, than to place a gift before the child, and while he, with tingling fingers and urgent activity, must sit passive, put him through a categorical questioning on the exciting subject of the number of edges, corners and faces of the blocks? I have seen this process of instruction last the whole of the gift-time in one morning, the children getting no opportunity to use the time otherwise. Some of the more humane kindergartners reward them with a little building at the end of the lesson. In this proceeding kindergarten requirements are supposed to be fully met by the mere exercising the child on the concrete, and using for that purpose one of Froebel's gifts. But the key to the child's intenst seems uthought of, unknown. No school exercise was ever more arbitrary. It is simply a dull examination, purely abstract, unrelated to feeling or vital


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experience; dry, indigestible food offered to a soul alive with heart-interest only. The child discovers nothing; information is forced into his mind-a process for stunting rather than developing; no love or interest in relationChip has been awakened, the cardinal principles of unity, harmonization, not recognized. Surely, to such work Fræbel must say, “I never knew you.” In defense it may be asked, is not investigation the aim of the gifts? Yes. But this is investigation according to the letter only - wrong because in violation of the laws of the child's being, in opposition to the laws of growth, belonging to the very system against which the kindergarten is a protest. The points of knowledge concerning the material should come through spontaneous investigation, which a properly planned play, full of life and spirit, will nattirally call forth.

If a child should never while in kindergarten formulate this knowledge of corners, edges, and faces, he ought to be regarded as less lacking than if he should not intelligently see how to fit and use these corners and edges economically in building.

Let me illustrate still further:

This play called forth spontaneous, individual expression, and independent thought; led the children to reason out the fitness of each block for its particular use, stimulated by the idea, which at the same time required an orderly arrangement. This would seem to be the characteristic and investigative use of the gifts.

For different times, and for different conditions of the children, there are many individual and specific uses to be made of them. These for convenience may be classed under two heads free play and dictation play.

Free play, when the gift is given to the child for the first time, allows him full and free investigation of the object, an opportunity to act out the impulses aroused by the first sight of it, and spontaneously to enjoy the surprise. So long as the child does not indulge in caprice, or grow tired, he should be allowed to follow out his own inclinations; at the slightest sign of weariness, of exhausted resources, or trifling with the material, the kindergartner should be ready to suggest, to lead to new views and experiments, and thus to continue the play. Indeed, in all play the right attitude of the kindergartner seems that of sympathetic and ready responsiveness, whether in sequence, dictation, or in free play. If a child is so full of some recent experience as to seem unable to take the idea suggested, he should never be repressed or forced ; so long as he is serious and earnest he should be allowed to express his feeling, whether it carries out any preconceived plan, or not.

The circumstances calling for dictation play may arise with timid children, or those with few resources and small invention, unused to working out ideas. In such cases, to dictate happily and sympathetically any specific idea may encourage the child and start him aright. As soon as this is accomplished the kindergartner withdraws her help till it is needed again. In the case of erratic children, this method often sobers and gives concentration; with older


children, who have failed in an earnest effort to express some difficult architectural idea, a little judicious dictation serves as encouragement.

These details are given but to make clear the idea that the material was made for the children, not the children for the material, as might sometimes be inferred.

The second great difficulty is symbolism. The symbolic use of kindergarten material is frequently based on as little truth as is sequence in mores Both are often made arbitrary, accidental, untrue. As sequence, intended to be a guide to freedom, leads, when perverted, to slavery, so symbolism, destined to mirror truth and to lead to spiritual growth, leads, when misused, to untruth and to materialism.

In studying the symbolism felt and seen by the child, we shall find it always true in spirit, for there will be at least one point, or characteristic, common to the real object and the imaginary one; and it is that point which stands for the whole. For instance, the stick is a horse to the child, not because it has legs, head, mane, and tail for it lacks all these — but because by communicating to it his energy he makes it move. To him the motion makes a horse of the stick, for motion is the quality which to him stands for a real horse. It is therefore motion, the chief characteristic in the horse, which he embodies in the stick. He is not telling an untruth; he is giving the spirit, not the letter, of the fact.

All normal children feel, not see, the spiritual resemblances of things, and their sense is usually much truer and more discriminating than that of grown people. Hence the attempt of the grown person to symbolize for the child is usually clumsy, and often a failure; we are apt to destroy our symbol altogether by referring to literal points not included in the symbol. For instance, the first gift may be used to represent birds; and that is right and true, because curves of thought and curves of motion are common to both. It is this which the ball symbolizes. So the children enjoy the balls hopping - flying-east, west, north, south, in straight lines and in curves. But soon the kindergartner's limited resources in motion are exhausted, and she attempts to prolong the play by reference to feathers; she has the birds eat, tips them over to drink, goes through all the literal details of a bird's life, until the broad idea she started with is lost in the attempt to make the balls literally represent the birds. It began in truth and ends in untruth. It was the spirit, the life of the bird, shown in the motion, a spiritual idea alone, to be dealt with. The kindergartner's safety lies in keeping to the broad qualities and truth in her symbols. If the children feel more, let them express it, so long as it is true to them; but let not the suggestion come from her. They will grow into the deeper sense, and forget their mistake of confusing letter and spirit, sooner than if the mistake is hers. The only escape from the danger of confusing truth and faet is in a clear and definite understanding of the quality or idea to be given the child, and so avoiding too literal interpretation. There must be at least one quality, if not more, in common between the material and the

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