Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

done by the teachers, and, if done, the children will be led to read what is best in literature. This work requires as scientific and as skillful direction as anything in the school curriculum. Don't ask the little people to do much writing. Let them talk to you about what they read. Encourage them to give the language of the author, since this will increase their power of expression; it will give them a richer vocabulary, and, if persisted in, will solve the problem of language in the lower grades.

MR. SCHAEFFER followed, referring to the work which Andrew Carnegie has done for the schools of Pennsylvania in increasing its fine libraries. He emphasized the distinction between the literature of information and the literature of power, and stated that it is the literature of power which leads toward higher levels.

GEORGE P. BROWN said that we are still feeling, by a process of trial, how some of these things work out. Children must be allowed to move along their own lines. A teacher in the Mississippi valley had said to him that children are their own best guides in these things. He had been comparing "the living things” of the reading of Evangeline in a fourth grade with the lack of inspiration of the same in a high-school grade. We are underestimating the ability of the children to comprehend and to enjoy the things which are of highest value.

MR. GREENWOOD expressed himself as heartily in sympathy with the report. He said that its wide distribution should be secured. He was closely associated with library work in Kansas City, and learned from the librarian, a lady, that the little fellows do not want “baby books.” Children very early tire of these, as we have many times learned. We have frequently found that children of the elementary schools have read more advanced books, and later have taken them up for the study of literature in the high school. Children are largely influenced by what their mates tell them of their own reading. Were it in my power, I would have 100,000 copies of this report distributed among the teachers of this country.

J. H. Hoose said that too much interest in reading for children is detrimental to the intellectual growth of the reader.

MR. GREENWOOD agreed that this is true, especially of superficial reading.

MR. FITZPATRICK asked why it was, then, that such men as Gladstone and other omnivorous readers had not been harmed.

MR. SOLDAN said that these were not of the average mind; and that he was reminded of a discussion in Aristotle's Ethics between the “golden mean" of virtue and the “vice” of extremes. About four years ago it seemed advisable to formulate plans for the reading of his pupils. The course adopted in a general way was as follows: The first year, chiefly fables; the second year, the myth, since the Greek myth deals largely with nature; the third year, when geography is of interest, much of exploration and American history; the fourth year, legends and stories from Greek and other classic history; the fifth and sixth years, stories from the history of the world, and the migration of nations; the seventh year, history in extended biography; the eighth year, biographical history of great musicians, statesmen, inventors, etc.

DEPARTMENT OF KINDERGARTEN

EDUCATION

SECRETARY'S MINUTES

FIRST SESSION.--WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 1899

The department was called to order by the vice-president, Miss Florence Lawson, at 2:30 P. M., in Ebell Hall.

After expressions of regret at the absence of the president, Mrs. Kraus-Boelté, Miss Lawson delivered an address of welcome.

The response of the absent president was read by Mrs. A. W. Dresser, of Burlington, N. J., who had crossed the continent to bring Mrs. Kraus-Boelté's message.

On motion of Miss Anna Jenkins, of Los Angeles, the following message was sent to the absent president:

Los ANGELES, CAL., July 12, 1899. MADAME MARIA KRAUS. BOELTÉ,

Hotel San Remo, New York:
Heartfelt regrets for our president's absence, and loving greetings from all.

KINDERGARTEN DEPARTMENT OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, of New York city, was introduced, and spoke on “Some Criticisms of the Kindergarten.”

Professor Thomas P. Bailey, of the University of California at Berkeley, was the next speaker. His theme was "Character Study in the Kindergarten."

Miss Mary F. Ledyard, of Los Angeles, was introduced. Her subject was “Relation of Imitation to Originality and Consequent Freedom.”

Dr. William N. Hailmann, of Dayton, O., who had been greeted with applause when he appeared upon the platform, was invited to address the department.

The Committees on Nominations and Resolutions were announced.

The day was completed by a reception given by the resident kindergartners on the grounds of Mrs. Neal, on South Flower street.

SECOND SESSION.—THURSDAY, JULY 13 The Thursday afternoon session was opened by the singing of a lullaby and “Genevieve” by Miss Goodall, after which Dr. C. C. Van Liew, of Los Angeles, was introduced. His topic was “Mental and Moral Development of the Kindergarten Child.”

Miss Miller spoke briefly of the kindergartens of Chicago, after which Miss Anna Stovall, of San Francisco, spoke on “Music in the Kindergarten;" Professor E. E. Brown, of Berkeley, Cal., on “Naughty Children ;” and Superintendent Frederic L. Burk, of Santa Barbara, Cal., on “The Kindergarten Child Physically.”

The report of the nominating committee - Miss Mary Miller, of Chicago; Miss Mary Murray, of Springfield, Mass., and Mrs. L. A. Truesdell, of Milwaukee - was read and adopted as follows:

For President- Madame Maria Kraus-Boelté, New York, N. Y.
For Vice-President - Miss Anna Stovall, San Francisco, Cal.
For Secretary – Miss Ella C. Elder, Buffalo, N. Y.

The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows:

Resolved, That the Kindergarten Department of the National Educational Association extends heartfelt thanks to Miss Florence Lawson, acting president and chairman of the Local Committee, and to the members of the Local Committee, for the many services so faithfully and efficiently rendered to this department.

Resolved, That thanks are due to the press of Los Angeles for the excellent reports of the work of the session and for notices of business meetings.

Resolved, That the thanks of the department be extended to the officers for their valuable services in planning and carrying out satisfactorily an ideal program.

Resolved, That we gratefully acknowledge the kindness of the Ebell Club in granting us the use of Ebell Hall for the meetings of the department.

Resolved, That thanks be extended to Mrs. Juana Neal for the hospitality of her home and grounds for our out-of-door reception.

Mrs. A. W. DRESSER, New Jersey;
Miss Anna STOVALL, California;
Miss Leila TERRY, Wisconsin;

Committee. The annual session closed with the singing of “God Be with You.”

Mary F. HALL

Secretary.

PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS

ADDRESS OF WELCOME

BY MISS FLORENCE LAWSON, LOS ANGELES, CAL.

Again the National Educational Association comes to California, bridging the interval of eleven years with earnest effort and large achievement. Tho the association is for a second time in California, it is as remote from the former place of meeting as New York is from Charleston, S. C., and yet San Francisco and Los Angeles have a common bond in their kindergarten interests. Twenty years ago Miss Emma Marwedell, of Germany, came to Los Angeles from Washington, D. C., with letters from Miss Peabody. With the assistance of Mme. Severance, she established the first kindergarten on the coast. Her first graduate pupil was Kate Douglass Wiggin, with whose work in San Francisco all are familiar.

It is interesting to note that the adoption of kindergartens as a part of the public-school system in many of the large cities has been due to the efforts of a few earnest, thoughtful women, working together as an association and united by the tie of motherhood. Such is the history of the kindergarten in Los Angeles. The first stirring to life along these lines was due to the untiring efforts of Madame Caroline Severance, Mrs. Widney, and others. The Kindergarten Association was established in Los Angeles in 1885, with several schools and a training class under its charge. In the spring of 1889, thru the efforts of Mrs. Nora Mayhew and Mr. Friesner, then superintendent of city schools, the private kindergarten of Miss Olga Dorn, Mrs. Mayhew's sister, became the first public kindergarten of Los Angeles. In October, 1890, Mrs. Mayhew was appointed supervisor of the eight kindergartens incorporated into the school system, with an enrollment of 422. The report of the past year shows the number of kindergartens to be thirty-nine, with an enrollment of 2,340 pupils and eighty-two teachers. Of the three large cities of the state of California, Los Angeles is the only one having public kindergartens.

There has been some discussion as to the advisability of entirely removing the kindergartens from the control of the association or private interests which founded it. In reply it is urged that by so doing political influence may be used in securing and retaining positions by incompetent kindergartners. If a certain standard of qualifications is established, and care is exercised by a reliable school board, such danger is reduced to a minimum, and the advantage of a firm financial foundation and of popular support over the sometimes uncertain interest and aid of an association is a very great one; but, as in every other question, there are arguments on both sides.

There has been great advance along kindergarten lines within the last few years. There had been a falling away from Froebel's simple spirit and life with the children, and an elaborate, and, in the main, unconscious, building up of schemes and plans full of detail and hindrances to child-growth. Instead of the oft-quoted maxim, “Come let us live with our children,” it grew to be, “Come let us live with our ideas of children”—a vastly different proposition. But there has been a return of the pendulum, and we are coming back to the spirit of Froebel rather than to the letter.

With this return to nature and her teachings, what more ideal country than California, than our own city, with its background of foothills and mountains, its abundance of trees, flowers, fruit, and its easy access to the sea! True, we miss the changing foliage, the beauty and fun of the winter season, with its Jack Frost songs and stories; but the children do not regret the absence of what they have never experienced. The question is often asked: “What do you do with your program ?” Well, if we have lost some of the established order dear to many kindergarten hearts, still we have the children, and a great out-of-door life with expanse of country, air, and sun; in other words, or one other word, climate. And now, in fulfillment of our earnest wish, you are here to share it with us.

We have as a body been subject to much criticism, and at times justly so, but that in itself is a help rather than a hindrance. Only that which has real merit can survive and profit by criticism. This the kindergarten has done, and this it must still do.

Not long since we were described by a prominent educator as a cult, and also as being occult in character. Surely that accusation can hardly be brought against us now. In April there was held in Chicago, under the auspices of the Kindergarten College, one of the best educational meetings on record, the school of psychology. The meaning of that was that we do not intend to shun the light of research and pin our faith blindly to bygone creeds and dogmas, but do intend to work along the lines of advance suggested by psychologists and by the study of children.

Does not the very program so admirably prepared by our honored president indicate this? What does this mean? It means that we are not resting in self-satisfaction and complacency, but that we are alive, and keenly so, to the needs of childhood and to our own needs as kindergartners.

We are glad that you are here to inspire us to renewed effort. It means much to those of us this side of the mountains and desert to come in touch with you, to gain breadth of view, added insight, and a freshness of spirit as a consequence of this contact. We have not the beautiful architectural expression of a great nation's pride and public spirit to greet you, as had Washington with her department buildings. her capitol, and her wonderful library; we have not Lake Michigan, and the parks along the shores, of the Cream City, Milwaukee; nor have we all the advantages of art, literature, and social life of the older cities in the East. But we offer you, in their stead, a background of the picturesque Spaniard ; the old missions and adobes; our rugged mountain scenery with trail and camp; our seacoast with its wealth of sea spoil and cooling waters; our fruits, flowers; all the possessions of our city — nay, our stateat your disposal. And all the heartiness of welcome which characterized the California of '49 is extended to you today.

are

PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS

BY MARIA KRAUS-BOELTÉ, PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT

(READ BY MRS. A. W. DRESSER) When the honor of election as president of this section was conferred upon me, I anticipated the pleasure of being with you on this great occasion, and my thoughts and preparations during the past year have been constantly in this direction. The deep regret of being deprived of this privilege I cannot sufficiently express ; for I desired to meet you in person, telling you of my experiences during nearly forty years in behalf of the kindergarten ; of the truths and spirit as imbibed directly from Froebel's widow; from Dr. Wichard Langé (Froebel's so-called spiritual son); from Dr. Langé's wife, who was Froebel's ideal kindergartner (Middendorf's daughter); also from Madame Rongé, London, England (one of Froebel's inspired pupils); and from Professor John Kraus, my

« PreviousContinue »