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1. Plans OF SCHOOL-HOUSES RECOMMENDED BY PRACTICAL
TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS.
Plan, &c. RECOMMENDED BY DR. ALCOTT, AND BY THE AMERICAN INSTI
TUTE OF INSTRUCTION In 1830 the American Institute of Instruction offered a premium for the best Essay “ On the Construction of School-houses," which was awarded in Aug. 1831, to Dr. William A. Alcott, of Hartford. The Prize Essay* was published in the proceedings of the Institute of the same year, together with a“ Plan for a Village School-house," devised by a Committee of the Directors of the Institute.
The plan of the school-room recommended by Dr. Alcott, although less complete in some of its details, is substantially the same as that recommended by Mr. Mann, and can be easily understood by reference to the cut of the latter on the opposite page. The room, to accommodate 56 pupils each, with a separate seat and desk, and from 8 to 16 small children with seats for two, should be 40 ft. long by 30 wide. The teacher's platform occupies the north end of the room, towards which all the scholars face when in their seats. Each scholar is provided with a seat and desk, (each 2 ft. by 14 inches,) the front of one desk constituting the back of the seat beyond. The top of the desk is level, with a box and lid for books, &c. The aisles on each side of the room, are 2 feet wide, and those between each range of seats and desk is 18 inches. A place for recitation 8 feet wide extends across the whole width of the room, in the rear, with movable blackboards. The room can be warmed by stove, placed as in the cut referred to, or by air heated by furnace or stove in the basement. The room is ventilated by openings in the ceiling. A thermometer, library, museum, &c., are to be furnished.
In the “ Plan for a village School-house," the school-room is 48 ft. long by 35 wide, to accommodate eighty scholars with separate seats. The details of the arrangements are nearly the same as were at that date recommended for schools on the Lancasterian plan, and as are now recommended by the British and Foreign School Society-except that the floor of the room is level, and the seats are provided with backs. In the explanations accompanying the plan, the Directors recommend, that in villages and populous neighborhoods, the children be classified according to age and attainment into a series of schools, and that appropriate rooms for each school be provided.
PLAN RECOMMENDED BY HORACE Mann. In 1838, Mr. Mann submitted a Report on School-houses, supplementary to his “First Annual Report as Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education," which discusses the whole subject of school architecture with great fulness and ability. This document may be found entire in the Massachusetts Common School Journal, Vol 1., and nearly so, in the Connecticut Common School Journal, Vol. 1., and the New York District School Journal, Vol. 3. It fixed public attention on the defects of these edifices, and has led to extensive improvement all over that Commonwealth. During the five years immediately following its publication, over $516,000 were expended in the construction of 405 new houses, including land, fixtures, &c., and over $118,000, in the substantial repairs of 429 more. The larger portion of the first sum has been expended in the cities and large villages in the eastern part of the state, where may now be seen specimens of the best school-houses, and the best schools, in our country. The following plan embodies substantially the views submitted by Mr. Mann, in his Report.
* This Essay of Dr. Alcott was the pioneer publication on this subject. It was tollowed in 1833 by a “ Report on School-houses" prepared by the Rev. G. B. Perry, and published by the Essex County Teacher's Association. This last is a searching and vigorous exposition of the evils resulting from the defective construction, and arrange ments of school-houses, as they were at that date almost universally found.
A. Represents the teacher's desk. B B. Teacher's platsorm, from 1 to 2 ft. in height. C. Step for ascending the platform. L L Cases for books, apparatus, cabinet, &c. H. Pupils' single desks, 2 st. by 18 inches. M. Pupils' seat, 1 st. by 20 inches. I. Aisles, 1 ft. 6 inches in widih. D. Place for stove, if one be used. E. Room for recitation, for retiring in case of sudden indisposition, for interview with parents, when necessary, &c. It may also be used for the library, &c. FFFFF. Doors into the boys' and girls' entries-from the entries into the school-room, and from the school-room into the recita. tion room. G GG G. Windows. The windows on the sides are not lettered.
For section of seat and desk constructed after Mr. Mann's plan, see p. 47. To avoid the necessity of fitting up the same school-room for old and young, and the inefficiency of
2 m such country schools as we now have, Mr. Mann proposed in this Report a union, for instance of four districts which did not cover more than four miles square, and the erection o four primary school-houses, (a a a a) for the younger children of each district, to be taught by female teachers, and one central or high school, (A) for the older children of the four districts, laught by a well qualified male teacher. This plan is recommended for its wise use of the means of the districts, and the elliciency of the instruction given.
Plans, &c., RECOMMENDED BY George B. EMERSON. 'The " School and Schoolmaster,'* contains a very valuab!9 chapter on school-houses, by Mr. Emerson, the President of the American Institute o. Instruction, illustrated by drawings, which, with the permission of the authors and publishers are introduced here. The whole chapter, as the production of one of the most eminent teachers and writers on education of the age, should be studied by every one who would become thoroughly acquainted with he subject. Most of his valuable suggestions are subjoined.
Situation. So much do the future health, vigor, taste, and moral principles f the pupil depend upon the position, arrangement, and construction of the school-house, that everything about it is important. When the most desirable situation can be selected, and the laws of health and the dictates of taste may be consulted, it should be placed on firm ground, on the southern declivity of a gently sloping hill, open to the southwest, from which quarter comes the pleasantest winds in summer, and protected on the northeast by the top of the hill or by a thick wood. From the road it should be remote enough to escape the noise, and dust, and danger, and yet near enough to be easily accessible by a path or walk, always dry. About it should be ample space, a part open for a play-ground, a part to be laid out in plots for flowers and shrubs, with winding alleys for walks. Damp places, in the vicinity of stagnant pools or unwholesome marshes, and bleak hilltops or dusty plains, should be carefully avoided. Tall trees should partially shade the grounds, not in stiff rows or heavy clumps, but scattered irregularly as if by the hand of Nature. Our native forests present such a choice of beautiful trees, that the grounds must be very extensive to afford room for even a single fine specimen of each; yet this should, if possible, be done, for children ought early to become familiar with the names, appearance, and properties of these noblest of inanimate things. The border of a natural wood may often be chosen for the site of a school ; but if it is to be thinned out, or if trees are to be planted, and, from limited space, a selection is to be made, the kingly, magnificent oaks, the stately hickories, the spreading beech for its deep mass of shade, the maples for their rich and abundant foliage, the majestic elm, the useful ash, the soft and graceful birches, and the towering, columnar sycamore, claim precedence. Next may come the picturesque locusts, with their hanging, fragrant flowers ; the tulip-tree; the hemlock, best of evergreens ; the celtis, or sweet guin ; the nyssa, or tupelo, with horizontal branches and polished leaves ; the walnut and butternut, the native poplar, and the aspen.
Of extremely beautiful American shrubs, the number is so great that I have no room for å list. What place intended to form the taste of the young, should be without the kalmias, rhododendrons, cornels, roses, viburnums, magnolias, clethras, honeysuckles, and spiræas? And whoever goes into the woods to gather these, will find a multitude of others which he will hardly consent to leave behind. The hilltop should be planted with evergreens, forming, at all seasons, a barrier against the winds from the north and east.
Of the flower plots, little need be said. They must be left to the taste of the teacher, and of cultivated persons in the district. I can only recommend our wild American plants, and again remind the reader, that there is hardly a * The “School and Schoolmaster,” a Manual for the use of Teachers, Employers,
Trustees, Inspectors, &c., &c., of Common Schools. Part I. By Alonzo Potter, D. D. Part II. By George B. Emerson. pp. 552. Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff street, New York. Price, $1.
This excellent treatise, the most valuable contribution yet made to the educational litGrature of our country, was prepared and published originally at the expense of James Wadsworth, Esq., of Geneseo, N. Y., in 1842. By him a copy was presented to each of the 11,000 school districts of that state. Following this noble example, the Hon. Martin Brimmer, the present mayor of the city of Boston, caused to be printed, at his expense, such a number of copies as would supply one copy each to all the school districts, and one copy each to all the boards of school committee men, in Massachusetts.
The work should be scattered broadcast through every state in the Union. In large orders, or for gratuitous distribution, it can be had of the publishers at a very low rate.