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charm but social power, and surely in this age of complex social de mands man cannot be taught too early to move harmoniously among his fellows.
In what I have to say of Fröbel's gifts and occupations I wish to be distinctly understood as stating only their theoretic possibilities. Their adaptations to children of different ages and characters can only be learned by experience. Some of them may be profitably used by the baby in the nursery,-others are valuable in the primary school. Again, the same gift or occupation may be used in different ways to secure different ends. From the blocks the child builds with when he is five years old, he may learn at seven the elements of form and number. The square of paper, which the beginner creases into a salt-cellar or twists into a rooster, the older child uses to produce artistic forms and combinations. In general, there is advance from indefinite impressions to clear perceptions, from vague and half-conscious comparison to sharp distinction and clear analysis, from isolated experiences to connected work and thought, and from a mere general activity to production and creation.
With this general understanding pass we now to a detailed consideration of the gifts and occupations, and of their relationship to each other and to the child.
The First Gift consists of six soft worsted balls of the colors of the rainbow.
The Second Gift consists of a wooden sphere, cube and cylinder.
The Third Gift is a two-inch cube divided equally once in each dimension, producing eight small cubes.
The Fourth Gift is a two-inch cube divided by one vertical and two horizontal cuts into eight rectangular parallelopipeds. Each of these parallelopipeds is two inches long, one inch broad and half an inch thick.
The Fifth Gift is a three-inch cube divided equally twice in each dimension into twenty-seven small cubes. Three of these are divided by one diagonal cut into two triangular parts, and three by two diagonal cuts into four triangular parts.
The Sixth Gift is a cube of three inches divided into twenty-seven parallelopipeds of the same dimensions as those of the Fourth Gift. Three of these are divided lengthwise into square prisms, two inches long, half an inch wide and half an inch thick, and six are divided crosswise into square tablets an inch square and half an inch thick. Thus the gift contains thirty-six pieces.
The Seventh Gift consists of square and triangular tablets. Of the latter there are four kinds, viz. : Equilateral, right and obtuse isosceles and right scalene triangles.
The Eighth Gift is a connected slat,--the Ninth consists of disconnected slats.
The Tenth Gift consists of wooden sticks of various lengths, and the Eleventh Gift of whole and half wire rings of various diameter.
Looking at the gifts as a whole we see at once that their basis is mathematical, and we notice that they illustrate successively the solid, the plane and the line. We perceive, too, that they progress from undivided to divided wholes, and from these to separate and independent elements. Finally, we observe that there is a suggestiveness in the earlier gifts which the later ones lack, while on the other hand the range of the latter far exceeds that of the former. The meaning of these distinctions and connections will grow clear to us as we study the common objects of the varied gifts. These objects are :
I. To aid the mind to abstract the essential qualities of objects by the presentation of striking contrasts.
II. To lead to the classification of external objects by the presentation of typical forms.
III. To illustrate fundamental truths through simple applications. IV. To stimulate creative activity.
I. We can never recur too often to the history of the race for the interpretation of the individual. So I cannot consider it irrelevant to refer to a recent result of linguistic research which throws into clearer light the tritz, yet only vaguely understood, truth that knowledge rests upon comparison, and which strongly confirms the wisdom of Fröbel in stimulating comparison by suggesting contrasts. I quote from an article by Dr. Carl Abel, one of the best known of the younger philologists of Germany.* Aster mentioning that the Egyptian language can be traced in hieroglyphics up to about 3000 B. C., and in the Koptic to 1000 A. D, “furnishing the student, therefore, a favorable opportunity of exposing an uncommonly long period of linguistic development,” he goes on to say:
“In the Egyptian the words—at least in appearance-have two distineily opposite meanings, and the letters of such words also are sometimes exactly reversed. Suppose the German word “gul” were Egyptian, then besides meaning good it might mean bad, and besides "gut" it might sound like tug. Tug again could mean good as well as bad, and by a small sound modification, as it often happened in the life of a language--perhaps to ruch—furnish occasion to a new conversion into chut which again from its side could unite the two meanings."
This statement is followed by illustrations of the facts adduced, and by reference to the Koptic researches of the author which contain a
list of such metatheses ninety pages long. It is then shown that in the · Egyptian writing the opposite meanings of the same word were distin.
guished by adding to the sound value written by letter of each word a determining picture. The word ken, for instance, could mean either strong or weak, and whenever this word appears in writing it is accompanied by a picture illustrating its meaning in the particular case. Commenting on these very remarkable facts Dr. Abel says:
“Our judgments are formed solely upon comparison and antitheses. * Translation in the New Englander for November.
As little as we need to think of weakness when we have once grasped the conception of strength, so surely could not strength have been originally conceived of without measuring itself by contrast with weakness. Let any one attempt to grasp a single new idea beyond the range of thought which has become familiar to him by known word definitions without his being put to the trouble of seeking thein out, and he will be convinced on this point as to the nature of intellectual progress. Each one to-day becomes acquainted with strength without an effort of his own judgment, because the idea exists in the language, because he is accustomed to it from childhood as a meaning for certain actions, objects and persons. But when, leaving the range of every-day experience and words applying to it, we attempt to create individual ideas or to think over again rare and seldom heard thoughts of others, we find ourselves face to face with the necessity of conscious antithesis. To bide by word-thoughts, no scholar has grasped the idea of acute, obtuse and right angle without bringing the three in real contrast; no student has grasped the esse of Hegel without having confronted it with the non esse ; in general, no one has learned tolerably a foreign tongue without explaining those word-meanings which vary from those of his native tongue by a comparison with them. The Egyptian leads us back to the infant period of humanity, in which these first commonest conceptions had to be grasped in this slow and thoughtful manner. In order to learn to think of strength one must separate one's self from weakness; in order to comprehend darkness you must separate light; in order to grasp much you must hold little in the mind for contrast. Such Egyptian words as antithetically show both branches of the original comparison, furnish an insight into the wearisome work-shop in which the first and most necessary ideas-to-day the glibbest and most easily handled—were forged.”
It is quite true, as Prof. Abel says, that we now acquire many ideas along with the means of their expression, and the style of our thinking is largely determined by our inherited speech. To a great extent this coercion of our thought is necessary. If we are to advance upon our forefathers, we must learn in months and years what they learned in generations and centuries. Born in an age of steam engines we must in some way rapidly reproduce the experiences which began when some forgotten savage kindled the first fire. We are mediated results our. selves, and therefore have to learn through the mediation of others. Nature cannot tell us what she told to the first men; that secret she has trusted to them and we must learn it from them before we can understand what she has to say to us. The heir of all the ages must enter upon his inheritance before he can penetrate their increasing purpose.
While all this is true, it is equally true that ideas acquired without the conscious exercise of judgment and comparison lack vitality. Traditional habits of thought must end in formalism. The reaction of language upon mind will always be powerful. Through it the whole past presses upon the present, and the thought of all who have preceded us contributes to the shaping of our thought. That its constraint may not be destructive of our freedom, we must come into personal contact with the simplest ideas and the commonest experiences.
The great problem of education is to effect the necessary mediation without destroying originality, and this can only be done by organizing experiences which shall conduct to a preconceived end. This truth is now widely realized, and everywhere we find increasing demand for experiments in natural science and illustrations in all branches of study. But only Fröbel has seen that this same method should be applied to the youngest children and to the most familiar facts, and by a series of objects in which essential qualities are strongly contrasted, aims to excite the mind to conscious antithesis.
It may be urged that if this process of comparison is natural to the mind, the mind may safely be trusted to follow it out. We might as well argue that because the law of gravitation has been discovered, each generation should, unaided, discover it anew. The contrasts of nature are so blended into harmony that their opposition is lost, yet this very opposition must be felt before their harmony can be realized. Fröbel simply accelerates the natural tendency of thought by carefully abstracting from material things their essential qualities, and then so arranging his gifts that each one shall throw some distinctive attribute into relief. Thus in the first gift he presents contrasts of color; in the second, contrasts of form; in the third, contrasts of size ; in the fourth, contrasts of dimension; in the fifth he offers both contrasts of angles and contrasts of number; while in the sixth he repeats, emphasizes and mediates the contrasts of the preceding gifts. Passing to the plane in the seventh gift he offers subtler contrasts of form, while the connected and disconnected slats render these still more striking by showing how they are produced. The sticks and rings which, properly speaking, are one gift, contrast the straight and curved line, and offer striking perceptions of position and direction. And finally the solids, planes and lines are mutually illustrative, and the child learns both clearly to distinguish the different parts of his solids and to connect his planes and lines with them, identifying at last his stick, the embodiment of the straight line, with the axis of the sphere, the edge of the cube and the side of the square, and the ring which embodies the curve with the circumference of the sphere and the edge of the cylinder.
These contrasts of color, size, form, number, dimension, relation, direction and position illustrated in the gifts are applied in the occupations, and supplemented in the games and songs by contrasts of smell, taste, movement and sound. There is no salient attribute of material things which is not thus thrown into light, and as a consequence sharply defined and firmly grasped by the mind.
We realize the significance of this result more fully when we reflect that by the perception of analogies between the material and spiritual world, the words designating the acts, objects, qualities and relations of the one have been adapted to express the acts, powers, states and relations of the other. There is no single word of our intellectual or moral vocabulary which was not originally applied to something apprehensible by the senses, and many of the most important of them refer to physical facts and qualities with which the child gets acquainted in his earliest years. When, for instance, we speak of great men, great actions, greatness, the analogy is obviously to size; when we call a man straightforward, allude to crooked dealings or describe a character as angular, we borrow from the language of lines and their relations; when we talk of lives rounded into completeness and actions that are fair and square, we are debtors to analogies with form ; when we speak of high station, deep truths, broad views, we refer, however, unconsciously to the “threefold measure which dwells in space; ” and when we mourn over dark sorrows and black crimes, we steal our words from the vocabulary of color. It was part of Fröbel's idea to make the child sensible of these relationships by connecting his first perception of the moral force of words directly with the physical fact to which they stand in analogy. To give only a single illustration, in the game of the joiner the child alternates long and short movements while imitating the act of planing. The long and short of movement is then connected with the long and short of sound, the long and short of form, and the long and short of time; and finally, through the story of Goliath and David, in telling which the contrast between the tall giant and the stripling who defied and conquered him is emphasized, the distinction between physical and moral greatness is foreshadowed to the mind. The mark of the true Kindergarten is the all-pervading connection between the things of sense and the things of thought.
II. It is an admitted law that the mind moves from the known to the unknown. Nothing charms us more than the recognition of the old in the new. The man who hurries through a foreign city indifferent and inattentive to the passing crowd feels a quick thrill of pleasure when in the midst of all this strangeness he recognizes a familiar face. Let our minds become keenly conscious of a single thought and the whole world glows with illustrations of it. It was insight into this truth which led Fröbel to make the “ archetypes of nature the playthings of the child.” “Line in nature is not found," says Emerson. but “unit and universe are round." The ball illustrates the ideal form towards which the universe strives. This then is Fröbel's starting point and he follows it up with the other forms which underlie the works of nature and of art. The cube gives us the basis of classification for mineral forms and is the fundamental type of architecture. The cylinder, which nature shows us in the trunks of trees and the stems of plants and in the bodies and limbs of animals, is also the basis of the ceramic art. In short, in geometric forms we have a key to all