« 上一頁繼續 »
scribed task. Play prescribes for itself. The attempt to preserve the form of self prescription for the child in his tasks is what saves the kindergarten from being a positive injury to the child at this tender and immature age. It is the preservation of the form of play, and at the same time the induction of the substance of prescription, that constitutes what is new and valuable in Froebel's method of instruction. There is a gentle insinuation of habits of attention, of self-control, of action in concert, of considerateness towards others, of desire to participate in the common result of the school, that succeeds is accomplishing this necessary change of heart in the child-from selfishness to self-renunciation without sacrificing his spontaneity so much as is done in the old-fashioned primary school. And he gets large measures of the benefits of the school that he would have lost had he remained at home in the family. The child, too, at this period of life has begun to experience a hunger for the more substantial things of social life, and the family alone cannot satisfy his longings. The discovery of Froebel gives the child what is needed of the substantial effects of the school without the danger of roughly crushing out his individuality at the same time.
PRACTICAL CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESS. After we have decided in the affirmative the essential questions relative to the reasonableness of the course of study and discipline of the kindergarten, its suitability to the age of the children, its effect upon the education that follows it, we come to the subsidiary questions regarding expense, training of teachers, and the details of management. These questions are not important, unless the decision is reached that the kindergarten theory is substantially correct. If it is found to be a valuable adjunct to the school, then we must solve the practical problems of how to introduce it into the public school system. The problem is, how to meet the expense. If the traditional form of the kindergarten be adopted, that of one teacher to cach dozen pupils, and this constituting an isolated kindergarten, the annual cost of tuition would be from $50 to $100 per pupil, a sum too extravagant to be paid by any public school system. The average tuition per pupil in public school systems of the United States ranges from $12 to $20 for the year's schooling of 200 days. No school board would be justified in expending five times as much per pupil for tuition in a kindergarten as it expended for the tuition of a pupil in the primary or grammar school.
If it is necessary to limit the number of pupils per teacher to twelve or twenty, while in the primary school each teacher can manage and properly instruct fifty or seventy, it becomes likewise necessary to invent a system of cheaper teachers. At once the Lancasterian system-or the “monitorial” system-suggests itself as a model for the organization of the cheap kindergarten. The kindergarten shall be a large one, located in a room of ample size to hold five to ten tables, each table to have fifteen children attending it, and presided over by a novitiate tcacher; and the whole room shall be placed under the charge of a thoroughly competent teacher, of experience and skill, and well versed in the theory and practice of Frocbel's system. The director of the kindergarten must be a well
paid teacher, receiving as much as the principal of a primary school, with two assistants. Her assistants, the “novitiate teachers,” are learners of the system. The first year they shall be volunteers, and receive no salary: the second year, or as soon as they pass the first examination in theory and practice of the kindergarten, they are to receive a small salary as “paid assistants." After a year's service as paid assistants they may pass a second examination, and, if found competent, be appointed directors, and receive a higher salary.
In the St. Louis kindergartens, the number of 60 pupils entitles the director to one paid assistant, and there is one additional appointed for each 30 pupils above that number. Thus, there would be a director and four paid assistants if the kindergarten had 150 pupils. (The director would, in St. Louis, receive $350 per annum, and each paid assistant $125 per annum. The cost of tuition-based on teachers' salaries-would be $850 per annum for the 150 pupils, being less than $6 per annum for each.)
Beside the salaried teachers of the kindergarten, it is expected that there will be an equal or greater number of volunteers. In order to make it worth while for volunteers to join the system, as well as to secure the development of the salaried teachers, it is necessary to have two persons, of superior ability, that can give instruction, once a week, on the theory and practice (the “gifts and occupations ") of Froebel's system. A young woman will find so much culture of thought to be derived from the discussion of Froebel's insights and theories, and so much peculiarly fitting experience from her daily class in the kindergarten-experience that will prove invaluable to her as a wife and mother-that she will serve her apprenticeship in the kindergarten gladly, though it be no part of her intention to follow teaching as a vocation.
It is a part of the system, as an adjunct to the public schools, to educate young women in these valuable matters relating to the early training of children. I have thought that the benefit derived by the 200 young women of the St. Louis kindergartens from the lectures of Miss Blow to be of sufficient value to compensate the city for the cost of the kindergartens. A nobler and more enlightened womanhood will result, and the family will prove a better nurture for the child.
Here we come upon the most important practical difficulty in the way of the general introduction of the kindergarten. If the teachers are no better than the average mothers in our families, if they are not better than the average primary teacher, it is evident that the system of Froebel cannot effect any great reform in society. “It is uscless to expect social regeneration from persons who are not themselves regenerated."
In our St. Louis work we have been very fortunate in having a lady of great practical sagacity, of profound and clear insight, and of untiring cnergy to organize our kindergartens and instruct our teachers. Her (Miss Susan E. Blow's) disinterested and gratuitous services have been the means of securing for us a system that now furnishes its own directors, assistants, and supervisors.
There is another important point connected with the economy of the kindergarten. The session should not last over three hours for the chil. dren of this age. Hence each room permits two sessions to be held in it per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, thus accommodating double the number of pupils. In some cases, where the teacher has attained experience and strength sufficient, she teaches in both sessions, and receives a higher grade of salary for the work.*
The furniture of the kindergarten is made up of small, movable chairs, and small tables, each one capable of accommodating two children-tbe surface of the table being marked off into divisions one inch square. It is better to use the small tables than large ones that will accommodate a whole class, for the small ones may be moved easily and combined into large ones of any desirable size, and may be readily arranged into any shape or figure, and placed in any part of the room, by the children themselves. It is necessary to use the floor of the room during one exercise each day for the games, at which time all the children are collected “on the circle”; at this time it may be desirable to remove the tables to the sides of the room, and with small tables this can be easily accomplished. Again, in the absence of one of the teachers, it may become necessary to combine two classes into one, uniting two tables. The small tables are therefore an important item in the economy of the kindergarten.
With these suggestions, I leave the subject, believing they are sufficient to justify the directors of our public schools in making the kindergarten a part of our school system. The advantage to the community in utilizing the age from four to six: in training the hand and eye; in developing habits of cleanliness, politeness, self-control, urbanity, industry; in train. ing the mind to understand numbers and geometric forms, to invent combinations of figures and shapes, and to represent them with the pencilthese and other valuable lessons in combination with their fellow-pupils and obedience to the rule of their superiors-above all, the youthful suggestions as to methods of instruction which will come from thc kindergarten and penetrate the methods of the other schools—will, I think, ultimately prevail in sccuring to us the establishment of this beneficent institution in all the city school-systems of our country.
* In St. Louis, directors receive f:600 for two sessions per day, and $350 for one session; paid assistants receive $125 for one session, and $200 per annum for two daily sessions.
KINDERGARTEN METHODS IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS.
BY MRS. LOUISE POLLOCK,
LECTURE TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS. Since it may yet be some time ere this city will give its citizens the free Kindergarten, I have invited the Public School teachers here to night, to explain to them, in as concisc a manner as possible, the distinctive features of the Kindergarten system, which is called by Frederic Fræbel, its discoverer, “ Nature's Method of Education." You may find some of its educational principles and methods adapted to the primary grades of the public schools, and incorporate them with your own to the great advantage of your pupils.
In the true Kindergarten the children are to be under six years of age, but where children have never enjoyed the benefits of this system at home or in the Kindergarten proper, children over six years of age, you will find, enjoy all the exercises designed for younger children, only their advancement from the most simple to the difficult will be more rapid, and the conversations and instructions accompanying the occupations must be adapted to their age.
The opening exercises in the first grade or lower primary school might well be the same as in the Kindergarten, namely: singing, conversation, and stories, as well as the learning of the songs or games which are on the programme of the day,-for there needs to be a regular programme, and each day should have its own occupations and plays, which are divided into four different kinds,-but to classify and describe these would require one or two separate lectures.
In the primary school as well as in the Kindergarten, the observing and reasoning faculties of young children should be developed first by inspection and experiments, made with the various gifts, and repeated with other objects having similar properties. Thus the little ball, the first gift, is spun around and we sing:
Sce me spinning round and round,
Never idle am I found. Another day this spinning around is done with the wooden sphere of the second gist upon a plate, singing:
No matter how first I spin or race,
I always show the same round face. With this play the children make the additional observation that it spins not only around itself, but also around the center of the plate. Again when making a little clay ball, on modeling days, they find out that it cannot roll if it has any corners or edges. This experience has also been gained while presenting the cube of the second gift.
Everything around us has a language, and it is the part of the educator to make this language understood to the child, or it may go through life with eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear, and a mind that does not understand.
Lessons simple and advanced may well be given with the first gift, on color, material, motions, qualities, and lises of this gift, in accordance with the age of the child, or the time he has attended the Kindergarten.
The child, in playing with the second gift, is led to find out the similarities and differences of his soft ball and the wooden sphere; the cylinder is presented and when spun round shows the sphere:
When I spin you around, my dear,
All your edges disappear. Perhaps without this play the child would not have noticed that the cylinder had any edges. The cube of the second gift offers also a large field for comparing and experimenting which shall lcad the child to discover the peculiar form and characteristics of the cube:
One face only now you see,
Where may all the others be!
When we spin you around, my dear,
Then a cylinder is found. This gift could also be advantageously used in the first grade of the primary schools when the children have had no previous Kindergarten training. *
The third gift is the cube divided into eight smaller cubes, which leads to a closer intimacy and analysis of its form and uses.
Ever having nature for his guide, Froebel would have system and organization in the manner of presenting this gift, first as a whole, then analyzed or taken to pieces; then made whole again, when the play is finished. This not only satisfies the child's curiosity and desire for breaking things, but develops the constructive instinct, which, after building with the blocks, restores and reconstructs the previous order and original form, and is gratified by making whole what has been destroyed.
With this and all the gifts the child is made acquainted with the law of opposites and of combinations or connections, which leads him to take delight in symmetrical forms and harmonious designs and inven. tions of his own. This gift would be most useful in the primary school, succeeded by and in combination with the fourth gift, which is the cube divided into eight oblongs. Lessons in arithmetic can be given with the very best results, with these gifts as well as with the fifth gift, which is the
* In our lectures to the normal pupils we fully explain the reasons why Fræbel selected his various gifts and how they will lead to higher education.