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cube divided diagonally into halves, quarters, thirds. For this gift is composed of twenty-seven cubes, and offers a far richer field for amusement and iustruction than the third or fourth gift. This gift may be used not only in the second grade but also in the third grade of the public schools, to the great intellectual progress and advantage of children, who have never enjoyed previous Kindergarten training. One of the thirds of this cube being cut diagonally, the child may learn that one-third and one-half of one third are the exact half of his whole twenty-seven cubes, or of the three thirds of his cube. With the solid triangles of this gift, one placed upon the other, he can form the triangular or the square prism, and in connection with the box of geometrical forms may distinguish the difference between the pyramid and the prism, and the cone and the pyramid; he can form also square, oblong, hexagonal, or octagonal buildings, and if the teacher has had the proper normal training, she may also teach in this connection the various styles of architecture with the object les. son, which precedes the building with children in the primary grades.
The same may be said of the sixth gift, which is equally useful, and permits of even more pleasing structures, and may be used with equally good results to convey impressions in regard to form, space, and number. As you will observe, there is a close connection and careful guiding from the most simple to the more complex. Thus while in the previous six gifts the child bas had solid bodics to handle and play with, which appeal inore directly to his senses, now, the seventh gift, the laying tab. lets, the child is occupied with the faces only of his previous solid toys. His taste and ingenuity of design, liis unconscious comprehension of the law of opposites, now comes into fuller play.
With this occupation the child becomes familiar with all the various angles which he outlines with another gift, the little round sticks.
This gift of “laying sticks" is to lead from the planes or faces of solid bodies to their edges or outlines, and is a fair preparation to the succeeding drawing occupation, by means of which the child embodies the forms of things conceived or perceived by his mind. The rings lead him to a still higher appreciation of facts and a just appreciation of what is correct and beautiful in outline.
The occupation of sewing is in direct harmony with the drawing and all other occupations which describe the outline or edges of anything, and is a harmonious sequence to the perforating occupation, which rests on the principle of leading the child from the outline or edges of a body to its corners or points, which are brought into relation or connected again by the thread or stitch from point to point. The same is done with the peas-work, where the edges, represented by wires and connected at the corners by peas, serve the admirable purpose of showing the perspective outlines of figures and forms. These two occupations are very delightful to the child, as they gratify his ideality, his inborn desire for activity, and under systematic direction develop skill and invention.
The perforating should not be used by anyone who has not been properly trained in the rules which regulate its use, or it may lead to injury of the eyes.
The interlacing slats prepare for the weaving with paper; many of the instructions given with the previous gifts may be repeated under a new guise. The weaving leads us back from combining cdges to planes, and with the modeling in clay we return to solid bodies.
The folding in paper leads to many observations, useful as a foundation for higher scientific education, while it cultivates accuracy of eye and hand, most useful in every vocation in life.
The same may be said of the cutting in paper, where the additional lesson of political economy is inculcated, in so far as the children are taught to save every little piece that falls off in order to give it its appro priate place and so let it form an additional feature of the beauty of the figure attained. They also learn thereby that cverything is good and fills a useful part if it is in its appropriate place.
All these gifts, with the cxception, perhaps, of the modeling, which involves considerable labor on the teacher's part, of washing hands and clearing away, may be, a source of delightful observations and instructions in the primary school to children from six to ten years of age.
I am positive that when thic teachers of the public schools shall have received the Kindergarten normal training, they will be anxious to devote one hour each day to kindergarten methods, and they will find that the children advance just as fast, if not more rapidly, in their clementary pursuits, and have a clearer comprehension of all they learn.
Miss Clara Heald, a teacher of a third-grade public school in this city, gives her testimony to this effect: That whercas she had been teaching as a matter or duty in regular prescribed methods, with no particular interest in the children, as soon as she had advanced to a certain degree in her Kindergarten normal training, with my daughter and myself, she began to make use of her instructions. The result was most gratifying to her; not only were the children much interested in the process of learning through doing, but she cnjoyed her school far more, began to love her pupils individually, and to look upon her teacher's profession as an ennobling, honorable, beneficent work. Stories and exercises intended for very young children were relished and gave pleasurable instruction to children from eight to twelve years of age, because they were what they needed, and had been, as I may say, cheated out of, in carlier childhood.”
A Kindergarten is considered a play school, and children over seven years of age feel almost ashamed to go to one. But our private Kindergartens could not exist if they limited their instructions to children of the Kindergarten age. We therefore have graded classes in our Kindergartens, and separate teachers, who give instruction adapted to the age of the pupils. This affords our normal pupils an opportunity to observe the practical application of Kindergarten methods at different stages of the children's advancement and ages. The Kindergarten is truly a place where the children learn how to play in such a manner that the foundation is laid for unselfish, law-abiding citizenship.
Here, also, they daily listen to the kind of sermon which children can understand and profit by, namely, the sweet and simple parables which come in and are suggested by the various forms they build, scw, or model. Here they learn, perhaps for the first time, that their little individuality is only a part of one great whole; and although at home they may be permitted to rule every one, here others have as much right as they, and they begin to feel the natural consequences of their actions. The Kindergartner needs to be a person of superior judgment, possessed of refinement of manners, and of a strong will, yet withal respecting the will of others, and ever ready to examine herself carefully and conscientiously to find out if what she desires is simply the expression of her own self-will, or if it is dictated by her desire for the highest good of the child in her charge. She must feel that it is her duty to train and direct the will of her pupils into right and virtuous paths, but that it is by no means her business, or anybody else's, to break the will of the child, that great moral force, which he will need so much for every action of his life. We should rather give it wholesome exercise, by giving the child opportunity to decide questions for himself whenever an opportunity arises; for instance, in the choice of colors when giving out the balls, and in the formation of figures and invention of designs after his short dictation lesson is over. Every educator should always be ready to imagine herself in the child's place; she needs to be full of sympathy and ever ready to render such assistance that, while it prevents his becoming discouraged, will bring out the child's self-activity and desire to do for himself, which, together with perseverance and ncatness of execution, must be encouraged at every step. Above and over all, she must be conscious of the fearful responsibility she assumes when she becomes the motherly guide of young children, and ever treat the children in such a manner as she would that others should trcat bers. Her ready sympathy, the stories, and the harmonious manner of conducting the musical plays, her gentle and impartial manner of setting all their little troubles and disputes, and her suggesting the manner of disposing of their little handiwork; these are the moral agents for developing the affectionate and spiritual element of children in the Kindergarten.
I will now, in as brief a manner as possible, recapitulate the main features which characterize the Kindergarten, and the objects attainable by the general adoption of its methods in our primary schools.
The peculiar features of the Kindergarten are as follows: *
1. (a) The Kindergarten training aims to bring harmony to the child's own being; between the expression of his thoughts, his feelings, and his will power; his will and his reflections or reason. (6) It aims to show him his true relation to his surroundings, his playmates, friends. The result should be his delight in peaceful, affectionate intercourse with others. (c) It aims to lead the child to fcel himself one with nature and obcdient to nature's laws. He shall make correct observations with the aid of the Kindergartner, he shall make correct imitations of natural objects, and by means of child-like, familiar conversation he shall peep into her secret workshop, and learn to admire the beauty and order of its organization. He will thereby learn to love its phenomena, the living cre. ation, and learn to respect nature's laws everywhere and at all times. (d) Finally, the child shall be led to feel himself in harmony with what is
* Köhler's Practical and Theoretical Kindergarten Guide.
good, noble, and true; in harmony with God, and to grow into child-like relations to Him.
2. The Kindergartner, to be able to carry out the above aims of education, needs to be conscious of her work, and understand what are the results, and how to employ the law of opposites and their connection or harmonious relationship and combination. She must realize that in order to arrive at a clear comprehension of what anything is, she must first find out what it is not; for there can be no comparison or correct impression without contrasts or opposites being brought to notice; for example, we could not decide that it was a warm day if the temperature were always the same; that it was day if there were no night; that anything is right if there were no left; that anything is high without there being its opposite. The law of opposites rules our universe ; and the work of civilization, of cducation, and of religion, natural and revealed, is, to bring these opposites into harmonious union, and for everything to fill its own highest sphere of usefulness, that it was intended to fill by a wise creator. The early training of the child should aim to make him conscious that he fills an important part when he experiences harmonious relations with himself, with nature, his neighbors, and his God. The Kindergartner must always appeal to the highest motives in the child's soul, not to bis selfish or emulative spirit; only the spirit of love must pervade the atmosphere of the Kindergarten. She must offer no medals nor prizes. She must realize that it is in her power to awaken, fan, and strengthen the tiny germs of goodness, which are born in every child.
The natural characteristics of the child may be led in two opposite directions by the influence of circumstances and education. Thus the naturally timid child may become a modest being, or one who is abject, cringing; one who is daring, full of rougish activity, may grow to be energetic, executive, noble, and daring, or he may develop into a rude and cruel character without the fear of God or man.
It requires the utmost care and trouble to keep what we call the evil propensities in a dormant, inactive state, or to direct them in such ways that what would have been a vicc becomes a virtue; and the sooner attention is given to this work the more satisfactory will be the result. Fræbel's Plays with the Baby are a faithful guide to the educator.
I do not claim that the Kindergarten system regenerates those who are born with unfortunate organizations, but it surely modifies all evil propensities, it prevents a great deal of crime, hardness of heart, idle and vicious habits. And although it may be said your own children and pupils are not as good as they ought to be with the advantages they have enjoyed, I can truthfully assert, they would not have been as good as they are if they had not had them. “We should not undervalue the services of a physician who keeps the family from getting sick." It is the same with the Kindergarten system, whose great merit is in preventing harm and the growth of evil.
4. The Kindergarten can fulfil its duties to the child only when it preserves the family spirit with motherly affections on the teacher's part, and perfect confidence and respect on the children's part, while at the same time it constitutes a little community, where the rights of all are respected and the social instinct of the child is gratified. Early shall the child learn and acquire habits of politeness, observe the consequences of selfishness or rudeness, and enjoy the beauty of order, mutual helpfulness and even self-sacrifice, which, however, must always be spontaneous, not incited by outside influence, though we should not refuse to praise him; nor should we neglect to always set an example to him.
5. Another important and peculiar feature of the Kindergarten training is, that it considers the child, almost from its birth, as an active, creative being. We respect the acquisition of knowledge and the proficiency of useful accomplishments but merely as the means of increased power for good actions. Words and deeds which bespeak the noble character, to these humanity owes its greatest debt of gratitude. Therefore would Fræbel have us encourage the child's inborn desire for creative activity, and by no means repress it. Vacancy of mind and idleness of hand are the worst enemies to the child's moral nature and progress.
6. In the Kindergarten there should not be any regular hearing of lessons, as in school, nor the same repressive discipline and spirit of routine.
7. In the Kindergarten proper, for children under six years of age, there should be no books nor drilling, but here the Kindergartner or teacher should place herself on the child's planc, and amuse by childlike stories and conversations while occupying and entertaining with such occupations as are pleasing and adapted to the child's limited powers, and yet exert the right educational and developing influences. His little hands shall gain delicacy and profiency of touch and manipulation, and his mind shall be trained in the virtues of patience and perseverance. He shall also be cheered and animated by sweet and lively songs and games calculated to make bim physically strong and active.
8. There should be, if possible, a garden connected with every Kinder, garten.
The objects of the Kindergarten are:
1. That the child shall be prepared to become a happy, useful, virtuous citizen.
The little songs, mostly accompanied by motions, which are contained in Fræbel's Mother's Book of Song and Play, published by Lee & Shepard, . are a guide to mothers and Kindergartners how to develop the physical and moral nature of the child by such means.
In my lectures to mothers I use my own translations, which will be published this (1880) summer.
The ladies who in eight months' time do all the Kindergarten work which children receive when they remain four years in the Kindergarten, have invariably expressed the conviction that not only has the work been to them a great benefit and pleasure, while their hand, eye, and powers of observation received superior training, but their whole life, their relation toward children and toward humanity in general have become so essentially enlightened and awakened to activity, that all they had previously learned seemed to be recalled to memory and to find a proper use. So that it seems a matter of regret that every young woman should not receive this training, which is of so much more importance to their own