Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/48

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38
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tance as constituting part of the ordinary mental life of invertebrate animals. Movements thus initiated will be found to afford a basis for the development of many so-called instinctive acts.

 
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PRENATAL AND INFANTILE CULTURE.[1]
By Dr. E. SEGUIN.

TO educate children for themselves is rare in Europe, and is considered rather quixotic. The youth of the people are merchantable commodities, soon to be credited to the party which puts its stamp upon them. Therefore, when they are worth having, they are picked up as eagerly as nuggets. Priests pretend to teach them to think, yet care only to impose upon them a belief which implies obedience to their craft; Kaisers claim their direction, not to elevate them, but to put them among their droves of subjects; bourgeois and manufacturers give them a minimum of instruction, just sufficient to insure their working dependence, and to qualify their own sons to be fed at the public expense; while the working-men themselves—demoralized by such examples—put their apprentices at menial employment, and cheat them out of their rightful technical training.

From this standpoint we consider European children as in four groups: those who receive no education; those who do not receive the education they need; those who receive an education which disqualifies them for work; and those whose education prepares them for work. From another point of view we saw that the European children enter the school younger, are trained longer, and are advanced further, than the Americans. As a consequence of this last contrast, we shall have less to say about the primary and grammar schools, and more about the infantile and the professional. We will leave the other consequences to issue naturally from observation.

1. The Cradle.—At the Vienna Exposition there was a pavilion de l'enfant (infant pavilion), a room replete with the necessaries of the nursery—and also with its superfluities—intended altogether to represent the unbounded wishes of a mother for her baby's comfort and happiness. This palace of luxurious nursing ought, in the estimation of the writer, to have been accompanied by a little manual of what is necessary to protect and to prepare life before nativity, in relation to what may be called fœtal education.

During this first period the feelings come mainly through reflex impressions from the mother, a process which not only lays the foundation of health and vitality, but which forms the deeper strata of

  1. Extracts from the Report of the Commissioners of the United States to the International Exhibition held at Vienna, 1873.