Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/397

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383
KINDERGARTENS AND MANUAL TRAINING.

by modern times should make work suck as shall connect artistic dexterity with the cultivation of intelligence its basis. A writer in the Philadelphia Times, commenting on the public-school "education" as conducted mostly hitherto, says: "Nine tenths of the young criminals sent to the penitentiaries have enjoyed school advantages, but three fourths of them have never learned to do an honest stroke of work. Our children have their poor little heads crammed full of all kinds of impossible knowledge of names, of dates, and numbers of unintelligible rules, until there is no room left to hold any of the simple truths of honor and duty and morality." The military trainers declare that they obtain in the very infantile stages (five years) a better drill than they do or can get afterward, and Chad wick says: "The drill conduces to qualities of a high moral order and value, denoted by the terms discipline, patience, order, self-restraint, prompt and exact obedience. Children so trained learn to move quickly together and to pull together, and exert force with fewer hands."

It would thus seem that three of the most valuable years of a large majority of our children have hitherto been allowed to run to waste, and, as the educational policy of a country should be directed toward developing all its intellectual wealth, a movement which seems to be "in the air," that will eventually graft the kindergarten on to the common-school system of the whole country, should be hailed with joy by the patriot and philanthropist.

There are already thirty-nine in St. Louis in connection with the public school, thirty-eight in Philadelphia, twenty-two in Boston, twenty-two in Milwaukee, and from five to twelve in other cities. If a good many thousands of the unoccupied young women of the land would learn to be first-class kindergartners, and each, gathering a dozen or more of the neglected children now crowded out of the schools about themselves, and bestow some of their unused capacity for "mothering" upon them, what a prophylactic it would be against the corrupting "reformatory" in later years, and perhaps the penitentiary!

Now that really wise and discriminating educators affirm that, in the time beyond the kindergarten years, the use of the hand is not antagonistic to intellectual achievement, but rather promotive of it, we are beginning to hear the phrase manual training on every hand, the more because that, for successful puericulture as a factor in national life, we must, as Chad wick says, "add to the science of the physiologist and the psychologist that of the political economist, by whom man is regarded as an intelligent productive force"; and in another stage to which we are advancing that of the general use of machinery Jules Simon defines man as "an intelligent director of productive force, valuable to the extent and