There is no science which does not permit of simple experiments that may be introduced into any school. The pupils will delight in these, and they will prove a source of strength, pleasure, and inspiration. I am not, of course, to be understood as claiming that every fact that a child shall take cognizance of shall be gained through observation and experiment; but this is the ideal, and the nearer it is approached the better.
I again repeat that it is not the extent of ground covered, but the method, that is important. Let us not over-examine our pupils. How much in education is sacrificed to examination!
It has often occurred to me that if, in all schools, large and small, there was a certain portion of the time of each week set apart for the development of the general intelligence and moral life of the pupils in such way as the teacher saw fit, irrespective of any rigid course or time-table, it would be well. It should not be difficult to devise safeguards against the abuse of this by unworthy teachers. Readings, talks, short lectures, experiments, excursions, or any means the teacher may devise in harmony with the principles that underlie our organization, will aid in accomplishing the purpose in view. I do not refer to science alone, but to literature, and all that leads to a healthy development. Such a plan wisely put into practice gives tone to the entire school.
There is no limit to the means by which the great aim of education may be accomplished. As I have endeavored to show, the high purpose of education is development according to the laws of Nature as they are unfolded to us by the observations of every-day life, and especially by the study of brain physiology and of psychology. Those methods that harmonize with our organization are successful; all others fail. The child that is educated according to these laws is healthy, happy, and progressive. He leaves school not only uninjured in mind and body, but with the abounding physical and mental vigor that should characterize youth. His tendencies are toward investigation and application. He thirsts to know, and he understands how to enlarge the bounds of his knowledge. He desires to apply, and he can apply. His moral impulses are toward progress, harmony, and freedom of thought and action, and according to his natural endowments does he influence the world more or less, but always for good.