Reports on Children Under Five (1905)

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Introductory Memorandum
Form used for the Enquiry
Miss Munday's Report
Miss Bathurst's Report
Miss Callis's Report
Miss Heale's Report
Miss Harrington's Report

Reports on Children Under Five Years of Age was prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 16 July 2018.


Reports on Children Under Five Years of Age in Public Elementary Schools (1905)
by Women Inspectors of the Board of Education

London: HM Stationery Office


[title page]

BOARD OF EDUCATION


REPORTS

ON

CHILDREN UNDER FIVE
YEARS OF AGE

IN PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

BY WOMEN INSPECTORS
OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION.

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of his Majesty

LONDON:
PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE,
BY WYMAN & SONS, LIMITED, FETTER LANE, E.C.

And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from
WYMAN & SONS, Ltd., Fetter Lane, E.C., and
32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.; or
OLIVER & BOYD, Edinburgh; or
E. PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin.

1905

[Cd. 2726.]


[unnumbered page]



TABLE OF CONTENTS


Introductory Memorandum by the Chief Inspector of Elementary Schoolsi-iii
Form issued to Women Inspectors for the purposes of the Enquiry1-4
Miss Munday's Report5-34
Miss Bathurst's Report35-93
Miss Callis's Report95-125
Miss Heale's Report127-140
Miss Harrington's Report141-155




[page i]

INTRODUCTORY MEMORANDUM
BY THE
CHIEF INSPECTOR OF PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS


It was decided to employ some of the Women Inspectors of the Board from April 1st, 1904, in an inquiry relative to the age of admission of infants to Public Elementary Schools and the curriculum suitable for very young children. A form of inquiry was discussed and general lines of investigation laid down. The results of visits of inspection directed to this special object and extending over nearly twelve months are appended in the reports of the five Women Inspectors who took part in the inquiry. One of these, who has since retired, only visited some schools in one of the large County Boroughs during a few months: her report contains some interesting expressions of personal opinion and a record of impressions on educational and social matters not confined to the range of the proposed inquiry.

There has been a careful examination of some thousands of children. Various tests were devised, and each of the investigators had slightly different methods. It will be seen that there is complete unanimity that the children between the ages of three and five get practically no intellectual advantage from school instruction.

The Inspectors agree that the mechanical teaching in many infant schools seems to dull rather than awaken the little power of imagination and independent observation which these infants possess. Children say what they think the teacher would like them to say; if asked to draw anything they like, they attempt the reproduction of some school copy previously set; the wearisome iteration of the same work makes them all of one pattern; they become apathetic; the actual knowledge acquired is not beneficial.

The children admitted later can in six months or a year reach the same standard of attainment as those who have been in the school for two years previously. They may speak in more homely fashion and be a little less glib in phrases, but the fluency of the others is unnatural. The late comer uses his own words and not the teacher's. He reads with a greater grasp of the sense, if less mechanical mastery of single words; he therefore reads with more readiness and expression, and he phrases better. In number he does not count by ones as the drilled child has been taught to do, and he therefore gets a better grasp of arithmetical processes. Even in subjects like writing and dictation or drawing, he shows very little inferiority to the rest after a short time.


[page ii]

It has always boon claimed that the children admitted later are less easy to discipline. Even this seems doubtful, for these children very soon fall into the order of the school.

Some of the inspectors comment upon the rigidity of the discipline in many of the schools. It is pointed out that if they lived their natural life these little mites would not be sitting for an hour on end and for the greater part of the day. The undue size of the classes makes greater freedom very difficult, and smaller schools are often found to be better in this respect than large ones. The child in the large class is drilled to a listless quiet under the order "Sit still while teacher talks."

It will be generally agreed that the evidence is very strong against attempts at formal instruction for any children under five. Where the same Inspector visited schools in certain towns in South Wales, and in London, she found that in the former there was a much freer curriculum, and she had no hesitation in saying that there was a marked difference in the alertness of the children. Going from London she was very agreeably surprised to find the superiority of a more elastic programme.

There is little doubt in the minds of all these Inspectors that these little children should have no formal instruction in the three R's, but plenty of opportunities for free expression: they must learn to talk before they learn to read; to understand before they learn number by heart; and to use arms and fingers freely and boldly before they hold pen or pencil to trace letters. Needlework is bad for little eyes and cramps little fingers.

Further, although Kindergarten teachers are praised, so-called Kindergarten occupations are condemned as being contrary to the spirit of Froebel when taught mechanically to large classes. They are often, says one Inspector, distinguished by absence of occupation, for the children do a line or a stitch or add a brick by word of command, and then sit still for five minutes while the teacher goes round the class to ensure perfect accuracy; meanwhile all interest is killed in the child who may only touch his material to order.

If no intellectual result is obtained, should children under five be excluded from school altogether? This question is answered in the affirmative if the children have good homes and careful mothers, but if the homes are poor and the mothers have to work the answer must be doubtful. In spite of the drawbacks of school, it is found that in very poor localities the physique of the children is improved by the new regularity of their life. Though fault may be found with the school, yet in the slums, where mothers have to leave their children and go to work, to attend school is better for the babies than to stay away.

It would seem that a new form of school is necessary for poor children. The better parents should be discouraged from sending the children before five, while the poorer who must do so, should send them to nursery schools rather than schools of instruction.


[page iii]

"No formal instruction" is the burden of all the recommendations, "but more play, more sleep, more free conversation, story-telling and observation." The aim of the big town Infant School is too often to produce children who at the age of six and a half have mastered the mechanical difficulties of Standard I work. It should be to produce children well developed physically, full of interest and alertness mentally, and ready to grapple with difficulties intelligently.

In this connection there is a general agreement that the best informed teacher is not necessarily the best baby-minder. In London Schools, where almost every teacher is trained and certificated, the results are declared to be inferior to those Schools in which the teachers may not have distinguished themselves in examination, but are motherly girls. In the present dearth of teachers great relief could be obtained at once if it were understood that the ordinary Training College course fitted students for upper classes but was unnecessary for the teachers of babies. It is desirable that there should be a special training for Infant teachers, but under present circumstances might not two Supplementary Teachers of good motherly instincts be as good for sixty babies between three and five years of age as one clever ex-collegian? These girls who would stay for a few years before marriage would not expect or need so high a salary as the teacher trained for a life profession.

In making this suggestion there is no desire to depreciate the zeal and devotion of the present Infant teachers. They have had unduly large classes of very young children; they have had little guidance from the Code; and have thought themselves obliged to show "results" of their teaching. They have always worked with a kindness and self-sacrifice which cannot be too highly praised.

The question of underfed children cannot fail to be touched in the course of such an inquiry. It is interesting to find a general agreement that it is unsuitable rather than insufficient feeding that is responsible for sickly children. Want of sufficient sleep - neglect of personal cleanliness - badly ventilated homes are contributory causes of the low physical standard reached.

Many interesting suggestions are made in the reports as to the length of lessons and the amount of recreation, the character of the premises and desks, the interchange of rooms, the better provision of offices, etc., and these suggestions coming from experienced Inspectors will deserve the careful attention of Local Educational Authorities. The wider question as to the character which schools for children under five should assume, if indeed any institution for teaching is needed, will require the fullest consideration of the Board of Education and of Local Education Authorities.

Cyril Jackson


[page 1]

[Form issued to Women Inspectors for the purposes of the Enquiry]

Form 61

BOARD OF EDUCATION

Name of School

Town.    Country.    Suburban.    or Nondescript.

Approximate number of Infants

(a) Over 5 years of age.

(b) Under 5 years of age.

A. CHILDREN 8ENT TO SCHOOL UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE

1. STAFF

i. Have they a special teacher of their own?
ii. If not does she also teach (a) older infants? (b) children in standards?
iii. What is her Code Status?
iv. Has she special training and qualifications?
REMARKS


2. SCHOOL HOURS

i. What are the total school hours daily?
ii. What intervals are given for recreation?
iii. What is the length of lessons?
iv. How long at a time are the children kept sitting?
v. How far is free movement checked by rigid discipline?
REMARKS



[page 2]

3. CURRICULUM

a. What amount of time weekly is given to each of the following subjects?Is the type of lesson suitable

i. Physical Exercises.

i
ii. Manual Employment or Kindergarten occupations.ii
iii. Kindergarten games.iii
iv. Playing with toys, &c.iv
v. Telling stories to the children.v
vi. Conversations in which the children are taught to express themselves.vi
vii. Lessons to cultivate powers of observation.vii
viii. Drawing (a) free (b) on squares.viii
ix. Learning words or letters.ix
x. Number.x
xi. Writing in sand, on boards, on slates.xi
xii. Sewing.xii
xiii. Songs and recitations.xiii

b. Is the time table framed so as to minimise fatigue?

REMARKS



[page 3]

4. PREMISES

i. Have these children a separate room?
ii. Is their room sunny and well ventilated?
iii. Are the exits conveniently placed?
iv. Are arrangements made for the children to sleep
REMARKS


5. SCHOOL HYGIENE

i. Is interest taken in the children's physical development?
ii. Have they breathing exercises?
iii. Is attention paid to eyesight?
iv. Are desks well lighted?
v. Have the seats proper backs?
vi. Is there space in the room for movement?
vii. Are any lessons taken in the open air?
viii. What provision is made for recreation (a) indoors?, (b) in the open air?
ix. Do the children suffer from unsuitable food?
REMARKS


6. CLASSIFICATION

How are the children classified (a) by age, (b) by attainments? REMARKS



[page 4]

B. CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT SENT TO SCHOOL TILL THEY HAVE REACHED 5 YEARS OF AGE
i. Are they less orderly than those who have been sent to school earlier?

ii. Are they less quick in learning reading, writing, and number?

iii. Are they more observant or less?

iv. Do they shew more originality?

v. Have they better or worse powers of expression?




C. CHILDREN IN STANDARD I

Is there any evidence that the attainments of children who have come to school under 5 years of age are higher than of those sent later?


D. What are the reasons why the children have been sent to school under 5 years of age - e.g. poverty of parents, occupation of mothers?



E. Have the teachers expressed opinions on above points (especially B. C. and D.)



Signed _______________________ Date of Visit ______________190.


[page 5]

MISS MUNDAY'S REPORT

I was directed to inquire into the education of infants between the ages of three and seven years. The following report is based on information obtained at visits to schools of various types in parts of London and one of the neighbouring counties.

Staff. Children under five years of age attending school in London have generally a room to themselves, and also a special teacher or teachers to teach them. In the Council schools these are practically always trained certificated teachers, though in the suburbs when the baby classes are very small pupil teachers are occasionally in charge of the class. In voluntary schools the status of the teachers shows more variety, assistants as Article 50, pupil teachers and supplementary teachers all being employed for the youngest class.

It is rather remarkable to find there are so few teachers in London schools who hold the higher Froebel certificate, or who have been trained at the Froebel Institute. Head mistresses at present seem rather afraid of employing them, they fear they would be unable to cope with large numbers; would not understand the routine of an elementary school, and would therefore be unable to take the children through the school from babies to Standard I. inclusive, in all subjects provided on the Time Table.

In Council Schools there is no interchange of rooms or classes, with the exception of pupil teachers giving occasional criticism lessons, so that a class of children may begin with one teacher as babies and have no other till they enter the senior schools four years later. Interchange of classes and rooms is much more common in voluntary schools for various reasons.

School Hours. The total school hours usually consist of five to approximate to those of older children who are generally responsible for bringing and fetching the younger ones to and from school

Recreation. The intervals for recreation are also in most cases the same as for older infants, viz., the time stated in the Code - fifteen minutes in the morning session and ten minutes in the afternoon, though the playtime does not necessarily coincide with that of the other classes.

Some schools, however, provide for a longer recreation time, from twenty to thirty minutes in one instance; but it is rare to find the babies having this in more than one break or trip to the playground, even during the finest weather.

Length of Lessons. Three arrangements may be said to have vogue in the babies' classes of the London schools.

(a.) The time table is the same as that provided for older infants, the lessons coinciding in length (thirty to forty-five minutes) and type, with those of the other classes.

(b.) The time table resembles that for older classes, with a footnote stating that drills and singing are taken between the lessons to vary and brighten the work.


[page 6]

(c.) An entirely different time table is provided for the / babies, with short lessons of fifteen to twenty minutes duration sandwiched with varied exercises, games or singing.

It is hardly necessary to state that the first arrangement is a most pernicious one, physically and mentally injurious for children three to five years of age, especially with regard to the long periods they have to be kept sitting.

The second arrangement is hardly more satisfactory, as one often finds that the drill and singing thus inserted in the time table are too often omitted, and that the breaks thus left to chance rarely cause the children to leave their places on the gallery, without doing which no real change of posture and actual movement can take place properly.

The third plan of providing entirely separate time tables for children under five, with the needs of young children kept in view, is by far the best, and head mistresses are now generally providing them

The length of time children are kept sitting varies considerably. In some schools it is as much as an hour at a time, or more. In all infant schools more time is spent in sitting than in any other posture, though if children three to five years of age be watched when quite free this is the posture they will use least, at any rate in the morning.

Happily rigid mental discipline rarely exists now in the babies' classes, that is to say individual efforts, and results in the acquisition of set amounts of work in a given time are not expected of these tiny scholars, and individual tests and examinations by Inspectors, or even by the head mistress are not the rule now in our baby rooms.

The same cannot be said of Physical Discipline, which is certainly too rigid for children of tender years. Individual free movement within limit is allowed, but a few teachers are still under the impression that arms should be folded to order at three years of age, and that happy mites visiting the land of Nod on a sultry afternoon should be briskly awakened if a visitor arrive to inspect the class or check the register; but it is only fair to say that on the whole a freer nursery spirit is beginning to prevail, and that in many of our schools when the classes are not too large the babies' lot is a bright and happy one.

The chief faults in the organisation and curriculum of the baby rooms are too often the large size of the classes, the 'lack of sufficient physical exercise, insufficient changes of posture, air, scene, and teachers, the repression of originality in the individual, the instructional type of teaching which prevails instead of the educational, and the use of unsuitable occupations which cause too long a strain on the muscles and nerves of the body, especially when done to drills. Writing and drawing on ordinary lined or squared foolscap paper, threading and sewing with small implements often in poorly lighted rooms, are all mentally and physically injurious for children between the ages of three and five.


[page 7]

Curriculum. This, of course, varies considerably in various types of schools, but in almost all, approximates fairly to that provided for older infants, for the following reasons:

1. Children of three years of age attending school are grant earning, hence teachers have felt that some visible instruction must be given to provide a return to the rate- payers and the school authorities for the expenditure on them. The easiest way to do this has been to provide instruction on the same lines as that given to older children only in somewhat smaller and more diluted doses.

2. It has hitherto been generally conceded and argued that children gain in mental power by attendance at school before five, hence teachers have been anxious to instruct as early as possible, hoping thus to provide a better standard I. child at seven than if the child had come to school first at five.

3. Various examinations, inspections, and - the despair of all real educationalists - exhibitions of scholars' work have led to the demand for products or fruits when the child has barely emerged from the seedling stages.

It would be impossible to give instances of the almost endless varieties of curricula in the time table of babies' classes. Two are given, one a type of the worst sort in existence, the other one of the best under the existing conditions.


[page 8]

Premises. In the schools visited for the purpose of this inquiry in London all except four have a separate room or in some cases two rooms for the use of the children under five. This is so far satisfactory, though in some cases the rooms are very small. In situation and aspect, however, they leave much to be desired. Many are due north, or north-east, thus practically sunless. The windows are few and generally placed high to prevent the sun's rays, if any, penetrating inside, or the children from seeing shrubs or flowers, if any, outside. They are often on the street side instead of the playground side of the building, so that the air from the street may enter and the noise of passing vehicles annoy as much as possible teachers and taught. Occasionally the baby room is the farthest from the playground and offices, necessitating the opening and closing of sometimes as many as five doors when the children pass in and out.

The furniture of our infant babies' room still chiefly consists of a huge gallery constructed to hold nominally forty to sixty children, but often containing as many as eighty at the end of the educational year, or if classes have to be put together owing to the lack of sufficiency of staff. In some cases the gallery occupies the chief amount of floor space and necessarily reduces the cubic air space of the room, to say nothing of the accumulation of rubbish which takes place on the floor beneath, generally ungetatable to floor cleaners. When this type of baby room obtains, the class can have little scope or space for movements of any right kind, and if the school has no hall, or has a hall but the babies' class does not use it, as is too often the case, the children suffer physically and quite unnecessarily.

A few schools are adopting the better plan of providing a large room with ample level floor space, low kindergarten desks and blackboards all round for the babies to draw upon, in various ways.

Arrangements for sleeping, either cots or frames, are provided in a few schools, but in some are never used owing to the danger of spreading dirt, infectious and contagious diseases through their use. Four head mistresses informed me that they used to have arrangements for sleeping in the baby rooms, but that they had to have them removed for sanitary reasons. One head mistress told me that she would like a cot in the baby room, but when I asked her if she would put her own little girl, present at school, to rest in it after certain other children had used it, she replied rather indignantly and inconsistently, "most certainly not."

Though sleeping cots are not provided in the majority of baby rooms, children, especially in very poor neighbourhoods, sleep when they need to; sometimes comfortably on the floor in a corner free from draughts and covered with their own coat; or in their seats with head pillowed on their arm, and as they are not likely to adopt exactly the same posture twice there is no danger of their becoming crooked or suffering from spinal curvature as some people allege, especially as their afternoon naps are, as a rule, of very short


[page 9]

duration. Should babies sleep for a long time in the afternoon, except in exceptionally hot weather, teachers state that as a rule it is because they are ailing or sickening for some infectious illness.

School Hygiene. The attention of all thoughtful people has been aroused by the state of the physique of the children of the nation, especially in the poor areas of our large towns, and most educational authorities are considering ways and means for improving the present state of things. In the council schools of London duly certificated nurses visit to inspect the children and report on their physical condition. At present their work is practically confined to inspection for the purposes of seeing whether the children are clean, or are suffering from ringworm or other skin trouble of a contagious nature. The experiment has proved so successful, that in all probability the number of nurses will in the future be largely increased and their scope or functions enlarged. Their presence and work are certainly very much valued by the large class of careful, clean parents, who send their children to elementary schools. In many voluntary schools the parish or district nurses perform the same offices for the children attending these schools as the council's nurses, or arrangements are made by which all cases of small ailments needing advice or care are treated at the parish dispensary, upon the recommendation of the head teacher.

The majority of the younger classes in infant schools have not at present adopted breathing exercises, and in some cases when they have they are not very successful or useful. Teachers state that mouth breathing is on the increase, and parents are too often -careless, indifferent, or even wilfully neglectful in taking the proper steps to remedy this defect, though it causes children to be deaf, inarticulate in speech, and, for these two reasons, dull and backward at school.

Though some attention is being given to the eyesight of the scholars in the senior departments of our schools in London, very little is being done for those in infant schools; it is, of course, difficult to test the eyesight of children under five, but certainly more attention should be paid to the conditions under which young children pass the five hours of school life daily, such as rooms, aspect, lighting, materials, and chiefly kindergarten occupations in which they are engaged, many of which are most harmful and injurious to the sight.

The majority of baby rooms in the council schools have a fair amount of floor space, but not many rooms can accommodate the whole of the class at a time for a romp or game. It is astonishing to find how very little the halls or playgrounds are used by the babies. The inquiry shows that of the schools visited some baby classes never use the hall; that others use it once or twice a week at the most; that a few use it once daily, and only a very small minority use it twice daily. Out of twenty-two schools visited in the months of June, July, and September, 1904,


[page 10]

during which exceptionally fine weather was experienced in London, the following facts were ascertained:

The baby classes in eight schools used the playground daily, weather permitting. The baby classes in eight schools used the playground only occasionally, chiefly for drills. The baby classes in six schools never used the playground for either drill or games.

The baby rooms in voluntary schools are often badly off for floor space, but on the whole more use is made of the playground to give the children changes of air, scene and posture, for lessons, games and drills.

Recreation. Most of the council schools possess a hall and playground and most of the voluntary schools, the latter for the purposes of recreation, and as a rule the children spend the time stated in the Code in the playground for recreation, weather permitting. It is the exception, however, for the children under five to have a longer time allowed for free play in the open air than the older ones. In most cases this is because some teachers are under the mistaken impression that they may not allow more time on the time table than fifteen minutes per three hours' session and ten minutes per two hours'; or they prefer not to provide a separate time table for the younger classes; or again they fear the noise of the babies at play will interfere with the work of the older children. When the weather is unfavourable the hall is generally substituted for the playground for the purposes of recreation, but it is the exception to find it used for quite free play, and when the numbers are very large, it would be almost impossible for it to be so used.

Do Children Suffer from Unsuitable Food?

The feeding of children is such an important subject and is attracting so much attention at present, that I obtained as much information on the subject from the head mistresses, many of whom have spent more than a score of years in their schools and therefore have a very intimate knowledge of the localities in which they work and of the homes from which the children come.

I will, therefore, give some of their experiences and opinions on the subject, as I venture to think they will be more interesting and accurate than my own could be, culled from a day's visit in often quite an unknown district or locality.

In two-thirds of the schools visited the head mistresses stated there was no reason to doubt that the children were well fed and well cared for; one expressed the opinion that occasionally she found that children suffered from over-feeding, and she had had to call the mother's attention to the matter.

In the remaining third, however, the head mistresses stated that a sad state of things existed; that many of the children suffered from unsuitable food practically all the year round, whilst during the winter months they also suffered from an insufficient quantity.

11]

One head mistress states that about a fourth of her scholars suffer from unsuitable food, and this through ignorance and neglect rather than through poverty. Frequently, the various children in a family will be given a halfpenny each to provide their dinner. Childlike they expend this on sweets of a most unwholesome kind, when for the same sum they might obtain a bowl of nourishing soup and bread at the cookery kitchen. The head mistress has made a point of investigating the cause of sickness in the children, and almost invariably traces it to this " sweet eating " taking the place of a wholesome nourishing meal.

Two head mistresses, one in North and one in South London, state that about a third of their scholars suffer from unsuitable food, chiefly through the laziness of their mothers, not because these go to work and therefore have but little time for cooking, but because they prefer to spend the morning in bed or gossiping, rather than in preparing food.

Another head mistress states that a proportion of the children suffer from unsuitable and insufficient food. Snacks of strongly flavoured fried fish and potatoes form the staple articles of diet and are the most appreciated, with unwholesome sweets and germ-laden ice-creams as luxuries.

One -third of the scholars suffer from lack of the right kind of food in another school, and bread and milk breakfasts are provided by the staff for the poorest. The teachers state that some children show a dislike to milk at first, showing they have little or no acquaintance with it as an article of diet.

Another head mistress has had much practical experience with the diet of her scholars. She and a large staff have a hot lunch provided daily at school by contract; the portions thus sent in are generally more than the teachers need. They therefore select a number of the poorest and most starved of their scholars and offer them a meal. Too often the reply is, "No, thank you, I don't like it." To further queries, "Are you hungry?" "Yes." "Then what would you like for dinner?" comes the rather startling announcement, "Fried fish or taters," or "Black sausages and pickles."

Apropos of pickles, another mistress states from experience that they figure largely in the diet of quite young children. Attracted one day by the strong odour proceeding from the paper containing the lunch of one of her three year old babies, she investigated the contents, to find they consisted of a sandwich, viz., two pieces of bread, and between them pickled onions!

In another school raw onions have to be forbidden as relishes with bread, on account of the unpleasant smell they leave in the rooms during the morning.

Yet other head mistresses state that the food of the majority of their scholars is unsuitable practically all the year round, and insufficient in the winter months when the parents are out of


[page 12]

work. New bread, tea, fried fish, and pounds of sweets form the chief articles of food.

Many head mistresses state that the mothers of their scholars cook only once a week - on Sunday- that on this day the children really eat too much, and in addition to a plentiful hot dinner eat muffins or fish for tea, and sweets. They are in consequence often absent from school, or ill, on the Monday. Towards the end of the week the wages have been spent, the pawnshop is visited, or money borrowed otherwise at exorbitant rates of interest, the children fare as best they can on a penny or a halfpenny given them to buy their dinners. It is also stated that in many cases this way of living is not the result of ignorance, because the mothers have been educated, often in the schools their children now attend, and have received instruction in domestic economy, cookery, and laundry. This is attributed to laziness and the craving for drink and pleasure unfortunately increasing among women, and the innate conservatism of the very poorest which prevents them from improving on what their parents have done before them.

A cursory inspection of the dust bins put out in the street in readiness for the dust carts is instructive when considering this question. In the suburbs, in the streets inhabited by the careful clerk and better class artisan, well-sifted cinders and no cooked food thrown away as waste characterise the bins. In the slum areas, on the contrary, large unsifted cinders may be seen, with, in addition, cold potatoes and pieces of bread - thrown away. On one occasion every dust bin except one in a street contained cold food thus wasted. In the same street at nearly every doorway stood dirty unkempt women gossiping with each other, thus proving that the food was not thrown away because they went to work and for lack of time to cook it; their ages also (they looked mostly between eighteen and thirty) showed they must have learnt and known better things.

The same thriftlessness thus exhibited in the dietary of the very poor also extends to their clothing. Next to lack of food, lack of boots in winter is one of the chief obstacles to children coming to school, and one of the most difficult with which teachers have to deal. In one sense it is more difficult to deal with than food - for the food can be given at school to ensure the children really having it. Boots and other clothing, on the other hand, are too often sold or pawned, in many cases to buy drink for one or other of the parents.

The making or mending of clothing is practically unknown in poorer areas; the mothers preferring to buy cheap flashy new ready-made articles or soiled second-hand finery to making new garments.

One head mistress of a girls' school desirous of making her needlework lessons as instructive and useful as possible for the poor class of girls in attendance, brought stockings for them to mend as soon as they had learnt darning properly. Great was their


[page 13]

astonishment on learning, firstly, that these articles of apparel were ever intended to be mended, and secondly, that there was any connection between the darn on their piece of webbing provided at school and such a thing as a stocking. Questioning elicited the fact that it is the custom of the neighbourhood to buy one pair of stockings at 2d. or 2|d. the pair, and to wear the same unmended and unwashed till the stocking's foot no longer exists and then to expend another 2d. on a new pair.

Cases also are not unknown to teachers and visiting nurses inspecting children, of mothers having sewn the garments on the children instead of taking the trouble to put on hooks and eyes.

The first class infants of a school in a slum area in the heart of one of the black regions named in Mr. Booth's book, were asked the following question and asked to write out the answer. "Supposing mother were too busy to give you any dinner at home, and she gave you a penny to go and buy your own dinner, what would you buy?" The choice of the forty-six children is appended.

13 chose fish and potatoes.
5 chose fish.
5 chose potatoes.
2 chose peas and potatoes.
3 chose peas pudding.
5 chose soup.
2 chose meat and potatoes.
4 chose pudding.
1 chose Christmas pudding
1 chose apple pie.
1 chose jam roll.
1 chose jam tart.
1 chose rice.
1 chose choose.
1 chose apples.

The inquiry therefore seems confined to the following facts shown clearly by the recent report on physical deterioration; firstly, that children in the better neighbourhoods are well and suitably fed; secondly, that in the poorer localities a large number suffer from the effects of unsuitable diet; while a smaller proportion of these not only suffer from food of an unsuitable kind, but actually have an insufficient quantity in the winter months when work is scarce for their parents.

Benefits to Children of attendance at School

As well as consulting teachers as to the progress and development, physical, mental and moral, of children attending infant schools, I have tried to obtain the opinion of parents on the subject. Many of their criticisms have been valuable and instructive. Most of the mothers of the better class children state that their children improve in some ways when going to school; they become more vigorous and self-reliant, learn habits of quickness and punctuality for fear of being late or absent, and have a wholesome appetite for meals. This last trait in young school children is due to the fact that going to and from school gives open air exercise, while requests for biscuits, fruit, sweets, during the morning, too often acceded to at home, except by the mothers of a Spartan type, are impossible at school. Hence results a better appetite for dinner. The home life is arranged with more scrupulous regularity and all this tends


[page 14]

to improve the children physically. Other mothers complain that going to school brings a succession of ailments, illnesses, and dirt in its train, resulting in a weakening of the child's physique, occasionally causing permanent injury to one or other of the senses.

Some also allege that the children's physical needs are not sufficiently attended to; that they are allowed to play without putting on their coats, or that after play they retain their outdoor clothes tiU they go home, thus making them liable to cold; that they have to sit too close together on galleries, and sometimes in desks too small for them; that the offices are too far and unprotected from the main buildings in cold or wet weather; and chiefly that insufficient supervision is exercised in the playground, so that rough and rude children bully and knock down the weaker ones, and that they become nervous, restless, and excitable, eat insufficiently, and talk in their sleep.

Some also state that their young children, especially little boys, complain bitterly about having to sit still at school or in desks " for such a long time "; one mother said her little girl in ah infant school showed great distress and fear of not passing the governess' examination and therefore not being promoted to the girls' department in July. On being comforted and told that it would not matter much as she had a very nice teacher of whom she was very fond in her present school, she said, "Oh, yes; but the desk I sit in is so small it hurts me so, and I know I shall grow a lot in the holidays, so it will hurt me more if I have to go back there." Yet another clean, small child sent to a new and well equipped school at five told her mother, "Oh, mother, do take me away. There is such a lot of children, I haven't room to sit, and they do smell so nasty."

Asked as to their children's mental progress, the parents, especially those educated in the small private schools (much more common in the last generation than at present) wonder at the slowness with which their children learn the 3 R.'s, especially reading and spelling; at the paucity of their recitations, both secular and religious; at their ignorance of the meaning of words and phrases which parrot- like they repeat, and at their bad pronunciation and ungrammatical speech. On the other hand they are delighted with the artistic mechanical productions of their children, especially in the various branches of drawing, which they say they could not produce themselves now, and certainly could never have done at their ages.

With regard to the moral results or effects on the children attending many of the elementary schools, especially some of those that are free, there is no doubt, among many of the best and most thoughtful mothers, grave dissatisfaction. After carefully training their little ones in habits of cleanliness, decency, polite speech, and reverence, they are horrified to find them coming home dirty in body and irreverent in language and in habits. In great distress they change the school, sometimes going to the expense of house changing for the purpose. Experience has taught them that, as


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a rule, the larger the school and the larger the playground, the worse are the moral effects. In despair they keep their children at home another year or six months, trusting that the older they are the less liable they will be to copy what is evil; or they implore the teachers not to allow their children out to play in recreation time, as they see that it is chiefly then the mischief occurs. Their conclusions on this matter are verified when their observant children inform them that governess and the assistants' little girls are never allowed in the playground with the other children. As a last resource they take them to a small voluntary or private school, where for a small fee they find their children do not deteriorate morally whilst they make good progress intelligently. One such school owes its popularity with this type of mothers, in spite of old fashioned buildings and apparatus, chiefly because it possesses no playground, and charges a small fee, and there is no doubt that were the local authority to abolish playgrounds and playtime, in school buildings and curriculum, there would be a feeling of intense joy and satisfaction among a certain number of the mothers of the children attending our elementary schools. It is this type of parent who prefers a small school and who dreads the abolition of fees.

With the poorer mothers, as a rule quite uneducated themselves, the school and its staff is for them a comfort and delight. To it they bring their children as soon or sooner than they are three years of age, if the teachers are kind enough to accommodate them. They gladly leave them to be not only taught, but trained in good habits, cleaned, clothed, and fed, if they are necessitous. Their only criticism is a kind of awesome wonder, when finding six children beyond their powers of discipline and management, they see teachers can control sixty or more, and that their Tommy, absolutely disobedient and defiant at home, is as docile and amenable as a lamb when within the school precincts. They are surprised and delighted with their offspring's progress, when they take the trouble to think about the matter at all, and their chief wish, especially where babies are concerned, is that the school doors might never close for holiday purposes.

Among parents of a better class the tendency is to wish to keep the child away from school as long as possible, chiefly on moral grounds, while among the poorer class there is an increasing desire to send them as early as the authorities will take them.

Children who have not attended School till Five Years of Age

Physical Development. In good neighbourhoods very little or no difference may be noticed. The late comers have just as fine a physique or better than those sent to school early. The teachers working in these schools on the whole prefer that the children should come late: they say that if children come as babies they only attend in a desultory fashion, they are kept at home on the slightest pretext of illness. If the weather be wet or cold they are kept at home;


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if, on the other hand, it be exceptionally fine they are kept away to go out with their mothers. They thus get into bad habits of desultory attendance, and it is difficult to make them attend regularly at five years of age when the law compels them to do so.

In very poor neighbourhoods, on the contrary, attendance at school of young children makes a marked improvement in their physique, and the poorer the district the more striking is the improvement shown. This must be due to the same reasons which cause prisoners in gaols and convicts in prisons to improve physically during their terms of imprisonment. This can hardly be due to diet; in the case of school children it is due to the comparative cleanliness and regularity of the life that attendance at school brings with it. One has only to walk through a slum street on a Saturday, or during school holidays, to see the difference in the condition of the children on these occasions and on a school day. Attendance at school insures that the child gets up at a regular hour, is washed to some extent, as a rule has a meal of some description before leaving home, and a lunch to eat at school. Its day will be spent in a varied and regular manner in a temperature suitable to the season. Should it be seen to be suffering from ailment or disease or lack of sufficient food or clothing, it will probably be relieved by some voluntary charitable agency. There is, therefore, no manner of doubt as to the fact that in poor neighbourhoods children improve physically, except perhaps in the matter of eyesight, by attendance at school.

Moral Development. In well-to-do districts, When children come from good homes teachers say they have little difficulty in training children morally. They have some trouble occasionally with those who have the misfortune to be the solitary arrows in the family quiver, and are therefore petted and spoilt at home, or with the youngest child in a large family who is generally treated as a baby much longer than necessary; but they soon copy the manners of the other children and obediently follow the rules and routine of the school and benefit by its discipline.

In poorer localities attendance at school has a marked influence on the habits and morals of the children, and in good schools the time in the baby room is chiefly devoted to the eradication of bad habits and the teaching of, and training in, good ones. Here, neglected children coming to school at five, or older, are a real trial to their teachers, as, being older, training is more troublesome and bad traits more difficult to eradicate than in younger children. Head mistresses and teachers are unanimous in testifying to the value of attendance at school as early as possible in these neighbourhoods for the purpose of moral teaching and training.

Mental Development. In considering this third kind of development opinions varied considerably, but it was easier to apply direct tests in order to arrive at some definite conclusions than when considering physical and moral progress.


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Of the head mistresses who felt they were able to give decided opinions, seven stated the late comers were decidedly slower in learning; eight stated they were decidedly slower at first, but equal after a short time; fifteen stated there was no difference between early and late comers; three stated the late comers were quicker than the babies. In connection with the consideration of the children's mental development exercises were given to test the difference, if any, between the early and late comers in such things as observation, originality, and expression. Some rather startling and interesting conclusions may be drawn from the result.

1 . That London children have very little originality, and even less power of observation.

2. That there is practically no difference between the early and late comers, or, in other words, children attending elementary schools seem to gain nothing in observation and originality though they have slightly better mechanical powers of expression.

3. That locality has very little to do with both these characteristics, and in many cases the slum children are more observant and more original than the well-to-do residents in more comfortable surroundings.

4. That fine buildings and equipment have much less influence on the children than one would suppose, but personality a great deal more.

Various tests were given, of which the following were the most satisfactory.

To test observation the children in Standard I. were asked to write down the number of teachers or rooms in their school, or in cases of very small schools the number of doors in the buildings. Out of 1,782 children who worked this test only 543 or less than one- third put down the correct number, though in some cases teachers and scholars assembled in the hall as many as five times daily.

To test originality the children were asked to choose as a present, either an apple, sweets, or anything in the world they might like as a gift. Out of 1,734 answers only 578 children thought of putting down a special present, and 1,156 contented themselves with writing down the suggested articles, apples or sweets.

Observation Tests

Test I

Early ComersLate Comers
Children tested 890: Number right 271.Children tested 890: right 272.

Test II

Children tested 400: Number right 119.Children tested 400: right 153.

Test for Originality

Children tested 532: Number original 288.Children tested 532: original 290.


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Though the above tests show a slight advantage to the late comer, especially as the first test must have been easier to children who had spent a long time at school than those joining later, there is a very slight advantage on the side of the early comer Vv^here mechanical quality is considered. Though on the whole less observant, less original than the home or street developed child, the papers of the early comers were on the whole better written, or drawn, and better spelt than those of the late comers. The above results seem to show that as regards children seven years of age, whether admitted before or after five, their previous attendance at school does practically nothing to awaken originality or to cultivate observation, and that where variation does occur it is in favour of those children who were admitted late. On the other hand, mechanical accuracy is more pronounced in the case of children with a long school record. It was a noticeable fact that when giving the test to a class of early comers, especially if they had had the same teacher for a long time, the children seemed more anxious and concerned to write what they thought their teacher would like them to put rather than what they really thought or liked.

Children in Standard I

The next point in inquiry was to ascertain as far as possible if the children in Standard I. who had begun their education early showed higher attainments than those not beginning attendance till five years of age.

In talking over the matter with head mistresses before proceeding to any investigation or examination, they stated that the early comers were almost invariably the best scholars, and that this was shown in several ways:

(a) That the first or best division in an infant school consisted chiefly of early comers.

(b) That their examination papers were generally the best.

(c) That the older children in the school, viz., the laggards or those completing their eighth year before admission into the senior departments, consisted chiefly of late comers.

(d) That those children promoted to the senior school in a backward condition and forced to repeat the work of Standard I. consisted chiefly of children who had not begun their examination before five.

As much evidence as possible therefore was obtained on these four points.

Careful examination into the past history of the children in Standard I., and comparison between the early and late comers in the two divisions of Standard I., showed that at the end of the school


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year, when the children had had equal chances, very little difference was to be seen. Indeed, when re-classification after examination had been frequent during the year, very often the lower division contained just as many early comers as the upper.

In other schools where the head mistresses divide their standard into boys' and girls' divisions, or again alphabetically, so as to have both equal in number, but not in attainments, though there is a decided difference in the attainments of the early and late comers for the first six months of the education year, after that the difference becomes less and less marked, till it frequently happens the latest comers are among the best children in the class when promoted to the senior department.

The examination papers, when procurable, showed a similar state of things. There was in every case a very marked difference between the papers of the early and late comers after the first term in Standard I., indeed in many cases at this early stage of the work it was not unusual to find the lower divisions or late comers not able yet to attack a first standard reader. At the end of six months, however, a comparison of the two. sets of papers showed much less inequality, though in some cases the test given by the head mistress had still to be an easier one than that set to the first division. At the third or last examination the papers showed, as a rule, very little difference.

In judging by these two tests, the different cases varied very considerably, according to circumstances, and the general result must be taken from the whole rather than from isolated instances, some of which consisted of the usual exceptions proving the rule.

In one school with a good proportion of late comers the head mistress planned to give them the best teacher and the sunniest room. The class under these good conditions made such rapid strides that it far surpassed in attainments and examination results the other divisions of early comers, who happened to have a weak teacher. In another school the early comers had all the advantages: small numbers, a sunny room, a bright teacher, while the corresponding division of the standard, viz., the late comers, had had a succession of no less than five supply teachers during the year.

In the majority of cases the children responded to what was expected of them. Head mistresses with a high aim, naturally obtained more than those with a low one. Those with foresight and well laid plans, gained success where those without such met with failure.

For the elucidation and confirmation of the third and fourth points valuable statistics were easily obtainable from the transfer forms (where procurable) supplied by the council and sent to the senior departments with the children promoted. The facts gained


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from these were rather startling, and quite upset the original theory that what may be called the laggards and the repeaters consist chiefly of children who have begun their education late.

The term "laggards" is here used to designate those children who on their eighth birthday were still on the roll of the Infant School, while by "repeaters" are meant those children who having spent a year in Standard I in the Infant School between the ages of 6½ and 7½, had to repeat the work of the same Standard when promoted to the senior departments.

After deducting the names of those children admitted during the year and whose past history it was therefore impossible to trace, also of those physically and mentally deficient, who on leaving the infant department would be drafted to special schools, the histories of the remainder were carefully considered.

The past history of 400 eight-year old infants showed that out of this number 246 had been at school since three or four years of age, while 154 had not come till five or more. This works out roughly to 61.5 per cent, and 38.5 per cent respectively. Curiously enough the percentages of the repeaters work out to the same within a decimal point, viz., out of 450 traced 275 were in the infant school as babies and 175 did not attend till five.

These statistics are certainly surprising, and not at all what one would expect. They lead one to ask -

(a) Whether a sufficient number has been taken to make this evidence conclusive.

(b) Whether other towns shew a similar state of things to exist.

(c) If conclusive, whether they point to faulty systems of classification and promotion in our infant schools, or to wrong methods of education in the same.

The children trained belonged to various types of school and locality, and the statistics yield practically the same results, viz.. that there are laggards and repeaters in the well-to-do suburbs as well as in the slum areas. It would seem to show that at this stage good food and comfortable environments have less to do with the mental powers and attainments of the child than one would suppose.

All head mistresses are unanimous in stating that those children who enter school for the first time at six years of age or older are a trial, not so much because they cannot learn quickly but because if justice is to be done to them special arrangements have to be made by which they are taken and taught separately till able to join the children of their ages in class. This disorganises the routine of a school, be it large or small, and unless very liberally staffed is an unjust arrangement to those children who have been sent when the law ordains, and who have first claim on the time and attention of the teachers.


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For the purposes of the inquiry some schools of a semi-rural type were visited and compared with London and suburban ones. The presence of very young children is not nearly such an acute problem in the country as in London, especially in the slum areas.

An analysis of 800 admissions in the schools visited gives the following statistics.

Ages at which children are admitted, viz.:

From these 800 cases one sees that roughly 58 per cent, are admitted before five and of these only 22 per cent, are three. In one school only was it found that children under three were admitted, and here as many as ten had been present during the school year. In London, especially in poor crowded districts, the number would be very different, 70, 80, and 90 per cent, being in most cases on the roll before five, and the larger number of these enrolled at three or even present before that age.

This is due chiefly to the fact that the children have much farther to travel to school than in London, two and a half miles seemed the longest school journey undertaken.

It is rather a curious fact that at one village where children belonging to estates are comfortably driven to and from school in gigs and traps, etc., and hot cocoa, etc., is provided at a well- ordered institute close to the school for a midday repast at a trifling cost, the children come later than in any other village visited.

Staff. In all the schools visited the staff was sufficient in number (a marked contrast to London), adequately qualified, and sympathetic with young children. In two out of those schools visited the babies' teacher was a supplementary teacher, but in both cases the classes were very small, and both teachers were of a sensible and superior type.

Premises. These for the most part are very good indeed, and in capital condition and repair.


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In only one school was there no separate room for the babies, but as the children under five numbered only five the absence of a separate room was not so apparent as it would have been with a larger number.

Most of the baby rooms are large, light, and airy, with ample level floor space and movable kindergarten desks. Two rooms only were fitted with large galleries, but the authorities are arranging for their removal, the substitution of level floor space and dual desks. Two of the baby rooms have been very recently built, one indeed has only been completed this week. I regret to find that these have no southern aspect and the windows are placed unnecessarily high.

It seems extraordinary to me what pains local authorities and architects take to exclude the sun when planning and building schools. If building a house for themselves and their families they arrange that at any rate, the nurseries and schoolrooms shall be light and sunny, while doctors are loud in their advocacy of the sun as a valuable necessity for children if they are to grow up strong and healthy, and large sums are paid to nursemaids for the chief purpose of taking out the young children of the rich in the sun for as many hours per day as possible. Yet all concerned strive to exclude the sun from the buildings erected at large cost to house during their term of school life the children of the poor.

Hundreds, nay, thousands of the children of this sunny realm of England, children belonging to an empire on which the sun never sets, are condemned to spend their school days in rooms in which the sun never shines. With all due deference and respect to those persons now advocating the giving of food costing money to children when necessary, why, when this question is so thorny and difficult, should they not devote their energies first to the provision of sun-food to the children freely and perfectly in the schools and playgrounds which the law of the land compels them to attend from the age of five to fourteen?

None of the baby rooms or classes were in the slightest degree overcrowded, and this in spite of the fact that April is the last month of the educational year. This proved a marked contrast to the stacked galleries and overcrowded baby rooms noticeable in London Council schools in July.

Every school had also a good percentage of Standard VII on the roll, some of whom had even passed their fourteenth birthday. This is also a marked contrast to the ordinary London schools, when Standard VII in many cases in July does not reach 5 per cent, of the roll except when " artificial " promotion has been resorted to.

No doubt this satisfactory state of things is due to the ______ Educational Authority having sensibly chosen April for the end


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of the school year, as spring is the favourite time with mothers for sending little ones to school for the first time, and spring is also the time for the commencing of agricultural or other business activities when firms are glad to take on additional hands.

The treatment of the children under five is rendered difficult in many schools by some of the older late-coming infants of five or six being taught in the baby room with the little ones. The teacher of the babies naturally devotes much of her time to these older ones in order to fit them quickly for promotion, and meantime the babies suffer from lack of attention and the lack of sufficient movement and exercise. This mixture of babies and older late comers in the baby room is one of the evils arising from slackness in enforcing school attendance, now rapidly improving in the country, and the false idea that some teachers possess that every child at whatever age it joins should spend a year in each class of the school, which causes children to lag and mark time and ultimately be seven or eight years of age before entering Standard I.

School Hygiene. The children seen m all the schools looked remarkably strong and healthy. In two schools families were shown me of puny dirty children, due to both parents being drunkards. One of the cases is under the surveillance of the officers for the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the father has suffered imprisonment for neglect.

In another, school dinners are provided free or for payments from the scholars during the winter months, not so much because the children suffer from insufficient or unsuitable food as the distance that many of them have to journey to school prevents their going home at midday, and managers and teachers think it advisable to provide hot food for those thus needing it.

At present no school visited is under medical supervision, though one or two were before being taken over by the authority. I understand the matter is receiving the attention of the _______ County Council.

Curriculum. The tendency of the more recently provided time tables is for shorter lessons for the younger infants, and in the best schools separate arrangements are made for the babies with good results. Needlework and knitting and their attendant drills are practically absent from the teaching of children under five.

In some cases, however, much attention needs to be paid to the time tables for the babies with a view to rendering them more interesting. There is need for more movement, more variety, and more attention to the development of observation and speech. As the classes are all of a reasonable size there is nothing to prevent this being done, and thus rendering the teaching more individual and less mechanical.

A noticeable feature of the curriculum was the excellent physical exercises of the children. In all schools visited except one, the drill was capitally done, generally in the open air and with keen-


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ness, relish, and evident enjoyment by both teachers and taught. There is no doubt that the country child, judging from the specimens seen, drills much better than the London infant.

Physical Exercises. In one school the arrangements for drill are worth noting. In this case the time devoted to drill is more than double what the Code ordains, viz., two hours fifteen minutes weekly. The older infants performed the exercises of the old model course to music with pleasing zest and spirit. Turning to the other part of the work done, not only was there no falling off in the attainments of the scholars in the three R.'s and other subjects because less time had been devoted to them, but this was the only _________ school visited where the ages were satisfactory; and also in the tests given to show powers of observation and originality, the children scored a higher average than that of the other _________ schools. This would show rather conclusively that a due and right attention to the development of the bodies of young children tends at the same time to improve and quicken the mental faculties, so that more education can take place and more instruction can be imparted in less time than when the physical side of the child's development is neglected.

Attainments. There is no evidence whatever that the attainments of children are higher when it is seen they have begun their school career early. In the tests given to try the children's powers of observation the results show them to be practically equal. In originality the late comers have a slight advantage. Very similar results are obtainable in the country to those noticed in London children.

The Standard I children in the _________ schools visited were mostly taught in the senior department. Both in these classes and in Class I of the infant school the children were very "old". With one exception the ages of the majority of the children in Standard I. were one or two years higher than they should be. In one infant school every child in Class I, infants', was either seven or eight years old. In this case building enlargements had hindered the transfer, but the obvious remedy to prevent these children "marking time" would have been to take the same syllabus of work for them as that given in the Standard I of the senior department.

The same hindrance to educational progress is also as likely to occur from the practice of payment by number or grades as in former years by payment by result. Whereas the latter often caused the children to be unduly pressed, it is likely the former will cause the scholars to be unduly retarded.

When I asked one mistress why a dozen or so of bright but old infants had not been promoted to Standard I she frankly told me that the presence of that dozen on the roll just pulled up the average of the school a grade higher than if they were absent, and this meant a matter of 20 more salary per annum to her. Obviously the arrangements which allow of such temptation in the paths of teachers


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are not right, and with some thought and care might be prevented by the Education Authority. It was a significant fact that of the seven children in Standard VII in the senior school all with one exception had received part of their education in other schools.

It is a good sign that the teachers are as a rule sensible to the present state of things with regard to the ages and hope to improve matters. A great deal of it is due to the poor percentage of attendance which has hitherto been reached in the locality, and which the local authority, attendance officers, and teachers are all striving to improve and with good results. No amount of work on the teachers' part can have any effect if the children are not present to receive the instruction provided. When the council have succeeded in enrolling every child at five and insisting on regularity of attendance after that age, the ages will right themselves. The infant schools will benefit by having no children over seven, except those physically or mentally unfit for promotion, of which there seem remarkably few in the country, and the organisation of both senior and infant departments will be improved. The babies' classes will chiefly consist of children below five, for which a simpler curriculum and more physical movements can be arranged if the teachers in charge be not chiefly occupied in teaching late comers five and a half, six, or seven years old who have joined late and know nothing; and every child will have its chance of reaching and spending a whole year in Standard VII, which is the most valuable of all, or of competing for some scholarships earlier m its school career.

Judging from the schools visited, and the work seen, the outlook for the country schools is a hopeful one, pointing to good work done in the past, seen by the type and work of the Standard VII. child, and to intelligent knowledge of the needs of the present and future, seen by the zeal displayed in arousing interests in education and compelling attendance at school, and lastly by the provision of suitable premises and sufficient and efficient teaching staff for the children when sent to school.

Eyesight (London and Country)

In departments recently visited by the oculist the numbers of children whose eyesight had been considered very defective was taken, nine departments gave the total of 224 defective-sighted children. Owing to the large numbers of transfers it was impossible to obtain a correct estimate as to whether the children had begun school attendance before or after five. The chief fact that the investigation brought forth was that the number of girls with bad sight was very much in excess of that of the boys; out of the total number taken - 224 - 78 were boys and 146 girls, nearly twice as many. The two schools with the largest numbers of defective- sighted children were those whose infant departments are very dull, sunless, old-fashioned, with seats mostly back to the light.


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As needlework and knitting are the only occupations indulged in by girls and not by boys, the above facts seem to point to this subject as the probable cause of the mischief.

As the repeated injunctions by the Board of Education in the Code and elsewhere as to the danger of the employment of too fine materials and implements, the teaching of too small stitches, and the spending of too much time in the occupation are, to a great extent, disregarded, the following recommendations might perhaps improve matters:

(a) That no needlework or knitting be taught to children before they enter the six year old class.

(b) That fine materials and small implements be forbidden to beginners.

(c) That from six to seven not more than one and a half to two hours be given weekly to the subject.

(d) That no specimens or garments worked in infant schools be shown at exhibitions of school work.

In the country schools visited the eyesight was particularly good. Perhaps the good, well-built, well-lighted rooms had something to do with this. In the eight schools visited there were not more than ten cases of bad sight, and two of these were from London children in homes.

The schools visited may have been exceptions, but certainly in these the eyesight was most satisfactory.

Needlework and drills for children under five were also practically unknown in these country schools.

After examining in detail the various points dealt with on Form 61 it will not be out of place, perhaps, to try and summarise conclusions from the evidence thus obtained.

From evidence taken it appears:

1. That children under five have practically the same treatment as regards staff and school hours as that given to older infants.

2. That the curriculum for the younger infants is very similar to that provided for older ones.

3. That the premises in which they arc taught, though improving, are far from ideal, and that in many council schools the babies use the halls and playground less than the other classes, and not more, as one would expect.

4. That very little attention is paid to school hygiene, considering the importance of the subject, and that no statistics respecting the physical condition of children on the roll are taken or kept.

5. That the children of the respectable, thrifty parents are on the whole well fed, well clothed, and well cared for, but have more indulgences in the form of luxuries and amusements than the children of the professional classes.


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6. That the children of the poor, in or bordering on the slum areas, are to a very great extent unsuitably fed, and during the winter months many of them actually suffer from insufficient food.

7. That when this state of things exists the evidence of managers and teachers shows that it is due more to wastefulness, thriftlessness, laziness, and drunkenness on the part of the parents of the children rather than to ignorance, lack of work, or dearness of food materials.

8. That in the opinion of managers, teachers, and parents, children in poor neighbourhoods decidedly benefit physically and morally by attendance at school before the age of five, even in schools possessing only fair educational merits.

9. That in the opinion of parents in good neighbourhoods, unless the school be small and good, the better class child often deteriorates physically and morally by an early attendance.

10. That attendance at school between the ages of three and five in both poor and good neighbourhoods has practically no value on the child's mental and intellectual powers.

11. That children coming only at five are, on the whole, not less orderly, not less quick in learning the three R.'s, and more observant and original than children coming at three.

12. That those from good homes as a rule deteriorate in speech, but that those from poor ones improve.

13. That locality, food, buildings, equipment, and status of teacher have very little effect at this stage on the mental capacities of the child, but that personality has. Thus arranged in order of merit the results showed -

(a) That the self and home or street developed child is the most observant and original.
(b) That the child attending a small school, with many teachers, though not highly qualified on paper, comes next in order.
(c) That last in order comes the child brought up in a huge class, in a barrack school, and who has therefore had but one-sixtieth of a teacher's attention (and that perhaps the same adult) for every hour of the four years of its life in the infant school.
N.B. Of course these are generalisations on the whole. There are small schools painfully mechanical and dreary. There are larger schools and classes where bright and vigorous teachers endowed with personal magnetism and love of children draw out wonderfully the powers of their scholars, in spite of huge numbers. I do not wish for one moment to infer that every small school is perfect, and every large one a failure, or that because buildings and equipment
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seem to have little influence on young children, that the best possible of such should not be provided by authorities for the children under their care, but authorities sometimes forget that fine buildings, modern equipment, and highly qualified teachers will not of themselves guarantee that the children educated therein will receive the best education in the highest requirement, namely, personal character, and that conversely because a building is out of date that is not a reason that it may not give within its walls an education of the highest possible type to the scholar attending it.

14. That though there is a great difference in the attainments of early and late comers if tested and compared at the ages of six, if even when in the Standard I. class at the beginning of the educational year, this difference gradually lessens towards the end of the year, and when children are ready for promotion has practically disappeared.

15. Lastly, statistics show that the older children in infant schools and those who, through backwardness, have to repeat Standard I. work in the senior department are not those who began their education late, but that in both returns they consist of no less than 61 per cent, of children who were on the roll of a school at three or four years of age.

Suggestions for the Consideration of the Board of Education Concerning the Future Treatment of Children Attending School before the Age of Five

The inquiry seems to point to mistakes in the present treatment of children under five. Instead of the promotion of self-development under safe, healthy, or happy conditions being the aim and rule of those in charge of these young minds, the chief aim has been instruction, with the result that the child with the least so- called educational advantages proves itself mentally more alert and vigorous at seven than the one who has spent five hours per day, five times weekly, under the care of an up-to-date educational authority.

The fact is that the home developed child to a great extent educates himself, and, in the course of a day, uses many adults to this end.

His powers of speech have ample practice as he prattles unrestrainedly all day to his mother. He will probably accompany her on her shopping expeditions to the baker and butcher and greengrocer, each of whom is likely to make some observations from which the child profits directly or indirectly. He will come into contact with some animal life by stroking the baker's cat, patting the butcher's dog, and listening to the greengrocer's canary. He will have some useful kindergarten occupation by helping his


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mother to shell the peas for dinner. Or if a healthy, active child he will have to run to and fro while out, thus exercising his limbs and muscles and employing and filling his lungs. In the afternoon, if sleepy, he has a comfortable nap. When he awakes he probably finds a visitor has arrived, quite ready and anxious to answer his interminable questions, and to tell him stories and show him pictures.

The little scholar, however, finds himself at nine o'clock one of sixty or more units; he may spend the whole day without a direct personal remark being addressed to himself, and, if a shy reserved child, without opening his lips except for simultaneous answering or repetition; except for the short fifteen minutes' play in the playground, he will only be familiar with one room and its contents out of the huge buildings. He may catch a glimpse of the head mistress as she hurries in once perhaps during the session to obtain some return from the registers. With the exception of occasionally standing up for a short interval of drill or singing he will have sat in the gallery till very tired of the posture. If he has the misfortune to be one of the middle children in the gallery stack he will not be the fortunate one to be brought out to make an on teacher's blackboard or to handle and smell the solitary apple used for the object lesson. He will probably touch nice things in the shape of bricks and beads, but the chief value of such handling, alas, lies in the practice of the virtues of self -repression and obedience, for the touching and arrangement thereof are done strictly to order.

After considering the two instances it is not surprising that the home developed child, though he has not directly learnt any of the three R.'s, is the better educated of the two.

Staff. The more highly educated the mind the farther it is from the sphere of baby intelligence and understanding, hence very highly qualified and intellectual persons are, as a rule, the least likely to deal best with young children. That they do sometimes succeed is not due to their training and learning, but rather in spite of it, and because they approach their charges not as learned students of Bain or Herbert Spencer but as the elder sisters of Tom, Dick, and Harry. Persons need not therefore be highly trained or qualified experts to educate babies, but preferably young bright girls without high attainments, fond of children, sympathetic, nice mannered and sweet-voiced, patient and firm, with the idea of ministry and service to the children as their chief aim rather than the teaching of them.

The children in the nursery from three to five should be simply minded, kept from harm and danger, allowed to develop on their own lines and in their own way, under gentle discipline, guidance, and control, in the open air whenever weather permits. All teaching of the three R.'s should be abolished, except incidentally as a form of occupation, to pass the time indoors, when a succession of wet and cold days prevents out of doors employment.


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The chief aim of the guardians should be to instil good manners and improve and enlarge the children's speech and vocabulary.

In good neighbourhoods the nurseries might be opened only in the morning, but in poor localities for the usual school hours.

Curriculum. Of the five hours, at least half the time should be spent, weather permitting, out of doors. After the first forty-five or fifty minutes indoors, necessary as a rest and change for those children who have walked some way to school, an exchange of twenty minutes in and twenty minutes out has been found to work well. Should the playground be unusable on account of weather, the hall may be substituted as a change of air and scene.

The time out of doors will best be spent in free and guided play, exercises, drill, games, and attending to plants and animals. Such pets as cats, rabbits, parrots, canaries, pigeons, doves, bowls of goldfish and more ambitious aquaria, may all be kept in London schools and help to take the place of " Mary's lamb " to the city child.

The time left for indoors occupation will only allow, fortunately, of a very simple curriculum. This may be divided into four parts.


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The chief attention should be given to the mother tongue, and the children should be encouraged to speak and sing correctly, individually, and with pure pronunciation without hesitation or shyness. One of the differences between American and English children noticed by the members of the Mosely Commission was the clear unaffected speech of the American scholars when addressed by teachers and visitors in their classes, compared to the shy mumbling often characteristic of English children in elementary schools. Great attention to the speech of the children is also given in French schools.

This may be attained in several ways:

(a) By encouraging and engaging children in individual conversation.

(b) By recitations and songs by individuals.

(c) By the telling of stories, religious and secular, each one introducing new words and phrases to enlarge the children's vocabulary.

(d) By encouraging the children to tell stories.

In some schools oral composition has been introduced hi the two upper classes of the infant school, but not hitherto with children of five or younger, yet there is no reason why this should not be done.

I recently asked a baby two years and seven months old to tell me a story; nothing daunted she held forth thus: -

"Once there was four big lions, then there came a big moo cow, and the big moo cow did eat up the four big lions."

Here was a complete story in three sentences, and quite original, for the adult with her had certainly insufficient imagination to make a moo cow eat one, let alone four big lions.

It will be noticed that in the above curriculum the three R's, sewing, drawing (except from blackboard), kindergarten games and occupations, are all abolished.

The inquiry shows that children beginning the three R.'s late attain just as great a proficiency in them at seven as those spending weary hours over them between three and five, and that Kindergarten games and occupations as practised in the majority of infant schools are merely following the letter of Froebelian teaching and not his spirit, and their abolition would, I feel sure, be an educational gain, while medical men state that sewing and drawing injure many muscles of hand and eye - especially when done to drill or with small implements.

I once made a suggestion to a head mistress about some small matters and she replied, " Oh, yes, so and so would be much better for the children, but the teachers would not like it."

On another occasion when I asked the head mistress if the baby


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class ever used the hall, she replied, "All the other classes do once a week, but the babies do not, they would make it untidy."

Yet in both these schools where the spirit of Froebel teaching was absent, kindergarten occupations and games occupied a prominent place on the time table of the schools.

I once asked three bright children, five and six years of age, during their first term at a high school kindergarten how they liked it. " Oh, we do like the mornings so much," they all said. " It is fun; we do real lessons. But the afternoons are horrid, we only do that stupid kindergarten, and we hate it."

While the writings of Froebel are excellent and should be studied by all teachers for the spirit of the teaching they contain and the love and knowledge of the child mind they evince, his actual procedure in teaching and his use of the various " Gifts " are no longer suited to the present age, and had he lived in the present century and seen the variety and excellence of school books, materials, and toys and games, I feel sure he would never have invented his " Gifts " or games. They should be as obsolete as quill pens in schools.

Premises (Room). The ideal nursery should consist of a large, airy room, with level floor space. It should have a southern aspect, windows on two sides, low, to within twenty inches of floor, with Venetian shutters to exclude the sun when too strong, but to allow of the air entering. It should possess a door leading direct into the playground, but with a sheltering screen or porch. The covered playground and offices should be easily accessible.

Close to and in direct communication with main room would be a lobby, containing the clothes stands and lavatory basins twenty inches from the ground for the children to wash their hands.

Furniture. Round two or more sides of the wall from the floor up to twenty inches high would be lockers, one for each two children accommodated in the room. These would be six to eight inches in depth. On these would rest small blackboards on which the children would draw. The window and locker ledges would serve also to stand pots of plants and flowers.

The lockers would contain the children's toys, etc., to train them to share places and things amicably.

The contents would be such things as the following:

Tin plates on which to eat their lunch tidily.
Balls, boxes of bricks, dolls, picture books.
The dolls and picture books would be different in each locker, and children might change lockers weekly, or monthly, to give them variety. Ml things should be fetched from and returned to lockers tidily by the children.

Each child should possess a separate chair, with arms and an adjustable back, in order to be upright or sloped to allow of the


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child to sleep in a semi-recumbent posture if tired. These chairs should also contain a table flap in front of child on which to stand its toys, and they should be light so as to be easily moved from place and taken into the playground if necessary.

Other articles of furniture would be guardian's chair, table, and cupboard, and, of course, a piano or pianette would be useful.

The number of children a guardian could train and manage under these conditions would, I think, be about twenty-five to thirty.

Although the ordinary baby rooms in our schools differ very considerably from the one just sketched, yet there is no reason why they could not be altered and improved at no great cost. Most of them would contain a fair level floor space if the larger cumbersome galleries were removed. Chairs, lockers, and blackboards could then be easily provided.

I see also no great difficulty in the provision of suitable guardians to mind and train young children. There are hundreds of young girls, bright, fond of children and teaching, but who loathe the idea of qualifying as teachers because of the examinations they must pass before being eligible for posts. These would, I think, prove ideal baby minders. The only training and qualification they would require would be a few months spent in a baby room such as I have sketched, to prove their aptitude and capacity for the work, and to learn the ways and means best suited to carrying out the simple curriculum.

Such arrangements for treating the children from three to five would also have the advantage of freeing gradually some hundreds of trained certificated assistants to fill the vacant posts in the elementary schools of London, many of which are suffering from a serious dearth of teachers.

School Hygiene. The admission register should contain space for recording the child's physique when admitted. Such record should show what illnesses the child has had and what, if any, ailments or weaknesses it may be suffering from. Height and weight measurements should be taken on admission, on the child's birthdays, and at other intervals. Sight should also be tested and recorded as soon as the child knows the alphabet. Before the child is acquainted with these symbols, such testing is impossible.

The nurses which have proved so valuable will probably be increased and their sphere and scope of work enlarged. They should visit and warn the parents should the children be seen to be suffering from wrong diet, insufficient sleep, or unsuitable or insufficient clothing, adenoids, deafness, and deficient sight.

Buildings should also be improved in the matters especially of aspect, heating, lighting, and ventilation. It is generally allowed now that a southern aspect is the most desirable in London, for as the Italian proverb states, "Where the sun does not enter the doctor does."


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Lastly all apparatus and occupations and exercises should be so planned as not to prove injurious to any of the children's senses, muscles, or nerves.

Perhaps some critics may think that children brought up thus freely and happily for one or two years will fret and prove undisciplined when subjected to the ordinary school routine at five. A sudden transition to a dreary curriculum and time table would certainly prove irksome, but for children between the ages of five and seven shorter hours and more exercise can well be arranged without loss to the three R's, as has been proved by interesting experiments carried on in various schools.

In conclusion, I wish to express my thanks to the many teachers who have, by their kindness, experience, and courtesy, helped me to investigate the various points upon which the Board of Education desired information with respect to this inquiry, and without whose time and help in the patient investigation of records or statistics any complete and satisfactory report would have been impossible,

ROSALIE A MUNDAY

March 1905.




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MISS BATHURST'S REPORT

NOTE BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION This Report contains many statements the accuracy of which is, at least, open to question, and it has therefore been found necessary to insert footnotes to some of the more serious of these statements in order that impressions should not be conveyed to the reader which are incorrect in fact and unfair to individuals or local authorities. For the same reason the names of schools, places, and persons are omitted. With the exception of these omissions the document is printed as it was received from, or revised in proof by, Miss Bathurst.

I beg to submit a report upon infant schools with special reference to children of five years old and under. I have divided ray subject into three groups.

1. The system as it exists in town schools, giving special attention to ________ (1).

2. The system as it exists in country schools, giving special attention to the schools in ______ (2).

3. Remarks and suggestions on the system as a whole.

I also venture to enclose a pamphlet by Miss Wise of Manchester, with whose views I have much in common.

1st Group. Town Schools

In connection with town schools, I have visited this year some fifty-five infant schools in _______ (3) while in the previous six years I have seen some hundreds of schools in _______ (3), also in the near neighbourhood of _______ (3). I have also visited a few schools for well-to-do children conducted on Kindergarten principles.

By the kindness of Mr. _______, Secretary to the _______ Education Committee, I have been able to study minutely the conditions of one average infant school in _______ (4) I only regret that ill-health prevented this special inquiry being carried to a conclusion.

My original plan was as follows: -

To choose an average and therefore representative slum school.

To give every possible detail as to the home conditions, physical health and school surrounding of every individual child in it.

To compare this one school with other schools visited under ordinary conditions - to point out differences and likenesses and generally to obtain information on which recommendations for improvement might be based.

I give the results as far as I have been able to go.

(1) A large county borough is named.

(2) Two rural counties are named.

(3) These are all names of large county boroughs and urban districts.

(4) A large county borough.


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_______ On Mr. _______'s recommendation the special school chosen was _______. His attendance officers were good enough to give me information as to the occupation of the parent and home condition of every individual child on the books. For this purpose I prepared a special list of questions and I give the results exactly as they appear in the Appendix. One question suggested by me was omitted for obvious reasons in the returns - it concerned the sobriety of the parents - on this point I am therefore only able to give my smaller personal experience. The returns represent investigation into 183 families and concern 221 children, excluding those whose parents were publicans. In all they concern a total of 1,415 persons, connected with one school.

Besides these returns I personally visited some sixty homes from which the children attending this school were drawn, and I personally assisted the doctor in an individual though hurried examination of the baby class. (Fifty-six children present time occupied one and a half hours.)

I intended to connect the last two sets of inquiry - that is the child's state of health with its home conditions, in order to ascertain whether the child from the poorer home or the one-roomed household was less well nourished physically or less alert mentally than the other children.

But on comparing results, the returns represented conditions of so similar a character for all the children concerned that I thought the labour involved would be superfluous.

The difference between a well-nourished or ill-nourished child is almost always due to the money earned going in drink for the parent instead of food for the child.

Of the fifty- five other infant schools visited in _______, some sixteen were inspected in the ordinary way, and some thirty-nine for the purpose of making a special inquiry.

For the latter a special result form was provided and a specimen is enclosed for information, together with the form drawn up by myself for tabulating results. See Appendix, page 61 seq. The Board of Education will note that the form provides for the registration of every detail of school life, time allotted to the various lessons - ages of the children - and all questions re sanitation, ventilation, accommodation, methods and staff. These subjects will be treated under the three heads already given, beginning with Group 1, town schools, while both Groups 1 and 2 will be sub-divided under (a) Premises (b) Physical condition of children (c) Curriculum and inspection.

Town Schools. Under this head it is necessary to place _______ by itself. The conditions which hold here are exceptional, and many of my criticisms would be uncalled for if applied elsewhere.

In _______ public elementary schools under voluntary agencies existed very early in the last century. (1) A large number of these

(1) This statement is open to question. Few, if any, of the present Voluntary School buildings in the city named were in existence before 1850.


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early buildings have been handed over to the local authority - some of them were not originally built for educational purposes and are ill adapted for such purposes now.

The population is, I understand, diminishing in some localities where factories are slowly replacing sites hitherto occupied by dwelling houses. In these cases the local authority is naturally loath to improve buildings which a few years hence may not be required at all - while the increase in the value of the sites makes such alteration cost an extravagant price.

For these and other reasons the buildings of the larger number of infant schools are very unsatisfactory.

Little class room accommodation exists - ventilation is generally, and the heating apparatus constantly, insufficient. A most unsuitable type of desk survives in nearly every school; the lighting is often inadequate - gas has to be lighted occasionally during school hours in May and June - while the streets are paved with granite "sets", and the consequent noise from passing vehicles completely drowns at times the sound of the teacher's voice.

These circumstances, combined with the constant fog and depressing climate, make school life unusually difficult and dreary, and greatly increase the strain which the work of inspection involves.

I will now proceed to discuss the various points in order, beginning with premises.

Premises

Offices. In many buildings the offices are too close to the school. In one case the offices for all departments are underneath the baby room. The smell comes through the floor.

In another the playground is below the level of the street. It is lighted by side lights of narrow depth, and is surrounded by the offices of the school which ventilate into it.

The main school room is immediately over this playground.

Even when the arrangements are good it is questionable whether sufficient care is taken to exclude the public.

In this connection I recall a school in _______ where the head mistress told me that she was obliged to leave the door from the street into the playground unlocked for half an hour after the opening of the school, to admit late comers.

That a neighbouring doss house where tramps were accommodated took advantage of this fact and used the offices. That the little children came back frightened by finding such tramps inside the offices.

A case occurred while she was talking. I myself saw a most filthy and low type of tramp cross the playground on his way to the street.


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I understand that police protection is only given for short periods if complaint is made, and that this chronic source of danger has no permanent remedy. It is noticeable that women teachers are foolishly shy in reporting such cases to men inspectors.

Playgrounds. The playgrounds are very poor and few of them are paved.

Ventilation. Ventilation is, as a rule, inadequate. A large number of schools have windows that will not open below, and my personal experience is that the smell of dirty clothes never escapes when windows can only be opened above.

If every window in every school were made to open, the increase in draught would, in my opinion, be more of an advantage than disadvantage to the public health.

On this point the teachers themselves are slow to realise that the warmth associated with a close atmosphere is a source of ill-health. Cold is a more obtrusively uncomfortable sensation than drowsiness caused by bad air.

Fireguards. The carelessness in providing these is extraordinary and the small number of accidents is miraculous.

The remedy requires to be brought before inspectors, managers and teachers in some strongly worded compulsory form.

At one school in _______ a child in the baby class was burned to death.

When the mistress applied for fireguards, the clerk of the _______ School Board sent one guard for that one fireplace; some 600 children attended the school and some seven other fireplaces were unprovided for.

In no school does any provision exist for extinguishing flames There are no rugs and no blankets and no remedies for simple burns, scalds or cuts. An ambulance cupboard should be part of the necessary apparatus of every school.

Again, both in town and country, children are admitted to school before there is any responsible person on the premises. At _______, between 8 and 9 a.m., I have found several children standing round an unguarded fireplace drying their dripping clothes: the caretaker was the only other person on the premises and the school contained several rooms.

Water Supply. In town schools, _______ included, this seems to be satisfactory, but the same drinking cups are in use for all the children, and this practice is open to grave objection.

Accommodation. On this point I give extracts from two school reports.

_______ Council School. Accommodation for thirty- two without floor space in class room. On books the numbers reached eighty-one, while sixty-two children were present. The desks intended for five children were holding eight, and remainder of the children were writing on the knees.

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_______ Wesleyan Class. A class room to accommodate thirty children contained sixty-three at the last inspection.
Other cases of overcrowding abound. One difficulty is universal. The accommodation is considered sufficient by the Board of Education if the average attendance throughout the year does not exceed certain regulations; (1) but about Whitsuntide a rush of children begins, and at the hottest time of the year such children are packed together in rooms far too small to hold them, and containing, as in above cases, no sufficient desk accommodation.

I think it highly desirable to make the provision of extra rooms and teachers obligatory on the local authority between May and August.

Some system of supply teachers or voluntary help could surely be organised when the need is of so regular and recurrent a nature, moreover the admittance of new children is very upsetting to the work of a class which has been in existence since the previous September.

Desks. In my Table it appears that twenty out of thirty-nine schools have no backs to the desks used by those above the baby class, the larger number have no footrests, and many are quite unsuited to the size of the child. Thousands of children are using desks that are too high or too low for them, the seats having no backs and no footrests. (2) Hundreds of children are using seats not provided with desks at all.

The discomfort must be great, while in some cases the consequences are serious. If a desk is too high the child raises its shoulder to reach the surface on which it writes, and I can remember an infant school at _______ (3) where the desks reached the necks of the babies who therefore were writing on surfaces which they could not see.

Another result with a high desk is very common. The child stands up and leans over the desk in a stooping position throughout the writing lesson, or again, it raises itself by sitting on one of its own feet: in all such cases the position adopted is undesirable. Without desks children are obliged to use slates instead of paper and are bent double when writing on their knees, while a second common and pernicious practice is to place children standing up back to back, writing on slates, with one arm round the slate to support it and the whole back bent crooked in consequence while the lesson lasts.

This injudicious position is adopted to prevent "copying" but the remedy is far worse than the evil, especially with infants.

(1) This statement appears to be made in ignorance of the provisions of the Code; see specially Article 19 in the Code for 1904.

(2) This statement cannot be accepted as true of the area under consideration.

(3) A small place in a rural county is named.


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In spite of these strictures many desks are, in my opinion, condemned unnecessarily. In the country it proved an easy matter to get alterations made by a local carpenter. Desks and seats could often be unscrewed from the iron frame and rescrewed nearer to one another. Backs and footrests could be added, or blocks of wood inserted between the framework and seat, or framework and desk, to raise either to the level required.

As almost the whole of the schools in _______ appear to require re-desking, I do not understand why the local authority does not keep its own staff of workmen, and before obtaining new desks get expert opinion as to whether the old ones are not capable of re-adjustment.

Blackboards. Please see remarks under country schools.

Free Space. Very little provision exists for this in _______. In my Table it appears that fifteen out of thirty-nine schools have none at all.

Heating Apparatus. This is constantly inadequate, ]jut the absence of thermometers or entries in log books about the temperature, make exact statements impossible: moreover, in _______ my work began when the cold weather was practically over. The lack of proper heating apparatus increases the dislike to open windows already commented upon. It is very desirable that both managers and teachers should not associate a warm room with the exclusion of fresh air.

The next group of subjects is connected more or less directly with the health of the children, viz.: The amount of standing, the position when sitting (apart from that which the type of desk renders unavoidable), and the question of drill.

Standing. It is customary in _______ to make the children stand up for the reading lessons; by some mistake, one of the inspectors had advocated this on the ground that it was idle to sit down. (1) A motionless attitude for fifteen, twenty and thirty minutes on end is most fatiguing, and if one considers that this is adopted when standing on desks and on seats as well as on the floor, the evil is obviously increased. Accidents from falling off the seats are not unknown. I saw one very bad case - (see also _______'s evidence on this point, page 12).

Again, at , the same class was kept standing throughout religious instruction and for the two following lessons. It is quite common to meet with teachers who have not noticed that the same children are standing for two consecutive lessons.

(See also my remarks under country schools.)

Insufficient attention is given to the fact that out of school these children are always on their feet and that, except as a relief from sitting, standing should not be compulsory for more than a few minutes at a time.

(1) The Board of Education are endeavouring to obtain confirmation of this statement, which appears to rest upon hearsay evidence.


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Kneeling on seats should also be discouraged, it is an unnecessarily fatiguing attitude.

Position when sitting. I will again refer to my remarks on country schools and I would add that far more latitude is desirable on this point. The best teacher will have no rule, she will maintain discipline by keeping the attention of her class, but in the interests of the larger number of teachers some general recommendations may be helpful.

I would recommend "hands on knees" as a harmless attitude, and I would discourage "crossing arms" or "arms behind" - the one position narrows the chest, and the other forces the chin forward and rounds the shoulders. I would deal summarily with the habit of making children sit with their "hands on their heads". This position is constantly enforced in _______ on children who are waiting for the teacher's attention. Even for five minutes the position is one of sheer cruelty.

Another position, that of "hands out" is far too rigorously enforced. With a view to checking simultaneous answers and as an aid in maintaining order generally, it is customary to insist upon every child raising its arm when asked a question. The attitude is meant to indicate that the answer is known. But if an eager and clever child replies verbally a rebuff follows - "I didn't ask you to speak. Put your hand out - that is naughty", and so on. Babies of three years old are drilled in this way, and such a method at such an age turns children into little machines.

After a very few public snubs the sensitive child sinks into a silence which his future school career will not tend to break. The superficial "order" this plan produces is insufficient compensation for the interest extinguished, and the class is reduced to a uniform outward goodness in which originality or self expression has no part.

Drilling. The use of any sort of dumb-bell is bad for infants. In one school those in use for children of six years old weighed six ounces a pair. I had them weighed in a neighbouring shop. (See also remarks under Country Schools.)

I would, however, add that the scheme for drill in _______ is the best I have yet seen. The physical drill instructor has been careful to exclude exercises likely to be harmful to little girls, and the only fault I find is that work intended for Class 1 only, is attempted at four and five years old.

Inspection and Curriculum

Before proceeding to discuss the curriculum in detail, I would call special attention to the duplicate system of inspection under which the teachers and children of _______ are suffering. Here, although the Government provides its own inspectors, the local authority provides a second set for practically the same purposes.

I have myself been the fifth inspector sent to visit one unfortunate school in one week.


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I heard on good authority of another where thirteen separate inspectors had inspected a school in the same space of time, i.e., one week. (1)

The effect of this incessant inspection is, in my opinion, most harmful.

The teachers have no freedom and no opportunity of attempting experiments (2) - they are harassed by the desire to please all - and usually fail to please any of their advisers.

The inspection consists far too largely of testing results, and the schools are judged by results (2) rather than by more reasonable methods.

Of the two sets of inspectors those under the local authority carry most weight, as upon their verdict depends the promotion, pay and prospects generally of the staff. Both sets of inspectors sign the time-tables.

I ought, perhaps, to explain that Government inspectors have hitherto signed these if they satisfy the conditions of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, and their signature is given to that effect only. (3) This the teachers do not understand. They, assume that the signature expresses also satisfaction with the distribution of the time at their disposal, whereas technically it merely certifies that the requisite number of subjects are taught. (3)

Indirectly, however, inspectors are responsible for the distribution of the time among the various subjects, as it is they who fix the standard of attainments expected from each class.

I am of opinion that the standard fixed in _______ is too high. It cannot be attained on a big class system without the expenditure of too great a share of time on each subject. On these points I have spoken further under the question of Staff. But at present we undoubtedly pay too big a price for the commodity of learning to read, we sacrifice intelligence to obtain attainments.

In proof of this I appeal to the time-tables, which affect the school life of 10,001 children.

Out of 39 schools visited:

20 schools have lessons lasting 30 to 35 minutes on end.

5 schools have lessons lasting 40 to 45 minutes on end.

19 schools have needlework lessons lasting one hour on end.

10 schools give from 4 to 5 hours a week to "reading"; this means a quarter of the whole time the school is open.

(1) The facts are these. The local authority in this city has only three "visitors" in each division, and there are only six officers on the regular Government Staff, of whom no more than three would visit even the largest school. Hence it is unlikely that even as many as six persons would in one week officially visit the school: that they should all inspect it is most improbable: that thirteen should do so is impossible.

(2) This has not been so for some time past (see Code passim) so far as the Board of Education is concerned.

(3) These statements must not be accepted as correct.


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14 schools have needle threading as an occupation.

18 schools give two hours or less (mostly less) to occupations.

20 schools have no backs to the seats used by those above the baby class. This usually represents three-quarters of the school. Others are not fully supplied.

2 schools have no backs to the seats used by the baby class. In 15 schools the head teachers believe the food to be unsuitable, insufficient, or both.

15 schools have no space for games

None have any sleeping accommodation.

Games are practically unknown outside the baby classes. A few are going to start these under the combined influence of Miss _______ (Kindergarten Inspector) and myself. Otherwise recreation is that allowed in schools for older scholars, i.e., twenty-five to thirty minutes per day.

(In a school at _______ the baby class did not go into the playground with the other children. "It took too long to get babies in and out of the room".)

9 baby classes are in charge of teachers under Article 68.

15 baby classes are in charge of certified teachers.

Remainder are in charge of teachers under Articles 50 and 51.

Only one teacher had any further qualification.

Let us now examine these results in detail.

19 out of 39 schools devote 50 minutes or one hour on end to needlework. This subject is often begun at four and five years old, and little children sitting on seats without backs, whose feet cannot reach the floor, are kept in the constrained position necessary for needlework for no object whatever except to satisfy the requirements of the inspector.

In every school two lessons per day in two out of the three R's is a common occurrence. In several cases three lessons per day on the same subject appears. The baby class of three year old children is not exempt. The reason for the arrangement is always the same, "Inspectors require such and such results", or "Half the children only attend half the day, unless two lessons are provided for, they will learn nothing at all".

Such a plan penalises the child who attends all day, and displays the old prejudice that education consists in learning to read, write, and count, and all time spent otherwise is wasted.

With children of three years old I am inclined to say that all time spent in reading, writing and counting is wasted, as, if left to themselves till six years old they will master in a few months the attainments now acquired by a painful process between three and six. At this age they can co-operate with their teachers and if properly employed previously will have had sufficient interest aroused in "things" to desire to know more. Reading would be a step to the desired knowledge and the child would do its best to learn. As it is we destroy all desire to read in imparting the power to read.


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"To awaken an interest in things" sounds somewhat colloquial for an official report, but constant contact with Froebelian phrases unaccompanied by the Froebelian spirit arouses aversion to such expressions as "developing the spontaneous activity of the child". As for Kindergarten, it represents to many people a certain number of gifts or occupations - it is associated with "boxes of cubes" - "paper folding" and so on - they forget it is not the thing used, but the spirit in which it is used, which makes a Kindergarten. Froebel used the concrete to illustrate the abstract and led the child by an orderly sequence to a desired goal, leaving his followers free to evolve for themselves the best manner of using the material within their reach.

If this is so we can have a Kindergarten which possesses no single gift called after his name, and conversely we can have the gifts without the Froebelian spirit. In practice, although the gifts are to be found in nearly every elementary school, the knowledge of how to use them is exceedingly rare.

In consequence of this "Kindergarten" gets a bad name, it is seen under a totally wrong aspect and judged by its failures. Until both teachers and inspectors have been trained in kindergarten methods the distribution of kindergarten apparatus will have little effect.

I now enclose the time table of a baby class in a secondary school.

KINDERGARTEN, _______ SCHOOL

Easter Term 1904


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I am informed that no child begins to learn to read till six years old.

I myself heard the result, six months later. They were quite equal to those of the average elementary school child, but the class was small (some eight children) and of course every child was well fed and clothed.

I noted, however, that the handwriting was very inferior to that of children in elementary schools until about the age of ten or eleven, then the results were perfectly satisfactory. I gather from this fact that we are inclined to press for perfection at too early an age. The number lesson given here was also most interesting and suggestive.

This subject is usually very badly taught in _______ schools.

Long sums involving "thousands" in the answers are set down and worked mechanically, concrete material is rarely used, and little mites of four and five are drilled in endless tables, recited in a sing-song voice. A few schools occasionally use cubes or counters, but no one seems to realise that the concrete material can be varied to an infinite extent, and that to manipulate figures up to twenty in every possible way is a more educative process than the treating of higher numbers, with which a child's mind is wholly unfamiliar.

I used to supply lists of concrete material to teachers, "leaves, stones, shells, spills, bricks", etc., to try to force them out of the mechanical drill into which they unconsciously drift.

With regard to occupations my time table tells its own tale. Instead of being the centre they are the "etc.", to school life: but the chief difference between the real kindergarten system and our own consists in "Discipline".

Self-government is the moving principle in a good secondary school. There the children elect their own captains and obey them with enthusiasm. In our system self-government has no place. Rigid military order, the carrying out of, in many cases, senseless and reiterated commands constitutes discipline. Too often caning appears in the background, (1) and out of school when the motive of fear is no longer operative, there is nothing to replace it in the child's life. The system is cumulative in its effects, and passes from one generation to another. A child who has been slapped, slaps in its turn.

In _______ I know from an eye witness that twenty to thirty infants were caned for unpunctuality, not one of whom could read the clock. I am not at liberty to give my authority, but a similar case came before me in _______. I was also told by one of the mistresses that although caning was forbidden by the Education Committee, resort to it was universal. Besides this, outside evidence on the point was given me by _______ in _______.

(1) The Board of Education have for some years stated that caning is not permitted in infants' departments.


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Three of her children attended _______ Higher Grade School. The little girl aged nine came home to dinner one day last December white and frightened. She said an inspector was coming to examine the school and that if she failed to pass her examination she would be caned. She could eat nothing, and although she passed her examination she has been ill ever since; in fact she was at a convalescent home for weeks afterwards and was still unable to attend school _______ in _______, 189 .

Occasionally the child would come in to see me, she always stood absolutely motionless and thanked me like a speaking tube for any little present, but never moved an inch until I suggested her running away to play. I was seriously afraid that fear had made her half-witted. The mother said that the same child had often been caned for unpunctuality and that it was not her fault as she had to take a younger child to the infant department. This younger one would get frightened at trams or animals and stand still in the road - on these occasions it was impossible to get him on.

The boy in the infant department had also been caned, and he was suffering from concussion of the brain at Christmas, as he fell off the seat on which he was made to stand. (See my remarks on standing.) _______ went to the teacher to complain about the caning. Miss _______ said, "Oh! of course, we do tell the children that if they don't pass they will be caned, but we don't mean your little girl, she is a good little girl, we only mean the idle ones". _______ very sensibly remarked, "The idle ones will not care, and the sensitive ones will care so much that it will make them ill".

In spite of these facts, I am of opinion that at least four of the infant schools I visited did not allow corporal punishment in any form.

Nevertheless, in most infant schools - I use the words advisedly - the discipline expected results in a terrible and inhuman system.

Little children are subjected to military rather than maternal influences, and neither in their home life nor in school do they come in contact with love and sympathy and all that is entailed by the word "motherliness". Individuality is crushed out, spontaneous questions are checked, and at three years old children are forced to follow a routine only suitable to a far later age.

We all acknowledge the necessity for order and obedience, but this type of order and the lack of all self-government leads eventually to intellectual stagnation. When questions are not asked unsolved difficulties accumulate, statements that are learnt by heart pass for understanding, and the idleness produced by accepting other people's thoughts results in contentment in not knowing.

I most earnestly believe that much of the stupidity and lack of initiative complained of in domestic servants is due primarily to our infant school system. We are destroying intelligence on a wholesale scale by our infant school methods. It tells more hardly on the girls than on the boys, as from the time they can walk their playtime is curtailed by minding the baby. This occupation leaves


[page 47]

little opportunity for experiments or discovery on their own account or for the valuable education involved in getting into and out of scrapes.

These opinions are however so contrary to those usually held, that I would protect myself from the charge of exaggeration by specific details.

I feel that the word discipline conveys something to a man's mind which is wholly bad for little children. Inspectors appear to dissociate discipline from the work of the school.

To me discipline is merely a means to an end. Sitting " still " may be pleasanter for me but it is not in itself a more moral proceeding than fidgeting. The latter is the necessary consequence of a dull lesson on an intelligent child.

Yet school reports often criticise the teaching as poor and add that the discipline is satisfactory.

Can the discipline be satisfactory when the teaching is unsuccessful? If discipline is the result of interest aroused in the child's mind the teaching and the order are part of the same thing.

Again, inspectors would theoretically disclaim the expectation of results which I have attributed to them.

Yet see Report, March, 1893, on _______. "The second and third classes are backward". The head mistress assures me that nearly every child had been admitted that year. They were all five years old or under.

The Report on _______ says, "The methods are right but I see no results". (1) The baby time table of this school allowed two lessons on the three R.'s on several days a week. This meant forty minutes per day for three year old children in Arithmetic.

Another report says, "Discipline in Class 3 is only good when under the immediate supervision of the head mistress". The latter told me that while the inspector talked to her she was obliged to leave her class to itself. Ought we to expect children of from three to five years old to sit still and continue to occupy themselves when unsupervised?

In this connection I would comment on the action taken by the _______ Local Authority with regard to age for promotion and time for closing school.

The Council inspectors insist on children who will be seven years old before the close of the school year - say nine months afterwards - going up in July to the school for older scholars.

I most strongly deprecate this plan and its resulting pressure in the early years of school life.

Again, a rule now exists making the time of closing identical for infants and for elder scholars. The teachers are unanimous in complaining of the fatigue and difficulty of keeping school going till

(1) No report to this effect can be found in the Office records of the school named for the last five years. The nearest that can be found, says: "The methods of instruction are correct and successful. It would be better if the teachers would work more quietly".


[page 48]

4.15 and 4.30. I think the Code should make it compulsory that all time spent in school, above the regulation hours given in the Code, should be spent in games and physical exercises.

I also note that the excessive clerical work now imposed by the local authority upon the teachers - such as filling up forms, making returns, reporting on eye sight, etc., seriously interferes with their freedom to supervise the children.

On behalf of the teachers I must also give my opinion about the methods employed in elementary schools. I have quite come to the conclusion that the best methods do not produce the highest attainments, and therefore so long as inspectors judge schools by their output it is useless to expect the teachers to employ better methods.

Example. The children in many cases in _______ read better than I can remember elsewhere. But the method of instruction is one of pure repetition, sometimes of one word, sometimes of one letter.

Another illustration supporting this view occurred in _______. The school had received excellent reports, yet the mistress in charge of the baby class made the babies (all of them three and four years old) say the letter X 120 times without stopping. This happened in my presence.

I allow that this case is exceptional, but I maintain that in spite of progress, repetition is the staple means of conveying so-called instruction to infants.

In _______, where far better methods are attempted, the results are not so high.

In using the word results I mean the actual attainments of a child of six in power to read, write and do sums, and I believe that this is greater when taught in a big class by repetition than by self- help.

The individual attention required for the latter system cannot be given in big classes.

In some country schools when the class is small and a separate teacher is provided, the self help system acts admirably both in results and in encouraging intelligence, but intelligent methods and big classes are not compatible.

This of course brings us to the question of staff. The same regulations exist for infant and other schools, and yet the younger the child the greater the need of individual help. With the present scarcity of teachers the one remedy appears to be that embodied in Summary and Suggestions (see end of Report).

I am also fully convinced that it is of no use to attempt to force the pace of the poor child before seven years old because it is going to leave school at fourteen. Only harm results in such efforts. Until a child's first teeth are cut and its little limbs are strong it is unfit to be taught on a class system. Individual children can learn unconsciously much earlier at their mother's knee - but to compare school and home results under such different circumstances is wholly misleading.


[page 49]

The Board of Education will, perhaps, have observed that no information has appeared in reference to the last page of the result form. (1)

The omission is unavoidable.

To question 9 on page 3, "Do the children suffer from unsuitable food?" the teachers gave such vague replies that no statistical evidence could be based upon them. My experience points to a certain callousness in teachers. They get accustomed lo misery and assume that a child is not ill if it attends regularly and does not complain.

For meals actually given, see list.

The distribution of free dinners was commenced last year early in _______, and the following list shows the schools at which the dinners were supplied, together with the number of dinners given:

the number of meals is no criterion of the number requiring meals.

One common complaint was that of monotony - the same thing is supplied every day, it consists of pea soup and hunks of bread. Evidence exists of even the hungriest children turning from it by the end of the winter. It was served in an unappetising way out of a bath, no trouble was taken to arrange for temporary table cloths. No voluntary agency existed such as Dr. Airy describes in his evidence before the Commission.

Obviously free meals could be made both more appetising by variety and more educative in good manners, if ladies could superintend the meals. It is rather hard on a caretaker who is inadequately remunerated, and on the teachers who are overworked, to be kept in school for this purpose.

(1) See page 1 of this volume, where the Form of Questions is set out.


[page 50]

Mr. _______ told me the great difficulty with "variety" was the carelessness of caretakers. The things were badly cooked, burnt, etc.

May I add here that I attribute the misery and starvation from which 50 to 75 per cent of the children are suffering to neglect rather than poverty, and I believe the parents could usually afford to pay for the meals given, though I am equally sure that they will not do so except under coercion.

In my opinion both the food and clothing of the children should be matters about which the teachers and inspectors could interfere. (See Regulations for Schools in Brussels.)

In fact the proper clothing of school children requires almost as much attention as the feeding question:

In _______ a mistress told me that no girl in the room had anything on except her dress - it was a pouring wet day, but for this reason it was impossible to attempt to dry their clothes.

In appearance the slum children of _______ are the most wretched I have ever seen - palpably starved and filthily dirty. Their feet are either shod with clogs or in very bad boots. To the clogs I take exception on the score of (a) weight (b) position of the body when the heel is worn down. I am told, however, that clogs are a sign of respectability, and that they keep the feet dry. Personally I prefer to see children going bare foot.

Age for Admittance. The question depends chiefly on the home of the child. The child from the bad home had better come early, the child from the good home can come late.

Under existing circumstances of inspection and instruction children who come late do not reach the standard expected by six years old. The evidence supplied by " books " is hardly satisfactory, many a child can write who can do nothing else.

Teachers are more or less unanimous in saying that regular instruction before five is not for the benefit of the children, but to satisfy inspectors. Many of them told me that the most brilliant babies seemed to get dull by the time they reached the school for older scholars. Nevertheless, the larger number of teachers advocate an early admittance, they say the child gets into order sooner.

The Board of Education will understand that I personally attach little importance to such a view, as I regard it as part and parcel of a system I would fain see modified to a revolutionary extent. (See Summary and Suggestions.)

Perhaps the following notes for a few single schools, all taken in one week, may convey better than the general report how many of the evils referred to can usually be found in any one school.

These notes were for my personal guidance and omit all details not requiring criticism, the Board of Education must therefore understand that only one side, the had one, is put before them.

_______ School, _______. 120 on books. Admitted at three years old. H.T, prefers it. Homes bad. About forty


[page 51]

mothers go to work. Forty children have free dinners. Clogs. Crossing arms. Arms behind. Hands on heads. Desks high up to chests. Arms round paper when writing. Class 2 standing up three lessons running. Twelve are short-sighted. Twenty- eight out of sixty-two have had toothache. Drill inflicted. No toys. Long lessons twenty-five and thirty minutes. Babies' time-table the same as for others. (1)

_______ School, _______. _______ Books 101. Forty have dinners. Thirty-one babies on books. Teacher prefers early admittance. "Very rough if they come at five", but no use in instructing before five. No toys. Verminous looking lot. One case, mother earns 5s. a week selling rags, pays 3s. 6d. for rent. Father only returns at intervals, gives her a few shillings, and leaves because meals are not good enough.

_______ School, _______. Six mothers only go out to work. No free dinners, some twelve require such. Occup.: four - but no toys. Sore heads more prevalent than toothache or bad eyes or ears. No vermin. No fireguard.

_______ School, _______. Books 92. Arms on heads and crossed. Standing on seats. No free dinners. Very few mothers work. Better class. Thread needles as an occupation. H.T. would like a play-room and not to teach till after five. Repetition fourteen and more times.

_______ School, _______. Books 129. Nineteen mothers go to work. No free dinners. Desks all dual holding three. Eleven children on forms, who kneel on floor to write. Reading backwards, one page again and again. Eyesight. One child in class came with sore eyes, nine have since had ditto. Darkness. Gas often lighted all day. Ventilation awful. Children often come crying to school a.m. saying they have had " no tea". Babies are drilled and thread needles as an occupation. Examined in needlework by Council inspector.

_______ School, _______. Books 181. Intelligent H.T. Fifty mothers work, plus theatrical ones who work at night. Babies are questioned by Board examiner at three years old. Government inspector a year ago said children were to stand for whole lessons. Babies half asleep at last exercise p.m. Taken in all subjects. Many underfed. Arranged in ages by Council inspector. Needlework lessons last one hour. Toys wanted. Complaint of the many inspectors. I am the fifth in one week.

_______ School, _______. Books 176. Fourteen mothers go to work. No free dinners. Twelve machine at home. Babies drilled. Much repetition. Awful darkness. (1) Awful ventilation. (1) Dirty looking lot. Helpless H.T. Silly schemes. Children of four writing figures up to "70".

(1) These statements are not in accord with reports of the Board's Inspectors - reports made since Miss Bathurst visited the schools.


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I subsequently discovered that a child's evidence as to whether its mother went to work was unreliable, and that the teachers could only "guess approximately". For these reasons I would discount as evidence the above notes on " mothers at work". The table given by " attendance officers results " is the only dependable one.

2nd Group. Country Schools

Premises

Offices. In the country these are usually arranged (a) on a pail system (6) or an ordinary cesspool exists. To the former there can be no objection, slight difficulties occur with inefficient caretakers, but none with which managers cannot cope.

One case, however, near _______, was disgracefully arranged, the office itself touched the school wall, the entrance was through the coal-hole, and when the pails were emptied they had to be carried through the school.

The cesspool arrangement has very great drawbacks, especially if placed too near to the school, or when insufficient care is taken to have it cleaned out regularly.

But on carefully examining the names of some 100 country schools placed on my list in _______ and _______, and on the assumption that the cesspool arrangement is to pass muster, it is satisfactory to find that only four schools seem to call for special mention.

At _______ Infants' School the children attend till eight years old, and the boys' urinal faces the girls offices. This is apparently allowed under the Board of Education regulations. (1) I think these regulations should be reconsidered. Great care should be taken to make children careful on such matters, it is an important part of their training, and what is once a matter of use becomes later in life a matter of abuse.

A more difficult matter is the misuse of offices. At _______, _______, these were in a terrible condition, the floor, playground and seats were disgracefully used. Quite insufficient supervision is given in playgrounds, and the boys are allowed to misbehave themselves unchecked. The head teachers always appear shocked when the matter is complained of. but the daily supervision required to prevent it is absent.

Again, some teachers keep the doors locked - example, _______ Infant and _______ Infant - only, as a rule, allowing children to go out at stated intervals. This is a very dangerous practice to the health of children drawn from houses where the parents are careless and ignorant. I have often noticed that pupil teachers and in-

(1) This is not so. The Building Rules of the Board naturally do not expressly forbid arrangements which are obviously improper. When cases such as the one referred to are brought to the notice of the Board the persons responsible are at once required to remedy the evils complained of.


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experienced teachers allow children to cry before discovering they wish to leave the room. On these points teachers require very definite instructions and should be taught the importance of such matters before being allowed to supervise a class.

Playgrounds. Most schools possess them, but the teachers do not sufficiently profit by them in taking classes out of doors. A dread that the inspector may object, or "results" be less high, seems to prevail.

Water Supply. In country schools this is a great difficulty. In schools round _______ no arrangement seems possible except that of collecting rain water. Tanks are not kept clean and sore throats are complained of fairly often. But I cannot give exact statistics on this matter.

_______ Infant School had no water supply at all. (1)

Fireguards. For lack of them accidents have occurred in two schools on my list in _______ (2). In both cases the managers had ignored the strongest possible recommendations in log books. It is habitual to allow children to have their midday meal unsupervised inside the school premises. I have found children alone at midday with an unguarded tortoise stove.

On no subject are managers more careless, and an immense number of the schools I visit lack protection.

Over these matters inspectors have no control, and their recommendations can be ignored for indefinite periods.

For suggestions under this heading see my remarks on Town Schools.

Physical Condition of Children

I have constantly been told when inquiring about the health of delicate looking children, that they were illegitimate.

In most schools one or more families in the village appear to be underfed, the children can often be picked out from each class throughout the school. Reasons given are, as a rule, drunkenness of one or other parent.

Teeth. Out of ten schools visited in December, 1903, 112 children out of 237 between the ages of five and seven had suffered from toothache. The children's evidence was supported by that of the head teachers, but I was not able to examine their mouths and I had to depend upon the accuracy of the answers given to my questions.

One school was exempt from toothache. The parents of the children were in the employ of the Duke of _______, and all were well fed.

(1) The school in question has a dilapidated pump from which a certain amount of water is procured for cleaning purposes. The premises, which are very bad, are to be closed as soon as the new school, now being provided, is completed.

(2) A rural County.


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Eyesight. Too little care is taken about eyesight. Managers are often remiss in not providing blinds for south windows. Children constantly sit with the sun in their eyes, and excessive glare is a more common evil .than deficient lighting. A considerable number of children require spectacles or advice about their eyes, and many of the occupations are calculated to cause great strain upon the sight.

I take special exception to the common practice of making babies of three years old thread needles as an occupation. It is quite usual to see this done for twenty minutes on end. It is true that the needles are large - the size of bodkins - but it is wholly undesirable to focus the eyes on a point of light for twenty minutes on end at any age.

On this point I refer the Board to the statistics given under Town Schools.

Blackboards. Teachers are careless or ignorant when using these. The children are placed (a) too much underneath, (b) too far away from the board to read it easily.

Many teachers form the words indistinctly and use letters of too small a size, while they are in the habit of taking blue or purple chalks, a most difficult colour to distinguish on a black background.

Again, they use blackboards already ruled in squares, and the effect of reading on a squared background from a long distance is very dazzling.

Desks. The number of schools with insufficient desk accommodation is enormous. Babies are constantly made to write on their knees, using slates, and their backs bent double.

Warmth. Thermometers are often omitted from school furniture, but I remember several instances of schools where the thermometer registered down to thirty-two degrees in cold weather. Examples. _______ where the children sometimes cried with cold. _______, near _______. It is customary to delay lighting fires till late in the autumn, and I have constantly been unable to spend a day in a school without the comfort of a fur coat.

Ventilation. As a rule inadequate.

Wet Clothes. I have only once met with a country school where means existed for drying the wet clothes of children coming from a distance. Such provision should be compulsory.

Sleeping Accommodation. I have never seen provision for this in any country school. The babies, however, always go to sleep in the hot summer afternoons. They fall forwards with their heads on their arms and their backs curved, remaining in this position an hour or two hours on end; the attitude must be a fruitful cause of curvature of the spine.


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Position in School. Inspectors and teachers are largely in favour of making children sit with the arms crossed. It is, of course, well known that the proportion of the length of the arm to that of the body varies very much from childhood to manhood. One inspector told me that it was a very comfortable position. He had not apparently noticed that a baby of three years old can only - because of the shortness of its arms - cross them on its chest. A consumptive tendency and narrow chests must be much encouraged by this pernicious habit.

A strained position and motionless attitude is very bad for little children, and when this particular position is adopted another is a constant accompaniment. The child is made to rest its elbows on the desk, this hunches the shoulders to a level with the ears, and the maximum of discomfort must be attained. One reason for this universal evil is the old one of "preparation for the inspector". He requires "hands out" for answering his questions, and a fetish is also made of the uniform tidiness of a class in this attitude.

Standing. Far too much standing prevails. At _______ Infant School the time tables provided that the babies of three years old should stand once a week on little squares ruled on the ground for one hour and twenty minutes on end. (1)

Perhaps the Board of Education would like to see the log book entries here. (See also Town Schools.)

Drilling. In _______shire children of five and under were often drilled with tiny dumb bells weighing some three ounces. They were ornamented with little bells and gave a cheerful tinkle when in use.

Drill specialists are unanimously of opinion that no child should be subjected to any regular system of drill before seven years old. In all infant schools I would replace drill by games - ^jumping, marching, etc. (See again the note on Town Schools.)

Slates. The evil of spitting on slates is universally recognised, but by no means universally abolished.

Staff. The best infant teachers I have ever seen have been country teachers, and one or two of them were under Article 68.

Teaching is a gift, not an acquirement, especially where little children are concerned. But in spite of the immense praise due to a few teachers, I have no doubt whatever that on a big scale the infants in country schools are neglected.

In many cases no separate room exists. A child monitress - sometimes one under school age who is illegally employed (Ex. _______, near _______) or a very inexperienced teacher, under Article 68, is responsible.

(1) No such provision is, or was, in the Time Table of the school named, so far as the Board of Education can discover.


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The curriculum is much the same as that of town schools, except that where no assistance is given, the children are left to amuse themselves for indefinite periods scribbling on slates.

The case of an infant class in a separate room where a master is in charge of the mixed department is often deserving of sympathy.

The teacher, usually again under Article 68, has neither experience nor initiative for drawing up her own time tables, and the master looks upon the class purely as a preparation for his own department. He insists on a monotonous grind at the three R's., and owns himself entirely out of sympathy with the phonic method of learning to read or kindergarten generally. I have known this happen with masters who did very good work in the mixed department.

The lack of a woman's influence in country schools is more marked than in town schools where it is always possible that one manager may be a lady. Here men inspectors and masters with the best intentions produce far too rigid and mechanical a curriculum.

In _______ (1) an excellent scheme exists for sending the country infant teacher for a fortnight at a time to an _______ (2) School. The County Council adopted it, and an informal examination was sometimes associated with it and expenses were largely paid by the local authority.

The difference one fortnight of help made to an isolated country teacher was very marked and the time spent was rarely wasted.

I might mention here that toys have been introduced into many of the _______ country schools of late years. This matter could often be dealt with unofficially before the Education Act came into force. The suggestion that the richer children in a place should send discarded toys to the babies at the school, met with considerable response. When the regulations insist on giving instruction in the alphabet, I used to tell the children that next time I came I should examine the dolls. The desire that their particular doll should do them credit proved an incentive to its teacher to learn the letters demanded by the scrupulous ratepayer.

But from the moment that the schools came under the local authority difficulties and red tapism arose. Voluntary help was choked off, and the provision of "dolls" under "school apparatus" in the requisition lists brought the inspector who had recommended such wilful waste of the public money into collision with the County Council.

I was officially informed that I had "ordered" what I had only "recommended", and managers were instructed that schools existed for educational and not recreative purposes.

(1) A rural county.

(2)The county town.


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With regard to infants in country schools I would, however, refer to the remarks at the end of my report, and I also append the copy of a letter from an _______shire teacher who had asked me to come and inspect her school. We have never met, so the letter is purely impersonal.

"Very many thanks for your kind and sympathetic letter. Am so sorry you are leaving the district for it is indeed important there should be more women inspectors, especially for infants. Since I became an infant teacher more than twenty-five years ago, I have had visits from about twenty different inspectors, and I can truly say that only two had an idea what a little child was like. (One was Mr. _______). I suppose it is the law of nature. If a man could really understand an infant he would be a mother and not a father. I love my infants to be real children and not machines, for the longer I live the more convinced T am of this, the older one grows the more one looks back to childhood's days. How necessary then to make that a happy time for the mind to dwell upon. It was stupid of me not to write to ask you to visit us before this, for I have so often wished to have you see my children's bright and happy little faces, and doubly disappointing after screwing up courage to write, to find it too late to have you."
As stated in Summary I am warmly in sympathy with the suggestion for medical inspection and the instruction of teachers on matters connected with health.

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

My whole professional experience leads me to the following conclusions.

It is desirable to distinguish between country and town children for purposes of admittance.

I would exclude country children from school until seven years old. At that age I should admit for half time, and if the numbers exceeded twelve I should divide the children into two sections, - one attending a.m., the other p.m., each section by this means would receive greater attention.

Miss Fry, 239, Marylebone Road, London, W., has a scheme for introducing organised outside help in country schools under Article 68.

Such assistance would be invaluable to country teachers^ and many daughters of squires and clergymen would be only too glad to give regular assistance in classes on gardening, botany, etc., if they were aware that it would be welcomed.

At present country teachers are constantly either left to work single handed, or are given the quite inexpert assistance of a child of fourteen. The wages paid to these children rarely exceed Js 6d. a week, and by the time the child becomes useful she goes elsewhere to get better pay.

The result is that the smaller children are left to a constantly changing staff and the whole of their subsequent school life is -affected injuriously in consequence.


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Moreover, the present system of forcing children of from three to five years old to attend school for five hours a day, deprives them of fresh air, inculcates a dislike to learning, and results in teaching them, in many cases, to do nothing but sit still. This process is more stupefying than educative and is liable to encourage an uninquiring habit of mind later in life.

On the other hand - the social conditions in large towns, overcrowding, drunkenness, employment of mothers, etc., make home a place where, in many cases, the worst possible habits are learned, and such habits have to be unlearned at school.

For these reasons it appears advisable to leave the existing laws in force where town children are concerned; this means that admittance cannot be refused at three years old and becomes compulsory at five. (1)

I should, however, alter the name "school" and change it to that of "national nursery".

The nursery system as far as I can judge would entail less rather than greater expense than the existing system, while the same' buildings, etc., could be utilised.

I attach, however, great importance to the change of name.

With the word school certain associations exist in the minds of managers, and the child is sacrificed to that association. To quote Dr. Gray: "We suit the child to the curriculum instead of the curriculum to the child".

In my opinion some such scheme as the following is advisable for all town schools.

I will assume that I am speaking of future buildings and a future system, but I am convinced that existing town schools could be easily adapted to the purpose and that existing teachers would very gladly adopt the greater number of my views were they at liberty to do so.

The centre of my nursery system should be the play room.

The floor should be of blocked wood capable of being cleaned by some dry process. The space in the centre should be left clear.

Round the walls kindergarten desks could be placed and above these in tiers should be a series of hammock beds. Hammocks are less likely to harbour vermin than any other type of bed.

These could be arranged like the berths of a steamer or the luggage racks in a train, and the iron framework should fold back so that it might be flat against the wall when not m use. A flap

(1) The local authority is now (since Miss Bathurst wrote the above) authorised by the Board of Education to exclude children under five years of age, if it thinks fit. It cannot, and has never been able to, compel the attendance of any child until it has reached the age of five.


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of netting should belong to each hammock to fold over the child and. fasten against the wall, thus preventing all danger of falling out.

One corner of the room could have a zinc floor and a miniature sea shore, with sand, etc. A few of the old board schools are already provided with this.

In place of the present certificate I would substitute an alternative certificate to rank with it in importance and recognised by the Board of Education. It should certify that the teacher possesses the qualifications and experience of a hospital nurse combined with a knowledge of Froebelian methods.

Under the head teacher I would place a new type of 68, for whom the combined recognition of the head teacher and inspector should be required yearly.

Blackboards should only be used for recreative purposes, and books, except picture books, should be banished.

All children should remain in the nursery enjoying play occupations and sleep in an atmosphere of freedom till six years old.

At six I would admit each child for one hour per day into the neighbouring school. I am assuming that my nursery and school are under one roof. This should not consist of an hour on end, but be split up into three periods of twenty minutes each, and only ten children at a time should be under the tuition of one teacher.

If that teacher were employed under the present Art. 68 she would though occupied five hours a day, instruct fifty children as compared with her present allowance of thirty.

I maintain that the national purse would gain, and that one-tenth of her assistance for one hour would benefit each of the ten children far more than one-thirtieth of her attention for five hours a day,, as under the present arrangement.

At seven years old the same system could be continued, but the time for instruction might be increased to two hours.

At eight years of age lessons might last for three hours - and at nine the child could join the regular school for full time.

In each case these children would return to the playroom and be occupied under supervision for the remainder of the day.

I maintain that this family life - this mixing together of children from three to eight years old, is capable of far more humanising and educative results than the present routine.

If some local authority was willing to try the experiment I have no hesitation in saying that others would follow.


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I would most urgently press upon those in authority that nature and nurture alike point out women as more fitted than men to deal with the details of a little child's life, and I would plead for the appointment of women inspectors - especially those with a medical or the Froebel certificate - to supervise the infant schools of this country.

With the best possible intentions men have failed to make our infant schools a success.

The suggestions for medical inpection and instruction in hygiene for teachers in the Report on Physical Deterioration have my warmest support, but I should like to see women doctors employed in infant schools.




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APPENDIX

The medical examination of the children is, in my opinion, the least satisfactory part of my report.

This is in no sense a reflection upon Dr. _______, whose time is much taken up, but the possible time at his disposal was so limited that practically only 1½ minutes each could be given to the children, - this included getting them out of their seats and up and down the steps of a gallery.

For more accurate work it would be necessary to undress the child, and it was impossible to test eyes or examine ears. Only the most obtrusive defects could be registered in the time.

I should like to have discovered how many defects each child affected was suffering from. As, however, a medical examination is now recommended by the Inter-Departmental Enquiry, my personal experience may prove of value.

At first the babies objected to any examination, and tears were the result of insistence. I accordingly sent for a bag of sugarplums, and each child received one before returning to its place. The effect was instantaneous. The babies eagerly hurried to the doctor, opened their mouths and showed their legs with smiles and haste, and claimed a sugarplum as ample reward for any inconvenience.

Results - twenty -seven girls, twenty-nine boys. Total fifty -six. Seventeen were in a good condition, fifteen were in a fairly good condition, fourteen were registered as poor, bad, or very bad, and remainder have no mark under nourishment.

I can only plead the extreme difficulty of filling up the tables at the rate mentioned in excuse for the omission.

Seventeen cases of bad teeth were registered, two of them with well nourished children who appear under that column as good.

In every case the hair was full of nits from vermin. I only remember one exception.

Fairly good is by no means a high standard or even a satisfactory one. In one's own class in life the children here registered as fairly good would be considered delicate and requiring care.

Eleven cases of rickets occur.

In studying _______ School I have adopted the following plan. After obtaining details from the attendance officer I submitted the statistics to a friend, drawing up a table on which I asked him to tabulate results.

This table and results, also the conclusions he draws from them, are given in appendix.

Besides this, and quite independently I give my impressions of the homes I actually saw.

The conclusions at which he and I arrive are practically identical. This is satisfactory, as a general impression when unchecked by statistics is often erroneous - the bad cases making proportionately a greater impression on one's mind.


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The homes of the children who attend _______ School present three distinct types: (1) the Jewish, (2) the Italian, (3) the English. The latter were distributed between (a) workmen's dwellings, (b) ordinary lodging houses. The Jewish children were well fed without exception, but both they and their homes were extremely dirty.

The Italians were in some cases positively clean. In all cases they compared most favourably with the English and Jewish homes. They appeared to be drawn very largely from Italian country districts.

The English houses were, without exception, in a deplorable condition. I visited the workmen's dwellings at 11.30 a.m. on Monday, June 13th. The following state of things was universal.

Every window shut. No one dressed. Room littered with food, rags and dirt. Mothers' hair down their backs. Many children at home dressed in chemises. Visitors, one to three in number, in each house. Wages varying from 27s. to 18s., never leaf.

In the houses those containing two rooms had usually stone floors and contained boxes, one table, one chair, one cradle, though wages sometimes reached 3 a week. Retail trade was the common pursuit, buying (or stealing) dogs, cats, rats, plants and flowers, and reselling these articles.

One-roomed houses visited contained perhaps six families. Even here wages reached ISa. per week. Occupation, selling artificial flowers, grinding organs, etc.

Out of the forty houses visited that day I registered the following details.

Two mothers dead drunk. One is usually away at work mid-day, and leaves pennies with a boy of ten. With these he caters for the rest of the family.

Another mother rises 6 a.m., gets back from work to breakfast, dresses children for school, returns again mid-day, feeds them and locks up house till 6 p.m. At six she re-admits children and gives them tea. Earns 13s. or 143.; husband gets Qs.

Came across a baby alone in a room on a bed, fire lighted.

Attendance officers were welcomed by parents, and seemed to be intimately acquainted with all their worries. They took the liberty of throwing open the windows when we arrived, and in no case did the act appear to cause any feeling of resentment. The air was so abominable that until a window was opened it was impossible to breathe. In a few cases the stench was sufficient to cause retching, and I was obliged to carry on conversation at the door. The attendance officers assure me that although houses at lower rents with good communication to the centre of _______ are available, the people prefer these one and two-roomed dwellings. They say a communistic life results from it. One woman owns a mangle, another a wash tub, etc., and the whole street use that one article. Privacy and cleanliness - even modesty - appeared unknown.

The workmen's dwellings excepted, all the houses were in the most scandalous condition for lack of repair. Large holes in stairs, floors and plaster. Paper in streamers and black with damp, etc.

I understand that the land is in the hands of some railway company previous to laying down railway lines. Meanwhile the landlords have sub-let, and middlemen are getting their pound of flesh, regardless of health or decency.

But on these points I have only hearsay information.

The district in question lies immediately round _______ School.

The conclusions I draw are very definite.

The children are starved in the case of perhaps one-third of those in attendance. All are filthy; the parents are ignorant, and drink is universal; but the actual wages earned are so high, and, in the case of my table, so regular, that the most crying need appears to be some enforcement of parental responsibility. Much as I sympathise with Article 352 of the Report on Physical deterioration of School Children, the clauses 348 and 362, from my personal experience, deserve the strongest support. The parent must be forced to support his own child. Some means of both feeding the child and recovering the coat must be found.


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CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM THE FOREGOING TABLE

The total number of families treated is 183.

Their weekly earnings amount to 212 1s. 10d., or an average per week of 1 3s. 3d.

The families consist of 1,063, and their parents 352, making a total of 1,415 persons.

Of these families 198 children attend the mixed department, and 221 the infants' department; a total of 419.

From the weekly earnings of 1 3s. 3d. they pay in rent an average of 3s. 8d.

They are distributed among 606 rooms, and, with the parents, show an average of 2.33 persons to each room.

The average family is 5.8 children.

Of the 183 families, 63, or more than one-third, have not more than two rooms each family.

These 63 families are composed of 120 parents, 334 children; 454 persons.

These are distributed among 121 rooms - an average of 3.75 persons in each room.

Of these 63 families the average wages of each is 1 0s. 4d., and the average number in the family 5.3 children.

Thirty-one of these families are in the enjoyment of steady work.

(The total of 183 families show 86 in steady work, 62 intermittent).

It appears, therefore, that one-third of the families have only the accommodation of two rooms each, with an average of 3.75 persons to each room; that the average number (5.3) of the family is not so great as the average of the total families (5.8), that their average wage is not far below the general average (20s. 4d. to 23s. 3d.), and therefore that the money is not spent in adding comfort or health to their homes.

NOTE The following Supplementary Report was written by Miss Bathurst when her retirement from the service of the Board was immediately impending and was sent in by her on, or immediately after, the day of her retirement.

Although much of the Report is irrelevant to the subject with which Miss Bathurst was requested to deal, the Board think it desirable that these expressions of Miss Bathurst's opinions should be published, accompanied by a warning of the same character as that which it was necessary to address to readers of the earlier Report (see Note on page 35).

"Supplementary Report" on Infant Schools by Miss Bathurst

My interest in Infant Schools centres chiefly round (a) questions of health, (b) the necessity for recreation, (c) the evils produced by our present system of inspection.

As explained in my former more technical report, I believe that the need for national nurseries is an urgent one, but I am


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extremely doubtful whether the freedom of the gutter is not preferable to a school curriculum such as the Board of Education enforces, (1) and I am quite convinced that fresh air is of more importance than attainments, and that the mortality among little children is largely increased by attendance in ill-ventilated classrooms. In fact for all children under seven years of age women generally, and not men, should be made responsible. We require nurses rather than teachers, and lady doctors rather than inspectors. These opinions have raised so much opposition (2) that before leaving the service I wish to place on record the principles I have preached, the policy to which I adhere, and the evils which I have discovered.

The children of this country have been sacrificed, first to the policy of the Board of Education, who have placed the infants solely in the hands and at the mercy of men inspectors, secondly to the financial needs of managers, thirdly to the selfishness of the overworked mothers. The evil has been aggravated by the ignorance of some and by the incapacity of other teachers, but of the three causes specified, the first has been the most far-reaching in its evil effects. By appointing men inspectors and placing the six women inspectors in subordinate positions where their views, if heard at all, could be ignored, the whole atmosphere of infant schools has been made into that of a forcing house for the schools for older scholars. In most districts whenever the attainments are satisfactory very good reports are given, and many indications exist which point to great ignorance or indifference on the part of inspectors and teachers as to the methods employed in reaching the standard they consider desirable. In making this assertion I would wish to accentuate the fact that I speak chiefly of _______. I have noticed the same thing in every district where I have worked, but not to the same extent, and not on the same wholesale scale. In _______ especially it appeared to me that methods rather than results were valued; but even there the greater insight into the spirit of Kindergarten teaching was hindered and hampered by the masculine love of uniformity and order, and the discipline expected was maintained at the expense of much healthy, valuable, and, as far as the children's welfare was concerned, necessary freedom.

I am convinced that many inspectors do not read the timetables. They do, as a rule, examine the summary, and the time-

(1) The Board "enforces" no curriculum for Infant Schools. See concluding paragraph of Article 1 of the Code for 1904, and the still wider freedom given in the Code for 1905.

(2) If the 'opposition' referred to is that of the Board of Education they must disclaim opposition to opinions the existence of which was unknown to them.


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table passes muster if that summary contains the requisite subjects of reading, writing, arithmetic, and needlework: yet to read a time-table, including discussion with the head teacher, will not occupy more than fifteen minutes of the day. Practice conveys a knowledge of detail without the expenditure of much time, and with a bad time-table the most capable teacher is sadly thwarted in her efforts to benefit the children. But, apart from the timetables, I am at a loss to explain certain obvious facts without reflecting openly on the policy of the Board of Education and the hopeless position in which that policy places a conscientious inspector. I refer to well-known facts.

Unsatisfactory reports mean friction with managers, unpopularity with teachers, and even political influence to remove the obnoxious critic. Moreover, if the Board of Education fails, as it so often fails, to support their own inspector, the influence of that inspector suffers throughout the district. I can recall a remark of an old and experienced inspector on this point, it is simple enough, but it conveys a deplorable weakness in our system. "We have to consider whether the Board of Education will support us", that is, we (1) cannot condemn a school which has sufficient influence at headquarters to fight the condemnation: moreover it is notorious that until a ruling of June, 1904, examiners of the Board of Education not infrequently omitted portions of reports sent in by H.M. Inspectors and even Chief Inspectors without referring the reports back to H.M. Inspectors. It is by influences such as these surely that the following reports come into existence. "The discipline and instruction are very satisfactory indeed". In the school where this was entered as the last report I noted as follows: (a) Children sit with arms on beads [sic - heads?], (b) children stand on seats, (c) needlework is begun at four years old, and the lesson is carried on by placing mites of girls on desks to sit with curved backs and no support, (d) a child is put to tell tales of anyone who moves or speaks in the teacher's absence, (e) class I. had four arithmetic lessons per day on Mondays, called by different names. Number, Notation, &c., three arithmetic lessons per day on every other day of the week, (f) the babies did fifty minutes' arithmetic once a week in four separate lessons, (g) at five years old five hours a week were given to reading.

Next to the evil of political influence comes the question of administrative organisation. Under the present regime the work

(1) It is necessary that the closing of a school and its consequent removal from the Grant List, must be the act in the last resort of the Board of Education and not of any individual officer of the Board. On the report of an Inspector local authorities or managers may be required to show cause why a particular school should not be closed, but the Board must hear all the parties interested, ascertain all the relevant facts and decide on principles which should be of general application, not on the opinion of a single Inspector.


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of inspection is necessarily largely done by subordinate officers, these inspectors outnumber H.M. Inspectors by four to one: as a rule they write "suggested reports" (1) on the schools visited; but H.M. Inspector is ultimately responsible for the form such a report takes and the opinions it expresses. The reports of the schools are therefore not necessarily even drafted by the inspector who visited the school, and every report runs a fourfold chance of "changes" before it reaches the school, only surviving in its original form if sufficiently adaptable to suit the taste of a many-headed critic. At the risk of appearing impertinent I will specify in detail the dangers to which it is exposed, (a) It is usually written by a subordinate official. He pays what is known as the I. (2) visit, or the second visit of inspection. He is free to consult the official who visited at I. (1), or not, as he chooses. (b) He is not an independent critic, he is a reflector of his chief's policy. He strives to say what he is expected to say, to think what he is expected to think of the school; he cannot, from official loyalty, trust to his own impressions. (c) He sends the report to H.M. Inspector, who alters it or not without reference as a rule to the writer. (d) It then goes before an Examiner at the Board of Education; if the Examiner follows "precedent" he can, if he desires an alteration, suggest it to H.M. Inspector; this is called "referring back". But, as already stated, on some occasions reports have been simply altered, amended, or portions omitted (2) without such reference and the report has reached the school with that omission, without the knowledge of the writer or the inspector responsible for the district.

One famous case occurred to me personally some two years ago, when the inspector responsible for the district had accepted my "suggested report". One of the reasons given for the alteration by the junior examiner was, "That he did not wish to offend the philanthropic nobleman". There was a peer among the managers. (2)

These things may appear to be a digression when my instructions are to report upon the condition of infant schools, but in my opinion the condition of infant schools, especially in the North of England, is most perniciously influenced by reports and inspection, and their improvement is hopeless unless these questions are considered and the recurrence of such influences made impossible.

The defence of the present system lies, of course, in the necessity for some sort of discipline amongst civil servants such as inspectors,

(1) A note on the course of procedure followed by Inspectors in framing reports to the Board will be found on page 92. It is enough to say here that the duties of a Sub-Inspector are not accurately described in this paragraph.

(2) See note on pp. 92, 93.


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but I am convinced that if a person is fit to inspect (1) he or she should be also fit to report on a school, and that similarity of views, obtained by reflecting the opinion of a chief, are less exhilarating in kind and less inspiring to the teacher than those of personal conviction. Smaller areas under independent inspectors with more freedom of intercourse and means of exchanging ideas between them would produce better effects than the present arrangement. As it is, the work is done by "reflectors", not by inspectors, and it is inevitable that the subordinate officials who pay by far the larger proportion of visits to the schools should consider primarily what will coincide with their chief's theories rather than what will prove of assistance to the teacher or advantage to the children.

On one occasion a manager said to me: "I like your reports; there's nothing in them". I had not written the report in question, and this leads me to another result of doing work without the responsibility such work should bring. H.M. Inspector, with the best intentions, does not always catch his subordinate's meaning, and he then frames reports of so general a character that they serve the double purpose of not committing him to a judgment, and satisfying managers who might resent reflections on the results of their management. Such reports are always satisfactory to the permanent officials of the Board of Education, no friction can arise from them.

The schools are still suffering from these arrangements, for the ruling of June 1904 rectified one evil only. Examiners are no longer allowed to alter the reports unknown to the inspector responsible for the district.

In my former report I drew attention to what I believe to be the chief differences between the supporters of the Kindergarten and our own system. We insist^' on definite instruction in the three R's. They decline to begin anything of the kind till the child is six years old.

We insist upon military, they depend upon maternal discipline. _______ spoke as follows to me on this subject: "I have said that the babies should at least learn their letters, they are in the baby class a whole year." My view is expressed by the single word "Why?" What possible object is there in teaching letters, figures, or numbers to children under five years of age? I would substitute for such a sentiment:

(1) There seems some confusion here between the duties of H.M. Inspector, who is responsible to the Board for reporting on the schools within his district, and the duties of his subordinates who supply him with materials for a report to be used as his own knowledge of the school derived from previous or subsequent visits may suggest.

(2) The Code expressly states that "one or more" of the ordinary subjects can be omitted in any class in which the Board are satisfied that there is good reason for the omission.


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"They shall at least be kept warm, be made happy, and learn unconsciously to want to learn."

I noticed another significant entry in his handwriting in a log-book: "The babies should learn to sit still and attend". Attention at three years old is a physical impossibility. With individual attention, sitting on his mother's lap, a child will sometimes be induced to look at pictures for ten minutes on end, but he turns the pages at his own sweet will, and gabbles, unreproved, his own delightful version of their meaning.

Compare this with the class system.

One picture only is provided at a time and is made to do duty for many days in the year. It is stuck on a blackboard. It cannot be handled, often it cannot be clearly seen. The talking is done by the teacher, not by the child, the subject and meaning are fixed by her explanation, and only one child at a time may respond to a question. The others must sit motionless, and with arms tightly crossed on their tiny narrow chests waiting for the notice that in many cases never comes. This appearance of attention, or a sentence learnt by heart and reproduced to impress the inspector, will never persuade me that the school system is right or natural. In my opinion the longing to escape school, and most of the cases known as "truancy", are developed in the most, not the least, intelligent children. The constant repetition and repressive discipline imposed at school are more irksome to an original than to a stupid child.

I will now ask the attention of the Board of Education to the time-tables themselves, and before proceeding to a detailed examination and criticism of the contents, I enclose a categorical table for reference.

My statistics concern 18,196 children, and may therefore be regarded as representative of _______ (1) generally.

I may add that not more than one dozen at most of the 93 schools visited by me were properly ventilated, that only about one-fourth of the children were sitting in suitable desks, and that the condition of the offices, nearness to class-rooms, &c., is a matter of such urgent importance, that I greatly regret that the money spent on Scholarships by the Education Committee should not have been devoted to making the buildings more sanitary, and the children and teachers more comfortable.

Out of 93 infant schools visited:

51 schools have lessons lasting 30 minutes to 35 minutes on end.
7 schools have lessons lasting 40 minutes to 45 minutes on end.
1 school has lessons lasting an hour on end.
(1) A large County Borough.


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In 45 schools the Needlework lessons last from 45 minutes to 1 hour on end.
18 schools give from 4 to 5 hours a week to Reading.
53 other schools give over 2½ hours per week to Reading.
33 schools have Needle-threading as an occupation. (A few have stopped this in consequence of my representations. )
46 schools give 2½ hours or less to Occupations in a week. Roughly speaking, 50 schools have the larger number of seats without backs.
51 schools have either no space or insufficient space for games or movement.
13 baby classes are in charge of Teachers under Article 68.
Many other teachers under Article 68 act as Assistants.
Only 33 baby classes are in charge of Certificated Teachers.
For 45 schools out of the 93, I obtain the following statistics re excessive inspection: -

Between January and October, that is in nine months, with intervals for Easter, Whitsun, and the summer holidays:

5 schools had been inspected 15 to 17 times inclusive.
10 schools had been inspected 12 to 14 times inclusive.
14 schools had been inspected 10 to 11 times inclusive.
14 schools had been inspected 7, 8, and 9 times inclusive.
3 schools had been inspected 6 times.

In examining this table the Board of Education should bear in mind that the schools are only open five days a week, and secular instruction is only compulsory for 20 hours a week, therefore, when any given subject is taught for 2½ hours per week, it means on an average half an hour per day. If the primary object in Infant Schools is to keep little children warm, happy, and beneficially employed, if the aim is to encourage or plant the desire to know, then Kindergarten, rather than the power to read, write, and do Standard I. sums, should be encouraged. Yet half of the schools visited only give on an average half an hour per day, many of them give less, to Kindergarten occupations, while that half hour is often passed in so wooden and uneducational a way that little benefit results from it. The same occupation or drawing is done again and again in order that specimens of more or less perfect work may be produced for the inspector. Even games are of the most joyless character, and babies stand solemnly in a ring striving to carry out the teacher's directions with strained attention. "It has to be perfect for the inspector at the end of the month", was the harassed explanation (1)

(1) This cannot be true of the Board's Inspectors, for their visits are now paid without notice. They do not, of course, expect to find perfection.


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offered to me by one of the many overstrained and uneducated women so often placed in charge of the youngest children.

Again, whenever five hours is given per week to reading, one-fourth of the whole time the school is open for secular instruction is involved: and this means either two lessons per day of 30 minutes each, or three lessons per day of 20 minutes each on the same subject.

I note that (a) at three years old two lessons per day are usual in the three Rs, (b) that children of four years old are not considered babies in the bigger schools; in the smaller schools children of three and four can be found in the same class, (c) that as a rule children of five years old are worse off than those of six. The grind here is often terrific.

Of the methods adopted in teaching Arithmetic and the standard imposed for Writing I have spoken sufficiently in my previous report. Further inquiry revealed an enormous number of schools where three Arithmetic lessons per day were the rule, and in one school of which I have already given particulars four lessons in this subject were given on Mondays. I received the impression that the Government Inspectors were not always consistently advocating any one system. The schools that had lately been visited by one man would spend long hours on "tables", another usually inspected by someone else would insist on mental arithmetic, and so on. The teachers appeared to have no settled convictions as to method themselves, and the lack of concrete material was very marked. Again, the lessons are often too long, half the schools teach Needlework for three-quarters of an hour or an hour on end. With big classes, the giving out and collecting of material is wearisome to teachers, and they prefer to do it seldom and for a longer period than that recommended in the Code. The subject is often begun at four years old, and one-third of the schools insist on taking needle-threading as an occupation.

The cruelty of forcing children of this age to sit in a cramped position, using their undeveloped nerves and muscles, is recognised in every book on school hygiene. The teachers would be thankful to postpone instruction till later, but so long as specimens of work are asked for, examined, and criticised by men inspectors the present system will continue. The evil in _______ is increased by the lack of proper desks. The children have usually no support for their backs, the rooms are often cold and dark, and the inspector has no childish recollection of his own to rouse pity for the poor pricked little fingers or aching eyes. The constant glances at the clock during Needlework lessons from older infants is in itself sufficient indication to a sympathetic observer of the strain from which they are suffering.

I now choose several schools, and I beg for special attention (a) to the stress laid upon attainments in the reports themselves;


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(b) to the glaring ignorance of child life betrayed by the points I noticed. I have not repeated what I have already discussed as to the consequences to the child of forcing it to sit in certain positions, but it may be worth while to accentuate my former report by insistence on certain so-called trivial points:

To sit with one's hands on one's head is a strain on the heart.
To stand motionless for 20 minutes is most fatiguing.
To sit with crossed arms narrows the chest.
To stand or drill upon seats is dangerous.
The occupation of threading needles is injurious to eyesight.
To do needlework at all is most trying to an active-minded child, until 6 or 7 years old. To do it for 45 minutes on end is most injudicious before about 10 years old.
The child loses nothing by postponing such lessons till later in life.
The same faults occurred in school after school, and I have deliberately copied the same details over and over again, as I think repetition may be the means of drawing attention to the subject in a way which a statement so short as that of the table already given may fail to effect.

_______ School, 1904, Report: "The school is conducted with much care and kindness, and most of the work is good. The arithmetic of the first class is a weak point, and the leading of that class is only fairly satisfactory". Points noted on my visit: (a) Babies have only just had a separate time-table. They now do the same thing every day at the same hour for 15 minutes at a time. Two lessons per day on each of the three Rs. At five and six years old two lessons per day, as a rule, in each of the three Rs. No occupations a.m. Standing on seats. Drilling on seats. (A sick child, often in the infirmary, made to drill sitting down.) Folding arms when not occupied by hand work. At four years old needlework lessons of three-quarters of an hour's length are given. No windows open below. Head teacher longs for this to be altered. Only babies have backs to seats.

_______ School. Report: "This excellent school". Points I noted: Needlework lessons 1 hour. On one day per week the babies have three writing lessons. Children made to stand on seats. (Accident occurred in my presence.) Hands on heads. Crossing arms.

_______ School. Report: "Much of the work is praiseworthy. The singing is particularly good. Reading is the weak subject". Points I noted: Needlework lessons of an hour's length begin at four years old. A row of children sitting in darkness for this. Drawing, ditto. Child put to tell talcs in teacher's absence. Ventilation bad. No windows open below. Copy of Mr. _______ entry at last visit: "Small class-room has 61 babies. Desk accommodation and benches for 40. Thermometer at 11 a.m. 52 deg". Impossible to take lessons out of doors. Offices [toilets] too close to the school.


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_______ School. Report: "The school is in the front rank of the infant schools of _______" (1). Facts noted: Needle-threading goes on at three years old, though the head teacher hates it. Twice a week children have two Arithmetic lessons per day. Three times a week children have two reading lessons per day. Crossing arms. All classes examined quarterly except babies. In their third term babies under four are semi-examined, semi-inspected by inspectors.

_______ School. Report: "The order is good and the instruction is "very fairly successful". Facts noted: Children sit with hands on heads. They stand on seats. Regular drill inflicted on the youngest. Needle-threading before four years old. One class of five year olds has three reading lessons per day once a week. One class has a lesson from 2.35 till 3.50 with the playground interval. Needlework (50-minute lessons) begun at four years old. Ventilation shocking. Except in baby room no window opens below. One class has desks intended for four children. Five children are crammed into each desk.

_______ School. Report: "Teaching bright and energetic. The discipline is not equally satisfactory. This is partly due no doubt to the bad construction of the main room". In my opinion the discipline of this school was quite sufficiently strict. The head teacher, who has now left, assured me that the inspector came in the afternoon when the children were tired, kept one class an hour at reading, and then asked for an object lesson. May I add here that where an infant class is attached to a mixed school, and therefore visited on the same day as the mixed school, it is usual for inspectors to postpone visiting it till the afternoon. Yet little children are less fit than older ones for examination tests at this time of day, and it leaves the impression on the teacher's mind that infants are of less importance and not worth his attention equally with order scholars.

In another school of which I feel it safer to suppress the name, I copy (a) report, (b) my notes, (c) the remarks of the teacher. She was unusually communicative, and her experience is correspondingly valuable. Report: "The order is good and the work is "generally good. The first class does very well, the second class is a good deal inferior". (Note five years olds. K.B.) The babies' class is well managed but badly housed. This school was visited between August 21st and October 7th, 1904. My notes are as follows: "An admirable illustration of the report I have just sent in. Judged on results? The whole system is one of repetition. Every child was standing on the seat repeating each word of its book simultaneously three or four times. Noise deafening. Nothing else attempted. I most firmly believe they will learn to read this way and satisfy H.M.I. But at what a price! Does no one inquire how much intelligence is destroyed, how much aversion to literature created". Head

(1) A large County Borough.


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teacher's communication: "Four years ago I made a kindergarten time-table and started that system, thought of the child, ignored rote replies and inspectors. Result was a report that nearly brought my dismissal". She now works for inspectors against her principles and gets praise. I also noted as usual ventilation fearful, building crowded. No window opens below. No free'^space. Close to a tramline. Seventeen visits of inspection since January 1904.

_______ Council School. Report: "Continues satisfactory on the whole. The children have yet to learn to keep up their attention and to answer only when permitted". My notes are: "Hands on heads. Standing on seats. Arms crossed. Threading needles as an occupation. Duplicate lessons. Babies treated as if 10 years old. Faultless order from H.M. Inspector's point of view. Fifteen visits of inspection since January 1904".

_______ Wesleyan School. Report: "In the first and second classes the discipline is very good, and the results are quite satisfactory. The babies cannot be properly taught on these premises". My own notes: "A teacher who will give more than a fourth of her time to arithmetic and half her whole time to reading and arithmetic together has no idea in life except that instruction in the three Rs constitutes education, and that H.M. Inspector must be satisfied whether it is good for the child or not".

_______ School. Log-book entry, 1904: "Reading and arithmetic below the first class require special attention". Head teacher tells me this refers (as I know it must) to children of three, four, and five years old. As usual, I noted needle-threading as an occupation. Standing on seats. Standing whole lessons. Crossing arms. While the babies have to learn to count up to 60. The school had had 15 visits of inspection since January.

_______ School. Report: " This department also is much too full, but the organisation and discipline are so good, and the teachers so energetic, that the difficulties are to a great extent overcome, and the general efficiency of the school is highly creditable". My notes are: Most taking head teacher, who says she is no advocate for discipline, and that H.M. Inspector never mentions the word. No wonder. Discipline is rigid enough for a military review. Hands on heads. Standing on seats. Standing for whole lessons. Arms crossed. Babies motionless. Some of the babies were perched on a form unable to reach floor with their feet. Very bad desks, hardly any with backs. Nine visits of inspection since January.

_______ School. Log-book entry: "Order in some of the classes is not good", and, on the 1903, "progress of the children is very satisfactory except the arithmetic of Standard I. and Class I". My notes are: Needlework lessons last an hour. Drawing ditto. Hands on heads. Children standing for whole lessons. Crossing arms.


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_______ British School. (Children under five are excluded.) Old report: "The first and second class are satisfactorily taught. The babies' class is entrusted to a girl from the mixed school, and the result is not good". My own notes are: "It is as bad a class for method as I know. When I entered the school Standard I. was repeating one letter. It kept it up some 20 times roughly. Then came single words repeated countless times in succession. Majority of children were sharing each other's books. Desks intended for five held in every case seven, and in many cases eight children. At my first visit the over-crowding was still greater. I cannot understand why this school should continue to be recognised with its present incompetent staff and unsuitable premises. Ventilation awful. In one case two panes of glass tilt open a little. As for space, there is no room to sit, much less to move. Twelve visits of inspection, counting one from Mr. _______. (1)"

_______ School Report, 1904: "The infant school is a pleasant place. The schoolrooms are made most attractive, and the children " are very responsive. The methods are intelligent, and progress is correspondingly good. The reading of the first class and the occupations are of exceptional value". My own notes are: " Delightful head teacher to talk to, is apparently aware of the evils of the present system, but must be totally ignorant on questions of health. The report also must be based on attainments. There is no knowledge of physical questions. No motherliness. It may be a pleasant school to examine, it is not a pleasant place to inspect. Four year old classes are made to stand up 25 minutes on end motionless. Reading was done by repetition some 12 to 20 times per word. (Compare with methods of report.) Children kept standing on seats. Arms tightly crossed at three and four years old, and elbows placed on desks in front so children could not lean against the backs of the seats, and their shoulders were hunched up nearly to the level of their ears. Very big classes. Last _______ one teacher had 100 babies in her charge.

Over and over again the same routine is followed. Over and over again the same personal criticisms are noted for my own guidance. In my present independent position I may venture to copy such notes as they occur. What is said of one school with very few exceptions applies to all.

"Distinctly a man's school with its love of rigid, square-like uniformity, its discouragement of what deviates, what is spontaneous, childish or individual. The schemes are intelligent and the time-table sensible, but in practice everything is hampered by the inherited accepted routine re discipline, and insistence upon answers being given in whole sentences, &c. Everything is rote-like in practice though free in theory. Some first-rate clay modelling is done, yet no teachers gave really interesting lessons, and the strictness with which Standard I. was treated for faults in grammar, led to irresponsiveness when questioned".

(1) The Secretary of the Education Committee of the Town Council.


[page 86]

In my notes again occurs: "Always the same story. Oh, for nurses and women and a little rare common sense!" And again, "All spontaneous interest is deliberately crushed, a fearful baby class, rigid grind, not a word like a story, not a scrap of life".

In another school, July 1903 log-book entry is: "All going on well, despite very hot weather; more desks are required". My notes are as follows: Another marked instance of my disagreement with infant methods. Here the repetition of single words is overwhelmingly great. That is the method. Countless times one word. Every class does it. I am convinced the head teacher is hard-working and conscientious to an even unusual degree. She was teaching herself, but it is a terrible school. Children are treated like machines. They don't budge an eyelid. Only severity can produce such results in such an atmosphere. Ventilation shocking. Babies who don't look three were made to stand thirty minutes, without stirring, for singing and recitation. When standing the toes of each foot had to be parallel to those of the other. To stand with parallel feet is most difficult, the child must fall if it sways beyond an inch each side. Very dangerous unguarded grates. One room has no desks. Forty children sit on forms. Legs dangling six inches from the floor in some cases. Talk with head teacher: result, a sudden thaw. She hates the system she has adopted. She thinks it wrong to teach the three Rs before seven years old. Conclusion I have arrived at. Such infant schools would profit if every inspector were removed, myself included. Better no good inspector than this multitude of men all striving for attainments, all ignorant of the most elementary laws of health. It is as bad in its way as the factory system.

In another school I enter the fact that the children don't stand on the seats. Date is _______. I had been working since _______, and remark that I believe that this is the first school where I have not found children in this dangerous position.

I have now come to the last school of which I propose to give details. It forms a convenient point for opening the discussion on questions contained on page 4 of the report form. The details are as follows, copied straight from my notes:

_______ School. Report: "Much good work is done and careful preparation is made. Discipline is weak in the first and third classes and as a consequence instruction suffers. The second class does well both in discipline and instruction". My notes are: "This is a marvellous and missionary school. The head teacher does not deserve a word of criticism, one should take one's shoes off one's feet, it is holy ground. Two-thirds of the children are starved, and unfit to learn, no shoes or stockings on many. Great care in making them wash, saw soap and towels given out. It is such a treat to wash that the head teacher has to look out to prevent children coming dirty to school on purpose! Oh! for more of this spirit. I can forgive all details, for the place is motherly, and such a place is "right". With reference to starvation, Miss _______


[page 87]

(local authority inspector) and the head teacher gave me the figures, and the head teacher added the following information: she appears to know the individual circumstances of her children. "The larger number live in furnished rooms, for which rent is 1s. a day, paid daily, or they are turned out. Some people live by renting whole houses and letting single rooms at this rate. The children of these sub-landlords also attend the school. Many (head teacher thinks more than half) of patents go to prison at intervals. Half of such parents are women. Some children seem better off when their parents are in prison. Most of them object to the workhouse. She knows of a case where two children slept in a public w.c. all night to avoid it, the father was in prison".

This evidence is interesting, because, as a rule, the teachers in _______ live either outside the town, or in any case some distance from the closely-packed slum neighbourhoods in which the poorest schools lie. They have no knowledge of the individual parents, and invariably assured me that they either "did not know" or supposed the reasons were "so and so", when asked the questions on page 4. For example, to the question, "How many mothers are at work?" one most capable head teacher replied "All". There were 120 children on the books, so, allowing for a few brothers and sisters, from 100 to 110 mothers were involved. At my request, she came round the school with me, and by putting the question in every sort of way to every individual child their answers reduced us to the conclusion that only twenty mothers went out to work. On whose evidence was I to rely? The children were all seven years of age, or under, chiefly under. Their evidence would not be accepted in any law court, and much older children do not know at what place their parents are employed or what work they do. The head teacher allowed she could only give a conjectural reply herself, and I was wholly unable to depend upon conjecture as evidence.

Besides this difficulty, which occurred everywhere, the following explanation is due from me. The _______ blamed me in scathing terms for my first report on two grounds: (1) That I had discovered nothing new (1); (2) That I leave page 4, the most important page of all, a blank. But page 4 is concerned with children in Standard I. It depends upon the existence of a Standard I. I have, I think, only seen two, or at most three infant schools in _______ which contained a Standard I. at all, and in one of these children under five were refused admittance. I was forbidden (2) to see any school not an infants' school, and permission to do so only reached me late in September. I had, therefore, only fifteen days on which to collect the information required. Previous to this date, my instructions were, on the one hand, to obtain certain

(1) The officer in question states that no such criticism or remark was made by him.

(2) It must be stated most distinctly that no such instructions were given.


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information, and on the other, I was forbidden to go to the only places where it was obtainable. (1) Again, even those fifteen days were, in my opinion, wasted time. The schools were, without exception, just beginning the school year. The attainments of children who have only been in a standard one month are not easily gauged. A far better plan would have been as follows: To ask every head teacher for one day before the end of the school year to (a) separate the Standard I. into two blocks, (1) those who came to school before five, (2) those who came to school at or after five: to test them in the three R's, and to give their own verdict whether the attainments were higher or lower in either division. These statistics would have covered a sufficient number of children for some definite conclusion to be drawn, and the teacher can do this work far better than any Inspector.

The value of that conclusion would have depended on what the Board of Education considers "education" to be. Judging from the questions themselves, "attainments only" constitute education, and judged on attainments, I think that late comers would have failed to satisfy its requirements. But in many schools, the head teachers gave as their opinion that the answers to these questions depended entirely on the homes of the children. I refer the Board of Education to my previous report, which subsequent inquiry has not modified.

I endeavoured to carry out the wishes of the Board of Education between September 20th and October 7th on the following system, taking schools for older scholars. I went to each standard in succession. I divided the children of each -into two groups: those who had attended an infant school before five, and those who had not, in every case the head-master or headmistress assisted me throughout the day. We took every standard in each school, and our greatest difficulty arose when attempting the separation of early comers and late comers. Half the children had not attended the infant school, to which the school for older scholars was attached, and the registers could, therefore not be consulted, for it was impossible to send to eight, ten, or more schools for their registers. Many children of 12 and 14 did not know when or where they had previously gone to school. The parents were occasionally able to supplement our information, but most certainly we could not consider it, in many cases, as reliable. With this unreliable division we then started to work. The masters and mistresses kindly checked my conclusion, and the children's interest was obtained by making the set who were not tested vote for either division. As a rule, the teachers, children, and I arrived at identical marks.

We then tried to discover why the children had not come to school before five. This could only be done in whispers when dealing with Standard I., as a perfect epidemic of identical replies ensued if one child overheard a promising one from its neighbour.

(1) It must again be said on the part of the Board that there is no foundation whatever for this statement.


[page 89]

I found, on the whole, that children who attended school before five did better in Standard I. than those who had only been at school a year or a little over; but that in Standards VI. and VII. those who had come to school late appeared to have the advantage. One head teacher at _______ Street Girls' made an interesting comment based on her own experience. "Children who show exceptional intelligence at a very early age often suffer at about 11 years old from strain. St. Vitus' dance will appear. This is not unusual". This evidence was given before the testing of attainments began. I must add, however, that I found it necessary to discover the ages of the children, and, even at 13 and 14 years old, I came to the conclusion that those who had not come to school till after five, and were apparently doing better work in consequence, were usually on an average eight months or so older than the children with whom I was comparing them. If I had been able to test a larger number of children, I could tell better whether this was true on a big scale. As it was, I could only deal with, roughly, some 1,500 children. [These are in addition to the 18,000 already mentioned.] We sometimes took 30 minutes before a class could be satisfactorily separated into the groups specified, the actual test work could then be done very quickly. To sum up - in my opinion, my statistics are valueless because they cover so small a ground.

I now come back to the question of the parents who go out to work. I must repeat what I said in my former report, namely, that only attendance officers can give the figures involved. I did not feel at liberty to ask Mr. _______ for the services of his staff, though he was good enough to give me the statistics already forwarded to the Board of Education, which must have entailed a week's work for many individuals. They concern, as stated, some 1,415 persons connected with the children attending one school, and I would add the following deduction from the figures given. The midday meal supplied to the children at home by their parents or caretakers consisted usually of either hot potatoes or cold tea and dry bread. The former fell to the lot of children whose mothers were at work, and when food was supplied midday by a paid outsider. It is noticeable that the person thus paid was willing to take the trouble to cook something which the unemployed mothers were not. In another important way the work of mothers appears to benefit the children, there is no law to compel the father to provide sufficient food for them, and he often gives but a fraction of his wages for this purpose even if his neglect lands him in the law court the compulsory allowance is very small.

The mother on the contrary seems to spend a far larger proportion of her earnings on food and her economic independence is consequently of great service to the children. Ideally the mother is required to keep the home in order, but where money is solely


[page 90]

at the disposal of the husband, and he is a drunkard, the best of mothers cannot prevent him from starving the family.

The last point on which I propose to touch is that of the medical examination of the children. In my last report I mentioned that I hoped to see all the children of one representative slum school examined by the medical officer. Ill-health prevented my doing this for more than the baby class, consisting of fifty-four infants. In September I was able to continue this work. The doctor employed by the local authority accompanied me, and we investigated very quickly, giving less than one minute to each child, the remainder of the school. Everything had been re-arranged in the interval. The number on the books was now 200, as compared with 223. Class 1 had been promoted to the school for older scholars. The baby class was now Class 3, and the new baby class consisted largely of new admissions. I drew up beforehand a table in this form, which enabled me to register Dr. _______'s verdict at the greatest possible speed:

One hundred and twenty-seven children were thus added to the original 54. For details of the 54 my former report must be consulted. In this one I deal only with these 127 children. I append Dr. _______ remarks and his own suggestions. It seems to me only fair to give these, but I must allow that I do not draw the same conclusions as he does with regard to (5), and I am obliged to add some serious reflections. I hope the Board of Education will believe that these are totally impersonal. Dr. _______ was most courteous and helpful, and I am grateful for the valuable assistance he gave me.

Ninety-eight out of the 127 children had some defect of serious importance. If requested by the Board, I will copy out the statistics for each child.

Among these 98 children I include cases where hair and clothes were particularly bad. If clothes only were involved, I leave the child out as satisfactory.

Eight cases of skin disease appear under Remarks, and 37 cases of glands, while the words anaemic or ill-fed are incessant. The skin disease was, I understood, infectious. Why were those children allowed to attend school? The conclusion I draw is decided.

The teachers in _______ are paid on the average attendance. This must not exceed the accommodation of the school. If the school accommodation equals 200, and the numbers in attendance equal 220, the teacher's salary is unaffected: but if it falls below the average attendance for any reason, her salary suffers.


[page 91]

Under such regulations it cannot always be easy to secure the exclusion of children suffering from infectious diseases. If it is done, the mistress might, under certain conditions, lose a well-deserved portion of her salary, and the local authority might lose the government grant payable on each unit of attendance.

I bring this report to a conclusion by appending a copy of the medical certificate of a doctor in _______:

"Having been asked for my opinion, I have no hesitation in saying that it is positively injurious to a child to commence any system of school education at the age of three. Neither letters nor numbers should be taught until after five years of age. Though lessons from (five omitted. - K. B.) to six years of age should not exceed one hour per day, it should be of the nature of kindergarten only. From six to seven years of age two hours is sufficient.

_______ L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S., L.L.A.,
Senior Physician to the _______ Infirmary".

"DEAR MISS BATHURST,

I enclose a note of the actual facts observed in our joint inspection of the infants at _______ School.

With regard to conclusions, I think these ought to be drawn by you as the Government's agent in making the inquiry, but as it is really difficult to interpret facts sometimes I append several suggestions for your consideration when writing your report. My statement of facts you can do what you please with, my suggestions you must think over, and, if used, adopt as your own. It has given me pleasure to be of any use to you.

On (2) and (5). Is not this an evidence of injudicious or improper feeding in early childhood, combined with the want of ability of a very young child to fend for itself or get adequate exercise and fresh air?

(5.) What is improper feeding in a very young child becomes suitable in a few years. The school life of young children presumably does not affect their health or development adversely. (I refer to babies and all classes above and in the Infant Department.) (It is to this conclusion that I take exception, no evidence was before us about the health of babies who did not attend school, and no inference could, in my opinion, be drawn in consequence.)

(3.) That the children attending _______ school are not drawn from the class where abject poverty obtains as the rule.

(4.) That tuberculosis, or rather the tendency to tuberculosis from hereditary taint, is present to a serious extent.

(2.) That rickets is very common in _______, but that in many cases there seems to be an almost natural cure.

Dr. _______,
Medical Officer."


[page 92]

"Infant Department, _______ School

The children were inspected somewhat rapidly, but the following points were carefully noted:

Condition of (a) teeth, (b) eyes and eyelids, (c) hair, (d) cervical glands, presence or absence of rickets or skin disease or evidence of tubercular taint or tendency, general nutrition, evidence of anaemia, amount and suitability and condition and cleanliness of clothing.

Speaking generally one noted:

1. That a large proportion of the children had bad teeth.
2. That among the babies specially rickets was very prevalent.
3. That as a rule the children were fairly well clad and nourished.
4. That a number of children were of tuberculous or scrofulous type.
5. That the babies were the least satisfactory as a whole and the children improved with age.
Some of the children were typically underfed, anaemic, wispy-haired, verminous, and dirty, but this was the exception. There were also noted a number of cases of impetigo, but no ringworm and almost no other skin disease. A great number of the children had enlarged cervical glands from one cause and another, and had the children been older, one would like to have examined the throat, probably many of them have enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

(Signed) _______
Medical Officer."

Note by the Board of Education on the method and procedure of Reporting by Inspector

There are not enough District Inspectors to enable each of the 20,000 schools in England and Wales to be visited every year by one of them, but the statements on page 76 in regard to the duties of Sub-Inspectors are not true of the practice prior to July, 1904. Two visits were paid in the year, often by different officers. H.M. Inspector himself paid the second visit in doubtful cases, if he could not do so in all. His staff entered full particulars of their inspection on what is known as a Result Form. At the second visit the first Result Form would usually be in the hands of the member of the staff visiting, and on the second Result Form he would generally, but not always, suggest a draft for the Report. H.M. Inspector then collated the Result Forms - he almost invariably had previously visited the school and frequently had further knowledge of the school circumstances and the teachers than the officer visiting. He also knew the special bent of different members of his staff, and was thereby enabled to standardise the final reports for the schools of the district.

It is untrue that a Sub-Inspector writes on the Result Form anything but the facts he sees, and if he submits to his Inspector a draft for a Report, it is his inference from the facts. H.M. Inspector might draw different conclusions as to which of the facts deserved to be reported on. If he had no special reason to the contrary, he might adopt his Sub-Inspector's draft report as his own.


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It is always possible that the reports furnished by the subordinate to the District Inspector may lack something in accuracy of statement or reasonableness of tone which the knowledge and experience of the Inspector may lead him to correct. The report to which this note is appended may suggest to the reader circumstances under which such action by an Inspector might be desirable in order to prevent inaccurate or prejudiced representations of fact going forth to the public with the sanction of the Board.

It is not the case that before June 1904 it was the practice for Junior Examiners to alter reports without reference to the Inspectors who had furnished them. The case referred to on pp. 77, 78 is not accurately described. The action of the Junior Examiner to which reference is there made was admittedly irregular and his apologies were offered to the Inspector. The words quoted were never used nor is there any foundation for the suggestion that the existence of a peer among the managers of the school in question in any way affected the treatment of the matter by the Board.




[page 95]

MISS CALLIS'S REPORT

I was instructed to carry out an enquiry into the work of infant schools, more especially as affecting children between three and five years of age: the manner of their training and the resulting advantages or disadvantages.

This Enquiry I carried out in Barry, Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea during April, May and June, and in London in the Greenwich District during the last four months of 1904. Additional interest was thus given to my work since the schools visited in Wales differed markedly from those visited in London. In writing this report, some amount of comparison between these schools has been unavoidable. Broadly speaking the differences are the result of the greater freedom from restriction enjoyed by the schools in Barry, Cardiff, and Swansea, leading to greater variety in the types of schools and in their internal working as compared with the hampering conditions imposed by the late London School Board which have tended to kill initiative and originality and to deaden enthusiasm.

The discipline in the Barry schools struck me forcibly as having something of the nature of the new spirit of school discipline existing in American schools as described by Mr. Herbert P. Rathbone in the Reports of the Mosely Educational Commission and at greater length in Volume X. of the Special Reports issued by the Board of Education. There is, too, in many of the schools in the boroughs named above a wider application of Froebelian principles producing Kindergarten schools of a sensible type; seen at their best in the town of Barry, which has been described as standing "in the fore-front of all educational enterprise in the Principality".

Further differences come out in the details of Forms 61.

Curriculum (see Form 61. A.3)

Table A. (page 118) gives an analysis of the time-tables in use for children of three to five years in thirty-eight schools. The figures are approximate only since lessons are curtailed to allow of marching, singing, etc., in all well managed schools. There is in this respect a wide difference between school and school as to the employment of children between lessons. In some, five minutes from the beginning and end of each lesson are taken for rest, song, talk or marching; in others the children pass from one lesson to another without a break and with nothing to relieve the monotony. Head teachers, when consulted about this matter, invariably say, "They are supposed to have singing and exercises between all lessons". But, as many teachers who are placed in charge of the babies have not sufficient insight into child nature, it is more often forgotten than not.

Equally wide differences appear in the amount of time allotted to the various subjects enumerated in A. 3 of Form 61. Thus


[page 96]

in one London Infant School 565 minutes per week are devoted to the three R's and 380 minutes to all other subjects, including physical exercises and manual work. In another London Infant School 175 minutes per week to the three R's and 965 minutes to remaining subjects. Both are large schools with fine halls, yet the former school time-table showed only twenty-five minutes set apart for physical exercises for three year old children, while in the latter they had 350 minutes.

Still further to emphasise these differences I have given at the end of Table A. the average number of minutes given to each subject per week and per class in those of the Welsh Council Schools which I visited and in the London Council Schools for purposes of comparison. The comparison is, I think, both interesting and instructive. The Barry Borough Council have now successfully worked their infant schools on kindergarten lines for some time and the distribution of time shewn by their time-tables is, in my opinion, far more rational than that obtaining in the majority of London schools. They are essentially infant schools for infants, and at the same time would compare most favourably with the best London schools as regards the attainments of children of the same age.

I should say that the aim of the infant school in London is to produce children who have already at six and a half years of age or thereabouts, mastered the work which properly belongs to Standard I. of the senior school; not primarily to help children to develop naturally and healthily according to the laws of their own being. Naturally enough this aim satisfies the senior schools. It is a fact that Class I., infants, averaging six and a half years of age, are, when promoted to some senior schools, examined in Standard I. work and failing to do themselves or their teachers justice are said "to know nothing". I have had this examination work shown to me to instance the backward state of children sent up from the infant school.

This aim influences the curriculum of the infant school and accounts for the large proportion of time given to the three R.'s and the disproportionately small time given to physical training, manual work, stories, and conversation. In schools where the head teacher, having the courage of her convictions, has arranged a more sensible course for children under five as in the _______ School already referred to, there is no falling off in the attainments of children between six and seven, but there is, I should say, distinct gain in intelligence and vital interest in work.

And this is also very true of the Barry schools and some of the Cardiff and Swansea schools, where the children are robust, vigorous and alive. Partly, of course, this is due to natural advantages of position, nearness to sea and country, but partly to the nature of the schoolwork.

The time-tables for children under five present certain common features in each district:


[page 97]

In Barry, Cardiff and Swansea one finds:

1. A story or nature lesson every morning generally at the beginning of secular instruction.
2. One lesson for games every morning and at least one for manual work.
3. In some schools the place of the three R's for babies is taken by talks, drawing, and games.
4. The afternoon is, as a rule, given entirely to occupations, singing, recitation, and games.
5. Needlework is rarely taken with children of five.
In London one finds:
1. The morning devoted mainly to the three R's with a fourth lesson for singing, object lesson, or recitation.
2. The afternoon divided between object lessons, manual work, needle work drills (omitted in some schools), singing or recitation, and further instruction in the three R's.
3. Kindergarten games once or twice a week and a short story lesson on Friday afternoons.
In the Barry and Cardiff Schools the main features of the work are the story and nature lessons with their correlated occupations.

In London the three R's bulk largely, and too little time s given to "expression" lessons.

Should Children wider Five be taught the three R's?

I think not, because:

1. It is misplaced energy: the question is not whether at this age children can be made to learn letters, etc., by dint of praiseworthy ingenuity and unlimited patience on the part of the teacher; but whether at this age they should be concerned with symbols when they have so little knowledge of real things- when they ought to be mainly occupied with growing and with establishing relations between themselves and the world around, chiefly the world of nature.

2. By the time Standard I. is reached the evidence shows that the child who starts the three R's at five is as forward by the time he reaches seven or eight years of age as the one who starts at three, if properly taught; and that the work is less tedious.

I was told by several good teachers that a child of five could be taught to read simple words in six months providing he was of average intelligence.

Writing presents no difficulty at this age, especially if the children have been allowed to draw.

The actual amount of arithmetic which can be properly taught to infants is small, and is limited by their inability to grasp ideas of numbers of any magnitude.

Further the faculty of memory is not well established earlier than from five to seven years of age.


[page 98]

Should Children under Five be taught Needlework?

I think needlework should not be taught at all before seven years of age. I am sure that children in Standard I. could do exactly the same exercises in needlework now required of them if they were not taught to sew before reaching Standard I. The degree of muscular co-ordination needed for the "making of a stitch" with needle properly held and thimble in position is beyond the stage of development reached by the nervous system of a child of five.

The chief objection is of course the strain on eyesight. My opinion is that the needle-threading drill taken with babies encourages, if it does not actually cause, strabismus. An oculist of wide experience whom I consulted about this matter writes as follows:

"1. Squint almost always occurs before the age of five. All eyes, especially squinting eyes, should be tested from time to time, and the defective ones attended to.

2. It is not momentary near work so much as prolonged near work which encourages strabismus; twelve minutes' work at twelve inches (the closest at which continuous work should be attempted) would be more likely to induce or accentuate strabismus than half a minute at six inches. Even momentary use of the eyes at closer than six inches should be forbidden.

3. Short sight is what is most to he dreaded in school work. It is in most cases avoidable even where there is strong hereditary tendency by insisting on good light, good print, etc., never work nearer than twelve inches, frequent relaxation of focus of eyes (e.g., looking at blackboard or a distant object), very moderate use of the eyes. No near work at all if the child is ill. Sitting upright and avoiding hanging the head down and crouching and stooping over work."

I have quoted at some length these opinions of a specialist because I think they support my contention that children under five should not be taught the three R's nor yet needlework. So long as children are put to books and to needlework at this age will their eyesight suffer, because teachers do not see that they assume suitable hygienic positions at work and check the natural tendency to relieve strain by looking away from their books or their work by the command, "Keep your eyes on your books". Fortunately nature safeguards her own interests by making little children restless and prone to look at everything going on around them instead of gazing at their books.

Lastly, by postponing formal instruction in the three R's to a later period, we should simplify the organisation of infant schools and render the work of the teacher easier. All children of five would be ready to start at the same point, having spent the period between three and five either at school or at home in getting knowledge of things at first hand; in exercising growing powers of body and mind naturally, and in learning how to talk; which last should be the natural prelude to learning how to read. At present we try to teach children to read before they can talk.


[page 99]

There is, so far as I can see, no danger at present of our prolonging unduly the kindergarten stage in infant schools: rather is there a danger of hurrying the children out of it too quickly in the haste to prepare them for scholarships or for senior schools.

I wish to emphasise in the strongest possible way what I believe to be at present a real danger in the schools of the L.C.C. viz.: the system of transferring from the infant to the senior departments all children as a rule who will be seven years of age before the end of the next educational year†: i.e., that in July, 1904, all children would practically be transferred to senior departments who had reached their sixth birthday. In some districts in London, considerable pressure is, I understand, brought to bear upon infants' mistresses to enforce this rule. Obviously many children are totally unfit at this early age to stand the strain of the more exacting conditions of senior schools. Many children of seven and even of eight years of age are "Infants" still as far as brain development goes.

It is during the "Infant" age that children are liable to various infantile diseases of an infectious character, such as, measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever, mumps, chicken pox, etc. Children recovering from any one of these are, for varying periods of time, unfit to undergo any strain mental or physical and for a time "lose ground". This should be taken into account in deciding when a child is fit to be transferred to the senior department.

In the poorest districts where many children are ill-nourished and undersized it is even more important to prolong the period in the infant school, until the completion of the seventh year. It would be advisable in such schools to determine, by some simple methods, such as I saw used by Dr. Eichholz in a very poor school, what percentage of children were below par mentally and physically (for the two generally go together), for the percentage of cases to be recorded in the Log-Book for reference, and for the work to be arranged and judged accordingly.

Further, the very rapid rate of brain-growth at this age should be borne in mind. If the brain practically attains full size and weight by about seven or eight years of age - it is obviously of the utmost importance that no undue strain should be put upon it during this period of rapid growth. Yet without some undue pressure the majority of elementary school children cannot be prepared to enter Standard I. in senior schools at six to six and a half years of age.

Some faults in the present system of training little children

1. The children have to sit still in desks or on galleries far too long at a stretch and they have too few opportunities for movement and for play. Children of three and four under normal healthy

†The amended rule reads "all children who will be seven before the end of the first half of the next educational year".


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conditions are always running about and dislike sitting still; it is not natural that these activities of the developing child should be ruthlessly checked and thwarted. The result of hindering development on natural lines is to produce either the dull apathetic child or the 'naughty' child.

2. There is no resting time in many class-rooms: the children are 'talked at' throughout the school period, the unfortunate baby-teacher wears out herself and her charges by this never-ending stream of talk. And this is another fruitful source of the apathy so common in our schools.

3. The mental activity of the children is often starved for lack of sufficient material on which to exercise their powers of observation and of opportunity to handle objects and toys even when they have been provided. Everyone is familiar with the beautiful large toys provided in many schools which are kept behind glass doors or in cupboards.

Suggestions as to curriculum suitable for children between three and five years of age

Since at three a child's activities are chiefly physical, all work should come to him in the form of play - formal instruction being banished from this stage - and education be carried on by means of games, songs, stories, manual work, etc., and by giving the child unlimited means of expressing himself in speech, action, use of materials and in play.

All handwork suggested for children under five, should deal with comparatively large and simple things - small sticks, small beads, thread laying and fraying are unsuitable. Bricks larger than the blocks in Froebel's "Gifts" might be provided in larger quantities, with which the children could build together on the floor. Drawing, sandwork, ball games and clay-modelling are all good. If the baby room be freed from its gallery, blackboards or slates could be placed round the walls for drawing.

Use should be made of everything in the child's surroundings likely to be of interest to him; it should be the teacher's business to surround him with whatever is possible in the world of nature in which he is likely to be interested.

As an instance of what can be done to interest even children young as these in things around them I quote the following list of conversational lessons taken with babies of three to five between Christmas and the beginning of July in a Barry Council School. No special scheme was prepared except by the teacher week by week, and the objects taken were all such as could be kept in the classroom in a more or less natural state or be seen in the neighbourhood of the school.


[page 101]

Cock and hen
Duck and swan
Sea gull
Pigeon and dove
Blackbird
Rook
Owl
Robin
Snail (land)
Snail (water)
Tadpoles and spawn
Water-beetle
Tadpoles
Caddis worm
Fish, minnow
Farmyard
Hyacinth bulb
Buds
Hazel catkins
Snowdrop
Daffodil
Primrose
Hyacinth grown in water
Our aquarium
Cowslip
Bluebell.


A Barry Borough Council Infant School.

Time Table for Babies of three years old


[page 102]

A Barry Borough Council Infant School

Time Table for Children of 4½ to 5 years

Specimen Day's Work for Children under Five, taken from the Time Table in use in a London County Council Infant School


[page 103]

Notes Appended to above Time Table:

1. A finger play or song at the beginning or end of each lesson.

2. Five or ten minutes at the end of a long afternoon lesson to be left to the children for free use of the material in hand.

3. Groups of children to play with toys in a separate room under care of a teacher.

4. Groups of children for "gardening" under the care of the head or some other teacher at least forty-five minutes per week, according to the weather.

5. Groups of children for walks with a teacher to _______ Park for home-lore and nature lessons.

Staff (see Form 61, A.1.)

Staff employed in these thirty -eight schools in teaching children under five. -

For the twenty-one schools in Barry, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea having 2,768 children under five on roll there were: - nine certificated teachers; seven trained kindergarteners; thirty-one assistant teachers; six supplementary teachers.

In London seventeen schools having 1,381 children under five on roll: nineteen trained certificated teachers; two untrained certificated teachers; three supplementary teachers; 2 Article 50's; three pupil-teachers.

The seven trained kindergarten teachers were in the four schools under the Barry Council - ^they were trained at the Froebel Institute, Cheltenham Ladies' College, Dulwich High School K.G. Department, Bedford K.G. College, and the Blackheath K.G. College.

The head teachers spoke in the highest terms of the work of these teachers. The combination of certificated teachers of greater experience in managing large classes with the framed kindergarten teachers and their wider knowledge of the principles underlying the education of young children seems here to be eminently successful. I think the policy of the Barry Council first in appointing these teachers and secondly in giving suitable remuneration to them is sound. (The salary for a teacher holding the Higher Froebel certificate is the same as that of a certificated teacher.)

Having learnt from their study of Froebelian methods and principles to respect the individuality of the children and to help the natural unfolding of their powers, mental and physical, by surrounding them with a suitable environment and to refrain from overmuch interference and instruction, one finds in the classes in charge of the framed kindergartener a happy, wholesome spirit of freedom and activity.

The nearest approach to this, I venture to say, is oftenest met with in the work of the supplementary teacher, who led by instinct and by sympathy with little children, attains a similar result. The college trained teacher, besides being an expensive person, is apt to demand too much from these children out of a conscientious desire to do her duty by her employers; she feels the necessity of having


[page 104]

"results" to show for her work at the end of the term. Indeed she frankly says so.

What is wanted for children under five is more the kind of aptitude and training which would fit a girl to become a nurse. Brightness, sympathy, and love of little children are essential as well as tact in managing children.

Were it clearly understood that the kind of schoolroom discipline which is necessary and beneficial for older children was not wanted in the baby room, and that further, girls taking up this work would not be required forthwith to take up classes and pass examinations, I believe plenty of people could be found to do the work which is now done by the supplementary teachers and most effectively. A little preliminary experience gained by helping in a baby room in a good school is all the training some of these teachers have had, who, nevertheless, manage little children with skill and sympathy.

Thus numbers of trained certificated teachers would be liberated to supply the upper part of the infant schools, and the baby-room become a sort of nursery-school under a less exacting management.

Suggestions as to Rooms, Furniture, etc.

1. The room occupied by children under five should be near an exit to the playground so that these children may frequently in suitable weather use the playground without disturbing the rest of the school.

2. It should have a sunny aspect and be large and airy, cumbered with neither gallery nor desks, so that practically the whole floor space would be available for games, marching, etc.

3. Small light wooden chairs of varying sizes and light kindergarten tables to seat about a dozen children would provide suitable accommodation for the children for manual work, and other occupations. These could be easily arranged and easily put against the wall to clear the centre of the room for games by the children themselves, with the help of their " guardians".

4. Another important point is the position of the offices. The buildings are in many cases planned in such a way as to give the maximum possible distance between the baby room and the offices [toilets] - often there is the whole length of the hall plus the length of the playground to be traversed.

5. A plentiful supply of untearable picture books in addition to the wall pictures should be provided for the children's use and durable, inexpensive plain wooden toys should take the place of the more costly models at present provided.

There is a light kind of safety swing which I saw in many of the Barry infant schools which seemed to give much more pleasure to the children than the rocking-horse.


[page 105]

Schools in a London District

Approximate number of infants (a) over five, (b) under five years of age.

The Schools in four boroughs in South Wales

The figures quoted for the Welsh schools were taken during the period when infant schools as a rule have their maximum attend-

*Schools always full, obliged to refuse admission to many children under five.

†Schools still maintained by a School Board at the time of the enquiry.

‡Very good neighbourhood.


[page 106]

ance, i.e., between Easter and Midsummer. There is usually a great influx of young children after Easter especially in mild weather, and promotions to the senior schools are not made until the end of July. Consequently, without due care on the part of teachers and managers, there is "habitual overcrowding", especially of baby-rooms at this period.

Thus in one Newport School there were 595 children on roll for the week before Easter and 665 on roll during the week ending April 29th, 1904; the increase being chiefly of children under five.

But in _______ it seems to me the most serious over-crowding exists at this period - due possibly to the fact that, as I understand, the salaries of head teachers depend upon the average attendance. Therefore so long as the average attendance does not exceed the accommodation no steps are taken to avoid this habitual over-crowding from Easter to Midsummer. I quote one conspicuous instance in a _______ County Borough Infant School - which I visited in mid June. Here the children under five present numbered 278, and they were crowded into two rooms containing dual desks with seating accommodation for 208 children only, and scarcely any floor space available for movement. The only lessons taken out of doors were the kindergarten games, occupying one and a half hours per week. These children had to be kept sitting in desks in this crowded condition far too long and had little opportunity for movement; there could be no suitable training under such conditions - conditions far from hygienic.

In the Newport School previously referred to, one class of new children were working in the stock and stores room, forms had been placed round this room on which the children were crowded. The ventilation was insufficient.

In Cardiff during the same period where the schools were full the head teachers were refusing admission to children under five. The mothers were simply advised to keep the children at home for a few months; this they did not seem to mind in the least.

If children under five are admitted it is highly desirable that the present system of including their attendances in the percentages of returns made out for the whole school should be abolished. Because their attendances are so included so long as their names are on the books, both teachers and attendance officers must try to secure their regular attendance both morning and afternoon. The officers are liable to reprimand for lack of zeal if their returns are not good. But for this babies might frequently, and to their good, be kept at home in the afternoon, for sleep or to be taken out by their mothers, in all but the poorer neighbourhoods. I think they might attend regularly in the morning and be encouraged to stay at home in the afternoon until they reach the age of five.


[page 107]

Information Gained from the Attendance Officers in Cardiff

1. As to occupation of mothers. The men in charge of the district near the docks reported that about 30 per cent of the mothers of children attending schools in these neighbourhoods were employed in sorting and unloading vegetables and fruit.

That a further number were engaged in charing - cleaning the offices near the docks - lighting fires in the winter time, etc.

In the Irish quarter, _______, many of the mothers sold vegetables and flowers in the streets.

In other parts of _______ steam laundries and a large pipe factory employed numbers of women.

2. Asked to express their opinions as to the advisability of sending children to school at three years of age, I found the majority of the men considered it too young except in districts where insanitary conditions prevailed.

One man, an old soldier, with twelve children had sent them all to school at three because (1) he had the right to do so, (2) because they were kept in better order at school than at home and got used to discipline.

The senior officer had eight children and sent the first five at three years of age and the last three at five years. He said the latter three were better scholars at thirteen than the others.

3. Asked whether they brought any pressure to bear on mothers to send children under five regularly to school, the majority of the men said they left it entirely to the mothers. Three of the men working in the poorer parts of the town said they asked that the children under five might be sent to school (1) because of insanitary conditions of the dwellings and (2) and perhaps chiefly, because the older children were frequently kept at home to "mind" the younger ones.

4. Reasons given as to why so many children were sent to school at three years of age:

(a) A popular head teacher or babies' teacher brought children to school (as at _______ Road and _______ Infant Schools). Where the school was attractive the little ones asked to go with their brothers and sisters.

(b) Because it was the custom and the law permitted.

(c) Because it was convenient and left the mothers in the better districts free to go out, and in the poorer districts to spend the time in gossip and, the men also said, in drinking.

(d) Poverty compelled many mothers to send their children to school while they were out at work as in the case of widows.


[page 108]

(e) That the elder children should not be kept at home to look after the younger ones. At three years of age children become tiresome to mind, apt to get into mischief and to run into danger.
The men were of opinion that d and e were obviously reasons why these young children should be admitted to school.

5. The attendance officers, who seemed to know the conditions of the homes in their respective districts intimately, said that in certain of the poorer parts of the town the improper feeding of the children accounted for much sickness, skin eruptions, etc. Generally in bad cases the aid of officers of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children was invoked quietly and much help given.

In three of the London Boroughs it would seem that in the poorer parts a certain proportion of the mothers go out to work - chiefly charing, laundry work, street-selling, helping market gardeners, and in Woolwich a small proportion I understand work in the Arsenal.

The reasons given by the Cardiff attendance officers as to why children are sent to school under five years of age would apply in any district. Where the mothers do not actually go out to work, the popularity of the school, large families, bad management or laziness account for the fact that so many children enter school soon after they become three.

There is need in the more densely populated districts of provision, for children under three, of some sort of Creche. In the case of mothers out to work all the day, the care of these children is a difficulty.

Methods adopted for obtaining information required for Form 61, B and C

The first essential was to make, in each school visited, accurate lists of the children admitted at five years of age or later, in those classes in which tests were to be made. These were, in the case of the Welsh schools, 1st class infants who were to be promoted in from one to three months' time to Standard I. in senior schools. In the London schools where I started work immediately after promotions had been made, Standard I. and Standard II. were usually taken; the tests being given in junior mixed or senior schools where there was no Standard I. in the infant school.

These lists of children entering school at five years of age or later (to be hereafter distinguished as "5+ children" in contradistinction to "5- children" used to denote those entering school before five years) were most carefully made and verified by myself


[page 109]

with, as a rule, the help of the head teacher. The class registers were taken and each child looked up in the admission register to find date of birth and date of admission. In the case of children admitted from other schools elder brothers or sisters were consulted or a note sent to the mother.

Before testing the children the classes were arranged in two sections so that the 5+ could be readily distinguished from the 5- children.

Children not attending School till they have reached Five Years of Age. (See Form 61, B)

(i.) In the thirty-eight schools visited for the purpose of carrying out this enquiry the final answer to the question "Are the children who are not sent to school till they have reached five years of age less orderly than those who have been sent to school earlier?" was invariably "No", generally a most emphatic "No".

Cases of hesitation on the part of the head teacher I put down to a natural fear that it would cast some reflection on the school discipline if children entering earlier and having the advantage of longer school training were no better than those coming later - since on calling out the latter section to the front the teachers failed to point out any child more tiresome than the average. Usually they were described as docile and tractable, falling quickly into the ordinary school routine.

(ii.) Reading. Tested in large schools by hearing representative children from each section, chosen partly by the class teacher, partly by myself, read aloud. In smaller schools all the children read.

Writing. Samples of writing done in an ordinary lesson examined, in many cases sets of papers for future reference taken away.

Number. In the Welsh infant schools visited as no formal written arithmetic except on the blackboard is taken, the children were tested orally by myself or the class teacher or both, and the work of the two sections compared.

Here I must note what struck me very much in these Barry and Cardiff schools, the all-round quickness and accuracy in answering questions in arithmetic due, I think, to the children being free to concentrate all their attention on the mental process. This work compared most favourably with that in London schools.

In the London schools, the arithmetic was tested by oral and written work. For the latter two sums were given by the class teacher and the average number right, per child, in each section, recorded.


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(iii.) The children's powers of observation were tested (a) by hearing an object lesson"^ "given, (b) by questioning children on recent object lesson, (c) by asking children to enumerate and describe pictures in the hall or large schoolroom, (d) by asking the children to describe flowers distributed to the class (chiefly in Wales), or (e) by getting the children in schools near a main road to draw a tram car. Two or three of these methods were adopted in each school.

(iv.) Originality tested by (a) "Picture-making" - children being asked to draw illustrations of a familiar story or nursery rhyme such as "Red Riding Hood" or "Jack and Jill", (b) drawing anything they liked, (c) making in clay or plasticine anything they liked, and (d) by asking children to write down on paper "What they would like to do best on a holiday?" These papers were kept for future reference, after the average number of ideas per child written down had been recorded.

(v.) Powers of expression tested in Welsh schools chiefly by asking the children to tell portions of the story which was forming part of the work for the month. In London the children were encouraged to talk about anything which might suggest itself - pictures in school, toys, animals, etc.

Children in Standard I. (see Form 61. C.)

"Is there any evidence that the attainments of children who have come to school under five years of age are higher than of those sent later?"

In Wales evidence was looked for only in infant schools. The attainments of the two sections 5+ and 5- were compared in the highest classes.

In London the transfer forms of the children promoted to senior departments in July, 1904, were obtained, by means of the admission register the 5 + and 5- children separated and the percentage then taken in each section of the children who were promoted to a higher class than the one in which they had been working during the previous educational year.

In all cases the head teacher and the class teachers were consulted before any final decisions were made.

Summing up of results set out in Table B (page 122) showing information gained in answer to questions in Form 61 B. and C.

These are, I think, sufficiently convincing that children under five are better without any formal instruction, and that they make equal progress out of school except where the home influence is such as to militate against progress of any kind.

It is seen that in the majority of cases the work of children coming at five is either better or equal to the average work of the other children in the school, and the cases in which it falls below this average arc comparatively few. Looking into these cases in


[page 111]

which the work of the children starting school life at five falls below that of the children starting at three, the evidence collected shows that the falling of is due to the following causes. Firstly, the children come from poor homes. Secondly, children under five are rationally treated and do less, not more in the way of routine work and have plenty of freedom and movement. There is, therefore, no evidence that the child who enters school at five or even six years of age is handicapped on reaching Standard I. by having had previously no formal instruction in the three R's. On the contrary, he enters school with equal if not better powers of observation and as great a command of language as the child who entered at three. Moreover, he has a wider experience of many things outside the ordinary class-room routine but pertinent to the life of the child and of value to it. One is struck by his mental alertness and natural interest in everything around. This natural interest contrasts strongly with the, so to speak, forced interest shown by children long accustomed to school routine under the stimulus of the teaching of a "good disciplinarian".

Two excellent illustrations of this occur to me, one in a South Wales and one in a London School. At _______ Road, _______, the first week after Easter the Head teacher admitted a flock of new children, sixty-one of whom were five or over and had never been to school. I spent some time with them and found them bright, eager, very talkative, ready to be interested in anything. All had some notions of number. Altogether a "promising" class.

In _______ Road, _______, Division B. of Standard I. were almost entirely children entering school late, many at six years; these were doing good work in the three R.'s. They were very spirited, intelligent children, and showed keen interest in their work.

I also noted that neither head teachers nor class teachers could, as a rule, point out in the top classes of the infant school those children who had not been admitted until five or six years of age; showing clearly that they were not markedly backward or in any way to be specially distinguished as being a drag on the work of the class.

Frequently on bringing out these 5+ children for the purpose of grouping them, the class teacher would say, "These are nearly all my best children". Though they had escaped the drilling and training of the baby-room, not only were they none the worse for it, but except in the case of children coming from poor, neglected homes, were in possession of a buoyancy of spirit, an eager curiosity which had been drilled out of the less fortunate children who, coming to school at three, had so successfully learnt to "sit still while teacher talks"; a remark I have many times heard in the baby-room.

In the opinion of many teachers these children show more promise though they may be behind the others m routine work. They have more initiative and are less like little machines.


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That there are people, teachers, officials, and others, who need convincing that the first five or six years of child life are required for physical growth and for that self-education which children carry on best without injudicious interference, has been strongly borne in upon me by this work. Who is responsible for the fact that one can any day go into many infant schools in London, and find during the so-called playtime rows of little children sitting on a gallery in the baby-room - some probably eating their lunch - without hearing one child speak or seeing one child happily playing? To the lover of little children this is suggestive of much. But who is responsible or who has been responsible in the past?

First perhaps there has been the inspector who expects babies to sit still and to answer only when questioned and then only individually. Secondly, and more to be heeded in view of future promotions, the School Board official. Thirdly, the head teacher trained under the old examination code and unable to shake off its influence. And lastly, the unsuitable class teacher who has to "take her turn" with the babies. I hardly need say that this is the darker side of the picture - but - it should not be there.

The following results from twenty-one schools in Barry, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, having 8,558 children on roll show how children who are not sent to school till they are five years of age compare with those sent before five (see Form 61. B).

(i.) Reading. In four schools these children learnt more quickly; in ten schools they were average scholars; in six schools they were backward (three in Welsh-speaking districts).

Writing. No difference discoverable in any of these schools.

Number. In two schools these children were brighter; in fifteen schools they were average scholars; in three schools they were backward.

(ii.) Observation. In eight schools these children were more observant; in ten schools they were equally observant; in two schools they were less observant.

(iii.) Originality. In six schools these children showed more originality; in thirteen schools they were equal; in one school they showed less originality.

(iv.) Powers of Expression. In seven schools these children were more fluent; in seven schools they were equally fluent; in six schools they were less fluent.

Is there any evidence that the attainments of children who have come to school under five years of age are higher than of those sent later? (see Form 61. C.)

Yes, in four schools. A more particular enquiry into the cause of this brought out in the case of three schools facts which seem to me to have an important bearing upon other parts of the enquiry connected with Section A. These three schools, two in Barry and one in Cardiff, have already in differing degree anticipated the pressing need for reform in the nature of the work required


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from children between three and five years of age. The babies' room in these schools more nearly approximates to the type of nursery-school really needed for children of this age. In the _______ Street School, which I should place first, no elementary work is taken with three-year-old children and much time is spent out of doors in suitable weather. Elsewhere I give their time-table at length.

In a second school, number only is taken with the youngest children, and in a third the baby-room is more like a happy nursery than a schoolroom and the numbers were small. I The fourth school is in Swansea in a Welsh-speaking district. The babies speak Welsh at home, and understand very little English, consequently the children entering late are at a disadvantage for some time until more used to English.

Of the remaining seventeen schools, two gave no evidence either way, and fifteen gave no evidence that children entering before five were more advanced than those entering later. On the contrary, in six of these the latter children were above the average. This may be partly but not entirely explained by their coming from better homes in many cases.

NOTE. One of the Swansea schools, _______, is omitted from the table of results as there were only two children entering school after five years of age.

The following results from seventeen schools in a London district, having 5,056 children on roll, show how children who are not sent to school till they are five years of age compare with those sent before five, (see Form 61. B.)

(i.) Reading. In five schools these children learnt more quickly; in eleven schools they were average scholars; in two schools they were backward.

Writing. No difference in any school noted.

Number. In seven schools these children did better work; in eight schools they were average scholars; in two schools they were slightly backward.

(ii.) Observation. In three schools these children were more observant; in thirteen they were equally observant; in one they were less observant.

(iii.) Originality. In seven schools these children showed more originality; in nine schools they were equal; in one school they showed less originality.

(iv.) Powers of Expression. In nine schools these children were more fluent; in six schools they were equally fluent; in two schools they were less fluent.

Is there any evidence that the attainments of children who have come to school under five years of age are higher than of those sent later? (see Form, 61. C.)

Yes, in two schools only out of seventeen. One of these schools, _______ Road, is in a very poor neighbourhood and the children


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gain undoubtedly by being in school between three and five. The other, the _______ Road School, is attended by a class of very stolid, dull children who need much rousing. These also benefit by being in school.

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT

I have to add to my report submitted February 1st observations made in eight London schools and in ten rural schools in Kent.

In the London schools I endeavoured (a) to supplement the evidence gained in answer to C Form 61; (b) to obtain facts as to the eyesight of children in schools; and (c) to see if any relation can be traced between physical condition and mental proficiency.

(a) Children in Standard I. (see Form 61. C.)

The conclusions I arrived at earlier in the course of this work were only strengthened and confirmed by the evidence gathered from the eight other London schools. Taking children at seven or eight years of age, working in Standard I. or II., I find those entering school at five years or later quite hold their own and in many cases outstrip children entering at three or four years of age. Higher up in the school, this difference disappears. In Standards V., VI. and VII. there is no difference between the work of children starting school life at three and of children starting at five which cannot be traced directly to other causes - varying degrees of mental power, health, and the like. The _______ Road Council School, _______, furnishes useful evidence in answer to C. Form 61. Since the opening of the school some five years ago children under five in the infant school have received no instruction in the three R.'s - a special and appropriate scheme of work including much manual work, physical exercise, gardening, etc., having been drawn up for them. Standard I. children in this school are, however, quite up to the required stage in elementary work in addition to having also taken up a large amount of nature work and practical gardening in connection therewith. The children read well (Miss Dale's method), write well, and find no difficulty in getting through the arithmetic of Standard I. I may add that the gardening done in this school yields much pleasure and profit to the little gardeners - even the children under five taking their appropriate share in the work. Elsewhere I give a specimen day's work from the time-table for the babies.

(b) Facts as to Eyesight

I went through all cases of defective vision in the _______ Road Council School together with the overflow school for Junior Boys, _______ School with a view to discovering whether there was any connection between cases of defects in vision and the age at which the children came to school. I could discover none. The total accommodation of the schools is 1,946. The attendance


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is steady and the population not a migratory one, so that the school was a suitable one for tracing children through from the infant department. In some of the cases of defective vision the children had come to school at three, in some cases at five or six years of age.

The one fact which did appear in this and other schools was that defects in vision are more common among girls than among boys. Dr. Critchley, oculist to the L.C.C., very kindly supplied me with the following figures: Of 15,000 boys 23.0 per cent have defective vision; of 15,000 girls 27.96 per cent have defective vision.

A separate analysis of three higher grade schools gives these figures:

Defective vision
Boys
per cent
Girls
per cent
In the "_______"11.421.2
_______ Road14.822.2
_______ Street14.421.2

Dr. _______ further writes, "The acuity of vision increases with every year of school age, therefore it is of extremest importance that the position at the desk and needlework conditions should be very carefully superintended during the early years of school life, which to my mind includes the necessity of expunging needlework from the infants' time-tables".

In actual practice in schools, the infant of five years, with reading book or paper for writing, placed on the flat kindergarten desk, is usually writing or reading with the eyes from three to six inches away from book or paper - he is not tall enough to get very far away even if sitting in an upright position. As, at this age I understand, most children's eyes are hypermetropic, the strain on the muscles of accommodation of the eye, must be very great and frequently harmful. Reading from books should therefore be postponed until a later period as well as writing between lines on ordinary school writing paper.

Further, children suffering from squint are allowed to do needlework even in the infant school at the age of five.

(c) Relation between Physical Condition and Mental Proficiency

Any exact statements as to relations traceable between these could only be made by an expert and would involve the obtaining of facts and figures as to relative height, weight, etc. I made, however, a note of the following instances:

1. After any epidemic of such infectious diseases as measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, etc., the children are for some time obviously unfit on their return to school to attend to the ordinary school lessons and progress is temporarily at a standstill.

At _______ Infant School visited last November, the Medical Officer of Health told me that


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practically every child in the school had had an attack of German measles. The children were then just returning to school after the prescribed period of absence, but were evidently unfit to attend to lessons of the ordinary length - they were languid and easily fatigued. I advised the head teacher to shorten all lessons to half time with rest or play between until the children's health was better established.

Another case at _______ School occurred at the end of 1904. About half of the children had had measles before Christmas and had to be carefully watched on their return, they seemed to have so little vitality. The head teacher thought that they were fit for work in from four to six weeks after their return to school.

2. In such parts of the district as are contained in three South London riverside boroughs, the children are of poor physique and low vitality, suffer from insufficiency of sleep and of fresh air. Correspondingly the standard of attainments is very low.

3. Children with defects of vision accompanied by feeble nutrition are invariably backward and dull.

Rural Schools. Turning from town to country schools I was chiefly struck first by the health and vigour of the children and secondly by the general absence of any attempt to utilise the abundant provision at hand for interesting the children in the world of nature, I must except a Council School in a Kent village, where an admirable scheme of nature work combined with practical gardening is taken up with enthusiasm by teachers and scholars. Unfortunately this enthusiasm for nature work has not yet overflowed to the infant department.

The schools visited with their number on roll were:

Of these ten schools, in six the infants were working in well-lighted, well-ventilated rooms. The remaining four had small inconvenient rooms for the infants, crowded, and in one case, occupied also by Standards I. and II. of the mixed school.

The time-tables in use with two exceptions showed a clinging to the old style of examination work - too much time given to the three


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R's and to needlework. Six were on the whole sensible, four were bad and would most certainly not "minimise fatigue" for little children. In the _______ National School, the unfortunate babies had five number lessons on one day of the week, four of twenty minutes each and one at the end of the afternoon of ten minutes. The explanation of this was that the infants were backward in number which was not surprising in view of their timetable. These same babies had kindergarten (so-called) copy-books and the first class infants coloured outline maps of the Eastern hemisphere for one of their "occupations". This was the only rural school in which I thought that children under five were any the worse for being in school. With such a time-table and working in the same room with older infants and Standards I. and II. necessitating quiet lessons with little variety or movement, no wonder they were dull.

Children under five m rural schools do not appear to suffer as town children do from being over-instructed nor from being herded together in large numbers. Usually the few children under five amuse themselves during part of the day with bricks or beads while the teacher is occupied with the older children. Neither is sitting still so harmful to them since many of them tramp from one to two and even three miles to school on their sturdy little legs and need the rest. Even with inconvenient buildings, except in the worst cases, I think it is quite an easy matter to make school-life wholesome and rational for these babies. During the winter months very young children coming long distances are kept at home and during the spring and summer months much time can be spent out of doors.

In two of the above National Schools the children are bright and natural and seem very happy.

Children in Standard I. (See Form 61 C.)

Apparently in these rural schools the attainments of children sent to school under five are much the same as of those sent later. In nine schools the children in standards V. VI. and VII. wrote me a composition on the same suggested topic. Looking through these with the head master, I got them roughly classified as "good" or "average" scholars. We found no difference between the work of five + and five - children other than could be accounted for in a perfectly natural way.

In bringing this Report to a close I should like to note that since this Enquiry was started in April last, various improvements have been effected in many baby-rooms; and many time-tables have been remodelled as a result of discussions opened up by the requirements of Form 61.

C. L. CALLIS.

March 11th, 1905.


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MISS HEALE'S REPORT

Beyond question in poor neighbourhoods, it is better for babies of three even, to be in school under the care of teachers who do a great amount of work wholly apart from time-tables, inspections and salary. They really look after the babies and infants, teach them how to behave well at meals by seeing how they eat their lunch, make them tidy up the crumbs and clear away the papers. They see that their heads, hands and faces are clean, that their clothes are fastened up, they get the mothers to wash the children and their clothes, they see to sores, bruises, cuts - tie up, salve and bandage. They ask parents of better-off children to let them have boots, shoes, clothes for the poorer children, they get their friends to send them clothes, they buy food for the toddlers, who sometimes come to school in tears from hunger. The babies undoubtedly improve in growth and physique on coming to school, the regularity of the hours, after the universal dishevelment and disorder, and confusion and noise with which their senses have been distracted, the kindly voice in place of the cruel threat, the lifting up and down, the being talked to, the having lunch, the warmth and the companionship, all help the babies to grow. The sitting during so much of the morning and afternoon cannot be so harmful in poor neighbourhoods as it would appear at first sight, because it is the only time in the day probably that they are sitting. In many of the homes from which they come there are few, if any, chairs, and I cannot recall one that was of a suitable height for a child.

The teachers are so kind, patient, and good to their children that to criticise their work is a hard task. It was only natural that they should be unable to help me much in discussing the question of the suitability of teaching babies of three; they had been so doing for years, and had never doubted its wisdom. The weak points in infant teaching seem to me to have been rather forced upon the teachers by outside pressure. The extraordinary amount of repetition and the constant appeal to the children to remember, must have come from being expected to reach a standard of attainment beyond what^might be reasonably looked for in infants. The object lessons are generally failures, the teacher talks too much, tells the children all that they should have found out, the objects are frequently conspicuous by their absence and the subjects chosen are not suitable. The efforts to get the children to talk fail from attaching value to words apart from objects and actions. The vocabulary of an infant from three to six years of


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age must be very limited, and the fallacy of teaching words apart from that which they represent, has been pointed out over and over again. The ill effects of this merely verbal knowledge follow the child all through the elementary school, and those who become teachers show it again in their examination papers; words, words, mere words with no sense, meet one in every class. The teachers agree that the attempt to teach babies number was a strain on them, and they admitted that the only way in which they could get any "results" was by perpetual repetition. The children say quite glibly two and one are three, but I saw a teacher try to get a class to say how many more three was than two, and fail utterly. She had three sticks in one hand, two in the other, and she went round to individual children, but could not get them to see.

The teaching of letters is often made into a good game, but there is little point in knowing the name and sounds of symbols that your intelligence is not yet strong enough to apply. I have found children still not capable of naming and sounding letters after two years in school. If a child's intelligence is abnormally acute, there is a risk of exhausting it, and instances have often occurred where the bright child of the infant school has become a dullard in the standard school.

All needlework drill might be discarded as it is merely a way of using up time in the wearisome repetition of a futile task. The stepped galleries and the seats which take more than two infants are a great hindrance to the quick and continual movement which is so much needed in the teaching of babies and infants. A teacher confronted with a stepped gallery, very high in some cases, and with long seats in which from ten to twelve babies are seated may be forgiven if she fails to move as many infants as the lesson would allow; it takes time to travel over babies' feet and knees and to climb down the steps. The teacher feels her work is being hindered, and that there will be nothing to show at the visit of inspection.

I should venture to suggest that in poor neighbourhoods infants should be admitted and registered from three years old, and that the areas within which such infants' schools are conducted should be determined by the rateable value of the house property and the density of the population. This would require no fresh machinery to ascertain.

Admission should take place twice a year only just before the close of the school year, and six months or so later. Babies of three and four should not be allowed to go to the offices alone, but there should be some suitable woman at every such infant school to take the children. Under one or two of the old School Boards two monitresses were attached to each infant school to help the teachers in all these matters. The teacher cannot leave the class.

There should be a small medicine chest at every infant school with remedies for colic, bruises, cuts, bandages; small pieces of linen, sticking plaster, etc., and these things should not be bought by the teachers. The woman attached to the school should know how to


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give first aid and how to deal with fits, etc. The hours of the afternoon session should be shortened, and the last half-hour given to games, out or in, according to weather; the infants cannot always in town.s be sent home because they must wait for brothers or sisters to take them. Rooms intended for baby teaching should have floor space sufficient for games, taking in forty children. No reading, arithmetic, writing or needlework, whether drills or actual sewing, should be done by the babies of three and four. They want to learn to talk, to get a fair vocabulary, to use their eyes, and their hands in connection with their eyes, and with larger objects than a needle to grasp, to sing and say rhymes so as to learn to articulate clearly, to acquire control over their limbs, and a habit of attention as well as obedience, cleanliness, decency, a spirit of kindliness one to the other and a cheerful love of activity. Reading and writing should be taught from the age of five, and two good lessons a day should be at first given to the former subject, while the writing might be subsidiary to the reading.

Number beyond the concrete use of it which can be utilised for younger children should not be attempted formally till the infants are six, and then their minds should be advanced enough to deal with low numbers in a reasonable and not a mechanical way. In all the areas within which infant schools for such young children were necessary I think the standard schools should also be on a different footing. The workers among the people whom I saw - whether teachers, nurses, clergymen, caretakers, lay readers, and Salvation Army officers - all said, "The children would be all right if only it were not for the homes". It is certain that most of the parents, of whose homes their words were spoken, have been to an elementary school, and it is equally certain that something should be done to prevent the increase of such homes. The boys and girls in these neighbourhoods would be found by a careful scrutiny of registers to leave school from Standard up to Standard IV. in many cases, and a large percentage of them are not at the right age in the standard in which they are working, and not fifteen per cent, would be found to reach the seventh standard. Their brain capacity is less, their bodily capacity is lessened by the continual oppression of a mental task imposed upon them from without and with which, from continual failure, they have given up attempting to cope. What mental capacity they have would be better reached through their hands, and the whole of every afternoon given up to manual work of some kind would help to turn out from school with more self-reliance, less sluggish, better equipped to earn a living and less likely to drift into the ever increasing number of the unemployable. The need for this was brought home to me by seeing how hopeless it is to waste grants on carpentry, cookery, laundry, household management, when only one session a week can be spared for such work. The boys and girls cannot practice these things at home; the boys have no tools or materials, the girls cannot work, wash, or clean. In a


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far larger number of cases than I had thought possible there is one dinner a week, and the mothers reasonably said, "They could not have that spoilt, because there would be no money to buy another". The girls cannot stay at home to help in the weekly wash because the law and the attendance officer see that they do not. The work at the Household Management Centres cannot be applied without things at home on which to apply the very excellent instructions given. If we help these girls and boys by a curriculum better adapted to educate what faculties they have, in time we should perhaps not hear that bitter reproach on all sides, "It is the homes from which the children come that make the difficulties". Has elementary education no responsibility towards the homes?

The results of the various ways of testing the work of the children in the infant schools were undoubtedly in favour of the children admitted at five years and upwards. Head mistresses and their teachers were all in favour of beginning to teach infants at either four or five, but in the schools in the poorer districts of large towns they were unanimous in saying that, although the work was minding babies rather than teaching them, real harm would befall the children if they were left at home.

After spending many months in the infant schools I feel that the work of the teachers in them merits the highest commendation for the loving spirit in which it is carried on, the thoroughness with which in countless ways the bodily welfare of the children is considered as well as their moral and mental training. The teachers do a large amount of work, voluntarily, that never appears on the time table.

In the country schools so far as I saw them with reference to the enquiry, the tendency is for the children to be admitted at five and upwards, except in the cases of children living quite near the school. The reason usually given for the attendance at an age younger than five was that the child wanted to come with its elder brothers and sisters. It is quite obvious that the child would want to go with its playmates instead of staying at home more or less alone. In some country schools the exclusion of children under five might affect the salary of the head teachers unless the scale of payment were revised.

The question then of the attendance of infants under five years of age becomes in the country a question of distance mainly, and in the towns one of the homes from which the children come.

1. In nearly all the schools, visited for the purpose of the inquiry into infant teaching for the Board of Education, the youngest children in either one or two classes, had a separate room or rooms, and a separate teacher or teachers. The teachers were qualified under Article 50, certificated, and trained and certificated, but none had any special qualification or training.

2. In all the schools in the County Borough visited the hours were five and a half daily; the afternoon session of two and a half


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hours pressed very heavily on the teacher and on the babies of three and four, especially in the hot weather. The time given for recreation is fifteen minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon. In some schools the babies have their recreation either at a different time or in a separate part of the playground from the infants, in others they are all playing together.

This time for recreation does not represent all the school time taken oE from " lessons", as in the babies' rooms the teachers have singing, actions of various kinds or recitation at odd intervals, as they see the babies need a rest.

In some cases, I noted a tendency to keep the babies sitting too long, and to rest satisfied with arm and finger movements, but allowance must be made for the difficulty there is in getting babies up and down gallery steps, and along other babies' feet and legs, in schools where there are still galleries and long desks.

In most of the babies' rooms seen, there was far too little floor space, so that had the teachers wished to march the babies about or to play games with them oftener, they could not have done so.

3. As regards curriculum the schools have time tables all of the same type with slight variation in the time given to the "subjects" taught.

Physical Exercises in all the schools visited take the form of drill as well as the kindergarten games, but from what I saw of the work, I should say no such exercises as "neck rest", "hands on hips", "stand at ease", etc., are adapted to babies of three and four, and that such work should be put off till the infants have understanding and more control over their movements and bodies generally.

A fair amount of time is given to varied occupations, about which, however, there is a deadly monotony, but very little to games. This may be from want of floor space in the babies' room and of a central hall, and from want of time in central hall, as happens when the school is large and a class is taken in the hall. The games are also monotonous and too often the floor space allows ten to twelve only to play and the other babies sit down and look on. Most of the games are suited to such classes as those at the Froebel Institute, West Kensington, in which there are from ten to twenty children of an age much beyond three. It should not be beyond the wit of a trained, certificated teacher to invent games suited to her class.

Playing with toys is luckily unknown, as such common use of toys is scarcely safe in the poor districts. I saw rag dolls in a baby room once only, the school is now closed and the dirt and grime were painful witnesses to long usage and much hugging. The babies kissed these pleasing objects.

The telling of stories is far commoner than the time allotted on the time table would show, because the Teachers employ it in Number lessons and occasionally in Writing and Drawing, as well as in explaining Recitation and Songs.


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There is a great difference in the schools in the way in which the children talk. It is not a question entirely of the teacher's capacity. In some cases "it is" or "that is" has been so implanted in the babies' mind as the beginning of every answer that it is found in the seventh standard. In some schools babies and infants are encouraged to say their little says and to ask questions. In many cases the child that will speak is unduly pressed because the teacher always appeals to it. I noted in a class of eighty-seven that five questions were put to one boy.

The object lessons are often poor and sometimes foolish, e.g., "bread making" for children between four and five with the intention of getting them to remember the order in which the ingredients are put into the pan. These lessons are very difficult, and the teachers seem to find it hard to get the children to look and see and say, and they seem rather to tell and repeat and urge the infants to remember.

The drawing varies greatly; there is still some work on squared paper in stereotyped patterns, accomplished to the detriment of eyesight and with painful calculation of the lines up and lines down and lines across which have to be marked with dots before aline a quarter of an inch long, perhaps, is drawn. The best drawing I saw the babies do was in the sand, just a mouse without any repetition.

The time given to learning letters is from two to four hours a week. This is a great waste of time, as it can be of no educational value to know symbols and sounds which the brain is too undeveloped to use. There are phenomenal infants who can read and read well at three or four, but they are not likely to occur sufficiently often to make it necessary to give so much time to the learning of letters at that age.

Number is an abstract subject, and it is not by looking but by mere repetition that teachers get the babies to say one and one are two, and so on, the whole wearisome way.

The writing is mainly in sand and on paper, and the subject might better be made to help the reading and put off till the babies are five.

4. Most of the babies' rooms seen had not enough floor space, occasionally a central hall was available, but sometimes there was no hall and in other cases it was used as a classroom. The lighting and ventilation are usually good, and the exits generally convenient, but this is not always the case. As a rule the babies are kept awake, but if they do sleep, it is in the desks. There was an iron bedstead with a wire mattress and a single blanket (often washed) in a council school, but in no other case was any provision for sleep made.

5. Physical Development is mainly looked upon as a matter of drill and there is no apparatus for, and no statistics are to be had of the physical development. No breathing exercises are taken lower than standard one.


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The seats have backs in all the schools visited, and in many of the council schools each child has a separate seat and back, while sharing the desk with others. This arrangement makes it very easy to circulate the infants. In some schools there is no provision for indoor recreation and in one with a fine hall, I noted, that on a wet afternoon the children were kept in the classrooms, and not made to run about or play games in the hall. All the schools visited had good playgrounds. In many schools the classification is mainly by age in order to reach standard attainments by standard age. The result is curious in many cases; I noted a class in which reading was taught on two systems, the infants admitted under five were taught on the phonic system, those admitted over five were expected to pick up reading on the "look and say" system. It spoke well for the intelligence of the latter that they had learnt anything in the confusion.

To ascertain, so far as possible, the difference it made to a child to attend at three or at five, I adopted several plans, all of which I have set out in detail for two schools in each case. At first I spent a whole day with each class and had all the children admitted over five seated together and made notes in the oral lessons of the answering, as well as noting the results in repetition of Scripture, hymns and poetry, in reading and spelling. Then I took away as much work as was portable. On the second method I took object lessons and memory drawings myself.

I found that children admitted over five were better in reading, recitation and scripture repetition, in so far that they read, recited and repeated with a distinct understanding of the sense and not with that distressing mechanical mastery of the words apart from sense which the other children showed. In all these subjects the children were taken individually right through the whole class in most cases, so that there might be a possibility of coming to a definite conclusion. I found again and again the difference lay between the making sense and the mechanical repetition.

In writing and dictation the children admitted over five were at no great disadvantage, as a rule they made fewer mistakes and were more observant.

In number the advantage was wholly on the side of children admitted over five, they were able to use tables better and did not count by one as the others so often did. A small girl, over five, just admitted, refused to count four boys in the orthodox way. The boys were placed feet apart and the girl counted them 1, 1, 1, 1, quite correctly and could not see that the second boy was two boys.

On the whole the children were equally unobservant in the schools tested by sitting out the day's time table, but I certainly found they could see and think if they were made to do so. On the first method there was not so much opportunity as object lessons did not come into the day's time table every day. In one school there was a bowl in the central hall with goldfish in it.


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Between Friday and Monday one died. I asked the children how many gold fish there were in the bowl but no one knew, and no child had noticed any difference.

On the second way of testing the children showed really intelligent observation.

The original drawing test was of use in showing that the children admitted over five had a better notion of working on their own account than those admitted younger. They started off at once to draw railway engines, some with G.W.R. or M.R. on them, or houses, or people, or dogs, or ships, even men of war, whereas the others invariably began with something they had drawn at school and it was not until the over five children began to tell me what their drawings meant that they also drew other things too. Powers of expression varied with the homes more than anything else. The attempt to teach infants to talk by always insisting on a sentence as an answer leads to curious results. I have heard children give a correct answer to a problem, but on being told to put it in a sentence, lose the answer in the mist of words. I have seen many a bright child's face clouded over with a look of dumb despair on hearing, just as it was longing to say what it knew, "Put it in a complete sentence".

When the children come from good homes, and the teachers have got used to starting with children of five instead of three years of age, they will be better able to give an opinion. At present they all prefer the five year old child, but it will take time to adjust the syllabuses to the mental capacity of five and not three.

In nearly every instance there was a reason for the admission at five; either the child came from a good home, or it had been delicate, or met with an accident, or it was an only child. In many cases then the over five children had the advantage of the under five and vice versa.

To get further information, if such were to be had, as to why children were sent to school so young as three, I visited the homes with several attendance officers, by the courteous permission of the Education Committees of three large Boroughs. By doing this I went into a large number of the houses, a fair number of rooms in common lodging-houses, up and down courts and alleys, into wash-houses and into industrial dwellings. I managed to talk to a large number of the mothers, but naturally I saw far less of the fathers. I saw the babies and the younger children and looked into several of the schools at which the children were in attendance from the houses that I had just seen.

The sanitary authorities have done an enormous amount of closing and pulling down houses in courts and back streets in which the ventilation and sanitary arrangements were bad, but there are still, even in the small area I covered, courts in which one tap outside supplies from three to seven houses,


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one water closet serves the same number of houses, and in some cases the house shelters more than one family. There are many houses with no through ventilation, a very large number which have windows that either won't open at all or open at the bottom only. The poverty, discomfort and inconveniences are more than I had supposed possible, but the dirt, foul smells, confusion and general slipshod untidiness of many dwellings were due to the people that take shelter in them.

Some of the mothers work in factories, some go out as charwomen, a few do piece work at home, some had small shops, a large number chopped wood which they hawked in the streets, but numbers and numbers were about the streets doing nothing. They are glad to get the children to school and to have them out of their way, but the majority were certainly not doing any work at home at all. There was always at least one family to show that cleanliness, decency and honesty w^ere possible even in the most back and out of the way courts. The amount of cooking done is almost none; twice in one morning I came across some, and occasionally I saw fish being bought, but on the whole there are no dinners cooked in whole streets. The babies were generally clean and washed, but the children just under school age were dirtier, worse clad and more neglected looking than those at school. They sometimes crawl about indoors and run about outside clad only in a shirt or chemise.

The staple food is bread with lard, margarine or jam and tea to drink, even four times a day. The mothers of infants of less than a year give the babies tea, and even get the children out of bed at supper time to let them have a "drop of tea" when they do.

The respectable mothers preferred to send their children at three because when they had washed them and put on clean pinafores the children kept clean at school, they were well looked after and they were not in danger of being run over or lost in the streets.

The Teachers, Head and Assistants, with but one exception preferred four or five to three as the age at which they should begin to teach infants; the majority said four, especially those whose work is in poor districts. They all feel that the work is that of "minding" far more than teaching, and they had not given much thought as to whether the work attempted was the best thing possible for such very young children. This seemed to me entirely reasonable as the work they do has been examined and inspected year after year and therefore the syllabus and time table as passed and signed and the results as inspected, have reasonably been unquestioned by them. I could not then get any help from them as regards a suitable syllabus or time table, but they were unanimous in saying that in poor districts the babies of three and four were better off in school. They said, speaking with far more knowledge than I can have, that they were happier, cleaner and in


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better health at school. That if left at home they would be learning evil deeds and foul words in the streets and acquire habits that would be harder to deal with in a child of five than of three. They also pointed out that the infants were talked to and talked more in school than they would at home; that they were learning to be obedient and decent as well as kind to one another.

Instances Illustrative of Want of Observation

(i.) Teacher pinned leaf on white paper on blackboard, gave a leaf to every child in the class, and then drew a leaf on the blackboard, not of shape or proportion of real leaf but a wholly conventional one. The children then copied not the leaf held by them but teacher's conventional drawing. (ii.) Teacher pinned barley ear on very curved stalk on white paper on to blackboard and proceeded to draw a perfectly straight stalk, set it about with opposite grains and called it wheat. The children then did the "wheat" as brush work. (iii.) Toy ladder used for an object lesson by me with children and given to the teacher to sketch on blackboard for me. The slope of the sides was quite wrong (in spite of the fact that the children had been measuring out the wide and narrow ends of the ladder with their hands for me) and the rungs were not at right distances from top and bottom of ladder, nor correctly spaced. (iv.) Jam jar with spoon and paint used for object lesson. I held the jar above children's eye level so that they should not have too many difficulties. I made the children see the four lines they would want. I asked teacher to sketch it on blackboard. She at once drew an ellipse for the top, because that was what the children's lesson had been last week.

A. Written and Other Tests

Examination in reading, writing, arithmetic, object lessons of standard I. A. and B. boys, and Standard O. boys of Standard I. B. , and Standard O. girls.

Writing of sixty infants - 27 admitted over five; 33 admitted under five.

Needlework of Class 1. boys and girls, 57 all admitted under five; needle-work of Class II., boys and girls, 54; all admitted under five. Writing of Class III. A., and needlework of Class III. A. and B., 65, admitted over five, 13 girls and 6 boys; under five, 46. None of Class IV., boys and girls, 56, all admitted under five; none of Class V., boys and girls, 56 - 36 admitted under five; 20 admitted over five.

Writing, etc., of Class 1., boys and girls, 64, admitted under five, 47, brushwork of Class I. boys and girls, 64; admitted over five, 17. Writing of Class III.* babies and new admissions, 62; admitted under five, 22 (a); over five, 15 (b); under five, 25 (c). Writing, etc. of Class II., boys and girls, 45, admitted under five, 6 ; over five, 39. Dictation, etc. of Standard I. B., boys and girls, and drawing lesson work and original efforts, 50; admitted under five, 18; over five, 32. Dictation, etc., of Standard I. A., boys and girls, and drawing lesson work and original efforts, 61; admitted, under five, 27, over five, 34.

* I made three distinctions in this work (a) new admissions under five; (b) new admissions over five; (c) admissions under five but spending second year in class.


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K. M. HEALE
30th January 1905



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MISS HARRINGTON'S REPORT

Methods adopted. The methods I have adopted in endeavouring to ascertain the information required for this report include:

1. Personal observation during visits.
2. Comparison of results by tests in the "three R.'s"
3. Questioning selected children, with a view to determining intelligence and power of expression.
4. Reference to opinion of teachers, head and assistant, as persons placed in best position to judge of value of results.
5. Comparison of statistics obtained from admission and attendance registers, with Head Teachers' help.
Before proceeding to give in detail the conclusions derived from this inspection, I wish to point out that no inspection, consisting merely of two or four sessions, can adequately determine many of the points under discussion. A knowledge of the circumstances of the parents is required, as well as of the home life of the child, and its physical and mental character which can only be the result of an intimate daily acquaintance lasting for weeks or months. The teachers alone have, necessarily, from their position, this knowledge. They alone have the opportunity of judging the exact state of the child's intelligence on admission to the school; they have more or less acquaintance with its home environment, to which so many modifications are due; they have experience of its average performance of tasks, and can trace, day by day, the development of its powers and the advantages and drawbacks it meets with in health or character. They are, therefore, the experts to whom we must go for any real decision as to whether, for example, the child gains or loses by early admission, and how it differs from those admitted at five or six years.

What do the teachers say? A great many of the more experienced teachers consider three years of age much too early an age for children to begin their school life, particularly under the present conditions, when reading, writing, and number are expected to be taught even to the youngest babies. Many would willingly, for the child's sake, shut the school doors to children under four years of age, and the majority agree, that children of average intellect who start at five years of age are quite as ready to take up Standard I. work as children who start at three years. In fact, it is the common practice of teachers to place children of five years of age in the so-called five years old class.

Statistical Evidence. According to the Official Returns of one large County Borough for the month of August, 1904, there were 7,079 children under five years of age in daily attendance out of 9,995 such children on registers. Again, in another County Borough, 1,106 children under five years of age are in daily attendance out of 1,500 on books.


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The following table will show the small proportion of children admitted at five years of age, as compared with children admitted under five years of age.

In several schools in manufacturing Urban Districts all the children had been admitted before they were five years of age.

In nearly all the schools I visited the teachers were of one opinion, namely, that the parents find the Infant Schools a convenient means of getting their offspring out of the way. In one case, a parent's description of a "Free School" was "a school to which I can send my child when I choose, and keep it away when I choose".

Class of children admitted under 5 years. The poverty of parents who have only one room, sometimes no fire, and often younger children to attend to, is a factor in the case. When the elder girls are at school there is no one to look after the young ones. In manufacturing towns, many of the mothers work at factories, and must, consequently, get rid of their babies. In these districts, they would have to pay as much as 2s. 6d. or 3s. 6d. per week, without food, for having their little ones minded. It is natural that they should avail themselves of the free shelter, protection and care which is provided in the babies' classes. A few send them with a desire for the child's educational welfare, but these are the minority.

The teachers also, exert their influence to gather them in. "Since they are registered, and accommodation provided, they


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might as well be here", they say. Practically, therefore, all those of the poorer class are sent at three or four years.

Numbers also, play so large a part in Education Reports that the success of a teacher is partly dependent on her power of filling her school, and the keeping up or increasing the average attendance.

Lastly, the Attendance Officer plays no small role in persuading mothers to part with their little ones earlier than they otherwise would. According to the law, the officer has no hold on children under five years of age, but he is judged by his returns, and the higher his percentage of average attendance is the better officer is he considered and the attendance of children under five years of age is included in his returns.

The small minority who enter at five or six years include:

(1.) Those prevented by serious illness or by physical or mental defect from coming earlier.

(2.) Children of good homes and well-to-do parents, who are able and willing to look after them in infancy and do not care to lose sight of them for so long. But such parents are few.

(3.) Children in a poor neighbourhood with intemperate or utterly indifferent parents, who will let them roam the streets until hunted into school by attendance officers.

In a large girls' school in a working class district, out of 324 girls present, fifty-three had been sent at five years of age. Their parents were asked why they had not sent their children earlier. It turned out thirty-seven were not sent because they were delicate or had had a severe illness, only twelve because they were not obliged to send earlier, and three because they lived in the country, two or three miles from a school, and one lived in the United States.

In the boys' school out of 360 present, 293 started under five years of age and sixty-seven at five years of age: forty-three because of serious illness or delicacy, twenty-two because not compelled, and two because they lived in the country at a distance from any school. In these same schools forty-six mothers went out to work in the boys' school, and fifty-six in the girls' school.

In a girls' school in a very poor neighbourhood of _______, out of 246 children present, fifty-one started at five years of age and two at seven years: twenty-two because of serious illness; nineteen because not obliged; six through neglect and drunken homes; two because of distance, and one came from the United States. On inquiry, fifty-six mothers went out to work.

Progress made before five years. Those children who enter at three years may be said to make a certain progress in mastering some of the mechanical difficulties of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They also gain some power of order, attention to rule and discipline, and a certain capability of expressing stereotyped ideas. But I consider there is very little real educational result. In each successive year they practically go through the whole course of instruction again. Their minds, being too immature to


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retain easily the knowledge acquired, there is entailed a wearisome repetition, which must have a stultifying effect on the young brain. Thus at the expense of much real hard labour, they succeed in exhibiting a certain amount of mechanical skill, which, however, children of five, with more mature powers, will acquire with less trouble in a much shorter period. Worst of all, they lose in the process whatever originality they may have started with, and take the first step towards being turned out "patterns" of the approved type.

Comparison with others of 6 or 7. Comparing this class of children with those admitted at five years of age, at the termination of the infants' course, there is little difference to be observed. On admission to the school, the latter may appear, for a few weeks, less orderly than their class-mates, owing to their ignorance of rules and the effect of strange surroundings. But after a short time they pick up much by imitation, and soon settle down into the usual school ways.

Again, in the earlier stages of work, they appear at a disadvantage through want of fluency in reading, number, etc., but they are in reality quicker than the others, as they get through the whole previous syllabus of work in less time.

If they enter at the beginning of the school year they are found to be practically equal to the others at the end of one year.

Powers of observation and originality of ideas differ so extremely by reason of the character and home training of a child, that it is difficult to make a comparison between these two classes of children in these respects. There is scarcely any difference to be observed with average children. If anything, the balance of originality lies with the child admitted later, who has not had so much of the levelling process of "pattern-making" applied to him. School work, as at present carried on, does not tend to develop originality; rather is it crushed before that "Car of Juggernaut" - Uniformity.

In powers of expression the earlier child has gained the confidence that comes with custom, but is often priggish and unnatural, while the later child is more homely, though less fluent. The latter uses its own words; the former, those of its teacher.

These differences are more marked in poor neighbourhoods, where the parent's influence is nil, or worse, and the child gets no assistance outside the school except such as is the outgrowth of its own ability.

By inquiries made with head teachers of senior schools, who have followed up the separate classes through their school career with a view to comparison, the final conclusion must be reached, that average children make as much progress by late as by early admission. Disparity is caused by ill-health, home environment, etc., not by later attendance.

The following tables may help to show that children admitted at five years of age compare favourably with other children, age for age.


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Boys' School in Working Class Neighbourhood - County Borough

Girls' School in Working Class Neighbourhood - County Borough


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Girls' School in Poor Neighbourhood - County Borough

In many cases, these children are the best in their class. It must not be forgotten, however, that in a poor neighbourhood children often gain, physically and morally, by entering the school at three years of age, since they are better cared for, and removed from the bad influence of intemperate or neglectful parents.

Times of Admission of Infants. It is most detrimental to the interests of the school, the teacher, and the child, that the latter should be admitted at all times of the year. Teachers say it is one of their chief difficulties that children are allowed to dribble into the Infant School in twos or threes every week in the year while there is accommodation. Such children are not fit to follow any class and yet no school can provide a teacher for them alone. The best arrangement would be to admit only at the beginning of the school year; but if this is not practicable, admission every six months is quite sufficient.

If every six months, then a practice which has been satisfactorily tried by the _______ Council schools might be put into use, i.e., the passing up of infants into the upper departments twice a year. This would enable children who now are deprived of six or nine months infant training, owing to the time of year in which their birthday falls, to have their full time in the Infant School. As a rule, all children should be regarded as infants until they have at least completed their seventh year. In _______shire schools, it seems the rule that children who will be seven years of age before the end of the following school year, that is, turned six years of age at the end of the present school year, must be promoted to the upper departments. It is thus quite common to find children doing Standard I work at six years of age,

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Registering under 4 years. I incline to the opinion that children under four, if they continue to be admitted to our schools, should remain unregistered. As long as they are registered and available for grant the teacher, whose character as a popular and successful member of the profession depends upon her percentage of attendance, must try to get them into school, morning and afternoon, and in this way, babies are often in school when unfit and even sickening for diseases. If admitted only, they could be left free to attend one session, which is often enough to exhaust their delicate frames and unformed brains. Children of such tender years require a daily hour or two of sleep, and how can this be obtained under present conditions?

Physical Condition. It is evident that insufficient attention is paid to the general physical condition of infants. The children are so often cooped up in galleries, sometimes for one and a half hours or more; too often crowded and without proper back rests. In more than one school, if one in the row moved, those at the end fell off.

Despite all that has been said and done of late years in the study and increase of Physical Exercises, drill is still, in many places, a mere name on the Time Table. Or it is taken in desks or seats. Exercises at change of lessons are reduced to mere arm movements, and the little legs have to keep as still as they will for sometimes a whole session. I have been in schools where there is absolutely no playtime in winter. The children, being marched out, stand on a chalk line until recreation time is up and the teacher ready with her apparatus, v/hen they march back again with their hands behind.

The position 'arms folded in front' which is so hurtful by compression of the chest, is continually called for. I have even seen it taken at singing lessons.

In schools of the _______shire district which I have visited there are no periodical visits of trained nurses as in the London schools, and the children are present in the first stages of infectious disease, which often pass unnoticed by the teacher of over-crowded classes. It is no wonder that epidemics spread so rapidly in a class when once started.

Health Records. In no infant schools visited are even the simplest health records kept. There should be for the sake of teacher and taught, a medical inspection of all children, infants as well as older scholars, and records kept of the physical condition of every scholar. These records could be posted to the different authorities when children leave one district for another. Mental, as well as physical injuries and diseases might thus be remedied or even prevented, and children unfit for school work would not be pushed, as is now so often the case, to the detriment of both mind and body in after years. At present, what little medical inspection there is, is usually confined to the upper departments, though it is in the Infant school that the seeds of ill health are sown.


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Eyesight. Statistics as to eyesight, where taken, are only taken in Upper Schools. In the _______ Council schools, absolutely no notice is taken of defective sight, and the teachers say it is no use to test, for nothing further is done. They do their best by calling the attention of the parent, but these will not take their children to the Infirmary, or say they cannot afford to pay for glasses. Children with weak sight and inflamed eyes attend school, and do the same work as others.

The following may be interesting. In a boys' school, out of thirty cases of defective sight, twenty-six cases were children who started school at two or four years of age. Only four were children who started at five years of age, and out of these, one was the result of an accident, i.e., stone-throwing. In another school, out of twenty-five cases, twenty-two were children who started at three or four; three were those who started later.

Again, out of fifteen cases in a girls' school, twelve were children who started at three years, three at five years, and two of these were not sent till five because of delicate eyes. In another school, out of forty-nine cases of defective sight, forty-four were children who started at three years; five started at five; and three of these were not sent till then owing to defective sight.

The children's eyes suffer in early school life, by the school work. The light is frequently from the right. Children of three and four years are required to thread needles, and where slates are still used, to write between lines, which are often half-erased and can hardly be seen. In twenty-three schools I visited, I found the babies writing on slates between lines.

Movement, Play and Rest. Movement, play, and rest receive but a very moderate share of attention in the daily round of duties. In one school a swing is used - sometimes on Friday afternoons. In another, a rocking-horse is for the comfort of 'children who cry'. A _______ teacher said "The first thing we teach them is to sit still. It has always been required of us".

Comparing a time table of one of the German "Volks-kindergarten" which lies before me with those in use in our infant schools, the contrast is striking. Thus the Kindergarten provides daily:

MorningAfternoon
Intervals½ hour¾ hour.
Story telling-½ hour
Active amusements1 hour1½ hours.

The rest of the teaching is made up of object lessons and Kindergarten occupations and games. Reading, writing, and number are unknown lessons.

In English schools we have a quarter of an hour interval, morning and afternoon. In twenty-four schools visited, only one and a half hours per week are devoted to object lessons and conversation. As for reading, nine schools had either four and a half hours or over devoted to this subject; fourteen had from three and a half to four and a half hours; twenty-one had from three to three and


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a half hours; twenty-six had two to three hours. Number, too, eats up a large share of the Time Tables. Five schools had four and a half hours or more. In writing, eight had three and a half, and twenty-nine had from two to three hours. Stories, which in the German schools get half an hour a day, only receive half an hour a week in our schools. Needlework is still taught to the babies; on nineteen Time Tables it still held a place.

The rest between lessons, so often appearing as a note to Time Table, is omitted in many schools, as the teachers " cannot spare the time " with all the work to be got through. A mattress bed is sometimes provided for the babies but not much used. Half a dozen hammocks, round the walls, would be cleaner and more convenient. But the child, for the most part, falls asleep unnoticed, and is left at the desk for fear of waking it.

Physical Condition and Mental Proficiency. Mental proficiency and physical conditions do not seem to go hand in hand. In five cases out of six, delicate children are quick-brained. Often the very healthy, well-built child is by no means sharp - if anything, rather dull. Possibly bodily deficiency makes the child more thoughtful and studious.

Teaching of ''three R's". I wish most emphatically to protest against the teaching of the "three R.'s" and needlework to children under five or even six years. In the course of nature, speech comes before reading and writing, and the child of three or four has not yet learned to speak. Its vocabulary is so limited that the simplest words are often meaningless to it. They are only empty sounds, and it therefore becomes a human gramophone for the production of the teacher's voice.

Also, at this immature stage of development, the child has not the mental capacity to understand or to retain the arbitrary facts connected with the sounds and signs of which the first steps in reading and writing are mainly composed. Often, if an illness interrupts the course of lessons in these years, the child is found to have lost all it had previously learned. In fact, nothing is gained but a slight mechanical power, whose painful and laborious acquirement is calculated to give a distaste for the sight of books before they are opened. Two years later, when the memory is stronger, and the general capacity increased, less effort is required and impressions remain permanent.

As regards needlework and writing, the strain on the muscles of hand and eye involved in the attempt to hold needle and material in right position for a fixed time, is too great. The results are quite inadequate to the labour. At six years the child learns in a few lessons what is, to the baby, a Herculean task. The tiny hand is still an imperfect, unformed tool, yet the attempt is made to produce work which requires a perfect tool. It is like cutting wood with a blunt knife. Expend the same amount of energy on possibilities, and there will be some happier children and teachers.

Methods of Teaching. Before pointing out what I consider the


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chief defects in methods of teaching infants, let it be understood that I am not finding fault with the teachers. Almost universally, it may be stated, they have the true welfare of their charges at heart and the methods they adopt are often not their own choice but forced on them by the exactions of Code, Syllabus, and inspectors, or deficiencies in the school building.

So long as "Results" are looked for in infant schools, even from babies, so long must the teachers continue to work along the lines which will produce results. The true development of the child is slow, for Nature does not seek to force a blossom from the seed still in embryo. It is by "Methods" alone that infant schools should be tested. If these are truly educational satisfactory results must follow, but they will not be evidenced by ability to read certain words correctly, to add or subtract so and so, or to copy out beautifully. It is the amount of desire to acquire knowledge, and the power to use its faculties in acquiring it, in other words, the power of self-instruction that mark the success or non-success of the product of the infant school. Individual development and formation of character, should be the highest aims of infant teaching.

Yet "Results" [definite, uniform proficiency in the "three R.'s"] are still called for by Board of Education and Council Inspectors, therefore "Results" are still the "Ideal". To pass Standard I. with credit is the goal for which the child is entered in the race, at three years. Naturally the teachers try to please inspectors and to get certain things done to make a show. A Council Inspector remarked in a certain school that "the discipline would have been perfect but for two or three babies who moved". It is easy to understand how, thenceforward, the unfortunate babies "sat up". In this district, also, the Syllabus imposed by the Council is cast iron. Every week is mapped out in rigid lines, so much in each subject to be got through and shown. In one school, an assistant teacher, though admittedly one of the best on the staff, was deprived of her increase of salary because her class was not quite up to the mark in providing the appointed facts and figures.

But to bring a large class of young children up to this state of uniformity of excellence, it is impossible to do anything but work on set lines of drudgery. Consequently, the discipline is too severe, free movements are repressed, the teacher does much (with misdirected energy), while the scholars sit, passively waiting to be told to do something. All individuality is crushed; they must all work to pattern and be like everybody else.

The classes are much too large, as many as sixty or even eighty babies being often in charge of one teacher. Kindergarten games are too mechanical, because noise or movement is contrary to the recognised idea of discipline. In many cases these games are reduced to the quality of action songs. The majority of school buildings, however, make no proper provision for such exercises which require considerable space and whose value depends on their spontaneity.


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Occupation lessons are often distinguished by their absence of occupation, for the children have to sit motionless while the teacher goes round a large class and examines the infinitesimal product - the one letter or figure made - the one thread drawn - the one bead threaded, or the one stick laid. Meanwhile, there is a whole world of wonder to be explored on the desk before the child, from which its longing hands are barred by "discipline". This is not "learning by doing".

Universally, the standing principle seems to be that mistakes must never be made. Perfection is expected at a first or second trial so that fatal discouragement enters the baby soul that ought never to have come near it, and the joy of finding out for itself and climbing by its own mistakes is never known.

With the object of avoiding the excessive crowding and the cramping of limbs caused by the use of galleries, I would advise their rejection, especially in babies' rooms.

The ideal babies' room should be large, sunny, without gallery or desks, but supplied at one end with small kindergarten tables and chairs, round which the little ones can sit without disturbing each other by every little instinctive motion. The teacher can pass round and overlook them easily.

A wide space should thus be left at the other end of the room for games. In addition, a large comfortable rug should be stretched before the fire for the youngest to lie or crawl about, with perfect freedom, or find comfort when brought in from the cold. Round the walls should be placed a blackboard cloth dado, and plenty of coloured chalks supplied that the children may draw "fancy free" with the teacher helping - never teaching. A much larger supply of toys is needed, that each child may have one to handle. In better neighbourhoods, the children might be encouraged to bring their own toys. Pictures and plants should abound, and birds and other pets, to give the interest in life which is so helpful to the intelligence and powers of observation.

Offices. Offices [toilets] are not sufficiently numerous for the babies, and boys and girls should have separate entrances. Some few might be nearer their class-room, and with a covered passage for use in wet weather.

Medical Work, etc., in Schools

In one County Borough the medical officer of the Education Committee visits every school at least twice a year for the purpose of testing both the sight and hearing of the children in attendance. In some schools the teeth of children in Standards VI. and VII. were also examined.

Vision. Every head teacher must, according to the Education Committee's regulations, test the eyesight once a year of:

(1.) All new scholars admitted during the year.
(2.) All scholars in Standards VI. and VII.

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A vision card is filled in for each scholar examined, giving the following details:

Vision of right eye.
Vision of left eye.
(1.) If the child wears glasses or squints?
(2.) If the eyelids are often inflamed?
(3.) If there is complaint of frequent headache or fatigue of the eyes after reading or sewing?
The doctor at his visit re-examines all cases below a certain mark, and in cases requiring medical treatment and capable of improvement a printed notice is sent to the parents advising them to consult a medical man either privately or at the infirmary. A footnote is added drawing attention to the fact that medical advice may be had free at the Royal Infirmary on Mondays and Fridays at 1.30 p.m. and at the Eye and Ear Hospital on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9.30 a.m. Except in very needy cases spectacles are not provided free of charge.

The teacher's interest in many cases seems to stop once the printed notice has been sent out. In no school did I find a list of children suffering from defective vision. A list of these children with an entry of date when medically treated, or reason why medical advice was not sought, would be a great help in keeping these cases under observation. New teachers are left to find these cases out for themselves. I found children who had been attended to and had glasses not wearing them. In some cases the teacher in charge of the class did not know that certain children had glasses. Some cases had not been attended to because the mother was the bread winner and could not spare a day to take her child to the hospital.

It seems to me that half of the doctor's trouble is lost if these cases of defective sight are not kept under observation and in cases when notices are neglected the matter is not followed up. Unfortunately many of the teachers take little interest in work not reported on by H.M. Inspector, particularly if it entails an increase of clerical work.

In another County Borough the sight of all children in the upper schools is tested once a year by the head teacher. All defective cases are re-tested by the medical officer of the Education Committee and a printed notice is sent to parents drawing their attention to any defects of vision and requesting them to have their children's eyes examined by a doctor. With the sending out of the printed forms the interest of the head teacher stops.

Again in another County Borough each school is provided with a sight-testing chart, but in no school visited was the sight of the scholars tested periodically.

In one County Borough, about two years ago, all teachers were requested to test the sight of the scholars in their school and report to the late board the number of cases of defective sight in their schools. Beyond this no interest appears to have been taken either in the sight or general health of the scholars.


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In schools under the _______ County Council visited I found the teachers had been supplied with a printed form to draw the attention of parents to cases of defective sight.

Further experience gained by visits to village infant schools and classes during the last few weeks only serves to confirm the impressions recorded in my previous report.

Age of Admission. Here, as in towns, the majority of children enter school under five years of age - usually at four years, but in manufacturing villages at three years. The attendance officers say the teachers encourage their admission, so, with the child crying to go, the mother glad to be rid of it, and the teacher welcoming it in, the inevitable result is to fill the babies' room.

Progress. I can still observe no loss sustained by admission at the later age of five. Age for age the two classes of early and late admission may he favourably compared. Ten out of thirteen teachers concur with this opinion. Out of 268 children traced from late admission only twenty-eight, about 10 per cent, were below average as being above the age of the class they worked with. Of the 90 per cent remaining many were not only on an equality but the sharpest in their class.

Hygienic Conditions. The conditions of instruction and accommodation in many village infant schools are anything but satisfactory. In schools with an average attendance under fifty the infants are mostly taught by one teacher in a room often badly lighted and ventilated. Since these scholars generally include at least two classes, the babies^ dribbling in by ones and twos all the year, improve the shining hours (twenty hours per week) by scribbling on a slate. They must be satisfied with an odd five minutes here and there which the harassed teacher can spare from the higher class. On many time tables, where neither games nor stories are to be seen, needle-threading, a refined species of torture, often continues for twenty minutes or half an hour. Writing in sand is gradually being introduced, but slates with lines are still too much used. There are usually two teachers where the average attendance is over fifty, and here the babies go with the second class and fare in like manner. When the number of babies reaches twenty, they attain to the dignity of having the entire attention of a monitress or pupil teacher and afford an excellent practising ground for her inexperience. The benefit on their side is doubtful. Under these circumstances it would be wiser in a country district if children under five years of age could be legally refused admission and those over five years entered at regulated times, say twice a year. Many of the difficulties of teaching in small schools would be removed, and the child's freedom would be a physical and mental advantage to all concerned.

Chief Defects in Teaching in Infant Schools

As before observed the aim of the Infant School from the babies upwards is preparation for inspection in Standard I. Conse-


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quently the three R.'s receive the lion's share of time and attention, and more important subjects must take their chance. A pupil well advanced in these great dogmas of a teacher's faith is a shining light, but how far it is capable of receiving further instruction is a question of no importance.

Syllabuses of work require far too much from these little children. The following is a copy of a not uncommon syllabus in number for a first class infants - average age at the end of the school year six and a half years:

Tables to five times twelve.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to 100.
Notation to 1,000.
Names and value of coins to 1. Money problems to 2s. 6d. Value of easy fractional quantities, e.g., ½, 1/3, ¼.
Discipline. Discipline is invariably interpreted to mean: "Sit up - sit still - fold arms back (or front) - eyes front". To be eager and alert, and want to answer "out of turn" is "to be naughty". I plead for the recognition and toleration of a healthy noise in the lower classes of our infant schools. The want of large airy playrooms, free of furniture, that the little ones may enjoy a good romp and play under proper supervision is much in evidence. Formal physical exercises as taken in many schools are unnecessary at this early stage of life. Free play, however, for periods of half an hour at a time is a necessity of physical development. In connection with this I may remark on the rooted objection possessed by many bead teachers to the use of the hall by the babies - lest they "distract the other classes". Even in wet weather these sacred precincts must not be defiled by the noise and laughter of little ones. The hall is a place round which each class marches for five minutes, and for the rest of the session it is unpeopled as an African desert.

Hours of Work. The hours 9 to 12 a.m., and 1.30 to 4 p.m., are far too long. Children of five and six years of age have been punished for not being present at 9.10 a.m., though the registers close at 9.30 or 9.45. The parents are not in many cases aware of the fact that infants need not be in school before this time, and so many go breakfastless for fear of being late. Yet this lateness is often the result of circumstances, due to large amount of work to be done in a big family in the early hours where the mother is frequently unaided. Parents might be encouraged to send their children only to one session of the school - either morning or afternoon.

Size of Classes. Classes are everywhere too big. How can one teacher "mother" sixty to eighty children, and keep them occupied and quiet, often under such adverse conditions as unsuitability of furniture, insufficient fight and ventilation, and overcrowding on a hot summer's day? Yet this is a problem which she has often to solve.

In the playgrounds there is a general want of seating accommodation.


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Offices [toilets] are often insufficient in number, dark and unsanitary in arrangement, and totally unsuitable for teaching habits of decency and cleanliness.

Lastly, the gap existing between the infant department and the upper departments is considerable, and much of the training of the infant school is lost.

The work of Standard I. should be carefully co-ordinated with that of the infant school that there may be no break when the child is moved from one department to another. If teachers of the lower standards were made familiar with Froebelian principles and had a working knowledge of Kindergarten methods, much hardship and many weary hours would be spared both teachers and taught.

AGNES F. HARRINGTON.