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Platteville Academy was incorporated during the winter of 1841–2. A frame building, 30 by 40, was erected during the summer following, the lower part of which was used as a house of worship by the Presbyterian Church until the winter of 1846-7. The first Principal was Rev. A. M. Dixon, now of Blake's Prairie, in this State. He was succeeded by several, who taught in the midst of much trial, and with greater or less success. The present Principal, J. L. Pickard, entered upon his work in November, 1846. The “Old Academy” was occupied for six years, and was then sold to aid in the erection of the present edifice. The present Academy was erected during the summer of 1852, and was finished in 18534. Its size is 70 feet by 40. The basement story is 4 feet above the ground. The first story is 16 feet high, affording a hall of excellent height. The lower story is divided into the school ball, 50 feet by 40, an entrance hall, and two recitation rooms, one on either side of entrance hall. The school ball is seated with Boston furniture (double desks and chairs.) The second and third stories are each 11 feet in height, and are divided into 16 rooms and saits of rooms, for recitation rooms and dormitories. The structure is of blue limestone, laid up in range work, but undressed. The window and door caps and sills are of a light colored limestone. The cost of the building and ground upon which it stands (about 3 acres), was not far from $14,000. The foundation of another building has been laid at a cost of $2000.
The average number of students for the past five years has been about
200 a year.
Its present board of instruction are:
J. L. PIOKARD, Principal.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE AT SCHOOL.-No. 1.) It seems to be generally agreed that there is a dangerous tendency in America, on the part of the city and village population, at least, to a neglect of physical culture. The transcendental philosopher of Concord, who will hardly be accused of too materialistic a tendency, intimates a belief, “that in every efficient man there is first a fine animal.” well developed, well trained animal-nature is necessary to efficiency, it is equally certain that bodily hardihood and vigor, with a capacity and love for cut-of-doors activity, are needful for the highest enjoyment of life. Much of the true zest of living, and, anbappily, much of its barden and its affliction come from the muscles and the nerves. Again, De Quincey, who will hardly be suspected of undue fondness for the physical, as against the spiritual, asserts as strongly as Catharine Beecher can, the intimate connection between good health and a sound morality. “Foremost among the duties which a man owes to himself,” he says, “is the duty of cultivating his own health. All fixed derangements of the health are doubly hostile to the moral energies; first, through the intellect, which they debilitate unconsciously in many ways; and next, both consciously and semi-consciously, through the will. The judgement is, perhaps, too clouded to fix upon a right purpose; the will too enfeebled to pursue it."
For the vigor of the intellect, therefore; for the correct and energetic action of the moral nature; for the highest enjoyment of life; and for the greatest efficiency in all its pursuits, a more careful cultivation of physical health, and a more complete development of the physical man is required.
And in this, as in every other great interest of humanity, it is necessary to begin aright in childhood and youth.
Considered with reference to schools—and I use the word school here in its large sense—this subject has for these pages a special interest. How far, and in what way, can the school be made to contribute to, or at least prevented from interfering with, the physical development of the young?
There are certain considerations connected with this general question, which I here ornit, such as the number of hours that should be spent daily by youth of any given age, in confinement and mental application; the proper arrangement of the school-room with reference to temperature, light, and ventilation; and the most suitable construction of school furniture with a view to the health of pap:ls. Passing by these themes in the present paper, I wish to call attention to the necessity of making arrangements, in connection with all our schools, for healthful and invigorating exercise on the part of the pupils, during the intervals of relaxation from study. In country districts, where, when not engaged in the school-room the scholars bave free range over field and wood, the matter of outdoor exercise may generally be left, perhaps, to take care of itself. But in villages and cities the case is widely different. Here special care is required, first in the location of school-houses to secure ample grounds for exercise, and then, in the arrangement and furniture of those grounds, to provide for varied forms of bodily activity.
There is, however, a disposition sometimes, not merely to neglect the means of physical training in connection with school studies, but even systematically to get rid of all active games and amusements; to make the school, as much as possible, a place of mere study, and to banish every thing else as hostile to the purposes for which youth are there assembled. In an academy or college, for instance, propose arrangements for dancing, for ten pins, for gymnastic exercises, and straightway worthy teachers and professors will be found protesting against them, in dire apprehension of a dearth or death of study. The same fancy, combined with the passion for what is called "economy,” builds village and city school-houses on little lots of ground, containing hardly room enough for the decencies of life, and furnishing no adequate space for sport and exercise. Teachers find it troublesome to regulate the active games of youth, to prevent contention and damaged window glass, and accordingly discourage such games, and countenance the selection of school-house sites of such a character as to render boyish sports around them impracticable. In some schools, otherwise excellent, I fear there is a disposition to discourage, even absolutely to forbid, the assembling of pupils in the vicinity of the school-house before the hour for the commencement of the indoor studies, and to hinder all energetic play on the grounds sacred to learning. Special circumstances in the actual situation of schools in large cities may sometimes render this necessary; but certainly it seems to me a most unfortunate necessity, and one that ought to be guarded against with the greatest care, or removed at the earliest possible moment. Under ordin. ary circumstances, instead of discouraging, I would in every way encourage the assembling of pupils for play before school hours, or their remain. ing on the grounds after the expiration of those hours, with the approbation of parents. Then, instead of regarding their sports and exercises as something by which I was expected to be annoyed, or in which, at least, I was not to be supposed capable of taking an interest, I would, so far as opportunity served, mingle in them myself, take a hand at the ball or the bat, the club or the quoit, jump with jumpers, run with the runners, and climb a rope or a ladder, hand over hand, if I could, with the best of them.
The author of “English Traits" tells us that the English student loves the company of his horse better than that of his professor; and adds that the student, in his opinion, is right; the horse is, in fact, better company for him. Doubtless for some hours every day, and for many a day in the year, this is true. It would do the student no harm though, if he could have the company of his professor and his horse both together. Certainly a teacher can not spend all his time with his pupils; other relations and duties forbid; but so far, as these will allow, he will find that association with those under bis instruction, in all their varied sports or exercises, will both impart a fresh glow of youthful feeling to his own mind, and give him additional influence over their intellectual and moral character. The late Dr. Arnold understood this well, as he did so many other things in the pedagogue art. “I should say," he writes to a young tator, “have your pupils a good deal with you, and be as familiar with them as you possibly can. I did this continually more and more before I left Laleham, going to bathe with them, leaping and performning all other gymnastic exercises within my capacity, and sometimes sailing or rowing with them. They I believe always liked it, and I enjoyed it myself like a boy, and found myself constantly the better for it.” With these wise and characteristic words of the great schoolmaster of Rugby, I close this number.
0. M. O.
EXCERPTA.—Some read to think, these are rare; some to write, these are common; and some read to talk, and these form the great majority. The first page of an author not anfrequently suffices all the purposes of this latter class, of whom it has been said they treat books as some do lords; they inform themselves of their titles, and then boast of an intimate acquaintance.
Thrre are three kinds of praise—that which we yield, that which we lend, and that which we pay. We yield it to the powerful from fear, we lend it to the weak from interest, and we pay it to the deserving from gratitude.
For the Journal of Education.
Mr. Editor:-In the March Number of the Journal is an article by H. S. P., beaded, “Our School Systern. The writer protests against the act of the Legislature for the “Relief of Academies and Normal Schools." Now, by refering you to that article, we wish to speak of his objections without repeating thein.
In the first place, we ask H. 8. P. if academies and colleges are not the property of the State, in that they are working directly for the best interest of the State ? Not in a private or local sense, but in a public and general manner. And shall the State withhold encouragement from them, because, forsooth, she has never voted that they are hers? Shall the parent disown the child till the family meet and vote that the child is a member of the family? If academies are not needed in the system of education, why are they filled beyond their capacity of accommodation by young men and women, almost as soon as they are opened. From the Infant School to the University there is no class of schools doing the amount of good both in furnishing competent teachers, and in the general diffusion of knowledged, pro rata, as are the academies. And since they are but coworkers and fellow-laborers in the great work of education, how are they "conflicting in their operations ?”
Again, admitting that the ten or eleven schools asking to be remembered
among their fellows by the State, could not furnish all the teachers the State needs, could a “Central Normal School" do it? Could ten? The State Normal of N. York has signally failed to furnish all the teachers for that State. Her chief supply is from her academies. We by no means under value Normal Schools, but cheerfully give them full credit; but their importance should not be pushed too far. Without at all gainsaying the importance of educating teachers, but giving that branch all due importance, we ask if the State has no interest in educating her young men and women, except teachers? Is all else lost labor? Has not the State of New York nobly endowed institutions for general purposes, without insisting that none but teachers shall be benefited ? Nor does she deem it devoting “public monies to private enterprises." Again, objection is made to charging tuition. It is a fact, that the average salaries of the male teachers of graded schools is fifty per cent. above that of professors in acedenies. Generally the lowest endurable tuition is charged, and all save & bare competence for teachers is appropriated to the general interest, viz., repairs of buildings, apparatus, etc. We know of teachers in academies, and those, too, of invaluable worth as teachers, whose average salaries are less than four hundred per annum,
And these academies are sending out from fifty to eighty teachers yearly, and efficient teachers, too. Now we ask what is the duty of the State toward such schools? Is sach