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might be about 8 inches in height, the remainder from that to 10 inches, and each 17 inches deep, except the upper, which may be only 9 inches. The seats around the large room should vary from 7 to 9 inches in height, be 9 inches wide, and divided about every ng or 8 feet by a small partition, which divisions will conveniently hold each a class of eight children, including the monitor. The wall at the back of the seats should be boarded to about 4 feet high, and terminate in a rail containing pegs for the hats and bonnets of the children. A semicircle may be chalked on the floor at each class for the children to stand at when reading, --the lesson board being suspended from a nail in the wall in the centre. There should be as few doors as possible in the school-room.
A play-ground, with other conveniences, should be connected with every Infant School, where practicable: and for 150 children it should contain about 2000 square feet. From the play-ground, the Teacher elicits the individual character of each child, as being at this time, in some degree, freed from controul, the natural temper and disposition of the children are more readily discovered. The residence of the Master and Mistress ought to be contiguous to the school-room and play-ground; so as to enable them to watch over the children during their dinner time. The places of convenience should not only be near the school-room, but a small window from the school or class-room looking into them, would afford the Master or Mistress an opportunity of ascertaining the cause, should a child be long absent, or whether any accident has befallen it. The Master's house should consist, at least, of two sitting-rooms, two or three bed-rooms, with a kitchen, and other conveniencies. One of the sitting-rooms might be fitted up as a School Library, and for the reception of visitors. In the country, there ought also to be a garden—not only for the supply of vegetables for the Teachers' use, but also for their recreation and enjoyment in their leisure hours.
The following is a scale of the sizes of rooms for certain numbers of children. For 40 children 20 feet by 12 70 ......... .......
This computation does not 100 35 ...... 17 (
include gallery or class120 36 ...... 20 (
room. 150 200 ......
ON THE ORGANIZATION OF INFANT SCHOOLS. The Compilers of this little work, having (as before stated) been engaged in Infant Schools from nearly their commencement, and having frequently witnessed the difficulties into which Teachers are thrown in commencing a new school; they think, probably, that a few plain hints on organizing may be of service to those who are about to enter upon this important work.
1. On the morning of admission, place a form or two across the room, allowing sufficient space for the parents and children to stand previous to, and while, entering the children's names; and as each child is registered, let the parent hand it over the form to the Mistress, who will place it on a seat, and where needed, comfort it with a few plums, cakes, or toys. This simple plan will prevent all that confusion, too frequently occasioned at such a time, by parents running about the room, and thereby obstructing the way of the Master or Mistress. .
2. We will now suppose all to have been admitted, the parents gone, the door closed, and several crying. Let the Teacher with all patience, kindness, and good feeling, begin to stamp with his feet on the floor, clap his hands, at the same time passing from one end of the room to the other. This will excite the attention and wonder of the little ones, and probably lessen the number of weepers. A few soft balls would be of great service here; as the Teacher might bowl one to any child whom he might perceive to be interested in his movements. He may also walk round the room ; shake hands with one, pat the head of another, and comfort a third ; until he has by his uniform kindness, in some measure gained their attention and induced all to take their seats. In this part of his work the Christian Teacher will feel his need of “ that wisdom which cometh from above.” Simplicity and patience will now be needed; and, indeed, every Christian grace called into exercise, Every thing which has a tendency to please and comfort must be resorted to with child-like simplicity.
3. All being now properly seated, and the crying in a great measure subdued, (although it is sometimes the case that two or three days will elapse before it is fully overcome,) the next thing to be aimed at, is to get the children to act together. In order to do this, the Teacher may say hands on the knees-fold arms_heads up-mouths shut
(here a pause may be made for a few moments, as a preparatory step to order). Now, a good clap with the hands; or, stamp with the feet, &c. The bell should now be introduced as a signal for silence; at the sound of which, all should be taught to fold their arms, shut their mouths, &c. These various exercises should be repeated again and again, till performed simultaneously like a company of soldiers, but let the silent lessons be short at first. The Teacher may next instruct them in his signals for various movements; as, a stamp with the foot, for them to rise; holding up the hand, for them to turn their faces to the wall and kneel on the form ; (this is the position for prayer with hands behind,) when done- a stamp, to rise again-a clap with the hands, to front- and a motion or order to sit down. Thus, the Teacher will soon have all his signals known by the children, and the school reduced to some degree of order.
A child may now be put into the rostrum with a board containing easy words. Let him then spell a word, and the children repeat after him, all speaking together; or, he may count 1, 2, 3, &c. to 12; the whole school repeating after him, at the same time clapping their hands, stamping with the feet, or throwing up the arms, &c. : let this be frequently repeated, every now and then introducing some new but simple lesson, such as the five senses of manfour animal motions with action. The following simple lesson, accompanied by motions of the fingers as if dressing a doll, stooping down as if playing at marbles, will be found highly interesting at this early stage of the school; and if each line be repeated in a different tone of voice, the children will endeavour to imitate ; and this will be found an excellent preparatory step to singing
One girl dressing a doll.
Nine bees near the hive.
hay-making-gathering fruit--and skaiting. Another mode of arresting the attention of the little ones is, to suspend from the ceiling, or a beam near the centre of the room, a string with some weighty substance at the end, about six feet from the ground. Whenever this is set in motion, it must be known as a signal for perfect silence with folded arms; and here it would be well for the Teacher to make himself a prominent example, by sitting down and folding his arms. The first week should be devoted entirely to order and precision of speaking and acting ; and if this be tolerably acquired, the Teacher may rest satisfied with his labours, and look forward for final success. Let him not aim too hastily at great things ; by doing so many have failed altogether. We would here presume to give a word of advice to patrons and committees of Infant Schools; viz., not to admit more than fifty or sixty children the first week, and leave the Teacher entirely to himself for that time; even if visiters are kept away the first two or three weeks, it will greatly tend to lessen the labours of the Teacher, and ensure success,
4. The next thing is to class the children according to their capacity and age. Select a monitor to each class of seven or eight; whose duty shall be to encourage his little charge to diligence and attention to the general instructions of the Teacher, and to instruct them when reading at their drafts (semicircles chalked on the floor). He will be required to receive from the Teacher the lesson-board, from which he is to teach his class, suspend it on the nail in the wall at the centre of the semicircle, and return it to the Teacher in an orderly manner when done with. It may be well to observe here, that this plan of having nails for the lesson-boards, entirely supersedes the heavy expence of what are termed lesson-posts; having been found to answer every purpose equally as well, and afford no obstruction to the Teacher, or trouble in moving from one place to another.
Having now carried this important part of the Teacher's duty, it is thought, to a sufficient length, we proceed next to state
SOME CAUSES OF THE FAILURE OF INFANT SCHOOLS.
It is with regret that we are sometimes constrained to hear of the failure of these important and highly useful institutions, and with very few exceptions, they have been traced, or may be ascribed to, some one or more of the following causes ;