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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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Hygiene as an Integral Part of a Normal Education

by A. T. Schofield, M.D., M.R.C.S. (National Health Society)
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 396-399


"Great bodies move slowly," and as yet the report of the International Hygienic Congress is not yet out, I am unable at present to give the substance of the paper I had the honour of reading there; therefore, as Miss Mason is most anxious to offer to the readers of this Review, in this number, some explanation of the reasons that have led the teaching of hygiene to be definitely included among the objects of the P.N.E.U., I will try in a very few words to place the matter before its readers.

It is indeed not a little strange that in the closing decade of the nineteenth century words of mine should be needed to enforce in England the necessity of making the teaching of hygiene an integral part of every woman's education. I have now been for many years earnestly urging this point before audiences of educated ladies whenever and wherever I could, and yet seem to have made but little real advance; and I have now come to the conclusion that people care little for themselves or for their girls to study any subject that is not accompanied by an examination giving some honour, however shadowy. It is clear, therefore, that the way to reach my end is to work through the examining bodies at Oxford and Cambridge and elsewhere, and induce these, if possible, to make the teaching of this subject at first optional, and afterwards compulsory, in their senior girls' and women's examinations. Miss Mason is therefore trying to get, through the medium of this Review, 10,000 signatures in support of this object. I have already been helped by the kind personal interest and aid of H.R.H. Princess Christian, Vice-President of the National Health Society, and of H.R.H. the Duchess of Albany, President of the Sanitary Institute, who have each presided over meetings specially convened to further this object; as well as by the hearty support of their respective societies, and of very many men of science.

And now a word or two on the subject itself.

A general knowledge of the leading facts of physiology, of the laws of health, of the care and training of children, of nursing, of the prevention of disease, and of sanitation, seems to me so absolutely essential to women, whether wives, mothers, teachers, governesses, nurses, visitors, missionaries, or workers in any sphere that I can only account for the present ignorance of the science of hygiene by the crude, and at times objectionable, way it has been taught, by the absence of interesting and intelligible manuals, and by its almost entire neglect by all our teaching bodies.

When we consider that, in spite of our sanitary laws, we have still some 150,000 preventible deaths and over four million needless sick beds every year, mainly through the culpable ignorance that still everywhere prevails on these important matters; when we remark that it is not reasonably possible that any one can acquire a knowledge of Hygiene without having it in their power on many occasions to prevent both sickness and death; when we see how easy is the science of prevention compared with that of care; how any one, for instance, in a few minutes can be taught to kick a piece of orange-peel off the pavement, and so prevent a broken thigh, which on the other hand requires the training of years to know properly how to set--we see that, whatever other subjects in a woman's education may be left out, whether ancient history, biography, chemistry, botany, mathematics, algebra, or physical geography, this all-important subject ought at all events to be included. It is impossible for any woman to acquire this knowledge without having her sphere of usefulness greatly increased, or for a week to pass without her being able in some way to turn this knowledge to some practical use. All that is necessary to be known in these matters can be taught without the use of technicalities or the introduction of purely medical matters. It can be taught, as I have well proved, thoroughly and efficiently to girls of all ages, though the best time to teach it is towards the close, or after the close, of the school career. May I then, without adding more words, venture to ask for the hearty co-operation of every reader of this Review in obtaining on the blank page (which should be cut out and sent to A. T. Schofield, Esq., M.D., Westbourne Terrace, Hyde Park, S.W.) as many signatures as possible in favour of making hygiene a part of every woman's normal education?

PETITION IN FAVOUR OF THE TEACHING OF PERSONAL AND DOMESTIC HYGIENE TO ALL WOMEN.

(This object is personally supported by T.R.H Princess Christian and the Duchess of Albany.)

We, the undersigned, heartily approving the principle adopted by the P.N.E.U., that Hygiene form an essential part of every woman's education, do hereby humbly request the Controlling Boards of the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations to include Hygiene and elementary Physiology as optional subjects in their girls' and women's Intermediate Local Examinations.

Names. Addresses.

Isabel Aberdeen Haddo House, Aberdeen

L. M. Braidwood Willesden Green, N.W.

T. W. Sharpe Education Department

Henry S. Perrin 31 St. John's Wood Park

Florence Campbell 22 Queen's Gate Gardens

Angela M. A. Campbell 43 Stanhope Gardens

M. Aldrich Cotton The Cloisters, Westminster

May E. Hoare 96 Ebury Street

Amy Wilson Leytonstone

E. Maud McNeill 9 Moreton Gardens, S.W.

Marion E. Parsons 55 Bedford Gardens, W.

Frances Purdon St. Catherine's, Surbiton

Maud Gurney Fox 9 Cottenmore Gardens, Kensington

Sara N. Defries 3 Elgin Avenue

Geo. Lindsay Johnson, M.D. Corbins, Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead

Ella Cockburn 39 Elvaston Place, South Kensington

C. A. Smith Keswick House, Putney

Mary E. Alexander Glendale, Hampstead Hill Gardens, N.W.

Frances Macpherson Grant Ballindalloch, Scotland

Elizabeth Anna Gordon 61 Princes' Gate

Louisa Hallman 5 Crawley Place

Catherine F. Kitching 19 Crossfield Road, Belsire Park

Ida S. Thomson Mecklenburg House, Putney

E. Sutton 28 Gloucester Street, S.W.

Any J. Smith 12 Eaton Place

Sibella Money The Vicarage, Kilburn

Hannah Whitall Smith 44 Grosvenor Road, S.W.

Mary Tudor Kirkpatrick Picard 59 Abbey Road, N.W.

A. W. Wills Heath Lodge, Hampstead Heath

Annie Henrietta Fryer Westhaven, Cricklewood, N.W.

Caroline Hollis 1 Maida Hill West, W.

Maria Georgina Repton 64 Eaton Terrace, S.W.

F. Kennedy 39 Onslow Square

M. A. Chreiman 39 York Place, W.

Penelope Moon 37 Warwick Gardens, Kensington, W.

Mrs. Hotlon 83 Gloucester Road, S.W.

F. Franks 13 York Place, W.

A. J. Duff Hatton Castle, Turriff, N.B.

John Jackson Central Hill, Upper Norwood

Alfred Thompson 15 Haverstock Hill, N.W.