The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The "P. R." Letter Bag.
Volume 14, 1903, pg. 474
[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of Correspondents.]
To the Readers of the "Review."
I should like to draw the attention of all readers of the Review to the
arrangements made by our Conference Committee. We have decided to try
the experiment of bringing members of the Union together twice in the
year and thus having two opportunities of rousing one another's
enthusiasm and focussing P.N.E.U. thought. We are therefore going to
have our Council Meeting (for election of officers, passing report,
&c.), and our Conversazione on June 8th. Our Conference will take
place about the end of October. This we hope will prove a less busy and
therefore more convenient time than in the height of the London season.
Full particulars of the Conversazione will be advertised in the Review.
Meanwhile, I am able to say that Miss Mason will contribute a paper on
questions which she hopes may be of help to us all at a moment when a
general feeling of unrest exists in the educational world. The
Committee feel that every effort should be made to spread the true
principles for the diffusion of which the Union exists. Every P.N.E.U.
member will receive an invitation to the Conversazione. The Secretary,
26, Victoria Street, will gladly forward extra cards to any friends of
members whose names are sent to her. We should be glad to receive names
of heads of schools as well as parents to whom the evening might prove
interesting and inspiring.
Dear Editor.—On account of absence from Edinburgh I had not an opportunity of seeing the April number of the Parents' Review when it was issued, but my attention has now been drawn to a statement in an article on "The Education Bill from an Educational Standpoint," which appears in that number.
Speaking of the training of secondary teachers the writer mentions the following as the only institutions at which such training can be obtained:—The Maria Grey Training College, The Cambridge Training College, The Ladies' College, Cheltenham, and the House of Education. I hesitate to attempt to complete this list, lest in trying to correct unintentional omissions I fall into the same error myself.
May I however be permitted to mention here that the Edinburgh St.
George's Training College for Women Teachers in Secondary Schools, has
been in existence since 1886, and that it is one of the institutions
recognised by the Board of Education for that purpose.
Dear Editor,—You will probably be interested to know that the Saturday
Review of April 25th, 1903, speaking of the Royal Commission to inquire
into Physical Education in Scotland, whose report was published on
April 20th, says: "The Report is full of common sense . . . and might
be taken as an embodiment of the principles which Dr. Almond
established Loretto to support. He gave striking evidence before the
Commission a month or so before his death, and the full emphasis is
given to his conclusions."
Dear Editor.—I visited a school last summer, a description of which,
it has occurred to me, it might be of interest to send you. there may
not be much new about it to those who are specialists in this line,
watching all the rapid developments that are taking place, but to me
who have mostly recollections of my own village school days of the
70's, it was a sort of revelation, and in any case it must always be a
comfort and stimulus to know that there are more companions in the
march ahead. I had seen a column in the Yorkshire Post the year before
giving a description of this school. It is an ordinary village school,
the children of quarrymen away up on the borders of Yorkshire and
Lancashire, three miles uphill from Haworth, in the country of the
Bronte's. The hamlet is called Stanbury, and the schoolmaster, Mr.
Bradley, is a native, and was a millworker before going to qualify for
his present calling. The special features pointed out in the newspaper
article were the interesting ways that Nature study was taught and
encouraged, and I found on my visit that this applied to other subjects
in general. The schoolmaster was pleased to show me a good and well
illustrated article in the English Illustrated Magazine giving a
description of his school. He had had many visitors. He said how
fortunate he had been in having a good Inspector, who frequently
brought headmasters from other schools to see him. The first thing I
observed in going through the playground, was a home-made water gauge,
there being a receiver about a foot-and-a-half square leading into a
bottle fixed into a big square stone. Inside on the window-sill there
was a home-made barometer—a tube inserted into a saucer of mercury;
also a thermometer. At a convenient height on the wall where the
children went in and out, there were charts in which to enter the
rainfall, temperature, heat, speed of the wind, and school attendance.
The children of course took them in turns week about. They were most
neatly and systematically drawn up, and, independent of any other
advantage, this appealed very strongly to a business man in a matter
most essential to business men. On the window-sills there were no end
of bottles with all sorts of caterpillars hanging to leaves, some of
them not long put in, and others entering into the chrysalis state. I
stayed overnight and had an opportunity of confirming what all the
other things showed—that there was a man with a mind alive, and
energy, away doing duty among the hills, and with a touch of Elijah
about him. He spent a considerable part of the night in preparing
slides of a tour he had had in the Lake District, for use in the school
next day. I spent next forenoon in the school. The usual opening is
about half-an-hour spent in examining what flowers and other specimens
the children have brought in, and talking about them in the presence of
the whole school. They had a surveyor's map of the district, and the
children had to point out the exact place where they had found their
specimens. Then he put up a suitable map and some sappers' and miners'
charts, and in a most interesting way described his tour and showed
them the photographs. This of course was a special item for that
morning. One or two of the young classes were then sent to their own
rooms, and with the elder children he went over the morning paper with
a map of the world and a map of the British Isles put up, and a child
standing at each. It was a very commonplace morning's news, but he
found quite enough to make a most interesting half-hour, and the
children of course, on their respective maps, pointed out the places
that were referred to, and thus a capital geography lesson was got as
well as one in current history. The part singing was very well done,
and I observed the songs had reference to the time of the year. The
arithmetic lesson was also very interesting. The children were
perfectly acquainted with both our system and the decimal. The teacher
made his preference for the decimal system very plain, and it was
evidently a regular thing for them to work in both. Unfortunately I
could not stay till afternoon, which was a Friday, the day for their
weekly out-door ramble. He told me what a keen delight this ramble was
to them all. He would not allow birds' nests to be touched, but had a
great number of photographs of them taken by himself when the children
were there, showing sometimes the eggs and sometimes the birds sitting.
he said that this had created quite an army of bird protectors, as no
child in the district dare touch a bird or a nest or they had the rest
of them on them like hornets. I do not think I have much more to say in
this connection, but I trust what I have said is at least interesting,
whether it contains any practical hints or not. And it must certainly
give pleasure to any person with a proper heart and mind, to know of
those rustic children, with their hob-nailed boots and strong Yorkshire
Doric, having such a good time. The moorland air and training like that
should produce something of worth to the country. Yours faithfully,
P.S.—Mr. Bradley seems to have got some ideas from a very interesting book:—Nature Study in Elementary Schools, by Mrs. L. L. Wilson, Ph.D. (The Macmillan Company)—quite fresh and American in its treatment.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, November 2008
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