The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

by the President of Central Council.
Volume 5, 1894, pg. 161-163

[Lord and Lady Aberdeen (Campbell Hamilton-Gordon, 7th Earl of Aberdeen and his wife Ishbel) became the first President of the P.N.E.U.'s Central Coucil in 1889.* But by 1894, this may have been Dr. A. T. Schofield, who is listed as the Branch Chairman in the previous article ("PNEU Notes"), while Algernon Coote is listed as the vice-chairman in the previous article, and as the vice-president in this article. Perhaps Chairman and President were being used interchangeably?]

This is now the word of command. For some time, the Parents' National Educational Union has been content to blush unseen, though diffusing a pleasant fragrance by its teachings, through many a happy household. During this period, it has been consolidating its forces and quietly extending its influence. The House of Education at Ambleside has become an accomplished fact. Those who have been already equipped are winning, not only honour for themselves, but a grateful appreciation of the modern methods they pursue. In more than one schoolroom, not only do the children vote the school hour the happiest time of the day, but parents and friends alike invade it, to hear the interesting discourses that are given. The Parents' Review School and other agencies have been also well established, and are doing a great and useful work.

But all this is ancient history, being at least a twelvemonth old. The word now is "Forward!" And it is being obeyed. The time has arrived for this Union to become better known. It is the only Union of the sort that regards fathers as having a practical interest in the child's welfare as well as the mothers, and fathers are a distinct power in the conferences, and deliver themselves of many wise remarks and practical precepts at the numerous local meetings. This Union also appeals primarily and specially to the educated classes. Based as its principles are on the latest advances in Physiology, Psychology and Sociology, it aims at being in the van in education.

And here let me say one word about the abuse of this word that so distorts our true use of it. Many thus think that the P.N.E.U is some new union of school teachers, or at any rate is conceived primarily in school work and school life. Now, the word education means "to draw out" or "to develope," and is rightly used for parental training in the formation of physical, mental, and moral character. School teaching and book learning should never be called education. For if we venture to submit a new word to our philologists, and one that would at once do away with the existing confusion that arises from trying to give two different meanings to one word, the word we purpose is "inducation," or "a leading in" or "a storing" or "filling" the mind with knowledge, a process totally opposed to the drawing out or developing of the qualities already there. To return to our text. The "forward movement" has been shewn, first in the formation of new branches, especially on the south coast, which have made a good start as our readers know, under the best auspices. These, in our opinion, consist in the branch being the result of a felt want met by local energy and supported by local influence. Though thus independent of central aid, there can be no doubt of the value of a strong central trunk to multiplying branches, and we are glad, therefore, to point out the second plan of the "forward movement" in the establishing of central offices at 28, Victoria Street, Westminster, under the able superintendence of our new general secretary, Miss Ethel Forsyth, the late principal of the Forsyth Technical Training College for ladies, and since then an extensive organizer in County Council work.

This gives the Union the pied-a-terre it so much needed, and we trust the offices will be visited by all friends when in town, and that wherever fresh interest arises in any locality, it may be made known at headquarters with a view if needed of giving any required information or help.

The third advance is in the establishing under a Sub-Committee, of a body of ladies and gentlemen willing to give lectures at various centres, on subjects connected with the training of children.

These are in many cases honorary, in others a small fee is paid, and we are sure they will be largely in requisition and very generally appreciated. The next step taken is the publishing of this magazine by ourselves. This is a great help in every way, and will, we trust, give all our readers a personal interest in its circulation, which might easily be doubled or trebled with very little effort. When it is considered that the profits of this magazine are entirely devoted to the furtherance of the P.N.E.U., and that its contents wholly consist of articles written especially to help parents in their work, it will be seen that it is worth a little trouble in making it known and securing fresh subscribers. This can be done in various ways. Subscribers should obtain an extra copy to place in their local reading room each month, and other copies to give away, or old copies can be bought in quantity at a reduced price for free distribution.

Another branch of the forward movement is the formation of a Bayswater branch in London. This is merely named here in order that all readers having friends in the locality likely to join this branch may write to them and ask them to send their names in to our local Hon. Secretary, Miss E. Campbell, 1 Campden Hill Road, W. The President of the branch is the writer of this article, and its Vice-President, Algernon Coote, Esq., M.A., of 24, Powis Square, W.; these are supported by an efficient local council.

We trust these new beginnings will stir up all our friends to work with still greater zeal for the spread of this Union, by whose means these principles and methods that are of proved value in early education may be everywhere known, and that by means of its conference and discussions, parents may be practically helped in the carrying out of their noble and all important task, fraught with the deepest social and national results of child training.

Typed by Kathy's son, Aug 2018; Proofread by LNL, May 2021

* [From "Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence" by Margaret Coombs, 2015, pg. 158: "On 5 December 1889, Miss Mason wrote from Bradford to O.B. and other followers . . . Academic educationalists dominated the next meeting. They promptly constituted themselves into an 'informal Central Council' with powers to appoint a provisional Central Executive Committee . . . Lord and Lady Aberdeen accepted the presidency.]