The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Edited by Miss F. Noel Armfield, Sec. 26, Victoria Street, S.W.
BIRMINGHAM.--On February 19th, the 57th Meeting of the Society (formerly "Mothers in Council"), was held by the kind permission of Miss Young at the High School for Girls, Hagley Road. A most excellent Paper was given by Mr. A. P. Cary Field, of West House School on "Enthusiasm," which made all present long to have the power of inspiring enthusiasm into the lives of their children. He showed clearly how much the education of the present day failed to produce the hoped for results, as it dealt too much with superficial attainments instead of character forming, and how necessary it was to have the active co-operation of those who guided the children during recreation hours, with those who had charge of their mental training. At the close of the Lecture there was an animated discussion in which several fathers and mothers took part. There were 58 members present. A paper was given on March 20th by Mrs. Phillips, on "The Need for High Ideals."
BOLTON.--A meeting was held at Clevelands, by kind permission of Mrs. Crook on Monday, March 3rd, when two papers were read, one by Mrs. Potts, and the other by Mrs. Cropper, on Dr. Sophie Bryant's book, The Teaching of Morality. Both papers were much enjoyed and the book is now being read by those members who had not been able to get it beforehand. There was a good attendance and a short discussion ensued. The next meeting is to be held in April, when Mrs. Barlow will read a paper on the "Cultivation of Artistic Taste in Children."
BOURNEMOUTH AND BOSCOMBE.--A Lecture was given on March 17th, by Miss Buckton, Vice-Principal of the Sessame House, on "Some Modern Ideas in the Education of Women."
BRONDESBURY AND KILBURN.--On February 4th, the Rev. A. A. Green, Rabbi of the W. Hampstead Synagogue, gave a most interesting lecture to this Branch on "Children's Literature." The lecture was well attended and was followed by an animated discussion. On February 18th, Mrs. Clifford Granville read a paper on "Physical Culture," showing the great necessity of attention to this important branch of children's education. She touched on the importance of voice cultivation and deplored the inarticulate way in which children were so often allowed to speak. A discussion on the various forms of Physical Culture followed. On March 4th, a most instructive discussion was opened by E. S. Weymouth, Esq., M.A., Secretary of the University Postal Institution, on "The Advantages and Disadvantages of Examinations." The lecturer confined his paper to the open examinations that schools prepare for, such as the Oxford and Cambridge Locals, The London Matriculation, etc. A discussion followed, in which the views of the lecturer were supported, vis: that, up to the ages of 15 or 16, the disadvantages of examinations outweighed the advantages, but that for senior students, they afforded a good stimulus for work, apart from their value for professional purposes, etc. The meeting closed with the usual votes of thanks. Particulars about the Natural History Club excursions can be obtained from the Secretary of the Branch.
DERBY.--On February 28th, a most interesting lecture was given by H. Mager, Esq., on "The Training of Children in Science." The lecturer pointed out that to learn by doing, is the great aim in Science training, both in the home and the school; that the subject should be dealt with as an intellectual and moral discipline rather than as mere book work or the giving of information. Much can be done with the simplest apparatus, and with a little encouragement children can be got to take a real interest in many practical subjects. The lecturer showed how Natural History and the Physical Sciences could be dealt with in the home and school. He depreciated any formal scheme of science teaching in the earlier stages and emphasised the importance of never allowing it to descend to mere bookwork, but to let the actual work of the pupil be the basis of all knowledge obtained.
GLASGOW.--The third lecture was delivered on Feb. 7th, at 18, Lynedoch Crescent, by Dr. Schlomka, whose subject, "Education and Mental Development," was treated on broad lines. Briefly referring to the conflicting theories regarding the condition of the child's mind at birth, he dwelt at length on the increasing growth of the mental powers through childhood, boyhood and adolescence, till the ripeness of manhood and old age is reached. Education stimulates, nourishes and guides the powers which distinguish man from the lower animals. All good education leads to self-education; a man is completed by free self-activity from within. We must raise our level even to the level of God Himself, and lift ourselves up to God-likeness. In man we find in varying degrees receptivity and spontaneity. Imagination (Vorstellungskraft) plays a great part in development. Every sense of perception is strengthened by repetition. Unity of consciousness is effected by language, and spiritual life grows by speech. Independence of will grows by knowledge, but imagination gives clearness to mental powers. It is very necessary that conscience should be correctly guided in early youth, before the period of reasoning, or adolescence, is reached. Body and mind are now at a critical stage. In answer to the question, what is the aim and object of human development, it must be shown that the true dignity of man lies in his spiritual nature. Endless progress alone can put man in harmony with the world of God's perfection. Dr. Schlomka declared that the vice may generally be reduced to faulty conscience and will power. Some discussion followed.
HAMPSTEAD.--On March 11th, Rev. A. A. Green, Rabbi of the Hampstead Synagogue, lectured on the teaching of the Old Testament to children, the chair being taken by C. Simmons, Esq., M.A. The chairman said there was a peculiar interest in hearing what a Jewish Rabbi had to say on this subject, owing to his knowledge of Hebrew, and the fact that the Old Testament was essentially the literature of the Jews. Mr. Green said that if parents want to keep their children's reverence for the Bible, they should present the Scriptures in such a light that when they become men and women, new information will mean new strength and new interest. He then dealt with various books and characters in the Old Testament, and concluded by giving a typical Bible lesson from the story of Naaman. On February 25th, the Hon. Sec. lectured on "The Place a Father may take in Home Training," to a Literary Society of Working Men in Kentish Town, and found there a very real and sympathetic interest in the problems discussed and the ideals suggested.
HARROW.--There have been two lectures lately of special interest. One, on February 15th, by Mr. John Jackson, on the "Hygiene of Handwriting," in which he strongly urged that children should be encouraged to use both hands equally in writing, and maintained that, until this was done, education, in the fullest sense of the word, was hindered. The other, by Mr. Gilbert Chesterton, on March 12th, who most kindly filled the place of Mrs. Steinthal, who had promised a lecture, but was unavoidably absent through ill-health. Mr. Chesterton spoke on the "Neglect of Aestheticism in Education," and his address throughout was exceptionally brilliant, convincing and original, and gave rise to the most eager and exhilarating discussion. Mr. Chesterton said that he used the word "aestheticism" in the sense of "feeling," not in the sense in which it had been mis-used many years ago to mean an artistic craze; and that what he wanted to speak about was the neglect of the cultivation of feeling in the education of to-day. He urged that religious enthusiasms, artistic enthusiasms, enthusiasms for adventure, for territory, are the things that are really important. The ultimate end of any human being is not what he knows but what he feels; not what he happens to achieve, but what he manages to enjoy; and that the Renaissance faculty of enjoying learning is most important. If you take the time of Charles I. and the Commonwealth as a subject, the fact that the child is taught to admire Charles I. or Cromwell, does not matter, but that you teach him to admire. The lecturer spoke strongly on the advisability of having simple surroundings for the young child--a few beautiful things, and said that there was some danger to-day in an excess of beautiful environment in the nursery, that, practically, art and science were simply kneeling at the feet of the modern child of five years old. He went on to say that there was a certain emotional faculty, which is what he might call the Sense of Sanctity, and that he thought this should be included in religious education, because at present the idea of religious education is based largely on the grounds of a scientific belief.
HASTINGS AND ST. LEONARDS.--The following extract from the St. Leonard's and Hasting's Observer, notices a series of four lectures given during February by W. Carus Wilson, F.R.S., on "The Wonders of Creation." "I should be glad to hear of the special success, from a financial and every other point of view, of the series of lectures which are being delivered at the Public Hall under the auspices of the Parents' Educational Union. Certainly, I cried out long and loudly that the Committee were not acting wisely in confining their instruction to special audiences assembled under special circumstances at private houses, or at other places where neither large nor socially mixed audiences could be looked for; and that, in fact, they were putting themselves to a maximum of inconvenience and monetary expense for a minimum of profit to the object they had in view. Now, than the teaching which is imparted through the medium of these lectures, it is difficult to imagine anything of higher practical value to parents or others having to do with the bodily development and mental training of children. Every effort that it is possible to make should be made, and not only by those connected with the Society, but by all others sympathetic with the association's great mission, to secure even over-flowing attendances at the addresses."
HYDE PARK AND BAYSWATER.--Hon. Sec. Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terracer, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday morning, or by appointment.--A meeting was held on February 14th, at 6, Hans Crescent (by kind permission of the Dowager Countess of Northesk), to discuss some of the points raised in the Hon. and Rev. Canon E. Lyttleton's address. The discussion was opened by Mrs. Franklin, and Mrs. Rawstorne, Miss Lyster, Dr. Helen Webb, Mrs. Devonshire, and Mrs. Anson took part. Mrs. Howard Glover was in the chair. A meeting was announced for March 20th. The next lecture will be on Friday, May 2nd, at 86, Westbourne Terrace (by the kind permission of Mrs. Hall), when Mr. Palmer (Headmaster of University College School), will lecture on "Our Boarding School System." Dr. Scholfield in the chair. Particulars of Natural History Rambles, Cricket, etc., will be forwarded in due course.
IPSWICH.--On January 30th, Mrs. Cudworth read to the branch a paper on "Brush Drawing," following it by a demonstration on the method. She maintained that every child might be taught to express its ideas by drawing as easily as by writing. Mrs. Cudworth dwelt especially on the value of free arm and wrist movement; and advised that from the time a child was old enough to "scribble," it should be allowed to use a brush; thus training it to a much lighter and steadier touch than it would produce with pencil or chalks.--On February 19th, a lantern lecture on the "Spanish Armada" was given to children, by Mrs. Sieveking, but her charming address was, perhaps, better appreciated by the adults than the children. Mrs. Sieveking spoke on her subject from the Spanish point of view, and impressed many of us with a far higher ideal of Philip and his motives than we had before gathered from our insular historian. The next lecture to our branch will be given by the Right Rev. Bishop of Thetford, in the Library of the Town Hall, on Thursday, April 24th, at 3 o'clock; the subject will be "Children's Sundays."
KIDDERMINSTER.--On Wednesday, Feb. 26th, a meeting was held at Sunnyside, Franche, by kind invitation of Mrs. Ivens, when a paper on "Co-Education" was read by Miss G. E. Southall, of Birmingham. An interesting discussion ensued, followed by tea, and a similar meeting was arranged to be held at another member's house during the next month. Each member was invited to bring a friend, and the meeting was in every way a pleasant and successful one. The Hon. Sec., Miss M. E. Ivens, gave a brief account of the objects of the P.N.E.U. Miss Southall's interesting paper was thoroughly appreciated.
LEEDS.--On Feb. 25th, an interesting paper was read by Mrs. Wicksteed, in which she offers some "Suggestions to Mothers on the Training of their Children." She spoke of the necessity of aiming at a balanced character in our training, of the formation of that character in the first six years of a child's life, and of the particular virtues which must combine to produce that character--reverence, enthusiasm, gratitude, humility. She deplored the publicity in which children live nowadays, the Children's Page in Magazines, Letters to the Editors, etc., and laid much stress on the importance of quiet, unselfish home life.--A lecture was given on the 21st of March, when the Rev. J. G. Simpson spoke on "Personality in Children."
SCARBOROUGH.--We regret that Dr. Ely's paper has had to be postponed until the beginning of next term.--On April 3rd, Dr. Lucy Buckley (Leeds) is expected to give a paper on "Some Nervous Manifestations of Childhood." The meeting is to be held at St. Martin's Vicarage, by kind invitation of Mrs. Mackarness.
SOUTH WOODFORD.--The next meeting will be held at Mr. Martin's Woodlands House, South Woodford, when Mr. Olive will give a lecture on "Sympathy between Parents and Children."
WAKEFIELD AND DISTRICT BRANCH.--On Monday, March 3rd, an interesting lecture was given by the Rev. Foxley Norris upon "Some Methods of Infusing the true Art Spirit into Young People." The lecturer dwelt upon the fact that the true Art spirit is a God-given faculty, and cannot be instilled into those in whom it is lacking. He maintained, however, that the germ of this spirit lies dormant in most children, and may be developed by environment, encouragement and training. It is essential that the child should be surrounded from his earliest years with pictures and objects of real artistic value, so that he may be unconsciously led to a discriminating sense of beauty. As the child gets older he should also be encouraged to reproduce what he sees, and to notice the beauties of line and colour which surround him in Nature. In these and other ways children may be to a certain extent fortified against the ugliness which surrounds them in our large towns, and may gain the power of appreciating beauty, even if they are never capable of adequately reproducing it.
WOKING.--The second meeting of this branch was held at Riverside, on Friday, March 7th. Miss Beth Finlay read an interesting paper on "The Uselessness of Modern Youth." A fair number of members and their friends attended and a good deal of interest was shown.
Typed by Blossom Barden, Apr 2020; Proofread by LNL, Apr 2020
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