The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
P. N. E. U. Notes
Edited by Miss F. Noël Armfield. Sec., 26, Victoria Street. S.W.
To whom all Hon. Local Secs. are requested to send reports of all matters of interest connected with their branches, also 6 copies of any prospectuses or other papers they may print.
N.B.--Kindly write on one side of the paper only.
NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN WORKERS.
Mrs. Franklin was one of the invited speakers to address the meeting of educated mothers arranged by the Union of Women Workers in connection with their Conference at Edinburgh. It is hoped that as a result of her paper a great many new members have joined. We quote from a report in one of the Scotch papers:--The second paper of the afternoon was read by Mrs. Franklin, the Hon. Organising Secretary of the Parents' National Educational Union, and was entitled, "The Place of the Parent in Education." Mrs. Franklin knows how to read well, and one can imagine that this talent has been cultivated by the daily reading aloud in the family circle, which she advocated in her paper. This lady thinks that to train for the profession of parent is as necessary as to train for the profession of teacher. Her ideal parent cannot know too much, and thus must be prepared to go on studying for ever. Some of the most formative years of the child's mind are those from infancy to five years, the time when he is almost solely in the charge of his parents, and from the beginning, the parent's ideal must be "to produce a being at his best, physically, morally, and intellectually." "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life," said a wise thinker, and under these three heads Mrs. Franklin proceeded to show how the influence of parent on child should be directed. Provide the necessary "atmosphere" by being careful in your own behaviour before the child and in the choice of his friends and associates, said she; discipline him wisely by studying and counteracting his individua and hereditary weaknesses, and for the life of his mind provide "quickening ideas round which the skeleton of facts can afterwards be hung." Leaving theory, Mrs. Franklin went on to show what she meant by quickening ideas as opposed to facts. She advocated nature study and the cultivation of the facility of observation. She advised parents to share their children's enthusiasm for flowers and trees and animals, but as a necessary word of caution she interpolated that "a mother must not be always intruding herself." There was much sound wisdom, too, in Mrs. Franklin's remarks on a child's taste in literature, music and art, being formed in its very early years by the class of books, pictures, and "pieces" which are found in his home. She advised mothers to instil into their children a love for the best children's books only, and as early as possible to teach them to see beauty in the highest productions in the domain of art. One of the most illuminating thoughts of all, however, was that one at the conclusion of the paper where she advocated that children should be early imbued with a respect for work, and led later on to make a protest against sham knowledge. All their training, she declared, should lead them to the knowledge that nothing worth possessing comes without strenuous effort. At the conclusion of this able and in some respects remarkable paper, Lady Aberdeen, who had been seated on the platform, moved a vote of thanks to Mrs. Franklin.
The Executive Committee has been approached with a view to starting Branches in the following places:--
BIRMINGHAM.--Sir Oliver Lodge, Principal of the Birmingham University, spoke to a large meeting of parents on the subject of "The Teaching of Arithmetic to Children." He urged that the study of mathematics in its elementary stages should be made much more interesting and vivid, and less mechanical. Part of the difficulty was, he feared, that many teachers had themselves never grasped the charm and interest of the science of mathematics, and were, therefore, only able to teach the rudiments, and even that in a most uninspiring manner. He instanced the habit with inferior teachers of setting very long sums, of having the slate covered with figures, frequently a mere waste of time and labour. Such work, he said, was comparable to a perpetual grind of scale-playing, with no prospect of ever reaching the joy and beauty of real music. He gave many interesting examples of simple problems worked in a more simple and reasonable manner, omitting much dull and needless toil. In working sums in weights and measures, he urged that such measures, &c., as a child understands should be used; miles, inches, ounces are generally understood, but drachms, scruples, rods, &c., are to children mere useless phrases, and that where possible, real measuring and weighing should certainly be employed. A thorough knowledge of the multiplication table is essential, but he felt that to many children the learning of other "tables" is a mere waste of time. The lecture concluded with some very interesting information as to decimal notation, and a number of fascinating examples of problems were worked on the blackboard, showing the result reached by the application of higher mathematics, and a consequent lessening of toil and labour. A short discussion followed from those present who were practically versed in educational methods.--The next meeting will be held on Thursday, December 4th, when Lady Isabel Margessen will speak on the subject, "That Old-fashioned Education is unnatural."
BOLTON AND FARNWORTH--The Farnworth and Bolton Branches having united, it is proposed to hold meetings alternately at Bolton and Farnworth. The first meeting was held in Bolton, at "Clevelands," by kind permission of Mrs. Crook, on Monday, November 17th, when Mrs. Barlow read a paper on "Vital Energy of Nature."--In December there will be a meeting arranged by the Mothers' Union and the P.N.E.U., when Mrs. Goslett will give an address.
BRONDESBURY AND KILBURN.--A lecture was given to this branch on Oct. 24th, by Mrs. Boole, on "Arithmetic, treated as a fossil deposit from the life history of humanity." In the course of an able and stimulating address, Mrs. Boole urged that the study of arithmetic should be approached from the historical side, and that the imagination of the pupils should be brought into play as well as the purely intellectual powers.--On Nov. 12th, a paper on "Punishments" was read by W. Allen Harding, Esq. Mr. Harding strongly deprecated the use of corporal punishment as being bad for the child and detrimental to the cause of true education. The paper was followed by a good deal of discussion, in which corporal punishment found very little support.
DARLINGTON.--A meeting was held at the Training College, on Oct. 28th, by kind permission of Principal and Mrs. Spafford, when Mrs. Spencer Curwen addressed a large number of members on "Application of Educational Principles to Music Teaching." She was accompanied by a little girl of ten, who demonstrated very conclusively the success of Mrs. Curwen's method of teaching.
DERBY--The members of this branch met at the High School for Girls, Osmaston Road, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 28th. to hear a discourse from Professor Miall on the subject of "The value of interest in teaching." Mr. H. Arnold-Bemrose occupied the chair, and there was a fair attendance. The Chairman, in the course of a few preliminary observations, said that the lecturer's name was well known throughout England. Dr. Miall was a scientific worker, and he (Mr. Bemrose) had had the pleasure of listening to him in London. Professor Miall ably introduced the subject, bringing out the elements of interest, such as profit, pleasure, sympathy, and curiosity; and showing that without activity there was no lasting interest, while choice, liberty and responsibility were great elements in maintaining it. How interest could be turned to account in teaching was exhaustively dealt with, and the discussion in which the company joined was of a profitable kind.
EDINBURGH.--The first meeting of this winter was held on Tuesday, Oct. 28th, at the Cafe, Princes Street. Mrs. Ennis Richmond, author of "The Mind of a Child," read an interesting paper on "Truth in Relation to Little Children." This was followed by Dr. Helen Webb, who read a paper on "Obedience." In the course of her remarks she made some valuable suggestions. Lady Aberdeen, President of the P.N.E.U., was in the chair, and among those who took part in the discussion were Lady Griselda Cheape and Mrs. Franklin. Between 250 and 300 people were present, and the meeting was most successful. The number included delegates from the Conference of the N.U.W.W., which was being held during the week in Edinburgh, and one can but feel that P.N.E.U. thought has in this way been spread.--On Saturday, Oct. 25th, the newly-formed Natural History Club held its first exhibition of children's collections in the gymnasium of Charlotte Square School. The exhibits numbered 35, and six prizes were awarded by the judges, Miss Newbigin, D.Sc., and Mr. Godfrey. At the close Miss Buchanan and Mr. Godfrey gave interesting short addresses on the subjects of "Collecting" and "The habits of some migratory birds." This is the fourth exhibition of collections held in connection with this branch, and after each the bulk of the collections has gone to help in nature teaching in the Commongate Board School, where there are 1,500 children.
ENGLEFIELD GREEN.--On Wednesday, Nov. 12th, Miss Annie Evans, Public Lecturer on Art, visited this branch, and gave an interesting lecture, entitled "How to show Children the National Gallery." The lecture was illustrated by lantern slides of the pictures selected by the lecturer for explanation and description, which added immensely to the interest of the lecture. The meeting took place at Scaitcliffe, by kind permission of Mr. Morton, who also lent his lantern for the occasion. The lecture was well attended and listened to with interest throughout.
GLASGOW.--On Thursday, Nov. 5th, the opening lecture of the session, on "The Care of the Eyesight in Children of School Age," was delivered by Dr. Freeland Fergus at his own house, 22, Blythswood Square. The learned lecturer said it must be admitted that defective eyesight sorely handicaps the victim. In proof of the fact that modern civilisation deteriorates the sight, he referred to Prof. Risley's researches among the savages of the South Pacific Islands, adding, however, that defects are to a great extent preventable by observation of hygienic principles. There are three conditions for good sight--(1) a healthy normal state of the eye; (2) a certain amount of illumination; (3) a certain posture of the person seeing. Departures from the normal type may not be diseased, e.g., short sight and long sight may not involve disease. Short sight often depends on refractive errors. A child may be born with defective vision, a congenital cataract. Short sight early in life is made worse by education, and may result in impairment. If short sight is suspected the sight should be carefully tested. This may be done from the early age of three upwards. If myopia is discovered, attend to the general health, try and keep away books, encourage outdoor exercise, and obtain suitable glasses. A short-sighted child should be kept erect in reading and writing. If the sight still deteriorates, all school work must be interrupted for a time. Long sight is less easy to detect, except that the child complains of pain in reading or writing, and possibly has attacks of inflammation of the eyes. As to the matter of illumination, the whitest light is the best, and therefore incandescent lights are to be commended. This light should be behind, not in front, of the worker or reader, and is best when falling over the left shoulder. A bad position produces disturbances to eyesight and mischief to general health, e.g., curvature of the spine. In America and Germany much attention is paid to the height of desks and forms and proper support of the child's back. To sum up, good school furniture is very important as a safeguard of the eyesight. Above all, the small of the back should be supported. Besides this, the child should lead a healthy life, should have good food, plenty of exercise, physical culture, rest and sleep. It should be remembered, too, that certain inflammatory conditions are infectious (in fact, all inflammation, being caused by micro-organisms, comes under suspicion). Contagion may be conveyed from inflamed eyes by towels or even by several children washing at the same basin. A child with sore eyes should be made to wash in running water and its towels carefully sterilized. At the close the lecturer kindly answered various questions asked by deeply interested members. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded him both for his lecture and his kind hospitality.
HAMPSTEAD.--The season was inaugurated by a very successful meeting on Oct. 21st, when J. L. Paton, Esq., Head Master of University College School, gave a lecture on "The Public Schools of England," the chair being taken by Griffith Jones, Esq. Mr. Paton, in the course of a most interesting address, laid stress on the great value of our English Public School system in the training of character, and compared our schools favourably with the Continental ones as regards the development of the whole man, both body and soul. He did not deny that our public schools are behindhand in methods of teaching, &c., but considered that the future need of England is a national system of efficient day-schools, imbued with the public school spirit. The discussion was opened by Mr. Candler, an old Uppingham master, under Thring. There were 140 present.
HARROW.--The last of Mr. Conrad Noel's series of lectures on the "Tyranny of Terms," took place on Oct. 22nd, at Northwood High School. The subject was "The Individualist." Mr. Noel said a type of true individualist was Dr. Stockman (in Ibsen's Enemy of the People). The greatest man in the world is he who stands most alone, and so, though Stockman is not understood by his fellows, yet he is not really alone, he is surrounded by hosts of dead heroes--the past and the future are his--his is the power and the glory for ever and ever. Macbeth is a great contrast to Stockman, for, though he too is, in a sense, an individualist, yet he rides rough-shod over everything, and thus comes into his kingdom. The lecture provoked a great deal of discussion, and, as regarded some points, disagreement.--The Hon. and Rev. James Adderley gave a lecture at Northwood College, on Nov. 4th, with lantern slides, on "Francis, the Little Poor Man of Assisi." Mr. Adderley began by saying that S. Francis was a Saint who practically belonged to all Christian people. The whole of Christianity was on the point of collapsing when S. Francis stepped in and saved it. From time to time God raises up men like S. Francis. He was an inspiration--he came to call men to a simpler life. S. Francis gave up all he had, it was a positive joy to him to be poor, to be hungry and cold. Among the slides shewn by Mr. Adderley were two shewing a photograph of the simple, rough shepherd's coat S. Francis wore, and the rock and wooden pillow at the top of the mountain where he slept. Mr. Adderley's lecture was one of unusual interest throughout.--A meeting for discussion took place on Nov. 12th, subject, "Should the woman on entering the profession of marriage definitely face the responsibilities which will probably be hers, of training her children as future citizens of the State?" Mrs. Platt was the opener, and was seconded by the Local Secretary, Mrs. Crompton being in the chair. Mrs. Platt said that she thought that it was very regrettable that there was no definite preparation for the work of training her children made by the parent. She thought that mothers should keep the idea of motherhood before their daughters as the chief aim in life; that it should be impressed on them that the future race of mankind depends on them; that the aim of all education is to fit them for their after responsibilities. The Local Secretary urged that what was needed was some definite course of training, that girls should qualify themselves for the work of training children, either before or immediately after marriage. There was much animated discussion, and it was generally agreed that there was needed much more preparation for marriage and its responsibilities than was considered necessary in society to-day.
HYDE PARK AND BAYSWATER.--Hon. Sec, Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.--On Nov. 18th, at 13, Mansfield Street, Cavendish Square (by kind permission of Mrs. Bridgeman), Mrs. Clement Parsons read a delightful paper on "The Training of the Will," with illustrative passages from various authors read by Mrs. Scott-Stokes, Mrs. Holroyd Chaplin, Mrs. Ashley Carus-Wilson, Mrs. Stephen, Mrs. Dickinson, Mrs. G. Joseph, Mrs. Whitaker Thompson, and Mrs. R. Devonshire. There was a large audience, who seemed much to appreciate the lecture and illustrations, which in their width and interest were a literary education in themselves. The chairman, Mr. W. Bridgeman, M.L.S.B, concluded the proceedings with a short speech.--The next lectures will be on Dec. 2nd and 9th, at 3.30 p.m., at 35, Bryanston Square (by kind permission of Mrs. J. Annan Bryce), when Mrs. Scott-Malden, of Windlesham House School, Brighton, will speak on the moral training of children from one to ten and ten to twenty years of age. The lecture is to women members of the Belgravia and Hyde Park Branches only. Tea and coffee at 3 p.m.
KIDDERMINSTER.--A drawing-room meeting was held at "Cairndlm," by kind invitation of Mrs. Adam, on Friday, Oct. 24th. A paper by Miss Helen Webb, entitled "Thought-Turning as a Factor in the Training of Character," was read by the Hon. Sec., Miss M. E. Ivens, and the advisability of training a young child by this means was discussed. A pleasant afternoon was ended by a few business remarks from the Hon. Sec.--On Nov. 5th, a most enjoyable evening was spent by members and friends of this branch. Mrs. Ralph, of Reading, spoke upon "The Duty of Parents to Schools," and all who heard her could only feel grateful for the advice and helpful suggestions she offered them. She impressed upon her listeners the fact that no pains could be too great to take, to assure themselves the school they chose was one with which they could be absolutely satisfied, and then having done this she begged them to give that school their unswerving loyalty. Having made this very clear and pointed out that without this loyalty neither parent, child, nor teacher could be on truly happy terms, she spoke upon several difficulties with which the heads of schools meet, which might be remedied by a little foresight from the parent, and touched upon various questions of a practical and useful nature. The audience was good, and at the close the vote of thanks was most hearty and sincere. Non-members were admitted upon payment of sixpence each, and at the close of the proceedings several small pamphlets sent from the P.N.E.U. Central Office were purchased by various ladies.
LEEDS.--A meeting of this branch was held on Nov. 5th, when Miss McCroben, head mistress of Wakefield High School, gave an interesting address on "How to encourage a taste for literature in children." She recommended a steady course, which should train the taste and the imagination, beginning with old-fashioned fairy tales, going on to nature myths and mythological stories, such as Kingsley's Heroes, followed by extracts from Tennyson, stories from Chaucer, &c. The lecturer suggested that parents might read Shakespeare with their children, taking a play and reading it in parts. There was a good attendance, and some discussion followed the lecture, which was much enjoyed.
LEWES.--This branch opened its season with a lecture on "Ambidexterity," by Mr. John Jackson. There were about 40 people present, and all were very interested. The lecturer's daughter, who has only practised the art for six months, gave examples of what may be accomplished by the ambidextrous, by writing down and working out a small addition sum with the left hand, and at the same moment writing sentences with the right. The hon. sec. can thoroughly recommend this lecture to other branches. The chair was kindly taken by the Rev. A. P. Perfect, who warmly eulogised the work of the Union.
SCARBOROUGH.--The eighth annual meeting of the Scarborough Branch of the Parents' National Educational Union was held on Oct. 30th. The address by Mr. Owen (St. Peter's School, York), on "Co-operation between Parent and Schoolmaster," was admirable, being based upon personal experience with boys. The meeting was attended by about 50 members and friends, and several new members were enrolled.
WEYBRIDGE.--The first of the new session's lectures was given by Miss Troutbeck on "Hero Worship." The lecture was only fairly well attended, but those present were all interested, and owing to this and the skill and experience of the lecturer, there was some interesting discussion after the lecture, which was excellent in every way.--The second meeting was held on Nov. 20th, when a paper was read by the Rev. Canon-Scott Holland, on "What Plato has to say to Parents."
WINCHESTER.--On Friday, Nov. 14th, Miss Helen Webb, M.B, gave an interesting lecture at "Lesney," on "Habit." She dwelt much on the importance of persistent patient training of children from infancy in habits of obedience, politeness, tidiness, &c., and the necessity of continuing such training day by day without allowing intermittent lapses into wrong habits. This may seem difficult, but it is made possible to carry out by the children themselves being naturally conservative, and much preferring that a thing should be done according to custom. The painful fact that the lecturer has known more than one sad instance of a child dying through unmanageableness in time of sickness drives home to every mother's heart the daily need of patient, unflagging zeal in our care and training of the little ones. Everyone present was grateful to Miss Helen Webb for so kindly coming to address them on this subject in such a helpful manner.--Further meetings are arranged as follows:--Dec. 13th, at Dr. Wingfield's, St. Swithun Street, Miss Rankin, on "Co-education"; Jan. 31st, at the College, Mr. Sadler, on "Pestalozzi"; March 9th, at the College, Mr. Creighton, on "Religious Teaching."
WOKING.--The first meeting of this branch was held on Tuesday, Oct. 28th, at "Riverside." The Rev. C. A. Skelton, M.A., Rural Dean of Woking and Emley, gave a most interesting and helpful address on the subject of the Education Bill, which was followed by a good deal of discussion. There was a very good attendance in spite of the fact that a good many members were prevented from coming through illness and other unavoidable causes. The session is making a profitable beginning, and number of members slowly but steadily increasing. Two reading circles have been formed, one to read Miss Mason's Home Education and the other Lecky's History of Morals. Natural History Club.--A meeting was held at "Riverside" on the 23rd May last, at which a committee was appointed for the above, with Mr. E. Saunders as president. Up to the present date the club consists of about thirty members. It was thought that the best way to interest the members of the club in natural history subjects would be to have a series of conducted rambles during the summer months. These were taken by Miss B. K. Taylor, late of Girton College, with very satisfactory results, and later in the season Mr. Saunders conducted one on botany. Now that field work is impossible, Miss Taylor is giving a series of lectures once a fortnight on various subjects, illustrated by the magic lantern, and in the alternate weeks Mr. Saunders is giving botanical instruction to any who care to attend at his house. The special work which the club hopes to undertake is the formation of a list of the fauna and flora of the Woking district.
WOODFORD AND WANSTEAD.--On Thursday, Oct. 30th, by kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Eliot Howard, a most enjoyable evening meeting was held at Ardmore, Buckhurst Hill. Mr. Howard has lately joined the local committee, and took the first opportunity of entertaining the members. The proceedings began with Mrs. Hayter's (branch representative) report of the May (London) Conference. After that, readings and recitations were given till tea was announced. Before quitting the library, Mrs. Alex. Cook moved a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Howard. After tea, the company divided according to their wishes. Some returned to the library to inspect the many objects of interest there, and others repaired to the drawing-room, where a delightful selection of music was given. Besides some charming songs, there were performers on 'cello, piano, and violin, all contributed by members or their families.
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