The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 395-400
Edited by Miss F. Noel 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.
The Executive Committee has been approached with a view to starting
Branches in the following places:—
Readers of the Parents' Review living in these districts, or having friends there, are asked to communicate with Miss Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S.W.
Branches of the P.N.E.U. will shortly be opened at Bristol and Croydon. Will members having friends in Bristol kindly communicate with Mrs. Daniel, Dunelm, 23, Downleaze Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. Miss Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S.W., will be glad to receive the names of people, in or around Croydon, likely to be interested in the formation of a Branch.
Bolton and Farnworth.—The last meeting of this sessions was held on Monday, March 30th, at Woodsleigh, by the kind permission of Mrs. Harwood. Mrs. Frank Ainsworth read a most helpful and suggestive paper on the book the members have read during the winter—Mrs. Stettson Gillman's Concerning Children. There was a good attendance and discussion.
Brondesbury and Kilburn.—At a meeting held on Feb. 20th, a most interesting lecture was given by Mrs. Weguilin Green. The lecture was on "The Training of Musical Instincts." Mrs. Green spoke of the necessity of training both the appreciative and executive faculties, and advocated periodical concerts of chamber music to illustrate scherzos, fugues, sonatas, &c. A meeting was held on March 6th, at which Mrs. Garrett Rice read a paper on "Needlework and the Modern Girl." Mrs. Rice's theory as to the dislike of so many girls for needlework is that we begin to teach it much too early. Her plan is to wait until the girls are developing into women, by which time she considers that they will naturally take to an occupation which is so essentially womanly. She would have them start at 12 or 15 years of age, and then have a thorough systematic training in needlework in all its branches, including mending, making and cutting out. The paper was listened to with great interest and was followed by a very animated discussion.
Darlington.—The annual meeting was held at Blackwell Manor on Feb. 25th, when the report of 1902 was read and the committee for the following year elected. The branch has sustained a great loss in the death of its late president, Lady Dale. Mrs. Sieveking read an interesting paper on "Early Tendencies in the Child: how to check or develop." In considering the supreme privilege and duty of parents to discover and direct tendencies in their children, Mrs. Sieveking thought that parents registered their impressions too little, and tendencies were often difficult to recognise. Among evil tendencies, Mrs. Sieveking spoke of destructiveness, and deprecated the giving of too much pocket-money to children. Untidiness might be cured by inculcating in children a sense of the fitness of abode for everything. Bad tendencies must be checked little by little, regularly, and with intention. A hobby was a joy for ever, and an ever-present safeguard against evil tendencies. Reverence was a tendency that ought to be developed. With all our qualities we were not a nation of ideals, yet reverence was the angel of the world, and all really great men and women were idealists at heart.
Edinburgh.—On Fe. 19th Mr. James Cadenhead, R.S.A., read a most interesting paper on the subject of "Picture Exhibitions, and how to enjoy them." The lecturer defined the function of art as the transmission of experience; he then spoke of the general misapprehension regarding the relative positions of art and science, and emphasized the fact that we cannot hope to bring our children into a better relation to the fine arts than our own. They will always judge our convictions by our conduct. Speaking of the old masters, and, indeed, of the contemplation of all pictures, Mr. Cadenhead urged the importance of self-forgetfulness and a receptive attitude of mind. Dr. Schlapp led the discussion, which was spirited and full of interest, pointing out the great difference between the education in subjects relating to art given in Germany and that given in our own country.
Glasgow.—On March 3rd, Dr. Spenser delivered the concluding lecture of the season, on "Some aspects of English University Life." The lecturer first compared the resident and non-resident systems, and then gave a brief appreciation of their respective merits. The workers are of two kinds—(1) the athlete, a healthy if not a high type, assured of a mastership if his desires tend in that direction. (2) The scholar, either a cadet of a famous house in whom noblesse oblige, as a Cecil or an Asquith, or the son of a professional man or merchant, too often considering the University as a technical school for the manufacture of teacher or parson. The youth from a public school who has not his own way to make in the world, and from whom not even a minimum of work can now be demanded, is a serious danger to the welfare and progress of the University. The corporate life is certainly more fully realised in an English than in a Scottish University. Scottish Universities are too often factories, and there is an overkeenness to acquire knowledge. Again, much of the work of the English public schools falls to be done in the Scottish University. To the Scottish student the stern realities of life are ever present. his honours degree may not mean so much, but enables him sooner to be wage earning. In fine the respective systems are the logical outcome of the national minds.
Harrow and Northwood.—A lecture was given at Miss Mole's School, Warrand House, on Feb. 21st, by Dr. Chattaway, on "The Chemistry of some common things of the household." Mrs. Chattaway had promised to given an address on "Some small points in a girl's education," but was prevented by ill-health, and Dr. Chattaway kindly took her place.—On March 7th, Dr. Gregory Foster addressed the Branch. He took for his subject "The Study of Chatterton," and gave an exceptionally suggestive and interesting lecture. He said that to track out the sources that give a fashion birth was always a difficulty in looking back to the reason that governed style of writing in the past. It is easy to say that Romanticism came as the natural fashion of a literary age. At Chatterton's birth, there were signs of an approaching change; the works of Gray, Macpherson and Percy were reactions against a prevailing fashion. Unlike Pope and Dryden, Chatterton takes us far below the surface of things; he takes us into the emotions of things. At the back of all his work was the true artistic impulse. The appreciative silence that followed the end of the lecture showed better than any words could do into what a deep literary vein of thought the audience had been led, and among what quiet ways of thought some among them were still lingering at the close of Dr. Foster's words.—There have been two meetings lately: one on March 26th, by Miss Rowland Brown, on "Some English Exiles in old Flemish Towns," Rev. Septimus Hebert in the chair; and the other on April 3rd, by Miss Alice Buckton, on "The Work of the Sesame House," Miss Rowland Brown in the chair. Both were well attended and lectures one would like to remember: and about Miss Buckton's words there was a quiet conviction which carried weight when she speaks of the great purpose and work being done by Sesame House students.
Hastings and St. Leonards.—On Jan. 23rd, Miss Guinness, Vice-Principal of the Royal Holloway College, gave a very interesting lecture on "College Life for Girls," at the Hastings and St. Leonards Ladies College, Mrs. Batterham in the chair. Some interesting discussion followed as to the desirability of college life for girls of small intellectual capacity.—On Feb. 11th, Dr. Helen Boyle lectured on "The use and abuse of Nervous Energy in Girls and Women," at 6, St. Margaret's Terrace (by kind permission of Mrs. E. Percy Sanger), Dr. Batterham in the chair.—On March 9th, Canon Brook (St. John the Divine, Kennington,) gave an address at the Christchurch Parish Room, on "Some Causes of Failure in the Religious Teaching of our Children," Rev. Bernard Moultrie in the chair. With much force and eloquence, Canon Brook warned his audience of the injury done to children's characters by the sloth or indifference or worldliness of mothers; by carelessness in the selection of governesses, servants, and companions—and pleaded that only those who had a high standard of truth and conduct should be placed in charge of, or in contact with a child. A mother's love was seldom wanting, but a mother's care in surrounding her children with good influences was often deficient. Sympathy and confidence should be cultivated between mother and child, and not allowed to diminish as the child grew older. Mothers to-day were too much afraid of their children being dull, and provided more amusement than was wholesome. Canon Brooke earnestly pleaded for definiteness in religious teaching, and more use of the Bible The mother, if influenced by the higher criticism, should still teach the little stories. Whether they were taught as parables or as facts mattered little, so long as the child learned the truths they contain. A certain amount of dogmatic teaching of the truths of the Christian religion was absolutely essential, and a definite foundation of simple truth laid in childhood would never be lost in later life. Canon Brook's address was listened to with profound attention by a large audience, and was followed by short speeches by the Rev. Bernard Moultrie and Mrs. Batterham.—Natural History Club—On Feb. 10th, Miss Kennedy lectured on "Shells and their Matters."—On March 6th, Miss Cameron lectured on "The Adaptation of Plants to their Environment."—On May 2nd, Miss Cameron will lecture on "Man's Indebtedness to the Plant World," and, on May 15th, Miss Kennedy will lecture on "Animal Defences."
Hyde Park and Bayswater.—Hon. Sec., Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.—On March 13th, a meeting was held at 98, Harley Street (by kind permission of Mrs. Morley Fletcher), when Dr. Helen Boyle gave a lecture on "The Use and Abuse of Nervous Energy in Girls and Young Women." Mrs. Devonshire was the chair, and there were about 80 present. The lecture, which was very interesting, was followed by a good discussion.
Ipswich.—A very interesting and suggestive address was given on Feb. 19th, by the Rev. W. E. Fletcher, of St. Matthew's, Ipswich, on "The Culture of Spirit Life in Children." Mrs. Tempest kindly sent her drawing-room, which was well filled by a most attentive audience. Mr. Fletcher spoke of our triune nature of body, soul and spirit. We must appeal to the spirit-life in the child if we wished to change its character. Some interesting questions were asked and discussed.
Kidderminster.—The members and friends met, by kind invitation of Mrs. William Adams, at Lyndholme, on April 2nd, for an afternoon meeting, when Dr. C. C. Penrhys Evans read a very interesting paper on "Health and Education." He gave many useful suggestions concerning the best way of keeping "a healthy body" as the sure means of securing "a sound mind," and afterwards kindly answered the many questions the members desired to ask. A very pleasant and profitable afternoon was spent.—The Secretary gave notice of a public meeting to be held on May 13th, when the speaker would be Mrs. Penrose, of Barnard Castle.
Reigate, Redhill and District.—On March 25th, a meeting was held at The Old Rosary, Meadvale, by the kindness of Mrs. Sewill. The object of the meeting was to interest the members in the Children's Natural History Club, and for this reason it took the form of a discussion, which was opened by Mrs. Sieveking, who gave a short lecture on "The Educational Value of the Study of Natural History." Mrs. Sieveking opened her lecture by describing the healing power of nature and natural phenomena in those great crises of life when some great "moral upheaval takes place, unexpectedly, in our little world," and "we are left looking disconsolately at the ruin of our hopes." It is then that "the out-of-door environment begins its work in us, and we get the 'touch of nature' that we so sorely need to make us once more in kinship with the world, and we want to get back, as it were, to life at a simpler, less complicated, less artificial state, and to put into our children's hands a talisman that will be of an unfailing help to them in later, more difficult years." Then Mrs. Sieveking proceeded to point out that Natural History as a hobby produces no mental strain, and no emotional wear and tear, that it can be studied in any part of the world, and continues full of interest through life. Collections, and the keeping of imprisoned pets, was next touched upon. Mrs. Sieveking was of opinion that they can be studied more advantageously in their own environment, and studied thus, they tend to develop a spirit of "reverence for life, and a kindly feeling of protection for weaker things. The love of animals will teach the children how to be gentle with all who are weak, with all who are dependent. Let us, when taking our children into the out-of-door world of Natural History to study at first hand the ways, the reasoning powers, the lives of wild nature, be careful that they go into it prepared to learn reverently, thoughtfully, and not in the spirit of self-appropriation, but having previously 'taken off their shoes,' metaphorically speaking, so that they should disturb and hurt the great community of wild creatures as little as may be—and teach them that any act of cruelty to however small a creature disqualifies them from the inner study of Natural History by blunting and dulling the perceptions of sympathy and intuitive thought." Mrs. Sieveking gave the following suggestions for teaching Natural History to children:—(1) Natural History Walks conducted by some naturalist. (2) The keeping of Nature Notes or a Nature Diary. (3) The urging children to look up descriptions of animals, etc., and to classify for themselves. Mrs. Sieveking's lecture was admirably suggestive, and the keen appreciation of the audience was proved by an energetic discussion which followed.
Wakefield and District.—The last meeting of the session was held on March 26th, when the Rev. J. G. Simpson gave a very instructive and interesting address on "Personality in Children." He spoke strongly in favour of more hardness in the bringing up of children, saying that the lavish indulgence of the present day in the way of expensive toys and other luxuries did much harm to the development of their individuality. he also spoke on the religious aspect, saying how necessary it is for little children to be taught to feel a personal relationship between themselves and their Maker. The annual report was read at this meeting, and a satisfactory balance sheet presented.
Winchester.—On Feb. 17th, Mrs. Fort kindly entertained us at the Abbey House, when Mr. Geoffrey Hett gave a most charming lecture for children, entitled, "A Natural History Ramble." He described the habits of several hibernating animals, such as the dormouse, squirrel, and bear; of birds, the cuckoo, chiff-chaff, and many others. Specimens of these Mr. Hett kindly brought, thereby greatly adding to the interest. Pond-life was also touched upon, the ways and doings of tadpoles, toads and frogs being humorously described. The tiny people present were allowed at the end of the lecture the treat of caressing the pretty nimble little lizards, grass-snake, and slow-worm.—On March 9th, at the Headmaster's House, The College, Mrs. Creighton lectured on "Religious Teaching." The first object, said the speaker, was to teach a child to realise God. Daily family prayer should be conscientiously carried out, and the mother should endeavour to always be present at her child's morning and evening devotions, rather than leave it to the supervision of the nurse. Church going was better not enforced too young, but later, children should be taken regularly to attend the Sunday services, although the growing custom of their leaving before the sermon was to be commended. The Bible, theology, and church history should be taught by the mother, after her own careful preparation, and reverential discussion of religious matters should be encouraged, never repressed. It would be no advantage to young people to keep them in a fool's paradise, and not let them know that others exist who think differently. Rather should parents encourage their children to thrash out these matters, and to equip themselves, by earnest study of such questions, with the information necessary to satisfy intelligent reasoning. One of the greatest aids to implanting a religious feeling in the child's heart must always be the influence, the character and life of home surroundings. If the tone there be one of high-souled living, consistent with its teachings, its impression is indelible.—During the summer months, we hope to arrange some botanical excursions for the P.N.E.U. children of Winchester.
Woking.—On Friday afternoon, Jan. 30th, a lecture was given at Riverside, by Mr. Walter Herbage, on the subject of "Temperance." The line the lecturer took was instructive, and was listened to with much interest by the audience. Some discussion followed. The chair was taken by Mrs. Smyth.—On March 20th, Mrs. Sieveking read an interesting paper on "Early Tendencies in the Child." The meeting, which was held at Riverside in the evening, was well attended, and much appreciation was shown.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, November 2008
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