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
Edited by Miss F. Noel Armfield, Sec., 26, Victoria Street, S. W. Tel. 479 Victoria.
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.
Birmingham.—The first meeting of the Session 1903-1904 took place on Nov. 11th, by kind invitation of Lady Lodge. Mrs. George Cadbury was in the chair and there was a large attendance to hear Dr. Schofield give an address on "Unconscious Mind." After defining the meaning and scope of unconscious mind, the speaker showed how unconscious education begins from the very first: at even one month old, the angry voice or slap of temper may affect for ill the little child's unconscious mind. A child is born with the strong forces of heredity, it is affected by the inherited characteristics of parents and grandparents (but not particularly by remoter ancestors). It comes into the world with tendencies and potentialities, not actually with inherited vice or disease, only with tendencies which may or may not develop according to training. Education is the atmosphere, the discipline in which the child grows, hence the vital importance of this atmosphere being pure, true and happy. Up to 12 years of age, almost anything can be done in modifying character. Keep the young life in bud as long as may be, give, if possible, country surroundings, advantages of climate and scenery, and strive that the home environment be suitable. Then there is the great influence of personal forces, the mother's of course greatest, with its power of implanting ideas. The lecturer ended with some very valuable hints as to the discipline and importance of good habits and then of the ideal which the parent should represent to a child's mind. Many questions were asked at the end and there would have been much more discussion if time had allowed.
Bolton and Farnworth.—A meeting was held at the house of Mrs. H. A. Barnes, Moses Gate, on Monday, Nov. 9th. About 20 members were present. The winter programme was submitted. The secretary announced that arrangements had been made with Mrs. Clare Goslett for three lectures on "Child Life and the Hygiene of Youth." The first and third lectures are for members of the M. U. and the P.N.E.U., and the second lecture is open to the public. In January, the Rev. E. E. Rees, M.A., of Harwood, will lecture, and in February the members are invited to a Home and Schools Evening, arranged for by the Bolton Education Society; in March, Mr. Andrews, of the Bolton Grammar School, will lecture on "Language Teaching."
Brighton.—This branch held its first meeting of the winter session on Oct. 23rd. A large number of ladies and gentlemen gathered to the invitation of their President, and were presided over by Lady Louise Loder herself in her own gracious way. "An Hour in the House of Education" was the subject of the address. Miss E. C. Allen, a young ex-student, told in simple unconventional manner of the enthusiasm aroused in her and others for the high vocation of teaching and training the character and minds of young children. She succeeded in brightly interpreting the spirit which pervades the "House" under Miss Mason's beautiful and noble rule, which, briefly expressed, is that of "plain living and high thinking." Order and care in minutest detail, healthy appreciation of out-door life and all it offers and teaches, personal effort in the development of hand and of brain is stamped on all who go, and we as P.N.E.U. members were made thankful that we have such a training ground from which to draw those into our homes whom we desire to help in the early training of our little ones.—Our next meeting will be on Dec. 4th.
Bristol.—The opening meeting of the Bristol centre was held on Oct. 22nd, at the University College. Dr. F. Richardson Cross presided over an audience of over one hundred members and friends. Prof. Lloyd Morgan gave an address as president of the Bristol Centre. The chairman spoke of the benefits of a society which helped parents to understand all that the education of their children should mean. The P.N.E.U. promised almost as great things for the education of the country as Government control over education. He drew attention to the Conference to be held in London and pointed out the importance of the subjects to be discussed. In his opening remarks Dr. Lloyd Morgan said that, as he understood the objects of the Parents' Educational Union, they centred in a large degree around conduct and the development of character, of which conduct was the outward expression. He proposed to deal with certain aspects of what psychologists termed the affective side of mental life—that which is concerned with pleasure and pain, or displeasure as some termed it, and passed upwards into moral or intellectual satisfaction or the reverse. He drew distinction between the practical situations of life with the impulses which arose out of them on the one hand, and on the other hand the more highly developed system of moral and intellectual conceptions which threw light on these practical situations and might lead to their treatment on a higher plane of endeavour; such treatment being dependent rather on motive than impulse. In the earlier stages of impulsive behaviour the line taken was entirely dependent on the pleasures and pains residing within the immediate situation. The course giving the maximum amount of immediate pleasure was the one naturally chosen by the child dependent mainly on the impulse of the moment. But when a system of ideals by which life and conduct should be regulated took form in the mind, the motives for right action often led to conduct entailing pain within the immediate situation. This had been expressed by saying that, in the former case, behaviour took the line of least resistance, while in the latter case the conduct seemed to take the line of greatest resistance. But it was only the greatest resistance within the narrow limits of the immediate situation, not the greatest resistance in the combined whole, including both the situation and the system of ideals. Unless the affective tone of moral or intellectual satisfaction were really stronger than that of the more animal impulse, the latter would prevail. The speaker thought that parents should realise the normal course of development from the narrowest situation to the broader system, in order that they might, so far as possible, minister to this development. In conclusion, the speaker hoped that many would join the Bristol centre, when they would have opportunities of discussion many points in connection with the relation of the parent to the child. Mr. R. L. Leighton, headmaster of Clifton Grammar School, proposed, and Miss Burns, headmistress of Clifton High School, seconded, a vote of thanks to the lecturer. Mr. F. Gilmore Barnett, seconded by Mr. F. W. Tribe, proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman.
Dulwich.—On Tuesday, Sept. 29th, at Belairs, Gallery Road, Dulwich, C. D. Olive, Esq., lectured on "Classical Education." The Rev. H. Mallinson presided and proposed votes of thanks to the lecturer and to Mr. and Mrs. Spicer for the use of their drawing-room. it was a delightful lecture. An animated discussion followed, led by Mr. Mallinson, Dr. Batten and Mr. Evan Spicer. There was a good attendance of members.
Finchley.—On Thursday, Oct. 8th, the first meeting of the session was held at "Netherelms," Woodside Park (by kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Wimbush). Mrs. Spencer Curwen gave an address on "The Piano as a means of Musical Education." There was an appreciative audience, though small, owing to the inclemency of the weather. Mrs. Curwen's clear and earnest explanation and illustration of her system of teaching seems especially to commend itself to those, among others, who have had the opportunity and benefits of early training on Tonic Sol-fa methods.—On Nov. 5th there was a good gathering of parents at 9, Moss Hall Crescent (by kind invitation of Mrs. Leese). This meeting served a double purpose. It was opened by a paper by Mrs. Blake Odgers, who had been nominated to represent the branch at the Annual Conference in October. In the short time at her disposal Mrs. Odgers could but give a brief account of the proceedings of Conference, emphasizing what most impressed her and trying to inspire members with fresh enthusiasm in the cause and aims of the Union. That Mrs. Odgers succeeded in this admirably was proved by the rapt attention given to her paper and by the hearty vote of thanks which followed. Mrs. Clement Parsons then read a paper on "The Introduction of Poetry to Children." The keynote of Mrs. Parsons' address was that children are capable of appreciating good poetry from quite an early age, and that only the best should be offered to them. Mrs. Parsons' gifts as a speaker and her valuable suggestions met with warm appreciation and thanks from her audience. A vote of thanks to Mrs. Leese closed the proceedings of a very pleasant and profitable evening.
Glasgow.—The first lecture of the winter course was delivered by M. Martin, and Northbank, Downhill (by kind permission of Mrs. Robertson Blackie), on Tuesday, Nov. 10th. The lecturer, who spoke in French, took for his subject, "A Child's Difficulties in Linguistic Studies." After pointing out how speech differentiates man from the lower animals, and how speech gives form to thought, so that it may be said that thought without language cannot exist, he reminded us that defects of speech are due to brain lesions, and oratorical powers like Gambetta's to special development of the speech convolutions. Speech requires (1) a speech centre in good working order, (2) collaboration of the receptive and expressive faculties, (3) speech organs perfectly developed and under control of the nerve centre. Frequent repetition, distinct enunciation, and limitation of the number of words are the key to progress in foreign languages. The choice of words should be very careful. The work of assimilation is aided by pointing out the object denoted. Give only one name to a thing to avoid confusion. Closely associate words and meanings. The three difficulties lie in assimilation of sounds, in interpretation, and in reproduction of them. These vary in individuals. The experimental method may be followed without much difficulty. If you daily ask for the repetition of a limited number of sounds only, these will be quickly acquired. Prudence, patience, slowness, imitation and adaptation to surroundings—these will conquer almost all difficulties. The lecture was listened to with the deepest interest, and at the close the lecturer was warmly thanked for his address.
Hampstead.—The first meeting of the season was held in the Guild Room, Lyndhurst Road, on Monday evening, Oct. 19th. Alderman Hanhart presided, in the unavoidable absence of the Mayor of Hampstead. The lecture was given by Mr. Gilbert K. Chesterton, on the subject, "Tin Soldiers: The Place of Militarism in Education." It was, perhaps, rather more suitable for a debating society than for the P.N.E.U., but underneath Mr. Chesterton's paradoxes and quaint, whimsical assertions there lay a substratum of truth. He declared that the attitude of modern Europe towards militarism was two-fold: to be armed to the teeth, of which attitude Von Moltke might be taken as the representative; or the attitude for which Tolstoi stood, the love of peace and hatred of war. Mr. Chesterton confessed himself to be opposed to the peace-at-any-price party. He maintained that it was the duty of every man to defend himself and those he held dear if extreme circumstances arose; it was a moral instinct which had lasted all through the ages. What was horrible was that a man should scientifically prepare himself to kill as his one aim in life. The armed nations of Western Europe, he said, had lost the primitive idea of self-defence—they merely stood for a craven fear. As regards the legitimacy of inculcating the spirit of militarism in children by means of tin soldiers, Mr. Chesterton maintained that it was not to be regretted; it fostered the spirit of courage, some ray of light was caught from the heroes of old, and the love of victory does not coincide with the love of cruelty. There was a large attendance, and a good discussion followed.—The second lecture was given by Mrs. Sophie Bryant, D.Sc., on Nov. 13th, Mrs. Husband in the chair. Mrs. Bryant said that the ordinary British parent proclaims that the one object of education is the development of faculties and the building up of character, leaving out of account the acquisition of knowledge. The final object, however, should rather be to make the best of the child by acting upon his own motives, so that the learner becomes not only the co-partner, but the leader. The two questions to be considered by the educationalist are (1) the true duty of human life and human society, (2) the motive forces in human nature and the methods by which they may be utilized for human ends. Every human being is in his degree both a student and an artist; still in many cases he requires reinforcement. Personal ambition, modified by social good-will, gives the desire to be of service. Here emerges the idea of use and of self-development, so that the abilities must be developed to their utmost, and the pure student element is reinforced. Thus the end of education is to make the man at one with his world.—On December 8th, Mr. Oscar Beringer is to lecture to this branch on "Pianoforte Playing and Teaching."
Hyde Park and Bayswater.—Hon. Sec., Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.—On Nov. 12th, at 73, Harley Street (by kind permission of Mrs. Jessop), with Capt. Friedberger in the chair, Mr. A. Burrell gave a lecture on "Greek and Roman Educational Reformers." He gave a description of the education, manners and life of boys under Plato, Aristotle, Quintillian and Plutarch, and compared each quoted example with our modern views and practice. The lecture was illustrated by many witty quotations and telling stories, and the fascinating way in which it was delivered enchanted the audience.—The next lecture will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8th—not Dec. 10th as advertised—and will be held at 3.30 p.m., at 86, Westbourne Terrace (by kind permission of Mrs. Hall). The lecture will be given by Miss Lily H. Montagu, on "The Happiness of Work," and is especially addressed to the parents of older girls. Girls over fourteen are invited to attend.
Ipswich.—A most interesting and suggestive address was given in connection with this branch, on Wednesday, Nov. 11th, at the Museum, by the Rev. W. Madeley, head master of Woodbridge Grammar School. His subject was "Educational Ideals," and dealt largely with the utilitarian demands of the age, and the ideals of thinking educationalists—whether these are reconcilable; and if so, to what extent? He endorsed Lord Goschen's motto, "Education is a means of life, and not a means of livelihood." It was not to be narrowed down to mere book learning, or limited to fitting a boy or girl for his or her special vocation in life; but in all ways, both private and public, to make their lives fuller and richer. In Charlotte Mason's own words, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." The lecturer maintained that schoolmaster were very much at the beck and call of parents, and that, in the long run, the latter would have what they demanded. The tendency was to make public schools more commercial and technical. Was this a step in real education, or not? Various time-honoured methods were being tampered with—witness arithmetic and Euclid, "royal road" (with short cuts) to this and that, advocated together with learning without tears. But was this lessening of mental athletics wholly desirable? The lecturer paid a compliment to the P.N.E.U. by stating: "We teachers look upon you as our great ally." There was a good attendance at the lecture. Archdeacon Lawrence, as chairman, made some well-chosen remarks, and after some interesting discussion, the meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the lecturer, proposed by the Rev. W. E. Fletcher, and carried with sincere cordiality by the audience, who thoroughly appreciated the thoughtful suggestiveness of the address.
Leeds.—On Oct. 21st the Bishop of Wakefield gave an interesting and valuable address to this branch on the subject of "The Teaching of the Bible to Children in the Light of Modern Criticism." The lecturer pointed out that the so-called Higher Criticism deals with dates of books, purposes of writers, etc., and had regard to the study of comparative religion and to modern discoveries. There are three ways of treating this subject: 1st, we may shut our eyes to it and call it an attack on the Bible; 2nd, we may give up all as lost, and say that modern science has exploded the Bible; 3rd, we may examine these things. He then spoke of the nature of inspiration—a breathing not on pens, but on men, each with his own individuality, not free from mistakes in detail, but embodying all through the revealed will of God. We must fearlessly teach our children that there is a growing morality traceable in the Old Testament. The Bible contains fragments of the literature of a peculiar people. The Hebrews are the fathers of religion, and these fragments are more whole than anything else in the world. The Bishop ended by recommending a list of books suitable for teaching children and preparing them as they grew older to face hostile criticism by being firmly grounded in the faith.
Reading.—The first meeting of this branch was held on Oct. 15th, when the committee and officers were re-elected, and a paper was given by the Rev. Canon Colson, entitled "Children and Sundays." His address was full of useful and helpful suggestions and was listened to with much attention, and after it was over there was a fairly good discussion on the subject.—The second meeting was held at Ascham House School (by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Etches), on Nov. 12th, when a paper was read by Mr. Timberg, G.D., of Stockholm, entitled "Swedish School Gymnastics," accompanied by practical demonstrations by some of the boys of the school. There was a large attendance and it was evident from the frequent applause during the reading of the paper, and the practical demonstrations which accompanied and followed it, that those present thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the efforts made on their behalf, to show the various exercises practised and considered necessary for the proper development of the body, without undue exertion, which was shown to be at all times detrimental instead of beneficial to the health and general development of the body.
Scarborough.—We are glad to record a distinct growth both of numbers and interest in this branch. Since taking a more public position and asking the Mayoress to meet the members, we have added eleven new members to our list. On the occasion of our reception at the Municipal Buildings, Mrs. Franklin read her most inspiring paper on "The Parents' Place in Education." After the paper there was ample time for conversation, and the result has been a real development of interest in the members all round. Since then Mrs. Parsons gave us her delightful paper on "The Training of the Will," and Mrs. Ralph has spoken to us on "Co-education." Her subject was so new to many that it was quite impossible the views should be accepted by all; but many will think about it, and the subject was presented in a most practical and masterly way. The discussion was the best we have had.
Wakefield.—This branch opened the new session on Monday, Oct. 5th, when Mrs. Clement Parsons gave an address on "The Training of the Will." The meeting was held at 5, St. John's Square (by the kind invitation of Miss McCroben).—The second meeting was held at Hatfield House (by the kind permission of Mrs. Plews). Mrs. Ralph addressed the members on the subject of "Useful Holidays." The address was a most interesting one, and caused an animated discussion.—The Rev. H. A. Kennedy will speak on "Teaching the Bible to Children," at Mrs. Wigglesworth's, Holmfield, Thornes, on Tuesday, Dec. 1st.
Weybridge.—The first of the meetings arranged for this season was held on Thursday, Oct. 22nd, at Wood End, Weybridge (by kind permission of Mrs. Butler). The Rev. Dr. Burge, headmaster of Winchester College, gave a most interesting lecture on "Some Theories of Education at the time of the Renaissance," which was much appreciated by a large audience.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, July 2008
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