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. 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.
Miss F. Noel Armfield much regrets that lack of space compels her to hold over till next month some of the notes sent for insertion.
BOLTON AND FARNWORTH.--A meeting was held in the Girls' Club, Marsden Road, Bolton, on Tuesday, Dec. 8th, when the members of the Mothers' Union met with the members of the P.N.E.U. to hear a paper on "The Imaginative Faculty in Childhood: its Cultivation and Suppression." This lecture should have been given in January, but owing to inability of Mrs. Goslett to come to Bolton, Mr. Rees very kindly consented to give his paper instead. There was a fairly large attendance in spite of the terrible weather, and the paper was much enjoyed. There was a short discussion afterwards.--The Mothers' Union has very kindly invited the P.N.E.U. to a lecture to be given in February, by Mrs. Joseph Conn. It is hoped that the joint lectures arranged with Mrs. Goslett will take place later on.
BRIGHTON.--On Dec. 4th a large company--100 or more--met at the Vicarage (by kind invitation of Canon and Mrs. Hoskyns). After brief words of welcome and interest to members of the P.N.E.U. from the Vicar and the chair, the audience listened with rapt attention for nearly an hour to the Rev. Felix Asher, on "The Influence of Wordsworth"--a masterly exposition of the moulding and generating of the youth and man into the poet and teacher. By telling readings from The Prelude and Recluse, from sonnets, and thoughtful passages in the Excursion, he illustrated the feeling after the principle which became Wordsworth's own and which actuated his life and character. By graphic and picturesque simile the lecturer compared the transition of thought and revolutionary influence, synchronous with the French Revolution tendencies of the 18th century, to those of the contented, simple countryman, to the groping through and passing out from a long, dark tunnel into daylight, with all its coulour in grass and sky, its detail of rock and moss, of tree and flower, of bird and happy life. From that time Wordsworth found out the importance of little things, and this made him the truly great man, the teacher and brother and poet beloved. The influence of his sister Dorothy was also beautifully dwelt upon.--The next meeting will be on Jan. 20th, 1904. "The value of recent research in confirming Bible History."
BRISTOL.--The second and third of the series of lectures given under the auspices of the Bristol centre were given on Friday, Nov. 20th, by Dr. Helen Webb, M.B., of London, at the Kensington School of Art, Berkeley Square, by kind permission of the head-master, Mr. John Fisher. The first of the two lectures was given in the afternoon, and took the form of an informal "Talk to Nurses." Mrs. Gilmore Barnett presided over an audience of 45 members and nurses, and introduced Dr. Helen Webb, a well-known London doctor and educationalist. The lecturer spoke to nurses on the importance of the training of quite young children in conduct and character, and made suggestions as to how best to form good and overcome bad habits. She urged that we should rather seek to turn the thoughts of children from a naughty habit than impress it on their minds by repeatedly correcting them for that special fault. In the evening the Rev. Arnold Thomas took the chair, and Dr. Helen Webb again lectured to an audience of 50 members and friends, on "Habit." The chairman, in his opening remarks, quoted Prof. Seeley, who held it to be an immorality that fathers and mothers should take so little interest in their children's education. Dr. Helen Webb spoke on those habits that should tend to become mechanical and those that should tend to our conscious development. Many habits tended to injure and cramp the whole nature, while others tended to lessen daily friction and leave more time for the important things in life. Habit could only be built up by repetition alone in the very young; later, the inspiring idea became necessary for its foundation. Bad habits could also be formed thus, and she quoted "Evil was called Youth till he was old, and then he was called Habit." She urged that hobbies rightly directed might lead while they lasted to develop such good habits as accurate observation, orderliness and perseverance. Several new members sent in their names at the close of the lecture.--The fourth meeting of the session was held at University College, on Dec. 2nd, when Mrs. Clement Parsons lectured to an audience of 120 ladies and gentlemen. Dr. Newman Nield, in the absence of Dr. Lloyd Morgan (who subsequently took the chair) briefly introduced the lecturer, a well-known writer, both in educational matters and fiction. Mrs. Clement Parsons took as her subject the training of the will, with illustrative passages which were read by different ladies and gentlemen present. She spoke of the will as the force that moves us, hence the importance of a right education, which makes the daily habits of a child tend towards good. On parents rests the responsibility of training the child's will. What is desired in the child must first be acquired by the parent, and what the child should learn must also be believed by the parent. Obedience can either be obtained by fear or faith, and often it is better not to insist on absolute obedience, but rather to turn the thought of the child by occupying its mind with good. Mrs. Clement Parsons then described the three stages of will--first, the primitive will which struggles to acquire, to possess, to act for itself; second, the will to endure, which is the ideal of Stoic philosophers; and, third, the highest development, when human will is merged in the Divine. A child starts with the primitive will, school or young companions develop a useful stoicism, and the third stage can only be reached by contact with the world. An intimate knowledge of noble literature will help to sustain us in our highest ideals. The lecturer concluded with a protest against pessimism. In thanking Mrs. Clement Parsons for her lecture, Dr. Lloyd Morgan said that the central principles of the Parents' National Educational Union teaching were concerned with character, and the heart and centre of character was will. It was announced that the next lecture would be given in January by the Hon. and Rev. Canon Lyttelton. Some of the audience sent in applications for membership at the close of the lecture.
BRONDESBURY AND KILBURN.--On Tuesday, Dec. 8th, an interesting lecture was given to this branch by H. Candler, Esq., M.A., on "The Improvement of Education in Public Schools." His thorough knowledge of his subject caused his remarks to be received with the attention they deserved. He pointed out the chief deficiencies in an ordinary school boy's education, lamenting the ignorance of English literature and European history, and the undue time given to classics and mathematics in proportion. The meeting was held at 86, West End Lane, by kind permission of Dr. and Mrs. Cunningham.
CROYDON.--On Friday, Nov. 20th, the members of the Branch that was started here in October last, met for the first time since the inaugural meeting. The meeting was opened by a few announcements from Mrs. Hall, and then the President, Dr. Parsons Smith, gave his opening address. He reminded the members that when the history of the year 1903 was written, the word education would appear writ large in the pages of that history, but feared that, in spite of that fact, few English men and women really knew the meaning of the word. After dwelling on the real signification of it, he passed on to speak of the physiological basis of education, of the brain as the governing body, regulating all the movements of the individual. He ended by speaking of the P.N.E.U. as being formed to consider the foundation of education, which was by no means to be relegated to the school, but begun early at home. Having delivered his presidential address, Dr. Parsons Smith called upon Mr. Nesbitt to read his paper. Protection, Mr. Nesbitt told us, was in the air, and in his opinion the English child needed protection from unwise parents and untrained teachers. A comparison of the acquirements of an average English and German youth would prove wholly unfavourable to the former, and the blame lay in the faults of our English education. German schools were better organized and the instruction given much more systematic, while in Germany again the art of teaching was taught, whereas in England, except in the case of the board schools and some secondary girls' schools--the boys' schools were quite in the dark still--no professional training was considered necessary, the mere passing of examinations was held to be the sole qualification needed. The mode of acquiring knowledge was, Mr. Nesbitt maintained, much more important than the knowledge acquired, and the P.N.E.U. aimed at bringing home that fact to the consciousness of parents and teachers. This society valued knowledge simply for its power to develop character and intellect; therefore, the method of teaching any subject was the all-important thing. The child should, as far as possible, follow the path on the original discoverer. Mr. Nesbitt then dwelt on the vital importance of training a child to think out a matter for himself. But in this work it was necessary that parents and teachers should cooperate; it was useless for teachers to inculcate habits of self-control if the parent gave way to temper, or to instil a love of learning if the father and mother followed frivolous pursuits along. Parents should encourage their children to talk to them of the work at school, and should show pleasure if a child told them any fact new to them, for above all we should be absolutely honest and not be above learning from our children. In this way a real friendship would be fostered between parent and child, far better than the old subservient relationship. In conclusion Mr. Nesbitt spoke of the stress Miss Mason lays on the moral training of children, and of the aim of this society to train the parents that they rear their children wisely and well.
EDINBURGH.--The first meeting of the season was held at 31, Drumshugh Gardens (by kind permission of Mrs. Berry), on Nov. 23rd, when short accounts were given by ladies interested and students, of the following training colleges:--The House of Education, Sesame House, Norland Institute, and Princess Christian Training College. Lady Campbell presided. Mrs. Berry Hart first gave an interesting account of the Princess Christian Training College. Mrs. Balfour spoke of the Norland Institute. She said she had been specially struck by certain characteristics noticeable in all the students. Differing necessarily in intelligence and disposition, they were all efficient, and showed great self-control in all emergencies. These two characteristics appeared to stamp an Institute nurse wherever she went. Mrs. Greenfield gave an impression of Sesame House, and showed that its aim is to form a connecting link between school and college life, and the administrative life of womanhood, fitting them for this in all its aspects. Miss Drury, an old Ambleside student, then gave an interesting account of the work done in the House of Education. Lady Campbell spoke very highly of the Ambleside students, of their love of the best books, and their delight in nature and industries of all kinds. She urged upon any present who were not already members to join the Parents' Union, which formed a connecting link between all mothers interested in bringing up and educating their children. The meeting was very largely attended.
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