The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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.
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.
BELGRAVIA.--A meeting was held at 27, Lowndes Square (by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Verity), when a very interesting lecture was given by Dr. Des Voeux on "Physical Exercise." Mr. Verity in the chair, about 45 members present.
BOLTON AND FARNWORTH.-- On Friday, Feb. 19th, the members of this branch were invited to a meeting of the Bolton Education Society, held in the Grammar School. Miss Kitchener, Head Mistress of the Bury Grammar School for Girls, read a paper on "How Parents can help Teachers"; while Mrs. Harold Barnes, Sec. of the P.N.E.U., read on "How Teachers can help Parents." In spite of the dreadfully wet night there was a good attendance. Unfortunately there was not much discussion, but three or four people spoke and the papers were listened to with interest and the readers accorded a very hearty vote of thanks.
BRISTOL.--The sixth meeting of the session was held on Friday, March 4th, at the Kensington School of Art, Berkeley Square, when Mrs. Josef Conn addressed a crowded audience of ladies on "Physical Education." Mrs. Conn addressed herself to women as mothers, and she deplored the profound ignorance displayed by women as a whole in all that related to the vital organs of the body. This ignorance affected not only themselves, but also future generations. When a girl went to school the development of her body was sacrificed to the development of her brain. Nothing in her education fitted her for the grave responsibilities of motherhood. Most childish ailments were the outcome of ignorant neglect on the part of mothers and nurses in charge of children. Few mothers realized the lasting disastrous effects of such neglect on the child's health. The first traces of adenoid growths and spinal curvature were unnoticed until they became apparent to the untrained observer, and then an operation or other strong measure had to be resorted to. By teaching children to breathe properly, adenoids would never develop, and by teaching them to sit and stand correctly, curvature of the spine would be less frequent. Mrs. Conn then spoke on voice production, and showed how, by the proper use of lungs and nasal breathing, one could control and intensify the voice without the fatigue with most public speakers experience. She gave some very wonderful examples of sustained breathing and voice production. The lecturer made use of diagrams and practical illustrations to show the effect on the body of incorrect breathing and deportment. There were many questions at the close of the lecture.--The seventh meeting of the session was held on Friday, March 11th, at the Kensington School of Art, Berkeley Square, when Mrs. Howard Glover addressed a large audience. Mr. R. C. Tuckett took the chair. Mrs. Howard Glover took as her subject, "Our Relations to Music and Art." This lecture was also given at Croydon, under which heading a report of it appears.
CROYDON.--On January 25th, Mrs. Glover read her paper on "Our Relation to Music and Art." It is impossible in a short report to do justice to the beauty of thought and charm of language which held the audience in rapt attention for nearly an hour. At the outset Mrs. Glover stated frankly that the object of her paper was a practical one--how to bring our children into touch with music and art--and that she was speaking solely from the parent's not the teacher's point of view. Lessons, she maintained, were not enough to make our boys and girls lovers of music and painting as represented by the best masters. Only too many young men today found their ideal of the former art in such productions as "The Shop Girl," and this low level taste was a severe criticism on our artistic education. In the majority of small children, even in babyhood, some signs of the artistic faculty might be called forth, and in this respect, a home atmosphere breathing of culture would have more influence even than heredity. We English were centuries behind the Greeks, and Edward Thring, of Uppingham, was the first to reform the musical part of our public schools' training, by dint of making class singing compulsory, and of instituting chamber concerts, where the boys were accustomed to hear the finest musical compositions; and especially by inviting Joachim annually to play to the school, he had had a great influence, not only over his own pupils, but on all the public schools. Turning from the school to the home, Mrs. Glover urged that artistic parents should not drop their accomplishments, and she laid great stress on the training of a child's ear from babyhood by the playing of such pieces as the "Harmonious Blacksmith," the Prelude to Act III. of Wagner's "Lohengrin," for, above all we should beware of playing down to a child. From the cradle let him have only the best. Then as the child grew older, tell him the story of the music: e.g., describe the storm in Wagner's "Flying Dutchman," and let the child see how the music fits the scene. Later might come occasional concerts, when the programme should be procured beforehand and carefully gone through with this small would-be member of the audience. Mrs. Glover then turned to pictorial art, and asked how we could best train our children to love the highest when they saw it. And here her answer was the same--give the children the very best from their infancy. Make the nursery beautiful with reproductions of the works of the greatest artists. Let them see photographs of the finest paintings; tell them the name of the artist, so that they might connect the work and its master; use such stories as you find in Stories of the Tuscan Artists [by Albinia Wherry], and do not, in an ultra-Protestant frame of mind, neglect the legends of those saints whose forms appear so often in the old masters. They should be made familiar with such stories as those of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Jerome and his lion, St. Catharine and her wheel, and here Mrs. [Anna] Jameson's Sacred Art would be found useful as a book of reference. As the child grew up he should be taken to the National Gallery, being prepared for such a visit by the study of [William] Cosmo Monkhouse's In the National Gallery. Mrs. Glover, in conclusion, said that she foresaw that many would regard her claiming the best in Art for the babies as a mere counsel of perfection; but she wished to press home the fact that upon our earliest presentations it would depend whether we were satisfied with what is second-rate or whether we claimed as our heritage all that is most beautiful in the works of art.--A meeting was held on Friday, Feb 26th, at the Red House, Park Hill Road, at which Mr. Morgan read a paper on "Nature Study, its Aims and Methods." Mr. Morgan began by stating that his point of view was not that of the mere scientist or theorist but of the practical educationist who, in considering the study of Nature, must have regard to the possibilities allowed by the time allotted in the school curriculum, the age of the boys, and the position of the school. The aim of Nature study was threefold. It should train the powers of observation, instil a thirst for inquiry, and so develop the reasoning faculties, and should also awaken a love of Nature; these were the highest aims of this study, bur Mr. Morgan also claimed a place for it in the curriculum on the more utilitarian ground that it could be so well correlated with other subjects, such as composition, drawing and painting, and mathematics, and obviously scientific investigation. Mr. Morgan then passed on to consider the methods of teaching, and before deciding on these, the aim and the age of the children must be carefully considered. The ideal way was, of course, to the let the boys watch and discover for themselves, the teacher acting merely as "guide, philosopher, and friend." In the summer, lessons in the class-room should be supplemented by rambles, wood, field and hedgerow being the right school-room for the study of Nature and her ways.
GLASGOW.--The concluding address of the winter's session was delivered on March 2nd, at 8, Doune Gardens (by kind permission of Mrs. Maxwell Hannay). The lecturer, Rev. Geo. Morrison, chose for his subject "The Religion of a Child," explaining that he wished to deal mainly with the relation of child life to church life. He declared that the church life of our own day is greatly affected by the recognition or re-discovery of the child. There are two causes which emphasize the spiritual and moral importance of the child. (1) The new interest in child-life extends far beyond the Christian church. We consider childhood as an end in itself, not as a stage of growth. Literature, philanthropy, psychology, all show the broader spirit of the time. Compare the sedulous care with which "Lewis Carroll" masked his identity with the blazoned authorship of the Just So Stories. The most popular author is not ashamed to write for the little ones. (2) The new recognition of childhood followed on the new recognition of Christ as a human Saviour. We should note that the child's nature is intensely religious, though he may not express himself in our forms, e.g., may not care of church-going, and may find Sunday dull. Religious things are real to a child--all beyond the horizon is clear to his thought and brain. This shows the need of parents and guardians being perfectly sincere in their religious teaching. Remember that in a few years the children will be brought face to face with changed views of Biblical criticism. Try to make them enter into the true spirit of Scripture. The child makes no distinction between secular and sacred. His innocence sees no incongruity in heavenly crowns "fastened on with elastic," or an interlude of frolic amidst his prayers. Finally--What are the effects of this new attitude on the organized life within the church? (1) There is now a feeling of home never there before. (2) There are new elements in preaching: the imagination is allowed fuller scope, the feeling of wonder and mystery is dwelt on, and there is a tenderness missed before. (3) There is an enlarged sphere of service for Christian men and women. They find an enormous field in teaching, training, and praying for the young.
HAMPSTEAD.--In January there was a lecture to children on "Historical Hampstead," by Mrs. Maxwell, which is now appearing in the pages of this Review.--On Feb. 15th Mrs. Clement parsons gave that delightful paper on "The Training of the Will," the literary charm of which has been enjoyed by several other branches. The evening was varied by illustrative literary extracts, read by various ladies and gentlemen present.
IPSWICH.--An interesting lecture was given in connection with this branch at Ipswich Museum, by Mr. T. E. Cattell, Head Master of the Middle School. The chair was taken by the Rev. Ythyl Barrington. The subject was--"The Relationship between the school and the Home Authority." It seemed, he said, almost as if we were passing through a second Renaissance (educationally), and certainly in the rapprochement of teachers and parents, and in much that tended towards a mutual understanding, the thought and action of the P.N.E.U., inspired by Charlotte Mason (the foundress), had largely contributed. The lecturer maintained that the duties and responsibilities of parents were illimitable. The necessity of choosing a school was too often influenced by slight and inadequate reasons. The four great aspects to be considered were the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual, but in all these the parent had a very important part to play. When selected, the parents might often show more interest in the school and the school work than they usually did. Mr. Cattell advocated corporal punishment only as a last resort. To omit the spiritual from the education of a child (in its broad sense) was, in the speaker's view, to do the child wrong; the seed should be sown by the mother, and later fostered and directed by the teacher.
KIDDERMINSTER.--This branch has held two drawing-room meetings. The first, on February 11th, at Mrs. Ivens', "Sunnyside," Franche, when Miss Ivens gave a paper on "Social Problems." She said she considered the two greates were immorality and intemperance, and speaking of the causes of those terrible social evils, touched upon the housing question, the Education Act, the laws for the protection of young women, and also the amount of rescue work that is being done where she felt that it might be so much better forestalled by work of a preventive character.--On March 10th another meeting was held, also at Mrs. Ivens', when Mis G. E. Southall spoke on "Women and Local Government." She pointed out how splendidly women Guardians are helping among the women and children in Workhouses; how necessary women are on School Boards with female teachers, and numbers of young children's wants to be enquired into, and how women can make their way into poor homes as Sanitary Inspectors, where it is absolutely impossible for men to be able to enter efficiently into all that is required. She urged that such work to be well done must be shared by men and women, and that the labour in the world could be made more easy by the admission of women into the portion which they most surely were meant to perform.
READING.--At a meeting of this branch held at University College, Reading, Mr. Hastings Gilford, F.R.C.S., presiding, Miss Packer read an excellent paper, in which with considerable insight and detailed knowledge she related her impressions of the French National Educational System. The present system in France was formed by the great Napoleon, whose idea was to make good citizens, but who invested it with so much of law and order, and endeavoured to make it a mechanical machine like the army of France, that education was cramped where it most needed liberty, and instead of developing the individuality of the scholar, it repressed it. It produced men and women with little self-reliance, and by its strict surveillance, the lack of physical exercise, etc., it left them morally weak. In the infant school the child was better looked after than in England, being fed and clothed where necessary, but though undoubtedly beneficial to the children, there was so much of evil in the system that it encroached far too much upon the domain of parental responsibility, a very strong argument against it. One great feature of French education was the special attention given to composition, speech and style, and which made French writing the most beautiful in the world, and also the wide knowledge of history, not only of their own country, but of other countries also, showing how the world had developed and progressed, thereby broadening their outlook. A great feature was made of the duties of citizenship, which occupied a prominent part in the curriculum. The French are ahead of us, however, in that any child, however poor, can pass from the primary school the the university, providing he has the brains. As regards the higher parts of education, Miss Packer thought that the educated Frenchman knew a little of more subjects than the Englishman, but that the Englishman knew more of fewer subjects.--Natural History Club.--On Tuesday evening, Feb 23rd, Walter Rowntree, Esq., B.Sc., talked to about 120 members and their friends of some of the animals in the Zoological Gardens. The lecture was well illustrated with lantern slides, mostly taken from life by the lecturer himself, and he was followed with great attention as he introduced to his audience many remarkable animals and birds. Where opportunity offered, slides were shown of several extinct forms, such as the Mastodon, Mammoth and Giant Sloth, and they were compared with existing species to be seen in the "Zoo" to-day.--"Water Babies" was the subject of a lecture given to about 80 members on Tuesday, March 8th, by Miss Hamilton. Dealing but briefly with tadpoles--they having been the subject on a recent occasion--the lecturer proceeded to tell of some of the interesting creatures which she had kept under observation in her aquaria. Newts, sticklebacks, dragon flies, water-boatmen, and some of the commoner water snails were reviewed and their habits described. More minute forms, such as Cyclops, Hydra, and Daphne, were dealt with, as also the larvae of Culex, dragon, stone and mayfiles.
SIDCUP--A new branch was opened here on March 2nd, when Mrs. Franklin gave a most inspiring address to an audience of 50. At the conclusion of the address a committee and officers were selected and the branch is now in working order with a membership of over 30.
WAKEFIELD AND DISTRICT.--Mrs. Kitson Clark gave an address on "Reticence and Tolerance," at The Elms, on Friday, February 26th. The speaker thought that children were not sufficiently encouraged to speak openly on religious subjects, and that a more definite idea of right and wrong should be fostered. The paper was followed by a good deal of discussion.
WINCHESTER.--An interesting lecture on the first elements of Botany was given by Mr. Cowan at a meeting held by kind invitation of Mrs. Wingfield, at 36, St. Swithun Street, on Feb. 13th, to which children were admitted. The lecturer dwelt very strongly on the special advantages of Hampshire as a hunting ground for botanists, owing to the variety of its soils, then proceeded to a detailed explanation of the construction of flowers, illustrated by a great variety of excellent lantern slides. He called special attention to the many wonderful tricks of nature to ensure the complete fertilisation of plants, and impressed on his audience that this fertilisation was the prime end and object of all the beauties and wonders of construction in plants and trees. He insisted on the importance of learners making and noting their observations.
Typed by Cathleen W., August, 2023; Proofread by LNL, August, 2023
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