The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
P.N.E.U. Notes.

Volume 15, 1904, pg. 396-400

Edited by Miss F. NOËL 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 :--

CARDIFF. --Names may be sent to Mrs. Hamilton, Blackladies, Dynas Powis.
DUNFERMLINE. --Mrs. Beveridge, Pitreavie, Dunfermline, would be glad to hear from people interested.
GUILDFORD. --Names may be sent pro tem. to Mrs. Clarke Kennedy, Ewhurst Rectory, near Guildford.
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 lecture was given on March 23rd, at 43, Rosary Gardens (by kind permission of Mr. and Mrs. Biddle), by Miss Sara Patteson, on "The Importance of Geography in the making of History," illustrated by lantern slides; 38 members present. The subject was a most interesting one, and Miss Patteson had some original ideas, and clearly indicated the importance of lantern slides in teaching, but (owing probably to an effort to put much matter into a limited time) the lecture seemed rather incoherent and desultory. There was much interest evinced, and Lady Betty Balfour and Mrs. Talbot proposed starting a class to study history on these lines.--A meeting of all the London branches will be held on June 8th, at Mrs. Winkworth's house, Holly Lodge, Campden Hill, W., when our Belgravian branch representative, Lady Campbell, will give a report of the conference, with its influx of new ideas and energies from the North, should be very valuable, and Lady Campbell already reports that there are some most interesting new suggestions to be made there.

BOLTON AND FARNWORTH.--A meeting was held on March 24th, at Clevelands (by kind permission of Mrs. Crook), when M. P. Andrews, Esq., M.A., teacher of Languages at the Bolton Grammar School, gave a paper on "The Doctrines of Herbart and his followers." There was a good attendance and as very few of the members knew much about Herbart and his methods, the Society feels very grateful to Mr. Andrews for his most clear and interesting paper, especially as he has had opportunities of studying the methods on the Continent and especially at Jena. Several questions were asked, and answered by Mr. Andrews. This is the last meeting of this branch until the Autumn Session.

BRISTOL.--On April 11th, Miss L. K. Hart Davis spoke on "How to start a Natural History Club for Children." Mr. E. T. Daniell took the chair. Miss Hart Davis said she would first give the reasons for starting a children's club, and then give her experience as how best to start one. Children and Nature were natural companions. One could see this from the earliest days of a child's life. The first thing to attract his attention were the flowers and the animals. Our conventional life made us lose this innate kinship if we did not treasure it. With care to foster this early love of Nature even the city supplied parks and trees and window gardens, &c., which could give material to interest children. They could be taught to recognise the different trees at each season, and made to watch their budding, flowering, decaying, and their long winter's resting period. Thus even the same walk would have an ever-varying interest. The object in starting a natural history club for children was to give the children a chance of acquiring information that their parents were sometimes unable to give them. The advantage of studying science is that the child must go to Nature itself, and this develops a habit of careful observation and accurate stating of facts. The lecturer gave the history of the Children's Naturalist Club of the Reading branch of the P.N.E.U., which has grown in seven years to a membership of 180. Mr. E. T. Daniell, in thanking the lecturer, urged the importance of nature study in a child's education.

CROYDON.--At the March meeting Mrs. Voules, who occupied the chair owing to the much regretted absence of Miss Manley, briefly introduced Mrs. Franklin. The lecturer, who met with a hearty reception, before reading her paper, called the attention of the members of the Croydon branch of the P.N.E.U. to the forthcoming annual Conference of the Union--the eighth--which for the first time was being held in London (full particulars are announced in this month's Review). Mrs. Franklin then read her paper. She commenced by alluding to the relation of the parents to the education of their children, pointing out that few parents realise their true position. Many parents, while attending to the physical wants of the children, neglect that part of the environment which plays such an important part in the mental development. She was pleased to find, however, that parents were beginning to awake to the responsibilities of their position, and were now beginning to count for something in the educational reform of the country. Schoolmasters also recognise the power and use of the parents in the education of children. Parents should not only negatively, but positively assist in the education of the child. To produce an ideal environment parents should assist. They should fit themselves for this work. The lecturer then pointed out that no society can provide ready-made recipes for the formation of character. The parents must themselves study the psychological principles underlying true educational methods. The lecturer then pointed out how the parents could assist. They can take care to see that all that which is good in the social environment is brought to react on those tendencies to activity with which the mind of the child is endowed at birth, and so assist in the mental development of the child. Care should be exercised in selecting nurses. Parents should treat their children with respect. Education is a discipline; parents should assist in the development of the aesthetic imagination, the love of the beautiful, she concluded by pointing out how the parent could assist in developing a taste for good literature. Mrs. Voules moved a vote of thanks, which was seconded by Dr. Parsons Smith.

DARLINGTON.--On March 17th, at the Training College (by kind permission of Mrs. Spafford), Miss Hart, B.Sc., gave an interesting address on "Nature Study." The lecturer proved first its antiquity, and then proceeded to demonstrate its value as a factor in the development of the child mind, in that it provided opportunities for the training of the senses, the reasoning powers and the ethical judgment. She claimed for it, moreover, the power of increasing the child's happiness. The lecturer was especially happy in answering questions put to her at the close by some of the members, and considerable interest was manifested in the illustration of her answers by means of the blackboard. A cordial vote of thanks brought the meeting to a close.

EDINBURGH.--The February meeting was held at 7, Charlotte Square (through the kindness of Mrs. Whyte). Dr. David Patrick was in the chair. Dr. Schlapp, Edinburgh, gave an instructive address on "German Methods of Education," showing where they differed from English methods. He held that the German system was more thorough than the English, which he attributed to the longer training which is required of teachers, making them more efficient. He explained that bursaries and scholarships were awarded by nomination not by competition, and that the examinations were oral as well as written. The knowledge of Greek and Latin, he said, was no longer necessary to those wishing to enter the Universities, and the teaching of living languages was coming to be of more consequence than the study of dead ones. The lecturer answered a large number of questions at the close of his address.--The last lecture of the session was held (by kind permission of Miss Mack), at 40, Drumshugh Gardens. Professor Paterson presided. Dr. Macgregor spoke on our attitude as parents towards modern religious thought. He said that the question was fraught with many difficulties, that he had often been asked what he considered desirable to teach children so that in after years they might have "to drop" as little as possible. The lecturer felt that dropping was not entirely a disadvantage, that in most cases it was better to teach too much than too little. The question as to the age children should be taken to church was asked; Dr. Macgregor held that taking them early tended to inculcate in them reverence for holy things which might be then beyond their ken. The lecturer touched specially on the teaching of the Bible and said he felt most people knew their Bibles too little to make them interesting.

HAMPSTEAD.--This branch held its sixth meeting on March 22nd, at 6, College Villas (by kind invitation of Miss Batsford). Dr. Spenser (headmaster of University College School) presided, and before introducing the lecturer, Prof. W. P. Ker, expressed the pleasure it gave him to make his first appearance before the society as chairman of committees, and said that he looked forward to entertaining members of the P.N.E.U. in the new buildings of the University College School. Prof. W. P. Ker then delivered an address on "The Uses of Imagination." He said that Pascal speaks of imagination as the fallacious part of man, but Wordsworth defines it as the faculty of truth, the right way of thinking, for imagination has to quicken the vision of the truth. It is interesting to consider how much of life is imagination, and how little is real accurate observation. It is a matter of fact that imagination creates our world, and that we people it with the dramatic characters by whom we personify our friends and neighbours. Again, imagination enters into our own lives through the works of poets and novelists, though reading does not take us away from reality to the detriment of our practical life. This imaginary life is an escape into a realm which is not mere illusion, and which is filled with incalculable happiness for the human race. The nineteenth century cut itself off from the supply of old imaginative traditions in folk-lore. This is one of the indictments against modern activity and modern education, and as it is impossible now to recall the past, we must try in other ways to remedy a real want in modern life.

HYDE PARK AND BAYSWATER.--Hon Sec., Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.--On Tuesday, March 22nd, at 17, Oxford Square (by kind permission of Mrs. Henry Gooch), Dr. Gow (headmaster of Westminster School) gave a lecture on "Choosing a Boy's Career." It elicited a very good discussion, and was much appreciated. An abstract of the paper will appear in the Parents' Review. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 10th, at 3.30 p.m. at 33, Phillimore Gardens, W. (by kind permission of Mrs. G. M. Freeman), when Mrs. Wyndham Knight-Bruce will lecture on "Opportunities that pass," a lecture especially intended for the mothers of young children. Cricket for children and adults begins on Monday, May 2nd, and Natural History Excursions for children from eight to sixteen, conducted by Miss Beatrice Taylor, begin on May 11th.

KEW AND RICHMOND.--A meeting of this branch was held (by kind permission of Mrs. Cleland), at Eversfield House, Kew, on Tuesday, March 22nd. The chair was taken by the Rev. Renton Barry, and to about thirty members an account was given by Miss D'Esterre of "The Growth of English Story Telling." Miss D'Esterre's address was at once clear and logical, and showed familiarity with the best of English literature. Beginning with the introduction of printing, Miss D'Esterre divided literature into dynastic periods, saying that roughly speaking in the Tudor period we had stories by courtiers for courtiers, in the Stuart period stories for the people by the people. In the Georgian period we had burlesques and repulsive pictures of a repulsive age, until at its close with the coming of George III., we began the great series of domestic literature which was so notably continued in the Victorian Era. In the first period Miss D'Esterre considered three books, Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, Lilly's Euphues, and Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia. Of the Stuart period two books were cited, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Robinson Crusoe. Miss D'Esterre quoted the passage in which Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Faith describe the wicked "Madame Babble," who, she pointed out with delightful humour, would be an earlier type of that charming adventuress, Becky Sharpe. The early Georgian works considered included Gulliver's Travels, from which the famous scene of the "Queen of the Trough" was quoted, and Richardson's Pamela. Miss D'Esterre spoke with much force and eloquence about the pitiable social conditions of an age in which such a book could be claimed as "conducive to the morality of the young of both sexes," her contention being that the very opposite would probably be the case.

READING.--Natural History Club.--On Tuesday, March 22nd, Mrs. Channing spoke to the members on "Elephants." There were about 70 present, and the children listened with much interest. She told us that the elephant was very plentiful in India; in Africa, where it is a far finer animal, it is far more rare, the chief reason being that the tusks of the African elephant are far larger and also superior as ivory to those of the Indian. In India the elephants go in herds of 30 to 50, sometimes 100 are seen together. They travel walking one behind another, always headed by a female and the males or "tuskers" bring up the rear. In times of danger, these last then take the lead in order to take care of themselves and get away, leaving the weaker to manage as best they can. They spend but a few days in one place, then wander on, as the food soon gets exhausted. It takes 800 lbs. of fodder a day to feed an elephant. In a wild state, the elephant lives to the age of 150, and grows from the first 25 years. The height of an African elephant is 11 ft., that of a full-grown Indian, 10ft. In the case of a full-grown female elephant, height 7 ft., the carcase weighed over two tons; of this the skin weighed 683 lbs., the heart 25 lbs., and the lungs 107 lbs. Twice round the fore foot of an elephant when firmly placed on the ground gives the height. The elephant has really no very great strength in his trunk and when carrying a log, carries it in his mouth. He can swim well, but cannot jump.

WAKEFIELD AND DISTRICT.--By the kind invitation of Mrs. Merry, a meeting was held at her house, on March 17th, when Dr. Kaye, Medical Officer for the West Riding County Council, gave an address on "The Physical Training of Girls." The paper was full of valuable, practical hints. The proper function of national education ought, he said, to be to encourage in every way the development of a good physique, simultaneously with the due training of the mental faculties, so as to secure a satisfactory balance between the two. He laid great stress on the importance of chest expansion, and regular deep breathing. Dr. Kaye remarked that this did not "depend so much on finding the proper air to breathe as in making the best use of the air available." The annual report which was read at this meeting showed that the interest in the branch had been maintained during the past year and its financial state was satisfactory.

Typed by LovieWie, August, 2023; Proofread by LNL, August, 2023