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energies of childhood, always busy during waking hours with delightful enterprises suggested by nature finding outlets in a given environment, are ideal of what adult life might be if society were organized with greater reference to our natural human resources. As the school must be modified to fit the child so community and social organization must be gradually reconstructed to make the play and artistic spirit find progressive and continuous expression in the world today. To guide and direct it toward all the efficiencies and realizations desirable in the present and immediately future years is the splendid task of education. If country people lack in knowledge, skill, and desire for social co-operation by which they could easily make their lives much happier and more productive, is it not the task of rural education to overcome isolation and individualism in community pursuits? And which functions better in the production of cooperative ideals and habits; individualistically studying of lessons under the direction of the teacher in the classroom or participating in group co-operation in the community or playground 2 A good director of organized play in a rural community, especially with the help of consolidated school plants, can undoubtedly guide the play energies of children into more of the abilities and attitudes of co-operation and leadership than can be produced by ordinary methods in any class in Latin, algebra, French, German, geometry, grammar, spelling, or any other subject of the curriculum. Of course, there are social methods of organizing recitations to bring out such abilities and attitudes, and the new subjects of community citizenship and community vocations help very much, but for the child in his childhood the possibilities of lasting redirection of instincts in gradually developing forms of play co-operation are
greater than those of ordinary schoolroom activities. Ask the physician, the physiologist, the psychologist how best to develop the human mechanism, in harmonious enterplay with the human spirit, in such manner as create the health, the habits, the joy of living, and the grace which human society so much needs today? Can it be developed to any great extent by a sedentary life in a class-room 2 Are not the ordinary physical play, boy-scout and girl-scout, home-project, and other whole-body-and-mind activities in the judgment of these specialists far superior to traditional types of schooling 2 Health and physical development must be built on habit which must grow out of instinct; and the instinct, or group of instincts, most fruitful in desirable social efficiencies is that of play. Since there is in most rural communities more or less of a prejudice against play and recreation, against instinctive activities of most kinds not connected with labor or religion, it might be more diplomatic here to give this activity a different name than play. We might call it natural work, inherited resources, childhood preparation, life; rehearsal, inexpensive education, vocational preparer; and to the organizations for such play we might give such titles as the Busy Bees, Farmers’ Apprentices, Boy and Girl Argiculturists, Boys and Girls Health Militias, Young Life Preservers, The Young Farmers’ Association, etc. These are as good and perhaps broader for the farm and more related to it than Boy Scouts and Camp-Fire Girls or Girl Scouts, Play Association, Athletic Asssociation or League, and so on, and could easily continue their group organization after school days are over. But a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and the best term is play. Farmers are admitting, and must admit play into the circle of necessities in farm life. Too long have they been unwittingly dominated by their deprivations, occasioned by colonial religious asceticism with its false and limited view of human life, the isolation of the far-separated farms, the hard, grinding drudgery of conquering the wilderness, the stern uncertainties and fears arising from Indian massacres, and the philosophy of duty and fatalism unrelieved by very much of the Greek or later spirit of “happiness as the goal of life.’’ Invention, co-operation, greater demand for the farmer’s products, the automobile and other promoters of communication and pleasure, better roads, and an intermixture of other races that haven’t lost the customs of innocent and wholesome enjoyment of the “old country,” and that have, perhaps, strains of heredity less severe, gloomy, and avaricious, are all working together to make the farmer and his family a very happy, intelligent, prosperous, and enviable group. Play is needed and can be used to promote and prepare for this more ideal family and community. Nothing can take its place. And so we might go on with our questions put to specialists and laymen about the value, function, and methods of play in building up the perfect individual, farm, and community. The great war has brought out the supreme necessities of health and the fundamental democratic ideals for our population. It has driven into our souls the convictions of economy and efficiency. A great sprawling, unorganized and largely wasteful population of a hundred and more millions of people have been permitted to spread individualistically and at random over the face of our country. Middle-age theories of life have been allowed to carry out their foolish, stupid methods along side of those of far-visioned twentieth-century scientific and inventive genius. More than a dozen millions of children are gathered into our rural schools with nearly four mil
lion teachers; and still nearly a third of the entire population of the nation tills the soil. The post-war decade is going to work some marvels in that sprawling, inconsistent, little-directed rural-community development. Nationwide efficiency in production of the principal raw products of civilization will combine with the greater profits and demands for happiness in country life to reconstruct that steadily lessening proportion of our population on the farms into more satisfying, educative, and fruitful social living. Nation-wide control and guidance of planting, cultivating, harvesting, storing, shipping, and selling of farm products will continue, and increase rather than decrease in power and social usefulness. Better national, state, county, and community organization is demanded and must appear. Co-operation, vigor, like-mindedness in ideals and information, wide perSonal acquaintance, broader patriotism and training, will all be at a very high premium. The community center of the new organized rural community will probably be the village trading and social center. From it will radiate the good roads that lead easily and quickly to every farm. The center will be not an isolated and somewhat unfriendly “snippish” group living parasitically off the farmers but the farmers themselves by division of labor and co-operation working and playing together in the great game of life. Here will be the co-operative elevator, canning factory, creamery, laundry, grocery, bank, health department, consolidated school, experiment station, post office with parcels’ post, and free daily delivery to every home, savings-bank, the recreation center with its motion pictures, gymnasium, grange hall, swimming pool, the community church, and so on—all the institutions and agencies which the new co-operative spirit of the war and the leadership and science of our people need in a center organized for socially efficient and happy rural life thus avoiding the many evils of both competitive individualism and of government bureaucratic methods and poor officials. It uses the plain methods of scientific efficiency discovered thru long trial by the farmers’ competitors and managers, the industrialists and capitalists doing the work of the world on a big scale, but avoiding their evils of unjust distribution of income. The preceding discussion has been no digression from our study of the problem of play. The hand at the helm must see the guiding star. How can we guide the instinctive play energies of children along the lines they should go if we do not realize the goal of our endeavors? We have had too much of such puttering around in education already. Billions for defense of democracy on a foreign field we readily have spent, yea, and almost countless lives; but not one cent for a nationally and locally directed and financed community-organization experiment that will make a democracy well fitted and safe for ourselves and the world. This new democratic rural community must be evolved experimentally by men and women who are open and healthy-minded, investigative rather than stupidly woodenheaded, vigorous in body, co-operative in habit and inclination, ready to follow a real leader and ready to lead when occasion calls. Play furnishes an almost inexhaustible force for the development of these abilities and attitudes. Some of the specific aims to be achieved by improved play provisions in rural schools in the light of these social aims of education succeeding the war are as follows: 1. Health of the rising and older generations must be promoted. 2. Physical development must be provided, specific and all-round. 3. Co-operation must be encouraged
and made habitual. 4. Leadership must be fostered and given wide opportunities. 5. Open-mindedness and must be guided and developed. 6. Scientific attitudes and experimental methods must be trained. 7. The great ideals of democracy must be fostered and drilled. 8. The spirit of social service must be encouraged and guided. 9. Fair play and good sportsmanship must be engendered. 10. Grace and agility must be provided for many situations. 11. Good manners and the courtesies must be made habitual. 12. Ability to endure suffering and hardship must be provided. 13. Knowledge, habits, and ideals of wholesome recreation must be acquired. 14. Ideals of the desirability and worthiness of country life must rise. 15. Wide acquaintance and fine friendships should be encouraged. These fifteen great aims that can and should be developed thru the right direction of rural school play and recreation do not exhaust the possibilities and all that can be surely developed in definite community relationships, and, to some extent, in general. To go into details as to how to develop each of these aims is beyond our present purpose and would require a large syllabus. I have seen children taught even arithmetic by play methods so effectively that in a far shorter time than ordinary they could climb accurately up a column of addition figures as fast as young monkeys and just as eager. The manuals for the Boy Scouts, Camp-Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, and others give a rich and varied development of many types of knowledge, skill, and ideals which are of prime importance to a successful and happy life today. Most of the interest of children in stories is the play interest, and there is scarcely a worth-while ideal demanded today of our people that cannot be fostered, trained, and developed by wisely chosen literature, altho literature as yet is practically never chosen in schools with a list of needed ideals before the syllabus or textbook maker. The “fairy-land of science” can also be opened up to country boys and girls with rare facility thru the medium of play. The instincts of curiosity, experimentation, discovery, manipulation, collection, acquiesitiveness, and imitation, all tend to rise thru play to the larger scientific interests, knowledge, and powers. Ten thousand questions about nature, and human and animal life are asked the responsive and educated teacher on a single excursion, ‘‘tramp,” or “hike” by ordinary boys who in a
workaday school get low marks for shirking their tasks. Butterflies, bugs, wireless telegraphy, submarines, ma
chine guns, telephony, aeroplanes, mo
tors, the chemistry of digestion, reproduction in flowers, germination, hibernation, how to tell good seed corn, raising castor beans for the aviation or signal service, travel in foreign lands, buoyancy of objects in liquids, steam power, electricity, farm tractors and “caterpillars,” heredity and eugenics, how to get people to help ‘‘the team’’ and what makes a team play together best—these and a thousand and one other types of problems are thrown like many barbed hooks out into the daily experiences of life just in the play spirit and come back empty or filled with good mind-and-body meat if the means to hook the elusive game is provided. Play fosters this spirit and carries it a long way, and the problem of the play leader, teacher, and parent is to give it wide and fruitful operation and gradually develop it into that scientific spirit which is one of the direst needs of farmer folk today. Not custom, prejudice against the new and untried, intolerance for the different and unaccustomed, must prevail today in a
scientific age, but the spirit of play directed by the scientific attitude of the child and youth must dominate the new farmers who are to lead and be most successful. Just the “sense of humor’’ and some of relative values which come from properly guided play of childhood, will save many a farmer and his family from lives of drudgery, stolidity, and nearstupidity. We need suggest no other aims or methods by which these aims are to be realized. Who will say what good and bad physical and mental changes may not be made in one or more of a group of boys working without guidance or direction for half a day to get a rabbit or weasel out of a hollow log or stone pile; what comes for social efficiency or its opposite out of “the old swimming hole;’’ what effect has the loitering around with “nothing to do,” the fights in the back lots, the hanging on trains, the melon and apple raids far afield, the building of caves and tents, and the Indian imitations have on the impressionable lives of youth 2 That much of value rises up out of these instinctive skirmishings no one doubts; certainly few intelligent people believe that they are all bad or indifferent in their effects. Our suggestion here is that much of the play time and activity of both boys and girls can be so planned, guided, inspired, and taught them as to lead children and youth in large measure to educate themselves, body, mind, and spirit. For this we need new types of teachers and play leaders, and an opportunity to specialize in this field for an entire consolidated school district or even, if necessary, for a very large township or county. The physical training of the war, the disabilities of the returned soldiers, and the newer points of view of our country people will all combine to favor the introduction of such play leadership, perhaps in connection with Y. M. C. A. or Boy Scout work, in many country communities if they will but take advantage of the fortuitous combination of circumStances. No one today realizes fully the developments even in one rural community which will take place in social organization in the next few decades and the most utopian scheme may readily be realized in almost any unpromising center. Play is the natural work of childhood delicately self-regulating and adjusting itself to the needs of bodily growth. Social aims will be promoted if this growth is also directed from without by community and world citizenship considerations. The consolidated school which is erected on modern lines at the trading center, with it twenty acres of land for play and farming and for the principal's home and agricultural livlihood and experimentation, with its radiating lines of auto vans hauling the children to school each day and returning them at night, with its new curriculum and guidance of vocational, recrea
tional, and general social activities— such a school, taking the place of from five to twenty little single-room school houses scattered like “idle beggars” over the land, isolated and with trifling educational value comparatively, will become in the early decades after the great war the typical school of the great new century. Then democracy will find its chance to grow and to develop in the natural home of democracy; then country children will have a chance to live a natural life in “liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’’ then the great farm population will put enough work into its play and play into its work to redeem it from boorishness and monetary obsessions, and will take its place among the free, progressive, social, and scientific people of the new era. Then will the acres of diamonds in our children be perceived and perfected and cherished as much as the other products of Our farms.
FRANK PIERREPONT GRAVES, Ph.D., New York State Commissioner of Education
Dr. Frank Pierrepont Graves, dean of the School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, was elected president of the University of the State of New York and state commissioner of education at the meeting of the Board of Regents of the university, June 29. Dean Graves entered upon the duties of his new position September 15 and became the successor of Dr. John Huston Finley who, eight years ago, resigned the presidency of the College of the City of New York to accept the office. Dean Graves has had an exceptionally broad experience in educational work as a teacher and administrator and is unusually well qualified for this important position.
Dr. Graves is a native of New York state, having been born in Brooklyn of Massachusetts colonial and Revolutionary stock, 51 years ago. His father was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Dr. Graves received his early training in the Brooklyn public schools and the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and later graduated from Columbia with the degree of A. B. and took his A. M. and Ph.D. from the same university. He has taken the Ph.D. degree twice, first in Greek and later in education. He also holds the diploma of Doctor in Education from Teachers’ College and the honorary degrees of Litt. D. from Heidelberg University, Ohio; LL.