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Kindergarten Plays and Games
PATTY S. HILL
different needs of the kindergarten greater freedom is possible. children seem most easily classified under When we realize the hygienic signifithree main divisions.
cance of the suggestions concerning the 1. Plays for physical activity, where parts of the nervous system with their the activity indicates no attempt on the corresponding large muscles which are part of the child to express ideas or rep- supposed to be developing at this period, tesent dramatically. For example-skip- we dare not shut our eyes to the sacred ping, running, hopping, etc.
duty in guarding the child's health and 2. Dramatic representative play, bodily growth. where the activity is unquestionably the Moral, aesthetic and intellectual claims child's attempt to express ideas and are imperative, but they are closely bound images of every-day life and activities. up with the physical care, which is so
' Example—house-keeping, carpenter and important in these early years. Dr. blacksmith.
Thorndike says: “Care of the body is 3. Games with a crystallized form of perhaps most rewarded in the case of expression, accompanied by certain rules' young children.” and regulations. These are mainly the Dramatic or representative play is one traditional games, such as “Ring around of the most natural phases of play with the Rosey," " Pussy wants a Corner,” etc. children at the kindergarten period. The
The plays and games of the kinder- greatest difficulty about it is that as it garten are peculiarly important from the tends to throw the responsibility for sponsocial and physical points of view.
taneous expression upon each individual, The gifts and occupations are largely it increases the tendency to self-consedentary in their tendencies, and the sciousness in the child and makes him plays and games should counteract these feel the presence of grown people as in by emphasizing the larger fundamental no other form of play. muscles which make for freedom and This dramatic play is secured best in health.
small groups where the individuality of Especially is this true of the first group the child has a chance to manifest itself. of plays where the chief consideration on If toys or materials of some kind are the part of the teacher should be health; given with these plays, they seem to furmovement on the larger scale, rhythm nish an atmosphere of reality and diminand activity for the pure joy of it. For ish the tendency to self-consciousness. example—running, skipping, dancing, To be empty-handed often increases the marching, hopping, jumping, throwing, self-consciousness of grown people. Nocatching, bouncing, rolling, etc.
tice the singer who comes out with a roll Such activities as these get the children of music which is never opened, or a fan away from the tables, out of their chairs which is never used. I think a careful and on the ring; or, better still, if weather observation of children at dramatic play
will reveal the fact that they seldom play Some animals the child naturally dramaempty-handed. Some bit of broken china, tizes, say the horse, and possibly the bird some cast-off garment such as an old hat, and butterfly—but here both the physical or fan, or parasol, or even shavings used and aesthetic results are good. When it as curls, etc., seem to enter into the dra- comes to getting down on all fours to matic and representative plays of all represent the different quadrupeds the rechildren. If the little mother has a doll sults are decidedly grotesque, with little in her arms, the housekeeper a real or physical freedom and no beauty. Down make-shift broom, the washer-woman a on all fours the activities of one quadrubit of cloth or a chair turned around so ped can scarcely be distinguished from the back serves as a washboard, self-con- those of another, unless the imitation of sciousness takes wings and the children the voice be added. Imitations of the really play self-forgetfully. Miss Blow voices of the animal world is, as every has aptly said, in the child world “it takes one knows, one of the most natural and only a ring to make Betty a lady." We spontaneous forms of imitation, especially have found this touch of reality makes among very young children. the child forget self and sets free the I would not be dogmatic on this subimagination which is stimulated by it. ject, despite the fact that I feel most
In the main I believe that the activities strongly the poor results gained either of people stimulate the child to dramatic in characteristic representation of animal representation more than animals or life, or in physical ease, health and aesnature.
thetic results. It is questionable enough The studies of the spontaneous imita- to urge this with the children, but when tions of children made by Superintendent we insist that it is also our duty to take Russell of the Worcester Normal School these most undignified, ungraceful and seem to point to the fact that from 80 to unaesthetic movements ourselves-per95 per cent. were representations of sonally, I rebel and draw the line. human adult activities. Even the animals When it comes to having children are rarely dramatized as compared with dramatize moonbeams, sunbeams, etc., it the impersonation of people; and as for all seems unchildlike and forced. After flowers and trees, and moonbeams and all is not a sunbeam a kind of abstraction? sunbeams and wind, they are almost un- What the child ordinarily sees is the sun known as subjects for spontaneous dra- and sunlight. matization.
While the dramatization of some of the When we try to get children to drama- animals seems both natural and valuable, tize such subjects as these we easily force we should make a more careful study of their interests into abnormal and those which are natural for the child to natural channels of expression which dramatize in this way, and then measure make for sentimentality and artificiality. them by the standard of values physical, In other words, I believe that the child's aesthetic and ethical. interest in flowers is satisfied best in To my mind there is a psychological nurturing and gathering them or in paint distinction between gesture or illustraing them. While human activities are in tion and impersonation or dramatization. the lead in spontaneous dramatization, While many phases of nature easily flow the animals seem to come in second. into the channels of gesture and sound, Nevertheless, even with the animals there they immediately become artificial when is a decided limitation in this direction. forced into dramatization or impersona
tion. Art—that is, painting, drawing and Educators as a body are growing to modeling—seems a much more natural value play more each day, and we kinderchannel of expression for these nature gartners who have held the torch of ensubjects, and when we try to force their lightenment regarding play, when the expression in dramatic play we get into rest of the pedagogic world sat in darkall sorts of difficulties, which make the
ness, we, I say, are now in great danger uninitiated wonder if we have lost our of falling behind. While the best sciensense of humor.
tific insight into play has arisen since There are many problems regarding the Froebel's day, he has done more than any introduction of formulated games into other educator to awaken the world to the kindergarten which are most worthy the significance of the role of play in the of study and solution. There is little period of infancy. doubt that the majority of the traditional It is true that some of his plays and games are too mature for the kinder
games are open to serious criticism, yet garten. It is so easy to impose some of Froebel describes, as no one else, the allthese on the children before they are around development and wholesome reready for them and so difficult to select sults from normal play. He says: “ Play those only which correspond to the pow- gives joy, freedom, contentment, inner ers developing at the kindergarten period. and outer rest and peace with the world.”
Pointers for Teachers
DISCIPLINE and not accumulation of other sciences, is becoming recognized as facts is to-day the ultimate aim in the essential. Sand and clay modeling in the teaching of geography. It is more rational reproduction of regions visited during exto ask why a city is located where it is than cursions, or of river valleys, mountains and to ask where it is located. It is better to extended areas as imagined by the pupil, connect coal fields in Illinois, iron beds of is conducive to good results. Experiments the lake regions, forests of Wisconsin, farm illustrative of scientific principles governproducts of the northern Mississippi val- ing common phenomena are being introley, commerce of the lakes, needs of the duced and performed with vitalizing effects. East and the development of Chicago as -Midland Schools. cause and effect than to allow these facts to remain separate and distinct as something to be remembered until examinations CAUSES OF FAILURE TO DISCIare over.
PLINE A device in geography teaching that should be more generally encouraged is the
1. A dirty, littered room.
2. No attention to temperature or fresh use of the stereopticon. By means of lan
air. tern slides distant regions become realities
3. Keeping on with one thing because you in the class room, and, as is often the case, have no fresli, interesting plans to use. the fact that the teacher was present at the 4. Too much written work at one time. time the picture was taken adds much to 5. Ignoring disorder, when you should the interest. Slides and lanterns can now
attend to every case, meeting carelessness
and inattention with persistent demand, and be purchased at reasonable prices.
impertenence and rebellion with severity Laboratory work in geography, as in School Education.
First Year Study of Browning
LOUISE WARD CLEMENT, ALBANY, N. Y.
WHEN the New York State Regents and upon the appropriateness of the verse
placed certain poems by Robert to the words, the teacher should ask the Browning among their English require- child to describe the scene. If he falters, ments, they probably did not intend to let him note down on his pad the details fling a literary gauntlet in the face of the which compose the picture. After he has Browning clubs. Yet their action was constructed a description by arranging equivalent to that, for it is largely these these details in a connected manner, the clubs that have represented Browning's spirit will probably be lacking, but he poems as so profound that ordinary per- has mastered the situation. The next day sons cannot understand them.
let him write a description of the council The Regents have selected a dozen of which Herve Riel interrupts, supposing the simpler poems, with one or two which himself to have been one of the sailors in are more difficult, for optional study in the surrounding'group. The idea appeals the first year of the high school. Pre- to the child, and, crude as the result may vious to reading these poems, the pupil be, it is apt to have the spirit of the situahas studied carefully in the first year, one tion, with some truth of detail. novel from a group of three, and one long “ The Incident of a French Camp,” poem from a corresponding group. We and “How They Brought the Good News shall suppose him to be familiar with from Ghent to Aix,” may be taken up in Scott's Ivanhoe and Coleridge's Ancient a similar fashion. Nothing can illustrate Mariner. From these works he has the former poem better than a picture of gained, if he is an average pupil, and well- Napoleon, standing in his typical attitude, taught, an appreciation of the romantic arms folded and eyes gazing steadily and the pictorial, a limited insight into ahead. If the pupil adds in imagination character and plot, and a love for rhythm. the wounded boy on his galloping horse, The study of the selections from Brown- he has both story and picture. He will ing should increase all of these powers enjoy telling the story of the latter poem and stimulate partieularly the student's from the standpoint of the gallant horse ability to reproduce pictures and stories. who galloped to save Aix. The boy ob
It is easier for the average child to grasp serves the heroism in these poems at and to reproduce a story than a word pic- once; the girl frequently enjoys the more ture. This is because he has heard and
quiet poems better. read stories from childhood, but his pow
" Pheidippides” needs some explanaers of observation have not been suffi
tion unless the student knows Greek hisciently cultivated to give him the ability to describe accurately. Consequently the tory. This poem appeals to his love of narrative poems form the best introduc- the patriotic, the historic, and the athletic. tion. The plot of “ Herve Riel” is easily When the boy has calculated the distance understood and reproduced. After dwell- between Athens and Sparta, and Maraing upon the heroism of the sailor's act, thon and Athens, his esteem for the run
ner, and indeed for the chronicler, is in- There are poems which leave in the creased.
memory the fragrance of budding fruit Cavalier Times” are of value chiefly trees and the gleam of yellow flowers in for the beat of drum and tramp of feet the sunlight; “Home Thoughts from which echo through the lines. “Boot, Abroad" is such a poem, and to commit it Saddle, to Horse, and Away," is the best to memory is to have access to neverone to learn, being the freest from rough failing May. One can never see a fruit language.
tree in blossom or a meadow dotted with " The Boy and the Angel" is hard to buttercups without thinking of these understand until the pupil realizes that lines. They are like Pippa's song, which it is a fable. When this is clear to him, a child of twelve years quoted at the end he finds many modern parallels to the of her description of spring, stating that story of the boy who desired to become Browning must have had just such a Pope that he might praise God better, scene in mind when he wrote them. Aland who, after reaching that height, though Pippa's song is not included in placed his own pleasure before God's. the first year requirements, it is so brief In this poem, as in many of Browning's, and delightful that the pupil can learn it the narrative and the moral are combined by a few readings. in a series of pictures. The child should
The year's at the spring be led to enlarge upon these, which are
And day's at the morn; merely suggested by the poet. He should
Morning's at seven; see Theocrite flinging back his curls from
The hillside's dew-pearled; his flushed little face as he works and
The lark's on the wing; sings. He may imagine the details of
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heavenTheocrite's craft, the shop, and the view
All's right with the world. from the window. With this humble scene the pupil may contrast St. Peter's “Home Thoughts from the Sea," the at Rome with Theocrite still as the cen- companion piece to “Home Thoughts tral figure. Since St. Peter's is outside of from Abroad," is shorter but none the less
, the pupil's experience, it is profitable to suggestive. When the student has found show him photographs of the cathedral Gibraltar, Cape St. Vincent and Cadiz on and the Vatican, and to read him a brief the map, and can reproduce orally the description to direct his imagination in scene which Browning describes, let him the right way. Many of the absurd errors write a letter from on board an ocean which children make in composition come liner which is entering the Mediterranean from the lack of adequate directions be- just at sunset. By way of correcting any fore they begin.
similar misconceptions on his own part, If the student gains from “Evelyn it is well to tell him of the club woman Hope” the picture of the dead girl lying who always supposed, until she saw Gibin a room through whose closed shutters raltar, that the Prudential sign was really
, a single ray of sunshine creeps to light there. up her bright hair and the sprig of gera- After the narrative and descriptive nium at her bedside, he has done well. poems just mentioned have been studied If he gains in addition the realization that carefully, two of the assigned works relove lasts beyond death, he has taken an main,-" The Lost Leader," and "One important step in the appreciation of Word More.” The poems previously Browning's characteristic ideas.
studied, with the exception of "The Boy