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What are little Boys made of ?
" Das schönste und reichste Spiel ist Sprechen, eistlich des Kindes mit sich, und noch mehr der Eltern mit ihm. Ihr könnt im Spiele und zur Lust nicht zu viel mit Kindern sprechen so wie bei Strafe und Lehre nicht zu wenig.'i
LEVANA. So long as the best authorities continue to discuss without coming to a final decision what are the fittest subjects for the instruction of very little children, the attempt of others to sum up the conclusion of the whole matter is, to say the least, premature. As, however, amid a variety of opinions, there are some principles which are beginning to be generally recognised, the practical teacher may well act upon them without delay. No one doubts that childhood should be as bright and happy as it can possibly be made, and yet it is certain that the happiness of a child does not consist in a succession of pleasurable excitement, such as school or birthday feasts, so much as in the employment of its various faculties. Now the memory of young children is naturally tenacious, and therefore it is right and natural to employ it daily among the different occupations which are agreeable to the age of the child. Not
1. No play is so pleasant and profitable for a child as talking to itself, and still more with its parents. You can hardly let a child have too much of this kind of play, and hardly too little in the way of lessons and punishment.'
that any effort should be made to strengthen the memory of very young children, because the strengthening exercises are liable to abuse; but this and every power which a child actually possesses should be turned to good account in helping to fill up its time. Who can fail to observe that Say this after me' is the introduction to an almost infallible way of amusing a little group which will repeat correctly what is repeated to them, gleefully imitating all the accompanying gestures. If recitation is to be properly introduced into an infants' school, it must be nearly spontaneous both for teacher and children. The teacher must have good nature and good spirits, under the spell of which her class will attend with much content when they hear, • Now, children, do as I do and say as I say.' At the same time, it must not be supposed that this occupation will be a mere pastime, for much will be learned from it incidentally which will be of lasting value, such as a distinct utterance, firmness of tone, freedom from harsh or loud speaking, and the power of inflecting the voice. Through this also, as through all wellmanaged exercises of the kind, the child will be trained to learn in a class which presupposes the power of attending to the voice and action of the teacher, the habit of looking to her for directions, and promptness in executing any simple order. It is true that these habits are often not fostered in infants' classes, but it is just the neglect of such simple training that has brought many a Kindergarten or infants' class into disrepute with teachers who have received children from them, and have had to spend much time in eradicating habits which, though not bad in themselves, are fatal to class instruction,
A word must be offered in explanation of the principle upon which the selection has been made. The author has chosen as many as possible of those old-fashioned verses which have delighted successive generations of children. In these we find imagination without extravagance, humour without vulgarity, and this further