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or sand, it furnishes excellent underdrainage, and the result is a very good play surface.
Cinders.—Coarse cinders, such as are often used on school grounds, will use up a baseball in an afternoon. They also cut the shoes and the clothing if a person falls. Cinders that are well ground and rolled and leveled make a satisfactory surface to run over, but not a very comfortable surface to fall upon. They have been used in the past almost altogether in making running tracks. Many of the London board schools and very many of our own city schools are surfaced with cinders. At the best, cinders are hot in summer and unattractive in appearance, though fine cinders make a fairly good surface.
Thus far our consideration of surfacing has been mainly a matter of elimination. Some surfaces are more unsatisfactory than others, but there is no surface that is wholly satisfactory. Doubtless we shall have to manufacture the surface for our playgrounds in time, much as we do the asphalt for our streets. However, there are now better surfaces than are generally used. Mr. Leland recommends a mixture of clay loam and cinders as satisfactory. On the whole a sandy loam that is well underdrained makes a very satisfactory surface. Almost any sort of a tennis-court surface, but especially sand covered clay or macadam, is a good play surface for a yard with moderate use.
KEEPING SCHOOL YARDS IN CONDITION.
In the past the school yard has been expected to keep itself in condition. It has been no one's duty to look after it It may be taken for granted that it will not do this. There are not many enterprises that can be launched and left to run themselves. Every school yard with anything but a grass or brick or cement surface ought to be leveled and rolled down at least once a year. Often this can be done by the children themselves. Most grounds need much more care than this, but an overhauling once a year is an absolutely minimum requirement. Generally the school yard needs to be sprinkled at certain times to keep down the dust. In California it is not unusual to sprinkle with a heavy asphaltum oil and then spread sand on top as in putting Tarvia on a road. In Philadelphia glutrin is used on the school playgrounds. This is a by-product of paper making and is said to be " all of the spruce tree but the fiber," and greatly to improve the surface for play purposes.
Mr. W. D. Champlin says of the use of glutrin in Philadelphia:
Glutrin is a thick, adhesive liquor, and in color generally appears not unlike molasses. It Is very soluble In water and therefore by proper dilution or by the after effect of rain on treated surfaces can be caused to penetrate very thoroughly and evenly into the ground over which it has been sprinkled. On drying it acts like a powerful adhesive. * * * It will not harm anything that would not be spoiled by plain water.
The cost per gallon? In quantities of less than a carload the material is sold at 15 cents per gallon of 101 pounds. In carload lots the price is 14 cents. The cost of spreading is approximately 1 cent per square yard.
As a rule, the amount of glutrin required for the first treatment of a playground will vary from 0.5 to 0.6 of a gallon per square yard, and the mixture, as a rule, should be 2 parts of water to 1 part of glutrin. On succeeding treatments the amount of glutrin required will, as a rule, be from 0.2 to 0.3 of a gallon per square yard, and about 3 parts of water to 1 part of glutrin should be used.
For underdrainage the entire plot should be graded to a subgrade of 10 inches. This surface so made is to be carefully, though not accurately, leveled, and is then to be compacted by rolling with a steam roller of not less than 5 tons in weight. All soil or waste material resulting from this grading should be taken away and disposed of. Then spread over this surface sufficient hard-coal cinders so that after-rolling with a steam roller of not less than 5 tons in weight there will be a thickness of 5 inches. The cinders must be thoroughly wet before and during rolling. The rolling may be done in one layer. Then place on top of the cinders a sufficient depth of stone screenings so that after wet rolling with a steam roller of not less than 5 tons in weight and bringing the surface to the grades given by the district surveyor, there will be a thickness of not less than 5 inches of stone screenings.
After this surface has been sufficiently and properly rolled the entire surface must be sprinkled with a mixture of glutrin and water until one-half gallon of glutrin has been absorbed by each square yard of the surface, the proportion of mixture to be 2 parts water to 1 part glutrin.
There is no uniform practice in regard to fencing school yards. In the eastern sections of this country they are generally fenced; in the middle and southern sections they generally are not. There has been a tendency during the past few years to remove fences. The fences around parks and public buildings have generally been taken down. Houses and house lots are usually unfenced. This is one expression of the socialistic tendency of our times. We are moving away from the cloister and its exclusiveness. Undoubtedly the removal of fences from most of the large public parks has been an advantage. There never was any reason for fencing them. The same may be said of the fences in front of houses. The strip of parking and grass is often more attractive than the strip broken by fences, as was formerly the case. It is hard to see that the fence ever served any purpose except exclusiveness, and the question in this regard is naturally one of individual preference. However, the tendency everywhere is toward fencing playgrounds and fencing parks used as playgrounds. Sherman Park, Chicago, which is both a park and a playground and contains 60 acres, is fenced, while Washington and Jackson Parks are not. The fence used is a high steel picket fence, costing about $1.50 per running foot, and it is there in order that the park may be closed at a certain time at night, and the public kept out after that hour.
There are certain advantages in having the school yard unfenced; the play space is considerably increased, as the ground is used to the sidewalk, and frequently the sidewalk and neighboring street itself become a part of the school playground at recess and noon intermissions. Some school yards even in small cities are so small that there is literally not room for the children upon them. If they were fenced, there not only could be no play on the school premises, but often the children could not be crowded inside. The fence not only limits the size of the school ground to a space several feet inside the sidewalk, but the fence space and the land next to it is also unavailable for play. When a game of ball is going on and the ball is batted outside, it requires a long detour and interferes with the rapidity of the game.
These disadvantages of the fence seem serious, and they are serious for some schools with inadequate yards, but the disadvantages of the unfenced yard are also serious. If the school ground is not fenced, the children use the sidewalk and the street for their playground, but the sidewalk and streets were not intended for this purpose. The school, having failed to make provision for the children on its own premises, is plainly trespassing on the rights of the community. No school board has a right to build a school without providing on the school premises a place for the children. Tf the grounds that have been secured are not sufficient, they should either be enlarged or abandoned. Street play is becoming increasingly dangerous to children, because of the rapidly increasing number of automobiles. Children who are playing in groups are always heedless, and the child who dashes from the school yard in a game of tag is more likely to run into danger than the child who is really playing in the street. There are occasional mad dogs and runaway horses in the cities. If the children are in a fenced yard they are safe, while there is always danger otherwise. However, the urgent reasons for fencing the modern school yard are much more fundamental. It is becoming the custom to put into school yards a considerable apparatus, and to keep them open as directed playgrounds during the summer. It is difficult to protect the apparatus if the playground is not fenced, and it is still more difficult to protect the neighborhood from annoyance. There is frequent complaint in reference to the use of the school yard as a playground, but the complaint nearly always comes from the use of it by rowdies at night after the play director has gone, for then they are apt to come in and greatly annoy the surrounding residents by their yells and boisterous laughter. If a school ground is fenced, the children can also be prevented from running by dangerous pieces of apparatus where they are likely to be struck. Discipline becomes much easier. The fence also makes of the school yard an institution and helps to create loyalties.
There is also an aesthetic incompleteness about an unfenced yard. It does not seem to have the individuality that it should have. Nature puts the bark about the tree and the skin about the animal to separate it from other things, to mark the boundaries of its individuality. The mind seems to demand that things that are distinct in fact should be distinguished in some way from other things.
In many school yards there is a fence dividing the girls from the boys. It is the practice in municipal playgrounds to have separate playgrounds for boys and girls. The reasons for it are obvious and sufficient; there are often loose girls and always loose boys coming to the playgrounds, and it is better not to have them together, or where they can corrupt other children. The same is true of the school playgrounds. If the school yards are to be unsupervised loafing places, as they have so often been in the past, it is certainly better that the girls and boys should loaf separately; but if the school yard is to be a playground and under supervision, it is probably better not to have a division fence in most cases, because the ground is generally not large enough to be divided and because in case of division there must be two play directors, an expense not always justified by the attendance. It is socially dangerous for older boys and girls to loaf together, but they can usually play together with safety.
School fences thus far have not been very satisfactory, as a rule. Undoubtedly in most cities the school yard has been the most neglected and unsightly place in the whole city. If it has been unfenced, it has generally revealed to the passer-by a stretch of untidy bare ground. If fenced, it has usually been with rough boards, painted on the outside and unpainted on the inside. The steel picket fence is more satisfactory. It is permanent, difficult to climb over, and reasonably good looking. It is, however, very expensive and less beautiful than hedge or wire. I am inclined to think that, except in the extreme northern part of this country, a hedge of evergreen privet is one of the best fences. It is cheap, beautiful, difficult to climb, and gives privacy to play, and shuts off the ugliness of the bare ground within. It is a protection from storms in winter, and its grateful green is always restful. It will have to be planted in good soil and protected by a wire fence in the beginning. The prettiest fence, and also one of the cheapest, that can be put around a school ground is a woven-wire fence covered with flowering vines. The wire should be close enough, at the bottom at least, so that indoor baseballs will not go through. If rambler roses or clematis or honeysuckle be planted over this, it will be a flower garden set on edge during a considerable part of the year, and