Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

recorded and filed for use in studying the child's physical heritage. Such examinations are now followed by the periodical weighing and measuring of each child to determine whether he is making satisfactory physical growth. These measures have led to variations in diet to meet the varying needs of individuals and classes of children.

In March, 1914, the use of the Binet-Simon tests for measuring the intelligence of children was begun. The report includes 250 of the 289 chil. dren in the institution. Dr. Kuhlman's revision of the Binet-Simon scale is the text used. Of the 250 children tested 69.6 per cent were satisfactory, tsted "at age” or above, and 30.4 per cent were retarded one year or more. Taking into consideration all of the factors, the stunted physical development of many owing to previous neglect, the fact that many are of foreign parentage some having come from homes where they heard no English spoken, and the necessary limitations of individual training, the percentage of children who are satisfactory according to the standards established for average children in the normal home environment is very fair.

The child's mental status is not determined by the experimental method alone. The tests are carried on in connection with the school work and the results studied together with the child-s school record and his relative efficiency in the department of the institution in which he is detailed the garden, farm, household, etc.

As shown by the accompanying chart eight children were found to be more than three years retarded. The natural inference would be that they are feeble-minded but this is not necessarily the case. Causes of retardation have been discovered and removed in some of the cases and better progress may be expected. In other cases the children are undoubtedly feeble-minded and should be transferred to the school for the feeble-minded at Faribault.

This work has been so beneficial that it is proposed to establish a permanent research department to include, besides the work described, more extensive inquiry into the heredity and social environment of the children.

Field work is now being done by the state agents in investigating the homes of applicants for the children and selecting a new environment for them, and investigating their condition and progress after having been placed in the new environment. The field work could be broadened to include the investigation of the social conditions from which the children have come and of the mental and physical status of their ancestors and fraterni. ty to determine, in so far as it is possible to determine, their mental and physical heritage. Information obtained by such investigation would assist in determining the results of the substitution of wholesome normal condi. tions in foster homes for the unwholesome and abnormal one's in the natural homes from which the children have been removed, and would furnish valuable data bearing on the relative influence of heredity and environment. Such a department, wisely conducted, should promote in the name of the state more intelligent and effective work for unfortunate children.

DAY SCHOOLS. The children of school age attend regular day school during ten months of the year. The average enrollment is approximately 220, with five schools

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

covering seven grades. The faculty of eight includes two industrial teachers, a music teacher and librarian who has special classes for backward children. During the pasť year a second primary teacher was added to the staff as there are a larger number of children of primary age than of any other grade.

There are two sessions of school daily, two hours morning and afternoon for the kindergarten and primary grades and two hours and a half for the intermediate and senior grades. The work done in each school room above the kindergarten and first primary covers more than one grade. Grade lines are not permitted to stand in the way of a child's progress and each pupil is advanced as rapidly as his abilities permit. The results achieved in the school compare favorably with work being done in the mod. ern city schools. Children are able to enter and maintain their proper grade in the communities into which they go and several of the children have entered the Owatonna high school.

In the kindergarten the aim is to teach the little people of four to seven years of age how to use their hands, to direct their play, and to interest them in the out-of-door world by means of songs and stories and observation of birds, animals, and flowers. There are about fifty children in attendance either morning or afternoon. They do not attend both sessions. The regular kindergarten work is followed: Gifts-First to sixth inclusive. Occupation: Stringing beads, parquetting, drawing, sewing, moulding in clay. Observation: Form, color numbers, studies in neatness and symmetry; calisthenics, songs and games.

In the primary schools the work of both the first and second primary is much the same, so many children needing just the beginnings of school work, more work than sense training, but still the play element. In reading they are taught the mastery of phonograms, simple words, and then to read with smoothness and expression from primary and first readers. The books used are Brooks' first reader, Baker and Carpenter's primer, and Grover's art literature reader, book I. They are taught spelling and some number work consisting chiefly in oral work in the form of rapid drills. Then in connection with the language work they are required to tell stories, thus learning to express themselves clearly and correctly. They are given some sense training and constructive work, guide cutting, drawing, pasting and painting to stimulate neatness, accuracy and expression, memory training in songs and verses and practice in observation.

In the intermediate school the interest in study begins. Their reading, their geography and their language work are all connected with the interesting wide-awake out-of-doors that they are observing every day. The aim of the teacher is to interest the child in books through the medium of his alert senses and to this end nature study and observation of nature at first hand are very successfully employed. Among the text-books used are Milne's arithmetic, the Art Literature Reader, Brooks' readers, Baker and Carpenter's readers, a primary geography by Fairbanks, an introduction to language by Reed, and an art reader by Cady and Dewey.

The senior school includes all children above the fourth grade. In this school the children are studying reading, history, geography, language, grammar, arithmetic, writing and spelling. The text-books used are Montgom. ery's history, Steps in English and Read and Kellog's grammar, white's arith. metic, Frye and Tarbell's geography and Brooks' and Carpenter's and Baker's art literature readers. The work is supplemented by reference texts such as Stoddard's Lectures in connection with geography. In this school the aim of the teacher is to awaken interest in art and literature and stimulate a love of study. Talks, pictures and books are a means to this end.

But most of all the library is a factor in teaching the children to love books and pictures. The beautiful sunny room hung with pictures and lined with book shelves within the reach of the child is perhaps the most popular single feature in the institution. Here groups of children gather to make scrap books of famous men, of travel at home and abroad, of birds and ani. mals, or to read magazines, or again to listen to stories. They have formed, under the direction of the librarian, a library league, pledging themselves to care for the books they draw and forfeiting their library privileges if they violate their pledge. In the spring a frieze of colored pictures of birds directs their attention to their out-of-door neighbors. At Christmas time the story of the nativity is told in colored pictures. Sometimes the pictures are famous men and again some old legend or opera like Hansel and Gretel.

The circulation of the library has increased greatly. Since the last report there has been a total circulation of 8,615 with an average monthly circulation of 478. Juvenile fiction, picture books, animal and fairy books have the largest circulation.

It is impossible to estimate the value of the library to the children connected as it is with the cultural interests of which it is the center.

For a half hour each morning the children gather in the assembly hall for their music lesson. Here they have songs appropriate to the season, songs to be sung on special occasions in celebration of holidays, and the songs used in their Sunday service. The aim is to acqaint the children with good music. Systematic training in advanced note reading has not been attempted but they are taught to sing with expression and clearness. They have been taught simple tone combinations, correct breathing and intonation. In the music hour they have anecdotes and stories about the music they are singing, choruses from the operas, the Wagner legends, or something about one of the composers. These things hold their attention and interest them in classical music which will take the place of the tawdry ragtime of their previous street acquaintance.

In the Sunday school special music is furnished by the children's choir which adds greatly to the beauty of that service.

The special entertainments at Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Memorial Day and May Day have been under the direction of the music teacher. These entertainments are given in costume and afford excellent training for the children who take part in them and are very much enjoyed by all.

At the close of the school year last June the children gave a very pretty presentation of Hansel and Gretel on the campus.

The industrial department of the school work is especially important among our children. The training in the use of their hands is as much needed as the training for their minds. In the sloyd classes the boys are taught the proper use and care of tools, the economical handling of their material,

the testing of wood surfaces, the making of joints, and the drafting of the articles which they make. This work arouses great enthusiasm and a glimpse at a class hard at work on Christmas presents is a pretty sight. The work is planned for both boys and girls. Often boys and girls who take no interest in any other form of school work develop great ingenuity and perseverance in the sloyd room.

The girls are taught domestic science and sewing. The domestic science room has been newly furnished during this biennial period. The classes are taught food values, planning suitable menus, and the actual preparation and serving of food. The girls are enthusiastic and interested in these les

sons.

The sewing is taught in systematic courses also. The child begins with the simple stitches, hemming, basting, overcasting, then makes articles on which she uses the stitches which she has learned. They are also taught to cut garments and to put them together, to mend and to embroider, and are otherwise being trained in the art that all women should know.

A BROADER POLICY. The recommendation was made to the legislature two years ago that the scope of work for this school be broadened to include in its provisions better opportunities for vocational training and closer co-operation with private child-helping agencies. In response to this recommendation authority was given to the board to receive from such other institutions as are authorized by the State Board of Control to receive children, such children as their managing board desire to transfer to this school and to visit the children placed in homes from such institutions.

There are children who cannot be successfully placed in private homes nor at any employment where they can support themselves without preparatory training. In many of the institutions there are some who have been tried in homes and have failed, others who have reached the age of dismissal without preparation for self support. It is proposed to introduce in this school such vocational courses as will enable us to give such children the training they need as a preparation for homes or employment, and to offer these courses to the children of any other institution desiring to place them here for special training.

The first private institution to take advantage of this transfer priviilege is the Washburn Memorial orphan asylum of Minneapolis, whose managing board has transferred four of its children who are too old to remain there under the terms of its founder's will, but too young to be discharged to self support. That institution has also filed in this office a list of the children it has in foster homes with the request that they be visited by our state agents.

Further provision for carrying out this plan of extension was made by the last legislature in the appropriation of funds for building and equipping a gymnasium, a new cottage for industrial students, an addition to the dairy barn, and enlarging the main dining room.

It is hoped and earnestly recommended that provision be made by the next legislature for the construction and equipment of an industrial building, and for giving instruction in vocational pursuits. The state as a matter of simple justice should extend to its dependent and neglected children such

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »