Page images
PDF
EPUB

a custom harmful both to mothers and children, and contrary to God and to nature. Even the wolves and the swine suckle their own young *

From vanity or convenience, nurses are often employed who are weaker than the mothers themselves.

No high-seasoned food should be given to children, and still less any heating drink; the Spartans dared drink no wine until their twentieth year. Unnecessary medicine is poison to children. They should be allowed to play as much as they wish.

During the first six years, the foundation should be laid for all that they are to learn in all their lives.

In physics, they should begin to learn to know stones, plants, beasts, etc.; and the names and uses of the members of their own body.

In optics, they should begin to distinguish light and darkness and colors; and to delight their eyes with beautiful things.

In astronomy, they should learn to know the sun, moon, and stars, and that the moon is sometimes full and sometimes sickle-shaped.

They should begin geography with the knowledge of the cradle, the room, the farm, the streets, the fields; chronology, with the knowledge of day and night, hours, weeks, and festivals; history, with the knowledge of what happened to themselves yesterday and the day before; politics, with the knowledge of domestic economy; arithmetic, with counting, etc.; geometry, with understanding the ideas of length and breadth, lines, circles, an inch, an ell, etc.; music, with hearing singing, (in the third year they will be able to join in psalm singing :) grammar, with the pronunciation of syllables and easy words; rhetoric, with the making of gestures, and the understanding of the gestures of others.

Thus we see the beginning of all the sciences and arts, in the earliest childhood. Even then the children will take pleasure in poetry, rhythm and rhyme.t

Comenius now proceeds to the beginning of the first or ethical part of religious instruction; he requires above all things, that the parents should set a good example; and he inveighs strongly against the unjustifiable spoiling of children, and the want of a wholesome

• " Have you nourished with your own blood the child which you carried beneath your heart for so many months, to deny it milk now, when that very milk was given by God for the child, not for the mother? It is much more conducive to the health of the infant, to suckle its own mother than a nurse, because it has in the womb already become accustomed to putriment from its mother's blood.” Comenius gives specimens of rhymes to amuse the children, ag :

O mi pulle, mi puelle, dormi belle ;
Claude bellos tu ocellos, curas pelle."

strictness. He also gives directions how to train them to moderation, purity, and obedience; and to silence, as soon as they can speak fluently, and not to speak merely in order to learn to speak. In baptism, children should be given back to their Creator and Saviour; and from that time they should be prayed for and taught to pray; should learn the Lord's Prayer, the creed, &c.

In the sixth year the child will be ready to go to school, which should not be described to him as an institution of punishment. We often hear people say, “If you are not good I will send you to school, and there

you will be kept in order with the rod.” It should rather be represented as delightful, so that the child shall be pleased with the idea of going

B. German School, 1. This is peculiarly a school of the mother tongue.t

In this school, says Comenius, the children should not be, as many would have them, put at first to the study of Latin.

All children should be instructed. Whether or no they prove apt at study, and, therefore, proper to be carried forward to the Latin school, is not a thing to be determined in the sixth year. That school is not for the children of the noble alone; the wind bloweth whither it listeth, and does not begin to blow at any fixed time. My method, continues Comenius, does not, by any means, look simply to the Latin, most often so vaivly beloved, but rather regards a common way of instruction in all the mother tongues. To teach a scholar a foreign tongue before he knows his own, is to instruct him in riding before he can walk. Finally he says, I aim at knowledge of real things; these can be learned just as well in the mother tongue as in Latin or Greek; and, above all, all technical terms should be learned in German, instead of in Latin or Greek.

He then proceeds to enumerate the studies in the German school; as, to read German, to write well, to reckon, so far as ordinary life will require, to measure, to sing common melodies, to learn certain songs by rote, the catechism, and the Bible, a very general knowledge of history, especially of the creation, the fall of man, and the redemption; a beginning of cosmography, and a knowledge of trades and occupations. All these are necessary, not only for those who are to be students, but also for future farmers, mechanics, &c. The Ger

*"* I can not refrain from reproving the apish and asinine conduct of some parents 10ward their children.

Opp. did. 172. 1 At a subsequent period Comenius found fault with himself for having written his Vestibulum in Latin, "nota docendo per ignola, vernaculum per Latinam. Quicquid nolius est praecedulvernacula Latinae semper praceal." Opp. did. 4,51.

man school should be divided into six classes, and for each class a text-book should be prepared in German.

C. The Latin School. Here are to be learned four languages, and the seven studies of the Trivium and the Quadrivium; grammar, dialectics and rhetoric; and arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Also physics, chronology, bistory, ethics, and biblical theology. The school is to be divided into the six following classes, to pass through which will require six years : 1. grammar, 2. physics, 3. mathematics, 4. ethics, 5. dialectics, 6. rhetoric.

The scholars are to finish their studies in German and Latin, and to gain a sufficient grammatical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.

Dialectics and rhetoric, says Comenius, are to be learned only after a knowledge of real things has been acquired. Without the knowledge of things, it is impossible for one to speak practically upon them.* IIe places physics before the abstract mathematics, as addressed to the senses, and, therefore, easier for beginners.

D. The University. Although, Comenius

says,

his method does not extend to the university, yet he will express a few views concerning it. For a university he would have a universal course of study, and an examination of all students entering, to determine for what pursuit each is best fitted, &c. He has one remarkable recommendation; to found a schola scholarum or collegium didacticum, for those of all countries. The learned men, members of this, should bind themselves to use their united powers

to promote the sciences, and to make new discoveries. He thus suggests the idea of an academy of sciences, before the Royal Society of London, the first academy of the kind, was established; following Bacon, however, in this also.

B. Schola pansophica. In 1650, as before related, Comenius was invited to Patak in Hungary, to reorganize the schools there. The plan which he drew up bears the strange title, Scholae punsophicae delineatio. And the plan itself is strange. The names of the seven classes are, in part, given upon very singular grounds. The school books of the three lower classes, the vestibularis, janualis and atrialis, were the Vestibulam, Janua, Atrium. After the Atrium came, as class fourth, the

Ul virginem non impraegnatam parere impossibile esl, ita res rationabiliter eloqui impos. sibile eum, qui rerum cognitione praeimbulus non est.

† Apparently following Bacon's remark, “ Mathematica quae philosophiam naturalem ter. minare, non generare aut procreare debet.Nov. Org. 1, 96.

1 Opp. did. 3, 20.

philosophical; then the logical, political, and theological or theosophical. These seven classes were arranged to occupy the seven years from the tenth to the seventeenth.

From Comenius' plan, it appears that it was not his intention that Latin and real studies, from the three above named books, should be the only occupation of the three lower classes. The catechism, writing, arithmetic, geometry, and music, were to be added.

The idea of proceeding methodically from the elements forward, is to be recognized everywhere. The first class is to study geometry, with points (!) and lines; the second with plane figures, and the third with solids,*

In the fourth class, Greek was to be studied, and Latin quite passed over; so that it was in the fifth that the Latin authors were first to be read, for the purpose of acquiring a style.

In each week Comenius set apart an hour for the reading of the newspapers of the day,f in order to learn cotemporary history and geography. Sacred music was to be sung daily, and no one not even of noble birth, was to be excused; and specified hours were set for choral music.

Plays and gymnastics, he says, are so far from being to be forbidden, that they are rather to be promoted; as, for instance running, jumping, wrestling, ball, ninepins, &c.; and walks are to be taken with the boys.

Comenius strongly recommends dramatic exhibitions, among other reasons, because the boys will learn "to act well any part.” He, however, forbids the immodest pieces of the ancients, and instead, recommends other strange ones, which may be played by the classes. Thus, the fourth class may play Diogenes, the Cynic, or Compendious Philosophy. “The fifth," he says, “may give a very beautiful play, namely, the Contest of Grammar, Logic and Metaphysics, who strive for the preëminence, and in the end kiss each other in a friendly manner, thus showing how they will all labor wisely together in the realm of wisdom, which drama, including fifty persons, is very delightful." The sixth class is to represent Solomon, and the Seventh David.

The walls of the school-room of each class are to be ornamented with pictures and inscriptions, relating to the employments of the classes.

* These examples indicate the same error which afterward appeared in the Pestalozzian school.

“Verba rara, phrases pulchras, imprimis etiam sententias elegantes, et sic succum omnem extrahant, aus Cicero, Sallust, &c."

:16., 28. “ praelegantur ordinariae mercatorum novellae.” The Mercurius Gallo-Belgicus, for example.

The whole school and each single class, should represent a republic, and should have a senate, consul, and praetor.

Of the hours of study, three should come in the forenoon and three in the afternoon, and between each two study hours, a half hour of recess should come.

Only the three lower classes of the pansophistic school went into operation; the Hungarian nobility not approving of the four others, which very much grieved Comenius. “When only patchwork is required," he says, " a more complete course of study is impossible ; and nothing new can come to pass when people stick to their old habits.” He, however, accommodated himself to his station, and composed the treatises “ upon an easy, short, and convenient way to read the Latin authors fluently and to understand them clearly, in schools of three classes."*

VIII. LATIN AND THE MOTHER TONGUE. According to Comenius, the mother tongue was to be studied. For this purpose he required a schola vernacula, through which each child was to pass, whether afterward to become a student or not. If he

was, then he was to go from the schola vernacula into the schola Latina. He expresses himself most strongly opposed to the neglect of the mother tongue, and speaks with approbation of Schottel and the Society of Usefulness, who devoted themselves to the German.t

Why did he insist upon having Latin so diligently studied by the boys ? His strictness in this respect was not surpassed by that of Trotzendorf or Sturm, who altogether neglected the German. Comenius requires from the boys“ daily, even hourly exercises in Latin style;" and imitation of Cicero even to entire Ciceronization, and the constant speaking of Latin, both in and out of school.I

His object was that Latin should become a universal language upon the earth, as an antidote against the confusion of tongues at Babel. What the Romish church sought for the unity of the church, Comenius sought for the unity of humanity; that all nations should be able to understand each other by means of a common speech.

He laid down the principle, that the Latin must be understood in its fullest extent. By this, however, he did not mean that every man must understand every word of the language. Even Cicero himself did not understand the expressions of artizans; and very reasonably, because he had not studied their business. In like manner, we do not blame any one for not understanding similar expressions in

* Opp. did. 3, 113. The treatise is dated 1651 ; and includes many things which Comenius had already said in the Methodus Novissima. † Opp. did. 2, 219.

| Ib., 204, 205. $ Ib., 152, &c.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »