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Action indispensable to Childhood.
dents in colleges, upon their health, with these distinctions, viz.: The circumstances of the cominon school pupil out of school, are more favorable to his activity ; but in school, the restraint of order and the presence of the teacher are more unfavorable than the comparative liberty of the college student. The common school pupil has another advantage in the length of his vacations. Still the similarity of the two cases cannot be deniedboth restrain the appropriate exertions of the body.
But what is the effect of a literary life upon the student? Does it qualify him for those labors of the farmer and mechanic, which our common school pupils are destined to perform? Rather does it not disqualify him for labor almost uniformly; and not unfrequently for his own appropriate duties ; rendering him hardly useful for any purpose, even that of his own happiness? Now if we find this discipline productive of so much effeminacy, disease and mortality, when pursued in colleges, are we not warranted in attributing the growing increase of these same evils to our similar common school discipline? Especially when we find the most constant and forward scholars in common schools manifesting the greatest feebleness.
We repeat it, the broken, scanty and trifling exertions, of which our common schools allow, are not sufficient to invigorate the body. Those hands are for labor ; that whole frame is for hardship; in the sweat of their face these children are to eat their bread. Knowledge and wisdom may be employed to lighten this toil, to make it pleasant, and secure its rewards. But let it be observed, when knowledge has taken away the ability to labor, she has defeated herself. She must be abandoned by the mass of people, when she robs them of their strength. The disunion of knowledge and labor has been one of the great misfortunes of the world. We believe the successful pursuit of study does not require the last half of the day. This portion may be devoted to the full exertions of the limbs; and we believe it is long enough for this object. If the whole day is more than sufficient to exercise fully the energies of man, it follows, that halt a day's labor will sufficiently task those of children. But as we view it, nothing except this full exertion, stopping short of excess, can secure the full improvement of health and strength. 5 Every facility should be afforded for this purpose. Boys especially, should have free access to the garden, the field and the shop, at all times, and in the different kinds of labor. Every needed tool should be furnished, and every encouragement given. If the novelties of the forests, and streams, and the landscape, are pointed out to the younger ones, or should they not be, at that delightful season when we at present confine them to 232
A “Word to the Wise."
the school house, they will go abroad gaining health and wisdom at every step. Those small fruits too, to be found scattered far and wide in places happily rugged, will call forth their exertions. The confinement of the forenoon will give a relish to the freedom of the afternoon ; while the space will not be longer than their peculiar employments can occupy. Time will not become a drug to be whiled away in idle pursuits, engendering bad habits. Thus energy and wakefulness may be cultivated. .
Conceiving that the merits of a half day system, so far as the bodies of pupils are concerned, are sufficiently manifest, the writer intends, in a future number, to examine its advantages in relation to mental improvement. In relation to the objection to be urged, that scholars in some cases are obliged to walk so far, that they ought to improve as much time as possible, whenever they travel to the school house; he will only add that-as there are so many districts where this could not be made an objection, he does not think it necessary to dwell upon it.
SUPERVISION OF TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS. While all due respect should be accorded to teachers and certainly no class in the community are more deserving both of emolument and of social consideration, than they-yet as our school system is now administered, we are not authorized to anticipate any more fidelity and strenuousness in the fulfilment of duty from them, than from the same number of persons engaged in any other reputable employment. This State employs, annually, in the common schools, more than three thousand teachers, at an expense of more than $465,000, raised by direct taxation. But they have not one thousandth part the supervision which watches the same number of persons, having the care of cattle or spindles, or of the relail of shop goods. Who would retain his reputation, not for prudence, but for sanity, if he employed men on his farm, or in his factory, or clerks in his counting room, month after month, without oversight, and even without inquiry? In regard to what other services, are we so indifferent, where the remuneration swells to such an aggregate? - Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education.
THE AMERICAN LYCEUM. Tae meeting of the American Lyceum at Hartford, which was announced in our last number as commencing to-day, has been deferred to Tuesday the fifteenth instant. We give this statement on the authority of the Corresponding Secretary.
The Boston Lyceum. This popular institution, says the Mercantile Journal, closed its last course of lectures in March. The interest with which it has been sustained from week to week, fair or foul, has not been exceeded, it is believed, by any similar institution in the country. Its average attendance has not been far from two thousand persons.
The Lyceum was one of the first of the present generation of popular institutions organized in this city, and what contributed more in the onset to its prosperity, was the introduction of ladies, which, by the way, was not done - it being an innovation upon custom - till after a protracted discussion and violent opposition.
The proposition to form a Lyceum in this city, was first made by Josiah Holbrook. A number of our most distinguished citizens were called together by this gentleman, and the subject of forming a lyceum laid before them. After discussing the subject several evenings, they decided that it was impracticable, and that it would not be sustained.
Mr Holbrook then laid the matter before a small association, then in existence. Here the expediency of forming such a society, was fully discussed, and favorably received. A coinmittee was appointed, to whom the whole subject was referred, with authority to call a public meeting, should they think it advisable. This they did ; and it was attended probably by one thousand persons.
The subject of lyceums, generally, and the expediency of forming one in this city, as proposed by Mr Holbrook, underwent a thorough discussion. Most of the speakers highly approved of the plan; but one of the gentlemen, of more talents and influence, we had almost said, than all the others put together, and a great friend, too, to popular education, said the project reminded him of a machine made by a friend of his — it was skilfully designed, beautifully finished, and masterly executed; but it had ove fault, it wouldn't go!
This threw a damper upon the meeting, but it soon, after a little more discussion, recovered its elasticity, and appointed a committee to draft 234
Female Inprovement Society.
a plan of organization. The committee met: two of the members believed the project to be a visionary one, and declined taking any part in it. The remaining tbree called another meeting, proposed a constitution, and organized the Society.
The first meetings were held in Chauncey Hall, and were attended by about two hundred persons. Many of the lectures the first winter, were given by the members.
From the foundation of the Lyceum to the present time, its numbers and interest have been constantly increasing.
FEMALE IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY. About a year ago, a Society was formed in Boston, which was called "The Boston and Vicinity Female Improvement Society.” Its objects are exclusively, the cultivation of the intellect, and the elevation of the moral character of females. It hopes to form, as the final results of its Jabors, exemplary Christian mothers. Funds are to be obtained principally by voluntary contributions.
As one prominent means by which the Society expects to carry its purposes into effect, it has resolved to establish, in the city, a Female Teachers' Seminary, to be called the American Union Franklin Teachers' Seminary. The rules and regulations adopted, will be similar to the Ipswich and Charlestown Female Seminaries. There will be three classes, the primary, junior and senior; and particular attention will be paid to English studies. A few young ladies are already in attendance; but the lostitution, as we learn from its First Annual Report, has as yet done but little, for want of funds.
Physical EDUCATION, The Physiological Society of this city, has had two courses of public lectures this winter, which, from the bearing of this society's efforts on the cause of physical education, and for other reasons, we are glad to say,have been well attended. Three of these lectures have been published; one by Rev. A. G. Duncan, on the Evils of violating the Laws of Health, and the Remedy; one by Dr E. Bartlett, of Lowell, entitled “Obcdience to the Laws of Health a moral duty;" and another by Dr Haskell, of Boston, on Physiology in general.
The Ten Thousand Dollars, We mentioned in our last number, that a benevolent individual bad offered $10,000, to be devoted to the cause of Common Schools, and applied under the direction of the Massachasetts Board of Education, on condition that the Legislature would appropriate an equal sum for the same purpose. We learn, that, by a resolution, they have deter
Efforts in behalf of Children.
mined to do this. The friends of education in this State are certainly awaking; and much credit, in this respect, is certainly due to some of the more energetic members of the “ Board.”.
SCHOOLS IN PROVIDENCE. The long agitated question, in the city council of Providence,whether a common school system was necessary or not, appears to be settled. An ordinance was passed on the evening of April 9th, which, if executed in its true intent and spirit, will ultimately place the metropolis of Rhode Island on a footing, in respect to schools, with Boston, N. York, Hartford and Lowell.
School Houses. A meeting of the Dutchess County Association for the Improvement of Common School Education, was held at the village of Fishkill, on the 10th of January last, and is said to have been an occasion of much interest. One of the addresses -- by the Rev. S. 8. Prime of Mattewan - has been published in the Newburgh Journal, and is excellent. We have room for a single extract.
In the present construction of school houses, a lamentable deficiency exists. I necd pot describe them. All who hear me have tried them. But before any great improvement will be made in the system of common school instruction, a total revolution must be made in the construction of these buildings. Select a healthy site, easy of access, and let the house be well lighted, well ventilated, and easily warmed — let the seats be constructed and arranged for the comfort and health of the children and convenience of the teacher. If these advantages were secured, nine tenths of the present school houses would be converted into barns.'
At a meeting of the Penobscot Association of Teachers, at Levant, Maine, sundry interesting resolutions were passed, among which was the following. • Resolved, That building a school house should not be an experiment to ascertain how many human beings can live in a given space, and with a given quantity of air, and that the time has not yet arrived for making retrenchinents in this department of expenditure.'
EFFORTS IN BEHALF OF CHILDREN IN Boston. There is an association in this city, for the support of public worship, &c., for children at the Warren Street Chapel, wbose Annual Report, by Rev. C. F. Barnard, the minister, we have just looked over with interest and pleasure.
The whole number of children who attend at the Chapel is 708. Then there is a Sunday School, morning and afternoon, atteniled by 229 boys and 213 girls — 542 in all — under the care of forty female teachers, and eleven males, with a few assistants.