« ZurückWeiter »
Froebel, into which they are incorporated. These are called “ Songs of Harmony,” such as “ The Song of Greeting,' “ The Pleasant Sight,” “ The Happy Family.”
Another series of songs refer to various artificial and natural movements, — the motions of birds, fishes, animals, windmills, water-wheels, pendulums, &c. being imitated in the accompanying plays.
“A favorite game is called the Pigeon-House. Three fourths of the children join hands and form a closed circle, representing a pigeonhouse; the remainder stand close together inside the circle, to represent the pigeons in the house.
• We open the pigeon-house again,
And set the pigeons free.
Delighted with liberty;
We shut up the house and bid them good night.' “ When the song begins, We open the pigeon-house,' those forming the circle raise their hands and arms, and make the circle as large as possible. Those inside, the pigeons,' run out, moving their little hands and arms like the wings of a bird ; they continue to run about, until they hear, “And when they return,' when they make their way home quickly as possible.
“ This song may be repeated as often as is wanted, the inner and outer circle changing places, if desired.
“ The game is intended to extend the arms and exercise the wrists in particular, and all the muscles employed in the action of the pigeons.' This exercise of the wrist is an excellent preparation for employments requiring dexterity and lightness of touch. The faculty of time is also excited, and feelings of sympathy with the subjects of the game unconsciously aroused.”
The children are familiarized with the motions of the planets, whilst gaining health and dexterity, by another ingenious game, called “The Solar System.” The tallest child stands in the centre of the room, holding in his hand as many ribbons as there are planets, each longer than the other. The smallest child represents Mercury, and, taking hold of the shortest ribbon, moves round “the Sun,” to represent his annual motion, and turning round upon his heels during this circuit, extending the hand that holds the ribbon over his head, to imitate the diurnal motion. Meanwhile all sing :
“ O how steadily, 0 how orderly,
Yet cling to their centre, the bright orb of day!” The games and songs in “ imitation of human labor” awaken a love for usefulness, and have a great attraction for children, who, indeed, are always drawn to anything which simulates a use. They are full of practical instruction.
The song of “The Peasant," sowing, reaping, thrashing, sifting his wheat, resting and playing when his work is done, “ The Cooper,” “ The Sawyer,” &c., are admirable exercises for mind and body.
Froebel's advice to mothers, in his Menschenerziehung, in the religious development of their children, is worthy most serious thought: “ All education must be unfruitful which is not based on the Christian religion.” He wished that the whole life and education of the child “ should be related to the religious idea," and sought for him a complete development in harmony with this. He relied on sacred music to quicken the religious sentiment, feeling the divine truths of the Gospel must reach the intellect through the heart. Believing prayer to be innate in children, he yet felt the need of some transition from play to devotion. The children are led to note some phenomenon of nature, - the setting sun, the organization of plants, the music of birds, &c., - and their thoughts are guided by earnest words, which touch their tender hearts with love and reverence and confidence in God. Or some incident in the life of the infant Jesus is recalled to them; for all the principal events of sacred history have been taught them, in a simple manner, in the Kindergarten.
“ To attain a high moral and religious development in the child, it is necessary at first to sanctify the senses by a superior physical de
velopment, which makes them truly the instruments of the soul. Guided by the study of Nature to a knowledge of the Creator, he attains to an understanding of revealed truth, which can only thus be received and comprehended, and never by merely learning moral maxims by rote.”
There are two points in which the influence of the Kindergarten is of especial value. The children learn practically that their own freedom and individual well-being are always in harmony with the general good. Love reigns in these little communities, and through love obedience is gained, and willing submission to authority, to established order, — to law. The union of intellectual and manual labor in these early years is the guaranty of their union in after life, whatever path may be pursued; and it will also prove the preventive of the weariness of school life devoted exclusively to intellectual development, and of the frequent unfitness of those thus trained for actual duties. The method of Froebel may lead to the establishment of schools for labor in connection with those for intellectual education, which are so much needed for the well-being of society and its members. In the Scholars' Gardens are workshops of various kinds.“ Agriculture takes in turn the place of gardening, and real gymnastics the place of gymnastic exercises."
The external appliances of life, its facilities, luxuries, comforts, knowledges, have indeed wonderfully increased; but they fail to enshrine the truly noble human being, Son of Man and Son of God. May not this simple method of Froebel — to unfold from within all the powers of the child in harmonious activity, and in loving co-operation with a cheerful obedience to those around him — be a corner-stone of a new social temple, the parts of which, all “fitly compacted,” shall make a living whole, in which shall abide the spirit of peace and good-will to man, God's highest glory on earth, which is the visible coming of His kingdom, the realization of the Christian idea in humanity?
It remains only to give an account of the progress of Froebel's system in popular favor. It has borne the test of fourteen years' practical experience, and is extending throughout Germany and Belgium, and is introduced into France and
VOL. LXVII. — 5TH S. VOL. V. NO. III. 29
England. Already during Froebel's lifetime was his system recognized, and he had the gratification of witnessing the establishment of fifty Kindergärten in Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland. The most advanced institution at present is that of Doctor and Madame Marquhart, at Dresden.
The Baroness Marenholtz, whose devotion to the cause is entire, has obtained the favor of the Belgian government for her plans, and its beautiful capital is now the centre of the movement. A new manual has just been published at Brussels, which is much fuller and more complete than the English one.
During the last winter, Madame Marenholtz was in Paris, engaged in the dissemination of her views. She has gained the attention of the Empress, who has submitted the exposé of the system to the Minister of Public Instruction, and a trial is to be made of it in the “ Cours Pratique” of the Infant Schools. Whether the youthful Napoleon has commenced his exercises with the ball and string, we have been unable to learn. Several private institutions have also engaged pupils of Froebel in their establishments, and it is proposed that instructresses should superintend the games of children during the hours of their promenade in the gardens of the Tuileries and the Champs Elysees. The Catholic clergy object to Froebel's system, that it does not maintain the doctrine of original sin! This is certainly true. However, a society has been established in Paris entitled “The Society for the Propagation of Froebel's System for the Education of Children," of which one President is a Catholic priest, the other a lady. This society meets once a month to discuss the principles of Froebel, to teach each other his methods, and to concert measures for the propagation of his ideas. An American lady of superior talent is a member of this society, and is engaged in instructing the children of some of our fellow-citizens now resident in Paris, according to this delightful method. We wish that some of her young countrywomen might be incited to go abroad and unite with her in gaining a full knowledge of the system, in order to introduce it in America.
The widow of Froebel, who sympathized with his hopes and aided his plans throughout his life, is still engaged in carrying on a Kindergarten at Hamburg. She retains the right in his books, which she alone sells. His Gifts also may be procured from her. Other establishments are in operation at Leipsic, Weimar, in Thuringia, Hanover, &c.
Dr. and Madame Ronge have established a school in London, which has met with much success, and won the favorable notice of Mr. Mitchell, the royal Inspector of Schools.
To American mothers, whose maternal affection is so intimately blended with intellectual ambition, this system offers many attractions, while it will also be far less subversive of physical health than the common methods. We hope they will give it earnest attention, and prove themselves faithful to Froebel's favorite motto, “ Let us live for our children."
ART. II. — RECENT ASPECTS OF ATHEISM IN ENGLAND.
1. The Life and Character of Richard Carlile. By GEORGE JACOB
HOLYOAKE. 1849. 2. The Last Trial-by-Jury for Atheism in England ; a Fragment of
Autobiography. By GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. 1851. 3. The Case of Thomas Pooley. By G. J. HOLYOAKE. 1857. 4. The Trial of Theism. By G. J. HOLYOAKE. 1858. 5. Shadows of the Past. By LIONEL H. HOLDRETH. 1856. 6. The Affirmations of Secularism ; in Seven Letters to G. J. Holyoake.
By L. H. HOLDRETH. Published in the Reasoner for 1857. 7. Conscience and Consequence. A Tale for the Times. By LIONEL
H. HOLDRETH. Published in the Reasoner for 1858. London:
AMONG the many signs of the times which demand the study . of religious thinkers, few are so little known in proportion to their importance as the recent developments which Atheism has assumed among the working-classes of England. These developments are in many respects so unique and interesting, that a brief glance at them may perhaps prove not unacceptable to American readers. There is no less a chasm between