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long; for they are like merry brothers and sisters to the happy child, and she plays with them on the bosom of the round earth, which seems to love them all like a mother.
This is the little brown baby. Do you love her? Do you think
you would know her if you should meet her some day?
A funny little brown sister. Are all of them brown?
We will see, for here comes Agoonack and her sledge.
The aims in nature study, the world of realities, are set forth by the committee in the Course of Study as follows:
To develop the activities of perception, observation, understanding, memory, judgment, and language.
The outside world is itself but an expression of the Infinite mind; the first and simplest efforts of the child are directed toward its interpretation, toward getting its meaning. This process never ends. Already, as the child enters school, he has considerable skill in using his senses, and has made much progress in getting acquainted with both the animate and the inanimate objects about him. He is usually bubbling over with interest in everything he meets, and the teacher has little to do but to guide him wisely in his investigations. Above all things, however, the work must be done intelligently and systematically. While the child may know little of any plan, his teacher should be quietly directing it all toward a well-defined end.
While knowledge is one object of nature-study, it must be remembered that it should always be subservient to culture, to the development of the faculties of the child-mind. Let mere acquisition always be subordinate to the attainment of skill. If acquisition
be properly conducted, the desired development will assuredly follow. The knowledge which the child is now getting should anticipate in a logical way that broader, deeper inquiry which he is to make later. It must in all cases have such relative simplicity that the child can grasp it with reasonable effort. Variety in sufficiency to arouse and maintain interest is important.
To secure these ends, the teacher should be intimately acquainted with the functions of the different senses and their relation to perception, with the psychology and methodology of observation, understanding, memory, and judgment, as well as with the phenomena of the natural world.
The culture studies, the world of idealities, on their own side develop the imagination, the emotions, sympathy, judgment, memory, literary taste, and the creative activities.
The skilful teacher correlates these two great lines of study in such a way as to make them mutually stimulative, sharpening interest, quickening impulse, provoking inquiry. To do this successfully, he must familiarize himself with the wonders of the world round about him,
With bird and flower and tree,
And pond and running brook. He must also have such acquaintance with the literature of the novel, the useful, and the beautiful in nature that each is continually illuminating the other, revealing in quick succession new meaning and new beauty. His work as a teacher is perfect when he is successfully placing the child in such relationship to
both that they serve a similar purpose for him. The true mission of the book is to help the child to see and to understand nature. It multiplies his eyes and extends his vision. It shows him where to look for nature's hidden secrets and how to hear her sweetest melodies. It teaches him the alphabet of the stars, and helps him to understand the language of the flowers. It guides him in his search for the subtle forces that build alike the lichen scale and the mountain peak; that paint the lily and roll the earth around.
It not only assists him in the perception of the external world, but also in understanding himself and his fellows, in interpreting the emotions and impulses that rise from the depths of his own consciousness, and in giving expression to the nobler instincts of his mind and heart. The child should be taught how to use the book, and there is no better time than when he is becoming acquainted with the outside world and can appreciate its value.
But while the nature and culture studies stimulate the mind to activity and supply it with content, the material upon which it feeds and grows, the impulse to expression also arises, showing itself first in crude ways and simple forms, then in more refined methods and more artistic creations; first in physical movement, then in suggestive symbols representing complex and widely-related ideas. Out of these efforts at expression and communication have grown the beautiful arts which, in their related sciences, constitute the formal studies, usually so called,-language, writing, reading, drawing, music, and certain parts of mathematics. Their function in education is universally
recognized. That in exercise they are always reacting upon the child, increasing both his understanding and his skill, at once quickening his interest and multiplying his power, is everywhere conceded. But their value is only partially realized if their proper relations to literature and the physical sciences are ignored. A teacher may be thoroughly familiar with the technical elements in each subject, but unless he keeps them ever serving the impulse to expression that each new idea coming into the life of the child begets, he will fail to secure the highest and best results. The relish such a method adds to each subject can only be appreciated by those who have tried it.
The following pages include a few suggestive outlines for the formal studies as well as for the nature and culture subjects. All are intended simply to illustrate the way in which correlation may be carried out in actual practice. Those given were prepared for her classes by Miss Achsah Harris, of the Model School at the State Normal School, Emporia, Kansas.
Read carefully the introduction to each subject as outlined in the Course of Study, not omitting the introduction to the music outline, and let spontaneity and individuality find full play in every lesson.