« PředchozíPokračovat »
the appendix to this report shows the number of months' residence of children at the school. From this table it may be seen that one child resided here for twelve years. This child was a little girl admitted at the age of two years, with defective eyesight and a frail body. The twelve years of residence in the school was not continuous. She was placed out three different times in the hope that her improved health and vision would enable her to remain in a private family. Each time she was returned, however, and she was finally transferred to the School for the Blind for treatment and instruction. Finally a home was secured for her in which she has done well.
The discipline prescribed does not include corporal punishment among the penalties permitted. The curtailment of privileges is effective as a means of punishment for offenses committed and close personal attention to those inclined to offend prevents the necessity for punishment. The well equipped playground with which each cottage is provided is highly beneficial as a means of keeping the children interested and preserving order among them. A good variety of playground apparatus has been provided and a playground director has usually been employed during vacation periods which include the months of July and August each summer.
THE DAY SCHOOL. The day school which is maintained ten months in the year meets the same requirements as the public schools of the state. It will readily be seen that with a school population ever changing it is impossible to grade the pupils as closely as in the public schools where the attendance is comparatively steady. The result of the constant changing of pupils is too many grades in a room and an overburdened program. Notwithstanding such conditions, commendable work has been done in the several rooms and the pupils have been prepared to enter their proper grades in the public schools and go on with their classes without difficulty after they have gone out to homes. 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.
Pupils who are through with the eighth grade are sent to the city schools. Four of our oldest children are now attending the Owatonna High school. Many of our children are numbered among the high school graduates. Unusual circumstances prevent some children from being placed out in homes or from remaining out and they are necessarily residents of the institution for a long time. The outcome in every such case, however, has justified all expenditures in their behalf, so that the wisdom of receiving and caring for them can hardly be questioned. Among them are some of the most promising and successful of our young people.
The regular school classes, including the kindergarten, sloyd, domestic science and music classes, occupy seven of the eight rooms in our schoolhouse.
The kindergarten includes the children from four to seven years of age. The average enrollment is about forty-five. There are two sessions daily: from 9 to 11 a. m., and from 2 to 4 p. m. The attendance at the morning session is about twenty-five and at the afternoon session about thirty. About ten children attend both sessions. The work is outlined as follows: GiftsFirst to sixth inclusive; occupation-stringing beads, parquettry, folding, weaving, cutting and pasting, drawing, sewing, molding in clay, sand table;
observation-form, color, numbers, studies in neatness and symmetry; calisthenics, songs and games.
In the primary school the average attendance is about forty-five. There are two sessions daily; from 9 to 11 a. m., and from 2 to 4 p. m, with fifteen minutes recess each session for free play. Three classes are carried on and much hand work is done. Reading, writing and number work are begun. Holten's Werner's and Finch's primers and Brent's chart are used for beginners. Holton's first readers, First Year Language Readers and Nature and History Stories are also used. The number work is principally oral and blackboard work and covers combinations in numbers up to 20 and practical problems involving these.
In the intermediate school the average enrollment is about forty. There are two sessions daily—from 9 to 11:30 a. m., and from 2 to 4:30 p. m., with fifteen minutes' recess each session for free play. Second and third grade work is being done at present. Much attention is paid to reading, Harper's, Cyr's, Holme's and Baldwin's readers and the “Stepping Stones to Literature" series being used. Prince's arithmetic and Reed's Introductory Language Work are used. Much oral and blackboard work is done in arithmetic and language is studied in connection with all work. In literature interest centers just now in Longfellow's "Hiawatha" and Hawthorne's "Wonder Book for Boys and Girls.” Introductory geography is studied, the books used being "Seven Little Sisters” and “Each and All,” representing the children of the various countries and how they live.
The senior school includes all the children above the third grade and the work is necessarily crowded. At present the lowest class is doing full fourth grade work and the highest sixth grade. The average enrollment is about thirty-five. There are two sessions daily—from 9 to 11:30 a. m., and from 2 to 4:30 p. m., with fifteen minutes recess each session. This school is studying history, geography, literature, English, arithmetic and grammar and giving much attention to reading. Much of the study is topical and many books are used and consulted, among them Montgomery's history, Troy's Complete and Davis and Deane's Elementary Inductive geographies, Prince's and White's arithmetics, Whitney & Lockwood's grammar, Stepping Stones in English, Harper's and Baldwin's readers and many books for supplementary reading.
Industrial work is carried ou in sloyd and sewing. The average enrollment in the sloyd classes is about sixty. These classes are conducted each school day either in forenoon or afternoon, the teacher's time being divided between the sloyd and sewing classes. Instruction is given in the correct use of edged tools, the making and reading of plans, using the third angle in orthographic projection, the accurate use of the rule, the economic planning of the amount of lumber needed in making any object and the cutting of same from long boards, the testing of all surfaces which can be tested by mechanical means, the training of the senses of sight and touch, the making of simple joints, the care of tools and benches, the study of different kinds of woods, etc. Great enthusiasm is aroused by this work, which is planned for both boys and girls. Children who do not take kindly to study or who are dull and hard to teach are developed by this means and aroused to commendable work in the regular school grades.
The sewing classes have in them every girl above the kindergarten who is able to be in school, except a few whose eyes will not permit them to sew. The average enrollment is about thirty. They are taught basting, seaming, hemming, buttonhole making, patching and darning. They assist in making table linen, towels, sheets, pillow cases, underwear and night gowns and the older girls in making skirts and dresses.
It is believed that the games and sports of childhood are as important in the development of the children as are work and study, so the playground is made an educational feature. The children who come from abnormal surroundings and do not take kindly to the regular life and simple pleasures of a normal, well trained child and who are not attracted by the school room, are especially benefited by plenty of guided play. A teacher has been retained during the past summer to give attention to such children.
On Sunday many of the older children attend church services in Owatonna, For those who cannot attend such services in town, chapel exercises are held in the school auditorium, conducted by the teachers and state agents. Sunday school is held every Sunday afternoon from three to four o'clock.
The holidays and many special days are enthusiastically observed and thoroughly enjoyed by the children.
Our library has become a prominent and important feature of the institution. It is alike valuable to the teachers and matrons and a liberal use of it is an aid to the school work and to the home life of the children in the cottages. Under the wise direction of the teachers and matrons the children form a taste for reading good books which often results in a demand for better literature in the country homes and schools into which they go. The library contains 2,085 volumes of carefully selected books and the reading tables are supplied with periodicals covering the best current literature. Under the efficient direction of Miss Miriam E. Carey, Organizer of the State Library Commission, a highly satisfactory and effective organization of the library was effected in May, 1909.
What are termed “Library Evenings” are observed in connection with the library work. About two evenings each week are devoted to this feature under the direction of the teachers. The children are instructed in the proper use of the library and shown how to find and handle the books. Clippings from magazines and newspapers are collected and stories connected with their reading are told. Historical events are noticed. These occasions have an influence on the children which is altogether wholesome and refining. The library has been placed in charge of one of the teachers, who also acts as principal of the schools.
We are indebted to Miss Pringle of the State Library Commission, who visited the school and entertained the children in a delightful and helpful manner.
The following is Miss Carey's report of her work in organizing the library:
“The books have been chosen with a view to providing a collection of a general character, in order to furnish reading matter for all persons, adults as well as children, in residence at the institution. This library is all of somewhat recent purchase on account of the destruction of the books by fire, so it is fresh and attractive in appearance. A large number of picture books and others suitable for the youngest children have recently been purchased.
In the spring of 1909, the library was reorganized according to modern standards. It was classified by the Dewey System, and was equipped with a card index, a charging system of book cards and pockets, and an accession book. One reason for introducing these features was that the children might become accustomed to the paraphernalia of a modern library before leaving the school.
Monthly reports as to the use of the books were made during the school year. These show a total circulation of 2,105 volumes, with an average of 211 per month. The per cent of readers to the school enrollment was 69.
The largest circulation was in fiction, but with children much of the fiction is essential to the normal development. This is true of fairy stories and stories about animals and nature. An effort was made to keep the children interested in such stories. There was a constant reading of history throughout the year. During February, 18 volumes of history were given out. Travel, .poetry and biography were also in demand.
A list of 42 periodicals was provided, including Youth's Companion, St. Nicholas, and others specially adapted to children.
The teachers did much during the year to stimulate and direct the reading of the children. The oldest girls met once a week during the fall to read aloud with one of the teachers. The oldest boys were organized into a library club which met evenings in the library room. It was the custom to discuss the books which the several members had read, the teachers leading the children to talk freely of their likes and dislikes in these matters, and to tell in substance the contents of their favorite books. The library club did commendable work in the way of making and filling scrap books with clippings of all sorts pertaining to the noted men of the day and to famous authors. Pictures as well as biographical information were collected by the children for these scrapbooks (which were really envelopes made by the children). These were afterwards mounted in veritable books and some of them were artistically arranged.
The Alcott club, which the girls' reading circle became, and the boys' Library club made a record which gave great satisfaction to us all. The undertaking showed the possibilities of library work among children in institutions.
The present library room is very pleasant and attractive, but it is too small. The shelf room is already filled. If a larger room were furnished for the purposes of a library the present one could be used to exhibit the children's work and the specimens and collections of various sorts which they are encouraged to bring to school.
It has been suggested that the large vacant room adjacent to the library be equipped as the children's library, with lower bookcases, different sizes and heights of chairs and tables to accommodate the small children as well as the larger boys and girls. In short, to place at Owatonna a library room similar to those prepared specially for children in many parts of the state. This room could be made a gathering place for clubs, similar to those of which mention has been made. It could be made attractive to the small children also, in order that they may become accustomed to the ways of the library while they are small, and form a taste for good books in a natural and spontaneous manner.
There are so many libraries in the United States that it would seem that a child who had the library habit would know how to make himself at home even in a strange town, if he could find the way to the library. As there are few places which can offer a child so much that is good with so little that is harmful it would seem that to know how to use a library and to have the reading habit would be to safeguard a child wherever he might be obliged to live.
MIRIAM E. CAREY, Organizer Minnesota Library Commission.
THE FARM AND AGRICULTURAL INSTRUCTION.
The farm of 320 acres on which the school is located has been a source of profit as may be seen from tables No. 1 and No. 2 appended hereto. Milk and vegetables have generally been produced in sufficient quantities to supply the needs of the school. A herd of standard bred Holstein cows, about fifty in number, has been maintained. The milk provided, 19,701 gallons in 1909 and 25,201 gallons in 1910, handled in a thoroughly cleanly manner, has been a most important factor in maintaining the health and promoting the growth and physical development of the children.
The greatest value of the farm, however, is in the educational advantage it offers to the children. Classes of boys now work on the farm and in the garden and receive instruction from the farmer and gardener, but such instruction as these busy men are able to give is inadequate. A course in elementary agriculture should be established, and a skilled instructor employed. Agricultural instruction is the demand of the day. The state is establishing sub-station experimental farms which are carried on under the supervision of the State School of Agriculture. Communities all over the state are demanding local agricultural schools. These schools, however, are insufficient in number to accommodate many of our boys placed out in homes, but when the time comes that there are enough of them, farmers who take children from this school may be required to send them to such schools.
The requirements for entrance to the State School of Agriculture are that applicants must be seventeen years old, have had eight grades of school work and six months' experience on a farm. These restrictions bar most of our boys. Arrangements should be made whereby our boys can begin their preparation for farm careers in this school and complete such preparation in the State School of Agriculture when they attain the required age for entrance to that school.
No better opportunity exists for the establishment of an elementary school of agriculture than at this institution. The state has the farm here, the boys are destined, and rightly so, for farm homes, and should be taught how to succeed as farmers. Such training would prepare the boys to be successful and happy on farms and some of them to become instructors in the numerous rural schools in which elementary courses in agriculture will in time be introduced. We earnestly recommend that provision be made for the