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the tender plants entrusted to their care, who, under a deep feeling of their responsibility, endeavour to acquit themselves of the great debt imposed on the parental office, may hope to experience in the performance of their sacred work, in their own hearts, in their children, in their home, an earthly Paradise, and to be amply repaid by the future produce.
Many infants are, in point of education, either entirely neglected, or when taken care of, this care is misapplied by those who are unacquainted with the proper method of developing the infant faculties; consequently, their most zealous exertions cannot lead to the wished-for results.
In regard to the former case, a serious appeal might be made to those unnatural Mothers who neglect their tender offspring, by not attending personally to EDUCATION: but as it may be presumed that every Mother must know what is the most sacred duty assigned to her, I shall withhold my reflections, and endeavour to shew, what remedies can be applied in the second case, and in what manner a Mother should treat her little ones according to Pestalozzi's principles.
I shall now merely give a few general hints, but may hereafter assist Mothers with elementary exercises, adapted to the nature and capacities of the youngest children.
These exercises, it is hoped, may enable Parents to develop the faculties of their little ones, to give them a taste for useful knowledge, to awaken and direct the feelings of the heart; to bestow a physical, mental, and moral education in the spirit of what Pestalozzi calls the domestic or fire-side circle, provided they be judiciously administered.
When the child begins to notice objects and sounds, his faculty of intuition must be cultivated. The mother repeatedly and distinctly pronounces the name of every object upon which he fixes his eyes. If it is possible she lets him handle the object, and notice whatever can be noticed respecting it by means of the senses. In order to increase his power of sight, she frequently shows him more distant objects in nature, and leads him to observe many things ESSENTIAL to them. In a similar manner, the power of hearing and feeling may be excited. But whatever is done should be by slow, or rather imperceptible degrees. Particular care must be taken not to
fatigue or disgust, by pressiug him beyond his wishes or his powers: every little exercise should be made agreeable and cheerful, with the view of creating in the tender mind a desire and a love for instruction. The affections alone are the cause of all knowledge: what we do not love, we scarcely ever attain.
When a child can pretty well pronounce words and short sentences, his Mother chooses some object likely to interest him; shews him the whole of it, lets him try distinctly to repeat the name of it; then analyzes it, by simply naming all its essential properties, as form, colour, weight. The object is handled, looked at in every direction, and, if possible, his sense of hearing is exercised upon it. As the mental powers gain strength, all particulars of objects are denominated; and he is encouraged to repeat them, articulating distinctly every word.
Whatever the Mother imparts, should be in a cheerful, affectionate manner; and these little exercises will not fail to become a most agreeable occupation*.
* « Une chose essentielle, la seule essentielle, pensez-ybien, jeunes Mères, c'est que votre enfant, vous préfère à
. She continues the same course of exercises until he is completely master of them, when he may be rewarded by being allowed to perform the part of the Mother towards his younger brothers and sisters. After giving her little lecture on some product of art, she may turn their attention to some object in nature, as more particularly interesting and likely to fix the young attention; with the precaution, however, in analyzing any object, not to go beyond the essential properties, as this will serve rather to confuse and tire, than to improve and amuse.
Exercises may also be given with small wooden cubes, oblongs, narrow slips of wood of different lengths, cones, squares, pyramids, or other figures.
The Mother points out and denominates every thing respecting their form, superficies, angles; their length, breadth, and thickness; and encourages her child to endeavour by degrees to do the same. She afterwards alters the position of the figures, and asks what
tout; que ses plus doux sourires, ses empressemens les plus vifs soient pour vous seule, et que de vôtre côté vous ne préfériez rien à lui." PESTALOZZI.
changes have been made; she produces, by placing the figures together, different bodies, and asks, what new forms have been produced? The child himself may be led to take pleasure in these attempts, and to give an account of what he has done.
After he has been exercised in this amusing and instructive occupation, he may go a step further, and be led to compare the size of figures, and to measure them by the eye. In the beginning, small triangular figures, cubes, &c. that fit well together, and of which larger triangles and cubes may be composed, will serve for this purpose.
This exercise may be continued for years, and be accompanied by letting the Child copy designs in increased or diminished proportions, according to a given standard.
Much will depend on a gradual practice, and on the precaution of not hurrying from one exercise to another, but dwelling on each until it is perfectly mastered.
As soon as the pupil is capable of managing a pencil, the Mother may draw before him lines of different descriptions, which he may endeavour to imitate with chalk on the slate.
This should be continued till he is able to