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Secona Edition August iQlj 

Thirteenth Impression November IQ32 




U5 "lis 
Dh As- 










I. The School and Social PIiogress. . . 3 ^Sc^- 

II. The School and the Life of the Child . 31 

III. Waste in Education 59 

IV. The Psychology of Elementary Education 87 

V. Froebel's Educational Prlnciples . . iii 

VI. The Psychology of Occupations . . .131 

VII. The Development of Attention . . .141 

VIII. The Aim of History in Elementar's Edu- 
cation 155 




Drawing of a Cave and Trees .... 40 

Drawing of a Forest 42 

Drawing of Hands Spinning 44 

Drawing of a Girl Spinning 46 


The first three chapters of this book were de- 
delivered as lectures before an audience of parents 
and others interested in the University Elementary 
School, in the month of April of the year 1899. 
Mr. Dewey revised them in part from a steno- 
graphic report, and unimportant changes and the 
slight adaptations necessary for the press have been 
made in his absence. The lectures retain therefore 
the unstudied character as well as the power of the 
spoken word. As they imply more or less familiar- 
ity with the work of the Elementary School, Mr. 
Dewey's supplementary statement of this has been 


A second printing affords a grateful opportunity 
for recalling that this little book is a sign of the 
co-operating thoughts and sympathies of many 
persons. Its indebtedness to Mrs. Emmons 
Blaine is partly indicated in the dedication. 
From my friends Mr. and Mrs. George Herbert 
Mead came that interest, unflagging attention to 
detail, and artistic taste which, in my absence, 
remade colloquial remarks until they were fit to 
print, and then saw the results through the press 
with the present attractive result — a mode of 
authorship made easy, which I recommend to 
others fortunate enough to possess such friends. 

It wouid be an extended paragraph which 
should list all the friends whose timely and per- 
sisting generosity has made possible the school 
which inspired and defined the ideas of these 
pages. These friends, I am sure, would be the 
first to recognize the peculiar appropriateness of 
especial mention of the names of Mrs. Charles R. 
Crane and Mrs. William R. Linn. 

And the school itself in its educational work is 
a joint undertaking. Many have engaged in 
shaping it. The clear and experienced intelli- 
gence of my wife is wrought everywhere into its 


texture. The wisdom, tact, and devotion of its 
instructors have brought about a transformation 
of its original amorphous plans into articulate 
form and substance with life and movement of 
their own. Whatever the issue of the ideas pre- 
sented in this book, the satisfaction coming from 
the co-operation of the diverse thoughts and deeds 
of many persons in undertaking to enlarge the 
life of the child will abide. 



The present edition includes some slight verbal 
revisions of the three lectures constituting the first 
portion of the book. The latter portion is included 
for the first time, containing material borrowed, 
with some changes, from the author's contributions 
to the Elementary School Record, long out of print. 

The writer may perhaps be permitted a word to 
express his satisfaction that the educational point 
of view presented in this book is not so novel as 
it was fifteen years ago; and his desire to beUeve 
that the educational experiment of which the book 
is an outgrowth has not been without influence 
in the change. 

J. D. 

New York City 
July, iQis 



We are apt to look at the school from an mdividu- 
alistic standpoint, as something between teacher 
and pupil, or between teacher and parent. That 
which interests us most is naturally the progress 
made by the individual child of our acquaintance, 
his normal physical development, his advance in 
abihty to read, write, and figure, his growth in 
the knowledge of geography and history, im- 
provement in manners, habits of promptness, 
order, and industry— it is from such standards as 
these that we judge the work of the school. And 
rightly so. Yet the range of the outlook needs 
to be enlarged. What the best and wisest parent 
wants for his own child, that must the community 
want for all of its children. Any other ideal for 
our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, 
it destroys our democracy. All that society has 
accomphshed for itself is put, through the agency 
of the school, at the disposal of its future mem- 
bers. All its better thoughts of itself it hopes to 
realize through the new possibilities thus opened 
to its future self. Here individualism and social- 
ism are at one. Only by being true to the full 
growth of all the individuals who make it up, can 


society by any chance be true to itself. And in 
the self -direction thus given, nothing counts as 
much as the school, for, as Horace Mann said, 
"Where anything is growing, one former is worth 
a thousand re-formers." 

^^I^henever we have in mind the discussion of 
a new movement in education, it is especially 
necessary to take the broader, or social, view. 
Othen^ase, changes in the school institution and 
tradition will be looked at as the arbitrary inven- 
tions of particular teachers, at the worst transi- 
tory fads, and at the best merely improvements 
in certain details — and this is the plane upon which 
it is too customary to consider school changes. 
It is as rational to conceive of the locomotive or 
the telegraph as personal devices. The modifica- 
tion going on in the method and curriculum of 
education is as much a product of the chan'^ed 
social situation, and as much an effort to meet 
the needs of the new society that is forming, as 
are changes in modes of industry and commerce. 
It is to this, then, that I especially ask your 
attention: the effort to conceive what roughly 
may be termed the "New Education" in the light 
of larger changes m society. Can we connect this 
"New Education" with the general march of 
events? If we can, it will lose its isolated char- 
acter; it will cease to be an affair which proceeds 
only from the over-ingenious minds of pedagogues 


dealing with particular pupils. It will appear 
as part and parcel of the whole social evolution, 
and, in its more general features at least, as in- 
evitable. Let us then ask after the main aspects 
of the social movement; and afterward turn to 
the school to find what witness it gives of effort 
to put itself in line. And since it is quite impos- 
sible to cover the whole ground, I shall for the 
most part confine myself to one typical thing in 
the modern school movement — that which passes 
under the name of manual training — hoping if the 
relation of that to changed social conditions ap- 
pears, we shall be ready to concede the point as 
well regarding other educational innovations. 

I make no apology for not dwelling at length 
upon the social changes in question. Those I shall 
mention are writ so large that he who runs may 
read. The change that comes first to mind, the 
one that overshadows and even controls all others, 
is the industrial one — the application of science 
resulting in the great inventions that have utilized 
the forces of nature on a vast and inexpensive scale : 
the growth of a world-wide market as the object 
of production, of vast manufacturing centers to 
supply this market, of cheap and rapid means of 
communication and distribution between all its 
parts. Even as to its feebler beginnings, this 
change is not much more than a century old; in 
many of its most important aspects it falls within 


the short span of those now li\ang. One can 
hardly believe there has been a revolution in 
all history so rapid, so extensive, so complete. 
Through it the face of the earth is making over, 
even as to its physical forms; political boundaries 
are wiped out and moved about, as if they were 
indeed only lines on a paper map; population is 
hurriedly gathered into cities from the ends of the 
earth; habits of living are altered with startling 
abruptness and thoroughness; the search for the 
truths of nature is infinitely stimulated and facili- 
tated, and their application to life made not only 
practicable, but commercially necessary. Even 
our moral and religious ideas and interests, the 
most conservative because the deepest-l>'ing things 
in our nature, are profoundly affected. That this 
revolution should not affect education in some other 
than a formal and superficial fashion is incofi- 

Back of the factory system lies the household 
and neighbo rhood system. Those of us who are 
here today need go back only one, two, or at most 
three generations, to find a time when the house- 
hold was practically the center in which were 
carried on, or about which were clustered, all the 
t>'pical forms of industrial occupation. The cloth- 
ing worn v;as for the most part made in the house; 
the members of the household were usually familiar 
also with the shearing of the sheep, the carding and 


spinnmg of the wool, and the plying of the loom. 
Instead of pressing a button and flooding the house 
with electric light, the whole process of getting 
illumination was foUowed in its toilsome length 
from the killing of the animal and the trying of 
fat to the making of wicks and dipping of candles. 
The supply of flour, of lumber, of foods, of building 
materials, of household furniture, even of metal 
ware, of nails, hinges, hammers, etc., was produced 
in the immediate neighborhood, in shops which 
were constantly open to inspection and often 
centers of neighborhood congregation. The entire 
industrial process stood revealed, from the produc- 
tion on the farm of the raw materials till the 
finished article was actually put to use. Not only 
this, but practically every member of the house- 
hold had his own share in the work. The children, 
as they gained in strength and capacity, were 
gradually initiated into the mysteries of the several 
processes. It was a matter of immediate and 
personal concern, even to the point of actual 

We cannot overlook the factors of discipline 
and of character-building involved in this kind of 
life: training in habits of order and of industry, 
and in the idea of responsibility,, of obligation to do 
something, to produce something, in the world. 
There was always something which really needed 
to be done, and a real necessity that each member 


of the household should do his own part faithfully 
and in co-operation with others. Personalities 
which became eflFcctive in action were bred and 
tested in the medium of action. Again, we cannot 
overlook the importance for educational purposes 
of the close and intimate acquaintance got with 
nature at first hand, with real things and materials, 
with the actual processes of their manipulation, 
and the knowledge of their social necessities and 
uses. ^liTall this there was continual trainmg of 
observation, of ingenuity, constructive imagina- 
tion, of logical thought, and of the sense of reality 
acquired through first-hand contact with actual- 
ities. The educative forces of the domestic spin- 
ning and weaving, of the sawmill, the gristmill, 
the cooper shop, and the blacksmith forge, were 
continuously operative. 

No number of object-lessons, got up as object- 
lessons for the sake of giving information, can 
afford even the shadow of a substitute for acquaint- 
ance with the plants and animals of the farm and 
garden acquired through actual living among them 
and caring for them. No training of sense-organs 
in school, introduced for the sake of training, can 
begin to compete with the alertness and fulness 
of sense-life that comes through daily intimacy and 
interest in familiar occupations. Verbal memory 
can be trained in committing tasks, a certam dis- 
cipline of the reasoning powers can be acquired 


through lessons in science and mathematics; but, 
after all, this is somewhat remote and shadowy 
compared with the training of attention and of 
judgment that is acquired in having to do things 
with a real motive behind and a real outcome ahead. 
At present, concentration of industry and division 
of labor have practically eliminated household and 
neighborhood occupations — at least for educa- 
tional purposes. But it is useless to bemoan the 
departure of the good old days of children's mod- 
esty, reverence, and implicit obedience, if we expect 
merely by bemoaning and by exhortation to bring 
them back. It is radical conditions which have 
changed, and only an equally radical change in 
education suffices. We must recognize our com- 
pensations—the increase in toleration, in breadth 
of social judgment, the larger acquaintance with 
human nature, the sharpened alertness in reading 
signs of character and interpreting social situations, 
greater accuracy of adaptation to differing per- 
sonalities, contact with greater commercial activ- 
ities. These considerations mean much to the 
city-bred child of today. Yet there is a real 
problem: how shall we retain these advantages, 
and yet introduce into the school something 
representing the other side of life— occupations 
which exact personal responsibilities and which 
train the child in relation to the physical realities 
of life? 


When we turn to the school, we find that one 
of the most striking tendencies at present is toward 
the introduction of so-called manual training, 
shop work, and the household arts — sewing and 

This has not been done "on purpose," with a 
full consciousness that the school must now supply 
that factor of training formerly taken care of in 
the home, but rather by instinct, by experiment- 
ing and finding that such work takes a vital hold 
of pupils and gives them something which was not 
to be got in any other way. Consciousness of its 
real import is still so weak that the work is often 
done in a half-hearted, confused, and unrelated 
way. The reasons assigned to justify it are pain- 
fully inadequate or sometimes even positisely 

If we were to cross-examine even those who are 
most favorably disposed to the introduction of 
this work into our school system, we should, I 
imagine, generally find the main reasoTis to be that 
such work engages the full spontaneous interest 
and attention of the children. It keeps them 
alert and active, instead of passive and receptive; 
it makes them more useful, more capable, and 
hence more inclined to be helpful at home; it 
prepares them to some extent for the practical 
duties of later life — the girls to be more eflScient 
house managers, if not actually cooks and scam- 


stresses; the boys (were our educational system 
only adequately rounded out into trade schools) 
for their future vocations. I do not underesti- 
mate the worth of these reasons. Of those indi- 
cated by the changed attitude of the children I shall 
indeed have something to say in my next talk, 
when speaking directly of the relationship of the 
school to the child. But the point of view is, 
upon the whole, unnecessarily narrow. We must 
conceive of work in wood and metal, of weaving, 
sewing, and cooking, as methods of living and 
learning, not as distinct studies. 

(We must conceive of them in their social signifi- 
cance, as types of the processes by which society 
keeps itself going, as agencies for bringing home to 
the child some of the primal necessities of com- 
munity life, and as ways in which these needs have 
been met by the growing insight and ingenuity of 
man; in short, as instrumentalities through which 
the school itself shall be made a genuine form of 
active community life, instead of a place set apart 
in which to learn lessons. 

■__A society is a number of people held together 
because they are working along common lines, in 
a common spirit, and with reference to common 
aims. The common needs and aims demand a 
growing interchange of thought and growing unity 
of sympathetic feeling. The radical reason that 
the present school cannot organize itself as a 


natural social unit is because just this element of 
common and productive activity is absent. Upon 
the playground, in game and sport, social organiza- 
tion takes place spontaneously and inevitably. 
There is something to do, some activity to be 
carried on, requiring natural divisions of labor, 
selection of leaders and followers, mutual co- 
operation and emulation. In the schoolroom the 
motive and the cement of social organization are 
alike wanting. Upon the ethical side, the tragic 
weakness of the present school is that it endeavors 
to prepare future members of the social order in a 
medium in which the conditions of the social spirit 
are eminently wanting. 

The difference that appears when occupations 
are made the articulating centers of school life is 
not easy to describe in words; it is a difference 
in motive, of spirit and atmosphere. As one enters 
a busy kitchen in which a group of children are 
actively engaged in the preparation of food, the 
psychological difference, the change from more or 
less passive and inert recipiency and restraint to 
one of buoyant outgoing energy, is so obvious as 
fairly to strike one in the face. Indeed, to those 
whose image of the school is rigidly set the change 
is sure to give a shock. But the change in the 
social attitude is equally marked. The mere 
absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively indi- 
vidual an affair that it tends very naturally to 


pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social 
motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there 
is no clear social gain in success thereat. Indeed, 
almost the only measure for success is a competitive 
one, in the bad sense of that term — a comparison 
of results in the recitation or in the examination to 
see vrhich child has succeeded in getting ahead of 
others in storing up, in accumulating, the maximum 
of information. So thoroughly is this the prevail- 
ing atmosphere that for one child to help another 
in his task has become a school crime. Where the 
school work consists in simply learning lessons, 
mutual assistance, instead of being the most 
natural form of co-operation and association, be- 
comes a clandestine effort to relieve one's neighbor 
of his proper duties. Where active work is going 
on, all this is changed. Helping others, instead of 
being a form of charity which impoverishes the 
recipient, is simply an aid in setting free the powers 
and furthering the impulse of the one helped. A 
spirit of free communication, of interchange of 
ideas, suggestions, results, both successes and 
failures of previous experiences, becomes the 
dominating note of the recitation. So far as emula- 
tion enters in, it is in the comparison of individuals, 
not with regard to the quantity of information 
personally absorbed, but with reference to the 
quality of work done — the genuine community 
standard of value. In an informal but all the 


more pervasive way, the school life organzies itself 
on a social basis. 

Within this organization is found the principle 
of school discipline or order. Of course, order is 
simply a thing which is relative to an end. If you 
have the end in view of forty or fifty children learn- 
ing certain set lessons, to be recited to a teacher, 
your discipline must be devoted to securing that 
result. But if the end in view is the development 
of a spirit of social co-operation and community 
life, discipline must grow out of and be relative 
to such an aim. There is little of one sort of order 
where things are in process of construction; there 
is a certain disorder in any busy workshop; there 
is not silence; persons are not engaged in maintain- 
ing certain fixed physical postures; their arms are 
not folded; they are not holding their books thu§ 
and so. They are doing a variety of things, and 
there is the confusion", the bustle, that results from 
activity. ' But out of the occupation, out of doing 
things that are to produce results, and out of doing 
these in a social and co-operative way, there is 
bom a discipline of its own kind and type. Our 
whole conception of school discipline changes when 
we get this point of view. In critical moments 
we all realize that the only discipline that stands 
by us, the only training that becomes intuition, 
is that got through life itself. Tha< we learn from 
experience, and from books or the sayings of others 


only as they are related to experience, are not mere 
phrases. But the school has been so set apart, so 
isolated from the ordinary conditions and motives 
of life, that the place where children are sent for 
discipline is the one place in the world where it is 
■ most difficult to get experience — the mother of all 
discipline worth the name. It is only when a nar- 
row and fixed image of traditional school discipline 
dominates that one is in any danger of overlooking 
that deeper and infinitely wider discipline that 
comes from having a part to do in constructive 
work, in contributing to a result which, social in 
spirit, is none the less obvious and tangible in 
form — and hence in a form with reference to which 
responsibility may be exacted and accurate judg- 
ment passed. 

The great thing to keep in mind, then, regard- 
ing the introduction into the school of various 
forms of active occupation, is that through them 
the entire spirit of the school is renew^ed. It has 
a chance to affiHate itself with life, to become the 
child's habitat, where he learns through directed 
living, instead of being only a place to learn lessons A, 
/ having an abstract and remote reference to some J 
/ possible living to be done in the future. It gets a ( 
S chance to be a miniature community, an embryonic ) 
society. This is the fundamental fact, and from / 
this arise continuotis and orderly streams of instruc- 
tion. Under the industrial regime described, the 


child, after all, shared in the work, not for the sake 
of the sharing, but for the sake of the product. 
The educational results secured were real, yet inci- 
dental and dependent. But in the school the typi- 
cal occupations followed are freed from all economic 
stress. The aim is not the economic value of the 
products, but the development of social power and 
insight. It is this liberation from narrow utilities, 
this openness to the possibilities of the human 
spirit, that makes these practical activities in the 
school allies of art and centers of science and 

The unity of all the sciences is found in geog- 
raphy. The significance of geography is that it 
presents the earth as the enduring home of the 
occupations of man. The world without its rela- 
tionship to human activity is less than a wcvrld. 
Human industry and achievement, apart from their 
roots in the earth, are not even a sentiment, hardly 
a name. The earth is the final source of all man's 
food. It is his continual shelter and protection, 
the raw material of all his activities, and the home 
to whose humanizing and idealizing all his achieve- 
ment returns. It is the great field, the great mine, 
the great source of the energies of heat, light, and 
electricity; the great scene of ocean, stream, 
mountain, and plain, of which all our agriculture 
and mining and lumbering, all our manufacturing 
and distributing agencies, are but the partial 


elements and factors. It is through occupations 
determined by this environment that mankind has 
made its historical and political progress. It is 
through these occupations that the intellectual 
and emotional interpretation of nature has been 
developed. It is through what we do m and with 
the world that we read its meaning and measure 
its value. 

In educational terms, this means that these 
occupations in the school shall not be mere prac- 
tical devices or modes of routine employment, the 
gaining of better technical skill as cooks, seam- 
stresses, or carpenters, but active centers of scien- 
tific insight into natural materials and processes, 
points of departure whence children shall be led 
out into a realization of the historic development 
of mam The actual significance of this can be told 
better through one illustration taken from actual 
school work than by general discourse. 

There is nothing which strikes more oddly upon 
the average intelligent visitor than to see boys as 
well as girls of ten, twelve, and thirteen years of 
age engaged in sewing and weaving. If we look 
at this from the standpoint of preparation of the 
boys for sewing on buttons and making patches, 
we get a narrow and utilitarian conception — a 
basis that hardly justifies giving prominence to 
this sort of work in the school. But if we look 
at it from another side, we find that this work 


gives the point of departure from which the child 
can trace and follow the progress of mankind in 
history, getting an insight also into the materials 
used and the mechanical principles involved. In 
connection vv-ith these occupations the historic de- 
velopment of man is recapitulated. For example, 
the children are first given the raw material — 
the flax, the cotton plant, the wool as it comes from 
the back of the sheep (if we could take them to the 
place where the sheep are sheared, so much the 
better). Then a study is made of these materials 
from the standpoint of their adaptation to the uses 
to which they may be put. For instance, a com- 
parison of the cotton fiber with wool fiber is made. 
I did not know, until the children told me, that the 
reason for the late development of the cotton indus- 
try as compared with the woolen is that the cottbn 
fiber is so very difficult to free by hand from the 
seeds. The children in one group worked thirty 
minutes freeing cotton fibers from the boll and 
seeds, and succeeded in getting out less than one 
ounce. They could easily believe that one person 
could gin only one pound a day by hand, and could 
understand why their ancestors wore woolen 
instead of cotton clothing. Among other things 
discovered as affecting their relative utilities was 
the shortness of the cotton fiber as compared with 
that of wool, the former averaging, say, one-third 
of an inch in length, while the latter run to three 


inches in length; also that the fibers of cotton are 
smooth and do not cling together, while the wool 
has a certain roughness which makes the fibers 
stick, thus assisting the spinning. The children 
worked this out for themselves with the actual 
material, aided by questions and suggestions from 
the teacher. 

They then followed the processes necessary for 
working the fibers up into cloth. They reinvented 
the first frame for carding the wool — a couple of 
boards with sharp pins in them for scratching it 
out. They redevised the simplest process for 
spinning the wool — a pierced stone or some other 
weight through which the wool is passed, and which 
as it is twirled draws out the fiber; next the top, 
which was spun on the floor, while the children 
kept the wool in their hands until it was gradually 
drawn out and wound upon it. Then the children 
are introduced to the invention next in historic 
order, working it out experimentally, thus seeing 
its necessity, and tracing its effects, not only upon 
that particular industry, but upon modes of social 
life — in this way passing in review the entire process 
up to the present complete loom, and all that goes 
with the application of science in the use of our 
present available powers. I need not speak of the 
science involved in this — the study of the fibers, 
of geographical features, the conditions under 
which raw materials are grown, the great centers of 


manufacture and distribution, the physics involved 
in the machinery of production; nor, again, of the 
historical side — the influence which these inven- 
tions have had upon humanity. You can concen- 
trate the history of all mankind into the evolution 
of the flax, cotton, and wool fibers into clothing. 
I do not mean that this is the only, or the best, 
center. But it is true that certain very real 
and important avenues to the consideration of the 
history of the race are thus opened — that the mind 
is introduced to much more fundamental and 
controlling influences than appear in the political 
and chronological records that usually pass for 

Now, what is true of this one instance oi fibers 
used in fabrics (and, of course, I have only spoken 
of one or two elementary phases of that) is triie 
in its measure of every material used in ever}' occu- 
pation, and of the processes employed. The occu- 
pation supplies the child with a genuine motive; 
it gives him experience at first hand ; it brings him 
into contact with realities. It does all this, but 
in addition it is liberalized throughout by transla- 
tion into its historic and social values and scien- 
tific equivalencies. With the growth of the cliild's 
mind in power and knowledge it ceases to be a 
pleasant occupation merely and becomes more and 
more a medium, an instrument, an organ of under- 
standing — and is thereby transft)mied. 


This, in turn, has its bearing upon the teaching 
of science. Under present conditions, all activity, 
to be successful, has to be directed somewhere 
and somehow by the scientific expert — it is a case 
of applied science. This connection should deter- 
mine its place in education. It is not only that 
the occupations, the so-called manual or industrial 
work in the school, give the opportunity for the 
introduction of science which illuminates them, 
which makes them material, freighted with mean- 
ing, instead of b* ig mere devices of hand and eye; 
but that the scj^f^tific insight thus gained becomes 
an indispensable instrument of free and active 
participation i"i modem social life. Plato some- 
where speaks of the slave as one who in his actions 
does not express his own ideas, but those of some 
other man. It is our social problem now, even 
more urgent than in the time of Plato, that method, 
purpose, understanding, shall exist in the con- 
sciousness of the one who does the work, that his 
activity shall have meaning to himself. 

When occupations in the school are conceived 
in this broad and generous way, I can only stand 
lost in wonder at the objections so often heard, 
that such occupations are out of place in the school 
because they are materiahstic, utiHtarian, or even 
menial in their tendency. It sometimes seems to 
me that those who make these objections must 
hve in quite another world. The world in which 



most of US live is a world in which everyone has a 
calling and occupation, something to do. Some 
are managers and others are subordinates. But 
the great thing for one as for the other is that each 
shall have had the education which enables him 
to see within his daily work all there is in it of large 
and human significance. How many of the em- 
ployed are today mere appendages to the machines 
which they operate! This may be due in part to 
the machine itself or the regime which lays so 
much stress upon the products of the machine; 
but it is certainly due in large part to the fact that 
the worker has had no opportunity to develop 
his imagination and his sympathetic insight as 
to the social and scientific values found m his work. 
At present, the impulses which lie at the basis of 
the industrial system are either practically npg- 
lected or positively distorted during the school 
period. Until the instincts of construction and 
production are systematically laid hold of in the 
years of childhood and youth, until they are trained 
in social directions, enriched by historical inter- 
pretation, controlled and illummated by scientific 
methods, we certainly are in no position even to 
locate the source of our economic evils, much less 
to deal with them effectively. 

If we go back a few centuries, we find a practical 
monopoly of learning. The tenn possession of 
learning is, indeed, a happy one. Learning was 


a class matter. This was a necessary result of 
social conditions. There were not in existence 
any means by which the multitude could possibly 
have access to intellectual resources. These were 
stored up and hidden away in manuscripts. Of 
these there were at best only a few, and it required 
long and toilsome preparation to be able to do 
anything with them. A high-priesthood of learn- 
ing, which guarded the treasury of truth and which 
doled it out to the masses under severe restrictions, 
was the inevitable expression of these conditions. 
But, as a direct result of the industrial revolution 
of which we have been speaking, this has been 
changed. Printing was invented; it was made 
commercial. Books, magazines, papers were mul- 
tiplied and cheapened. As a result of the loco- 
motive and telegraph, frequent, rapid, and cheap 
intercommunication by mails and electricity was 
called into being. Travel has been rendered easy; 
freedom of movement, with its accompanying ex- 
change of ideas, indefinitely facilitated. The result 
has been an intellectual revolution. Learning has 
been put into circulation. While there still is, and 
probably always will be, a particular class having 
the special business of inquiry in hand, a distinc- 
tively learned class is henceforth out of the ques- 
tion. It is an anachronism. Knowledge is no longer 
an immobile sohd; it has been liquefied. It is 
actively moving in all the currents of society itself. 


It is easy to see that this revolution, as regards 
the materials of knowledge, carries with it a marked 
change in the attitude of the individual. StimuU 
of an intellectual sort pour in upon us in all kinds 
of ways. The merely intellectual life, the life of 
scholarship and of learning, thus gets a very altered 
value. Academic and scholastic, instead of being 
titles of honor, are becoming terms of reproach. 

But all this means a necessary change m the 
attitude of the school, one of which we are as yet 
far from realizing the full force. Our school 
methods, and to a very considerable extent our 
curriculum, are inherited from the period when 
learning and command of certain symbols, afford- 
ing as they did the only access to learning, were 
all-important. The ideals of this period are still 
largely in control, even where the outward methods 
and studies have been changed. We sometimes 
hear the introduction of manual training, art, and 
science into the elementary, and even the secondary, 
schools deprecated on the ground that they tend 
toward the production of specialists — that they 
detract from our present scheme of generous, 
liberal culture. The point of this objection would 
be ludicrous if it were not often so effective as to 
make it tragic. It is our present education which 
is highly specialized, one-sided, and narrow. It 
is an education dominated almost entirely by the 
mediaeval conception of learning. It is some- 


thing which appeals for the most part simply to the' 
intellectual aspect of our natures, our desire to 
learn, to accumulate information, and to get con- 
trol of the symbols of learning; not to our impulses 
and tendencies to make, to do, to create, to pro- 
duce, whether in the form of utility or of art. The 
very fact that manual training, art, and science 
are objected to as technical, as tending toward 
mere specialism, is of itself as good testimony as 
could be oSered to the specialized aim which con- 
trols current education. Unless education had 
been virtually identified with the exclusively intel- 
lectual pursuits, with learning as such, all these 
materials and methods would be welcome, would 
be greeted with the utmost hospitahty. 

While training for the profession of learning 
is regarded as the type of culture, or a liberal edu- 
cation, the training of a mechanic, a musician, a 
lawyer, a doctor, a farmer, a^ merchant, or a rail- 
road manager is regarded as purely technical and 
professional. The result is that which we see about 
us everywhere — the division into ''cultured" 
people and "workers," the separation of theory and 
practice. Hardly i per cent of the entire school 
population ever attains to what we call higher 
education ; only 5 per cent to the grade of our high 
school; while much more than half leave on or 
before the completion of the fifth year of the ele- 
mentary grade. The simple facts of the case are 


that in the great majority of human beings the 
distinctively intellectual interest is not dominant. 
They have the so-called practical impulse and de- 
position. In many of those in whom by nature 
intellectual interest is strong, social conditions 
prevent its adequate realization. Consequently 
by far the larger number of pupils leave school 
as soon as they have acquired the rudiments of 
learning, as soon as they have enough of the 
symbols of reading, writing, and calculating to 
be of practical use to them in getting a living. 
While our educational leaders are talking of 
culture, the development of personality, etc., as 
the end and aim of education, the great majority 
of those who pass under the tuition of the 
school regard it only as a narrowly practical tool 
with which to get bread and butter enough to eke 
out a restricted life. If we were to conceive our 
educational end and aim in a less exclusive, way, 
if we were to introduce into educational processes 
thQ activities which appeal to those whose domi- 
nant interest is to do and to make, we should 
find the hold of the school upon its members to 
be more vital, more prolonged, containing more of 

But why should I make this labored presenta- 
tion ? The obvious fact is that our social life has 
undergone a thorough and radical change. If our 
education is to have any meaning for life, it must 


pass through an equally complete transformation. 
This transformation is not something to appear 
suddenly, to be executed in a day by conscious 
purpose. It is already in progress. Those modi- 
fications of our school system which often appear 
(even to those most actively concerned with them, 
to say nothing of their spectators) to be mere 
changes of detail, mere improvement within the 
school mechanism, are in reahty signs and evidences 
of evolution. The introduction of active occupa- 
tions, of nature-study, of elementary science, of art, 
of history; the relegation of the merely symbolic 
and formal to a secondary position; the change in 
the moral school atmosphere, in the relation of 
pupils and teachers — of discipline; the introduc- 
tion of more active, expressive, and self-directing 
factors — ^all these are not mere accidents, they are 
necessities of the larger social evolution. It re- 
mains but to organize all these factors, to appre- 
ciate them in their fulness of meaning, and to put 
the ideas and ideals involved into complete, uncom- 
promising possession of our school system. \To_ 
do this means to make each one of our schools an , 
embryonic coimnunit}'- life, active with types of 
occupations that reflect the life of the larger 
society and permeated throughout with the spirit 
of art, history, and science. When the school 
introduces and trains each child of society into 
membership within such a little community, satu- 


I rating him with the spirit of service, and providing 
him with the instruments of effective self-direction, 
\ we shall have the deepest and best guaranty 
I^ 1. 1 of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and 
\' harmonious. 






Last week I tried to put before you the rela- 
tionship between the school and the larger life 
of the community, and the necessity for certain 
changes in the methods and materials of school 
work, that it might be better adapted to present 
social needs. 

Today I wish to look at the matter from the 
other side and consider the relationship of the 
school to the life and development of the chil- 
dren in the school. As it is difficult to connect 
general principles with such thoroughly concrete 
things as little children, I have taken the liberty 
of introducing a great deal of illustrative matter 
from the work of the University Elementary 
School, that in some measure you may appreciate 
the way in which the ideas presented work them- 
selves out in actual practice. 

Some few years ago I was looking about the 
school supply stores in the city, trying to find 
desks and chairs which seemed thoroughly suit- 
able from all points of view — artistic, hygienic, 
and educational — to the needs of the children. 
We had a great deal of difficulty in finding what 


we needed, and finally one dealer, more intelligent 
than the rest, made this remark: "I am afraid 
we have not what you want. You want some- 
thing at which the children may work; these are 
all for listening." That tells the story of the tra- 
ditional education. Just as the biologist can take 
a bone or two and reconstruct the whole animal, 
so, if we put before the mind's eye the ordinary 
schoolroom, with its rows of ugly desks placed in 
geometrical order, crowded together so that there 
shall be as Little moving room as possible, desks 
almost all of the same size, with just space enough 
to hold books, pencils, and paper, and add a table, 
some chairs, the bare walls, and possibly a few pic- 
tures, we can reconstruct the only educational 
activity that can possibly go on in such a place. 
It is all made "for listening" — because simply 
studying lessons out of a book is only another kind 
of listening; it marks the dependency of one mind 
upon another. The attitude of listening means, 
comparatively speaking, passivity, absorption'; 
that there are certain ready-made materials which 
are there, which have been prepared by the school 
superintendent, the board, the teacher, and of 
which the child is to take in as much as possible 
in the least possible time. 

There is very Uttle place in the traditional 
schoolroom for the child to work. The workshop, 
the laboratory, the materials, the tools with which 


the child may construct, create, and actively in- 
quire, and even the requisite space, have been for 
the most part lacking. The things that have to 
do with these processes have not even a definitely 
recognized place in education. They are what the 
educational authorities who write editorials in the 
daily papers generally term "fads" and "frills." 
A lady told me yesterday that she had been 
visiting different schools trying to find one where 
activity on the part of the children preceded 
the giving of information on the part of the 
teacher, or where the children had some motive 
for demanding the information. She visited, 
she said, twenty-four different schools before she 
found her first instance. I may add that that was 
not in this city. 

Another thing that is suggested by these school- 
rooms, with their set desks, is that everything is 
arranged for handling as large numbers of chil- 
dren as possible; for dealing with children en masse, 
as an aggregate of units; involving, again, that 
they be treated passively. The moment children 
act they individualize themselves; they cease to 
be a mass and become the intensely distinctive 
beings that we are acquainted with out of school, 
in the home, the family, on the playground, and 
in the neighborhood. "" 

On the same basis is explicable the uniformity 
of method and curriculum. If everything is on 


a "listening" basis, you can have uniformity of 
material and method. The ear, and the book 
which reflects the ear, constitute the medium 
which is alike for all. There is next to no oppor- 
tunity for adjustment to var>^ing capacities and 
demands. There is a certain amount — a fijted 
quantity — of ready-made results and accomplish- 
ments to be acquired by all children alike in a 
given time. It is in response to this demand 
that the curriculum has been developed from the 
elementary school up through the college. There 
is just so much desirable knowledge, and there 
are just so many needed technical accomplish- 
ments in the world. Then comes the mathe- 
matical problem of dividing this by the six, 
twelve, or sixteen years of school life. Now 
give the children every year just the proportions 
ate fraction of the total, and by the time they have 
finished they will have mastered the whole. By 
covering so much ground during this hour or day 
or week or year, everything comes out with per- 
fect evenness at the end — provided the children 
have not forgotten what they have previously 
learned. The outcome of all this is jNIatthew 
Arnold's report of the statement, proudly made 
to him by an educational authority in France, that 
so many thousands of children were studying at a 
given hour, say eleven o'clock, just such a lesson 
in geography; and in one of our own western 


cities this proud boast used to be repeated to 
successive visitors by its superintendent. 

I may have exaggerated somewhat in order to 
make plain the typical points of the old education : 
its passivity of attitude, its mechanical massing of 
children, its uniformity of curriculum and method. 
It may be summed up by stating that the center of 
gravity is outside the child. It is in the teacher, 
the textbook, anywhere and everywhere you 
please except in the immediate instincts and ac- 
tivities of the child himself. On that basis there 
is not much to be said about the life of the child. 
A good deal might be said about the studying of 
the child, but the school is not the place where 
the child lives. Now the change which is com- 
ing into our education is the shifting of the cen- 
ter of gravity. It is a change, a revolution, not 
unlike that introduced by Copernicus when the 
astronomical center shifted from the earth to 
the sun. In this case the child becomes the sun 
about which the appliances of education revolve; 
he is the center about which they are organized. 

If we take an example from an ideal home, 
where the parent is intelligent enough to recognize 
what is best for the child, and is able to supply 
what is needed, we fijid the child learning 
through the social converse and constitution of 
the family. There are certain points of interest 
and value to him, in the conversation carried on: 



statements are made, inquiries arise, topics are 
discussed, and the child continually learns. He 
states his experiences, his misconceptions are cor- 
rected. Again the child participates in the house- 
hold occupations, and thereby gets habits of 
industry, order, and regard for the rights and 
ideas of others, and the fundamental habit of sub- 

jordinating his activities to the general interest of 
the household. Participation in these household 
tasks becomes an opportunity for gaining knowl- 
edge. The ideal home would naturally have a 
workshop where the child could work out his 
'constructive instincts. It would have a mini- 

( ature laboratory in which his inquiries could 
be directed. The life of the child would extend 
out of doors to the garden, surrounding fields, 
and forests. He would have his excursions. His 
walks and talks, in which the larger world out of 
"" doors would open to him. 

Now, if we organize and generalize all of this, 
we have the ideal school. There is no mystery 
about it, no wonderful discovery of pedagogy or 
educational theory. It is simply a question of 
doing systematically and in a large, intelligent, 
and competent way what for various reasons can 
be done in most households only in a comparatively 
meager and haphazard manner. In the first place, 
the ideal home has to be enlarged. The child 
must be brought into contact with more grown 


people and with more children in order that there 
may be the freest and richest social life. More- 
over, the occupations and relationships of the 
home environment are not specially selected for 
the growth of the child; the main object is some- 
thing else, and what the child can get out of them 
is incidental. Hence the need of a school. In 
this school the life of the child becomes the all- 
controlling aim. All the media necessary to further 
the growth of the child center there. Learning ? 
certainly, but li\ang primarily, and learning 
through and in relation to this lixdng. When we 
take the life of the child centered and organized 
in this way, we do not find that he is fi.rst of all a 
listening being; quite the contrary. 

The statement so frequently made that educa- 
tion means "drawing^it" is excellent, if we mean 
simply to contrast it with the process of pouring 
in. But, after all, it is difficult to connect the idea 
of drawing out wdth the ordinary doings of the 
child of three, four, seven, or eight years of age. 
He is already running over, spilling over, with 
activities of all kinds. He is not a purely latent 
being whom the adult has to approach with great 

. caution and skill in order gradually to draw out 
some hidden germ of activity. The child is already 

. intensely active, and the question of education is 
the question of taking hold of his activities, of 
giving them direction. Through direction, through 


organized use, they tend toward valuable results, 
instead of scattering or being left to merely impul- 
sive expression. 

If we keep this before us, the difficulty I find 
uppermost in the minds of many people regard- 
ing what is termed the new education is not so 
much solved as dissolved; it disappears. A ques- 
tion often asked is: If you begin with the child's 
ideas, impulses, and interests, all so crude, so 
random and scattering, so little refined or spiritu- 
alized, how is he going to get the necessar>' disci- 
pline, culture, and information ? If there were no 
way open to us except to excite and indulge these 
impulses of the child, the question might well be 
asked. We should either have to ignore and 
repress the activities or else to humor them. But 
if we have organization of equipment and of ma- 
terials, there is another path open to us. We can 
direct the child's activities, giving them exercise 
along certain lines, and can thus lead up to the 
goal which logically stands at the end of the paths 

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." 
Since they are not, since really to satisfy an impulse 
or interest means to work it out, and working it 
out involves running up against obstacles, becom- 
ing acquainted with materials, exercising ingenuity, 
patience, persistence, alertness, it of necessity 
involves discipline — ordering of power — and sup- 


plies knowledge. Take the example of the little 
child who wants to make a box. If he stops short 
with the imagination or wash, he certainly will 
not get discipline. But when he attempts to 
realize his impulse, it is a question of making his 
idea definite, making it into a plan, of taking the 
right kind of wood, measuring the parts needed, 
giving them the necessary proportions, etc. There 
is involved the preparation of materials, the sawing, 
planing, the sandpapering, making all the edges 
and corners to fit. Knowledge of tools and pro- 
cesses is inevitable. If the child realizes his 
instinct and makes the box, there is plenty of 
opportunity to gain discipline and perseverance, 
to exercise effort in overcoming obstacles, and to 
attain as well a great deal of information. 

So undoubtedly the little child who thinks he 
would like to cook has little idea of what it means 
or costs, or what it requires. It is simply a desire 
to "mess around," perhaps to imitate the activi- 
ties of older people. And it is doubtless possible 
to let ourselves down to that level and simply 
humor that interest. But here, too, if the impulse 
is exercised, utilized, it runs up against the actual 
world of hard conditions, to which it must accom- 
modate itself; and there again come in the factors 
of discipline and knowledge. One of the children 
became impatient, recently, at having to work 
things out by a long method of experimentation, 


and said: "Why do we bother with this? Let's 
follow a recipe in a cook-book." The teacher asked 
the children where the recipe came from, and the 
conversation showed that if they simply followed 
this they would not understand the reasons for 
what they were doing. They were then quite 
willing to go on with the experimental work. To 
follow that work will, indeed, give an illustration 
of just the point in question. Their occupation 
happened that dav to be the cooking of eggs, as 
making a transition from the cooking of vegetables 
to that of meats. In order to get a basis of com- 
parison they first summarized the constituent food 
elements in the vegetables and made a preliminary 
comparison with those found in meat. Thus they 
found that the woody fiber or cellulose in vegetables 
corresponded to the connective tissue in meit, 
giving the element of form and structure. They 
found that starch and starchy products were char- 
acteristic of the vegetables, that mineral salts were 
found in both alike, and that there was fat in boih 
— a small quantity in vegetable food and a large 
amount in animal. They were prepared then to 
take up the study of albumen as the characteristic 
feature of animal food, corresponding to starch in 
the vegetables, and were ready to consider the con- 
ditions requisite for the proper treatment of 
albumen — the eggs serving as tlie material of 


They experimented first by taking water at 
various temperatures, finding out when it was 
scalding, simmering, and boiling hot, and ascer- 
tained the effect of the various degrees of tempera- 
ture on the white of the egg. That worked out, 
they were prepared, not simply to cook eggs, but 
to understand the principle involved in the cooking 
of eggs. I do not wish to lose sight of the universal 
In the particular incident. For the child simply 
to desire to cook an egg, and accordingly drop it in 
(vater for three minutes, and take it out when he 
is told, is not educative. But for the child to 
realize his own impulse by recognizing the facts, 
materials, and conditions involved, and then to 
regulate his impulse through that recognition, is 
educative. This i^Jhe difference, upon which I 
wish to insist, between exciting or indulging an 
interest and realizing it through its direction. 

Another instinct of the child is the use of pencil 
and paper. All children like to express themselves 
through the medium of form and color. If you 
simply indulge this interest by letting the child go 
on indefinitely, there is no growth that is more 
than accidental. But let the child first express his 
impulse, and then through criticism, question, and 
suggestion bring him to consciousness of what he 
has done, and what he needs to do, and the result 
is quite different. Here, for example, is the work 
of a seven-year-old child. It is not average work. 


it is the best work done among the little children, 
but it illustrates the particular principle of which 
I have been speaking. They had been talking 
about the primitive conditions of social life when 
people lived in caves. The child's idea of that 
found expression in this way: the cave is neatly 
set up on the hillside in an impossible way. You 
see the conventional tree of childhood — a vertical 
line with horizontal branches on each side. If 
the child had been allowed to go on repeating this 
sort of thing day by day, he would be indulging 
his instinct rather than exercising it. But the 
child was now asked to look closely at trees, to 
compare those seen with the one drawn, to exam- 
ine more closely and consciously into the conditions 
of his work. Then he drew trees from observation. 
Finally he drew again from combined observa- 
tion, memory, and imagination. He made again 
a free illustration, expressing his own imaginative 
thought, but controlled by detailed study of actual 
trees. The result was a scene representing a bit 
of forest; so far as it goes, it seems to me to have 
as much poetic feeling as the work of an adult, while 
at the same time its trees are, in their proportions, 
possible ones, not mere symbols. 
• If we roughly classify the impulses which are 
available in the school, we may group them under 
four heads. There is the social instinct of the 
children as shown in conversation, personal inter- 


course, and communication / We all know how 
self-centered the little child is at the age of four or 
five. If any new subject is brought up, if he says 
anything at all, it is: "I have seen that;" or, "My 
papa or mamma told me about that." His horizon 
is not large ; an experience must come immediately 
home to him, if he is to be sufiiciently interested to 
relate it to others and seek theirs in return. And 
yet the egoistic and limited interest of little chil- 
dren is in this manner capable of infinite expansion. 
The language instinct is the simplest form of the 
social expression of the child. Hence it is a great, 
perhaps the greatest of all educational resources. 

Then there is the instinct of making-^the con- 
structive impulse. The child's impulse to do finds 
expression first in play, in movement, gesture, and 
make-believe, becomes more definite, and seeks 
outlet in shaping materials into tangible forms and 
permanent embodiment. The child has not much 
instmct for abstract inquiry. The instinct of 
investigation seems to grow out of the combination 
of the constructive impulse with the conversational. 
There is no distinction between experimental 
science for little children and the work done in 
the carpenter shop. Such work as they can do in 
physics or chemistry is not for the purpose of 
making technical generalizations or even arriving 
at abstract truths. Children simply like to do 
things and watch to see what will happen. But 


this can be taken advantage of, can be directed into 
ways where it gives results of value, as well as be 
allowed to go on at random. 
Z? And so the expressive impulse of the children, the 
art instinct, grows also out of the communicating 
and constructive instincts. It is their refinement 
and full manifestation. Make the construction 
adequate, make it full, free, and flexible, give it 
a social motive, something to tell, and you have a 
work of art. Take one illustration of this in con- 
nection with the textile work — sewing and weav- 
ing. The children made a primitive loom in the 
shop; here the constructive instinct was appealed 
to. Then they wished to do something with this 
loom, to make something. It was the type of 
the Indian loom, and they were shown blankets 
woven by the Indians. Each child made a design 
kindred in idea to those of the Navajo blankets, and 
the one which seemed best adapted to the work in 
hand was selected. The technical resources were 
limited, but the coloring and form were worked out 
by the children. The example shown was made by 
the twelve-year-old children. Examination shows 
that it took patience, thoroughness, and persever- 
ance to do the work. It involved not merely dis- 
cipline and information of both a historical sort 
and the elements of technical design, but also 
something of the spirit of art in adequately con- 
veying an idea. 


One more instance of the connection of the art 
side with the constructive side: The children had 
been studying primitive spinning and carding, 
when one of them, twelve years of age, made a 
picture of one of the older children spinning. Here 
is another piece of work which is not quite average ; 
it is better than the average. It is an illustration 
of two hands and the drawing out of the wool to 
get it ready for spinning. This was done by a child 
eleven years of age. But, upon the whole, with 
the younger children especially, the art impulse 
is connected mainly with the social instinct — the 
desire to tell, to represent. 

Now, keeping in mind these fourfold interests — 
the interestjn jconversatiojj, or communication; in 
inctuiry, or finding out things; ip . making.. things, 
or construction; and jnjJ.tJstic expression — we may 
say they are the natural resources, the uninvested 
capital, upon the exercise of which depends the 
active growth of the child. I wish to give one or 
two illustrations, the first from the work of chil- 
dren seven years of age. It illustrates in a way 
the dominant desire of the children to talk, par- 
ticularly about folks and of things in relation to 
folks. If you observe little children, you will find 
they are interested in the world of things mainly in ) 
its connection with people, as a background and ^ 
medium of human concerns. Many anthropolo- 
gists have told us there are certain identities in the 


child interests with those of primitive life. There 
is a sort of natural recurrence of the child mind to 
the typical activities of primitive peoples; witness 
the hut which the boy likes to build in the yard, 
playing hunt, with bows, arrows, spears, and so on. 
Again the question comes : What are we to do with 
this interest — are we to ignore it, or just excite 
and draw it out? Or shall we get hold of it and 
direct it to something ahead, something better? 
Some of the work that has been planned for our 
seven-year-old children has the latter end in view — 
to utilize this interest so that it shall become a 
means of seeing the progress of the human race. 
The children begin by imagining present conditions 
taken away until they are in contact with nature 
at first hand. That takes them back to a hunting 
people, to a people living in caves or trees ahd 
getting a precarious subsistence by hunting and 
fishing. They imagine as far as possible tlie various 
natural physical conditions adapted to that sort 
of life; say, a hilly, woody slope, near mountains, 
and a river where fish would be abundant. Then 
they go on in imagination through the hunting to 
the semi-agricultural stage, and through the 
nomadic to the settled agricultural stage. The 
point I wish to make is that there is abundant 
opportunity thus given for actual study, for inquiry 
which results in gaining informarion. So, while 
^the instinct primarily appeals to the social side, tlie 



\ interest of the child in people and their doings is 
carried on into the larger world of reahty. For 
example, the children had some idea of primitive 
weapons, of the stone arrow-head, etc. That pro- 
vided occasion for the testing of materials as regards 
their friability, their shape, texture, etc., resulting 
in a lesson in mineralogy, as they examined the 
different stones to fijid which was best suited to the 
purpose. The discussion of the iron age supplied 
a demand for the construction of a smelting oven 
made out of clay and of considerable size. As the 
children did not get their drafts right at first, the 
mouth of the furnace not being in proper relation 
to the vent as to size and position, instruction in 
the principles of combustion, the nature of drafts 
and of fuel, was required. Yet the instruction was 
not given ready-made; it was first needed, and then 
arrived at experimentally. Then the children 
took some material, such as copper, and went 
through a series of experiments, fusing it, working 
it into objects; and the same experiments were 
made with lead and other metals. This work 
has been also a continuous course in geography, 
since the children have had to imagine and work 
out the various physical conditions necessary to 
the different forms of social life implied. What 
would be the physical conditions appropriate to 
pastoral life? to the beginning of agriculture? to 
fishing? What would be the natural method of 


exchange between these peoples ? Having worked 
out such points in conversation, they have after- 
ward represented them in maps and sand-molding. 
Thus they have gained ideas of the various forms 
of the configuration of the earth, and at the same 
time have seen them in their relation to human 
activity, so that they are not simply external facts, 
but are fused and welded with social conceptions 
regarding the life and progress of humanity. The 
result, to my mind, justifies completely the con- 
viction that children, in a year of such work (of 
five hours a week altogether), get infinitely more 
lacquaintance with facts of science, geography, and 
anthropology than they get where information is 
the professed end and object, where they are 
sunply set to learning facts in fixed lessons. As 
to discipline, they get more training of attention, 
more power of interpretation, of drawing inferences, 
of acute observation and continuous reflection, 
than if they were put to working out arbitrary 
problems simply for the sake of discipline. 

I should like at this point to refer to the recita- 
tion. We all know what it has been — a place where 
the child shows off to the teacher and the other chil- 
dren the amount of information he has succeeded 
in assimilating from the textbook. From this other 
standpoint the recitation becomes pre-eminently 
a social meeting-place; it is to the school what the 
spontaneous conversation is at home, excepting 


that it is more organized, following definite lines. 
The recitation becomes the social clearing-house, 
where experiences and ideas are exchanged and sub- 
jected to criticism, where misconceptions are cor- 
rected, and new lines of thought and inquiry are 
set up. 

This change of the recitation, from an examina- 
tion of knowledge already acquired to the free play 
of the children's communicative instinct, affects 
and modifies all the language work of the school. 
Under the old regime it was unquestionably a 
most serious problem to give the children a full 
and free use of language. The reason was obvious. 
The natural modve for language was seldom offered. 
In the pedagogical textbooks language is defined as 
the medium of expressing thought. It becomes 
that, more or less, to adults with trained minds, 
but it hardly needs to be said that language is 
primarily a social thing, a means by which we give 
our experiences to others and get theirs again in 
return. When it is taken away from its natural 
purpose, it is no wonder that it becomes a complex 
and difficult problem to teach language. Think 
of the absurdity of ha\dng to teach language as a 
thing by itself. If there is anything the child will 
do before he goes to school, it is to talk of the things 
that interest him. But when there are no vital 
interests appealed to in the school, when language 
is used simply for the repetition of lessons, it is not 


surprising that one of the chief difficulties of school 
work has come to be instruction in the mother- 
tongue. Since the language taught is unnatural, 
not growing out of the real desire to communicate 
vital impressions and convictions, the freedom of 
children in its use gradually disappears, until 
finally the high-school teacher has to invent all 
kinds of devices to assibt in getting any spontaneous 
and full use of speech. Moreover, when the lan- 
guage instinct is appealed to in a social way, there 
is a continual contact with reahty. The result is 
that the child always has something in his mind 
to talk about, he has something to say; he has a 
thought to express, and a thought is not a thought 
unless it is one's own. On the traditional method, 
the child must say something that he has merely 
learned. There is all the difference in the world 
between having something to say and having to 
say something. The child who has a variety of 
materials and facts wants to talk about them, and 
his language becomes more refined and full, because 
it is controlled and informed by reahties. Reading 
and writing, as well as the oral use of language, 
may be taught on this basis. It can be done in a 
related way, as the outgrowth of the child's social 
desire to recount his experiences and get in return 
the experiences of others, directed always through 
contact with the facts and forces which determine 
tlie truth communicated. 


I shall not have time to speak of the work of the 
older childrrin, where the original crude instincts 
of construction and communication have been 
developed into something like scientifically directed 
inqidry, but I will give an illustration of the use of 
language following upon this experimental work. 
The work was on the basis of a simple experiment 
of the commonest sort, gradually leading the chil- 
dren out into geological and geographical study. 
The sentences that I am going to read seem to me 
poetic as well as "scientific." "A long time ago 
when the earth was new, when it was lava, there 
was no water on the earth, and there was steam all 
round the earth up in the air, as there were many 
gases in the air. One of them was carbon dioxide. 
The steam became clouds, because the earth began 
to cool off, and after a while it began to rain, and 
the water came down and dissolved the carbon 
dioxide from the air." There is a good deal more 
science in that than probably would be apparent 
at the outset. It represents some thr^e months 
of work on the part of the child. The children 
kept daily and weekly records, but this is part of the 
summing up of the quarter's work. I call this 
language poetic, because the child has a clear image 
and has a personal feeling for the realities imaged. 
I extract sentences from two other records to illus- 
trate further the vivid use of language when there 
—is-a -vivid experience back of it. "When the earth 


was cold enough to condense, the water, with the 
help of carbon dioxide, pulled the calcium out of the 
rocks into a large body of water where the little 
animals could get it." The other reads as follows: 
"When the earth cooled, calcium was in the rocks. 
Then the carbon dioxide and water united and 
formed a solution, and, as it ran, it tore out the 
calcium and carried it on to the sea, where there 
were little animals who took it out of solution." 
The use of such words as "pulled" and "tore" 
in connection with the process of chemical combina- 
tion evidences a personal realization which compels 
its own appropriate expression. 

If I had not taken so much time in my other 
illustrations, I should like to show how, beginning 
with very simple material things, the children are 
led on to larger fields of investigation and to the 
intellectual discipline that is the accompaniment of 
such research. I will simply mention the experi- 
ment in which the work began. It consisted in 
making precipitated chalk, used for polishing 
metals. The children, with simple apparatus — a 
a tumbler, lime water, and a glass tube — precipi- 
tated the calcium carbonate out of the water; and 
from this beginning went on to a study of the 
processes by which rocks of various sorts, igneous, 
sedimentary, etc., had been formed on the surface 
of the earth and the places they occupy; then to 
points in the geography of the United States, 


Hawaii, and Porto Rico; to the effects of these 
various bodies of rock, in their various configura- 
tions, upon the human occupations; so that this 
geological record finally rounded itself out into the 
life of man at the present time. The children saw 
and felt the connection between these geologic 
processes, taking place ages and ages ago, and 
the physical conditions determining the industrial 
occupations of today. 

Of all the possibilities involved in the subject, 
"The School and the Life of the Child," I have 
selected but one, because I have found that that 
one gives people more difficulty, is more of a 
stumbling-block, than any other. One may be 
ready to admit that it would be most desirable for 
the school to be a place in which the child should 
really live, and get a life-experience in which he 
should dehght and find meaning for its own sake. 
But then we hear this inquiry: How, upon this 
basis, shall the child get the needed information; 
how shall he undergo the required discipline ? Yes, 
it has come to this, that vdih many, if not most, 
people the normal processes of life appear to be 
incompatible with getting information and dis- 
cipline. So I have tried to indicate, in a highly 
general and inadequate way (for only the schoo? 
itself, in its daily operation, could give a detailed 
and worthy representation) , how the problem works 
itself out — how it is possible to lay hold upon the 


rudimentary instincts of human nature, and, by 
supplying a proper medium, so to control their 
expression as not only to facilitate and enrich the 
growth of the individual child, but also to supply 
the same results, and far more, of technical informa- 
tion and discipline that have been the ideals of 
education in the past. 

But although I have selected this especial way of 
approach (as a concession to the question almost 
universally raised), I am not mlling to leave the 
matter in this more or less negative and explanatory 
condition. , Life is the grea,t_thing after all; the 
life of the child at its time and in its measure no 
less than the life of the adult. Strange would it 
be, indeed, if intelligent and serious attention to 
what the child jww needs and is capable of in the 
way of a rich, valuable, and expanded life shoilld 
somehow conflict with the needs and possibilities 
of later, adult life. **Let us live wath our children" 
certainly means, first of all, that our children shall 
live — not that they shall be hampered and stunted 
by being forced into all kinds of conditions, the 
most remote consideration of which is relevancy to 
the present life of the child. If we seek the king- 
dom of heaven, educationally, all other things shall 
be added unto us — which, being interpreted, is 
that if we identify ourselves with the real instincts 
and needs of childhood, and ask only after its fullest 
assertion and growth, the discipline and information 


and culture of adult life shall all come in their due 

Speaking of culture reminds me that in a way 
I have been speaking only of the outside of the 
child's activity — only of the outward expression 
of his impulses toward sa}dng, making, fijiding^^ 
out, and creating. The real child, it hardly need / 
be said, lives in the world of imaginative values 
and ideas which find only imperfect outward, 
embodiment. We hear much nowadays about 
the cultivation of the child's "imagination." 
Then we undo much of our own talk and work by a 
belief that the imagination is some special part of 
the child that finds its satisfaction in some one 
particular direction — generally speaking, that of 
the unreal and make-believe, of the myth and 
made-up story. Why are we so hard of heart and 
so slow to believe ? The imao^nation is the medium 
in which the chJldlives. To him there is every- 
where and in everything which occupies his mind 
and activity at all a surplusage of value and signifi- 
cance. The question of the relation of the school 
to the child's life is at bottom simply this: Shall 
we ignore this native setting and tendency, dealing, 
not with the living child at all, but with the dead 
image we have erected, or shall we give it play and 
satisfaction ? If we once believe in life and in the 
l ife of the child, then will all the occupations and 
uses spoken of, then will all history and science^ 


become instruments of appeal and materials of 
culture to his imaginatio n^ and through that to the 
richness and the orderliness of his life . Where we 
now see only the outward doing and the outward 
product, there, behind all visible results, is the 
readjustment o f mental attitude, thee nlarged and 
sympathetic vi sion, the sense of gro™g_power, 
and the willing ability to identify both insight and 
capacity with the interests of the world and man. 
Unless culture be a superficial polish, a veneering 
of mahogany over common wood, it surely is this — 
the growth of the imagination in flexibility, in scope, 
and in sympathy, till the life which the individual 
lives is informed with the life of nature and of 
society. When nature and society can live in the 
schoolroom, when the forms and tools of learning 
are subordinated to the substance of experiertce, 
then shall there be an opportunity for this identi- 
fication, and culture shall be the democratic pass- 




The subject announced for today was "Waste 
in Education." I should like first to state briefly 
its relation to the two preceding lectures. The 
first dealt with the school in its social aspects, 
and the necessary readjustments that have to be 
made to render it efi"ective in present social con- 
ditions. The second dealt with the school in 
relation to the growth of individual children. 
Now the third deals with the school as itself an 
institution, in relation both to society and to its 
own members — the children. It deals with the 
question of organi zation , because all waste is the 
result of the lack of it, the motive l>'ing behind 
organization being promotion of economy and 
efficiency. This question is not one of the waste 
of money or the waste of things. These matters 
count; but the primary waste is that of Jj^maji 
life, the life o£_the_ children while they are at 
school, and afterward because of inadequate and 
perverted preparation. 

So, when we speak of organization, we are not 
to think simply of the externals; of that which 
goes by the name "school system" — the school 
board, the superintendent, and the building, the 



engaging and promotion of teachers, etc. These 
things enter in, but the fundamental organization 
is that of the school itself as a conmiunity of indi- 
viduals, in its relations to other forms of social 
hfe. All waste is due to isolation. Organiza- 
tion is nothing but getting things into connection 
with one another, so that they work easily, flexi- 
bly, and fully. Therefore in speaking of this 
question of waste in education I desire to call 
your attention to the isolation of the various parts 
of the school system, to the lack of unity in the 
aims of education, to the lack of coherence in its 
studies and methods. 

I have made a chart (I) which, while I speak 
of the isolations of the school system itself, may 
perhaps appeal to the eye and save a little time 
in verbal explanations. A paradoxical friend bf 
mine says there is nothing so obscure as an illus- 
tration, and it is quite possible that my attempt 
to illustrate my point will simply prove the truth 
of his statement. 

The blocks represent the various elements in 
the school system and are intended to indicate 
roughly the length of time given to each divi- 
sion, and also the overlapping, both in time 
and in subjects studied, of the individual parts 
of the system. With each block is given the 
historical conditions in which it arose and its 
ruling ideal. 


<y — 


The school system, upon the whole, has grown 
from the top down. During the Middle Ages it 
was essentially a cluster of professional schools — 
especially law and theology. Our present uni- 
versity comes down to us from the Middle Ages. 
I will not say that at present it is a mediaeval 
institution, but it had its roots in the Middle Ages, 
and it has not outlived all mediaeval traditions 
regarding learning. 

The kindergarten, rising with the present cen- 
tury, was a union of the nursery and of the phi- 
losophy of Schelling; a wedding of the plays and 
games which the mother carried on with her 
children to Schelling's highly romantic and sym- 
bolic philosophy. The elements that came from 
the actual study of child life — the continuation 
of the nursery — have remained a life-bringing 
force in all education; the Schellingesque factors 
made an obstruction between it and the rest of 
the school system — brought about isolations. 

The line drawn over the top indicates that 
there is a certain interaction between the kinder- 
garten and the primary school; for, so far as the 
primary school remained in spirit foreign to the 
natural interests of child life, it was isolated from 
the kindergarten, so that it is a problem, at pres- 
ent, to introduce kindergarten methods into the 
primary school; the problem of the so-called 
connecting class. The difficulty is that the two 


are not one from the start. To get a connection 
the teacher has had to climb over the wall instead 
of entering in at the gate. 

On the side of aims, the ideal of the kinder- 
garten was the moral development of the children, 
rather than instruction or discipline; an ideal 
sometimes emphasized to the point of sentimen- 
tality. The primaiy_s^iiDl grew practically out 
of the popular movement of the sixteenth century, 
when, along with the invention of printing and 
the growth of commerce, it became a business 
necessity to know how to read, write, and figure. 
The aim was distinctly a practical one; it was 
jitUity; getting command of these tools, the sym- 
bols of learning, not for the sake of learning, but 
because they gave access to careers in life other- 
wise closed. " 

The division next to the primary school is the 
grammar school. The term is not much used in 
the West, but is common in the eastern states. 
It goes back to the time of the revival of learn- 
ing — a little earlier perhaps than the conditions 
out of which the primary school originated, and, 
even when contemporaneous, having a ditlerent 
ideal. It had to do with the study of language 
in the higher sense; because, at the time of the 
Renaissance, Latin and Greek connected people 
with the culture of the past, with the Roman and 
Greek world. The classic languages were the 


only means of escape from the limitations of the 
Middle Ages. Thus there sprang up the proto- 
type of the grammar school, more liberal than 
the university (so largely professional in charac- 
ter), for the purpose of putting into the hands of 
the people the key to the old learning, that men 
might see a world with a larger horizon. The 
object was primarily culture, secondarily dis- 
cipline. It represented much more than the 
present grammar school. It was the liberal ele- 
ment in the college, which, extending downward, 
grew into the academy and the high school. Thus 
the secondary school is still in part just a lower 
college (having an even higher curriculum than 
the college of a few centuries ago) or a prepara- 
tory department to a college, and in part a round- 
ing up of the utilities of the elementary school. 

There appear then two products of the nine,- 
teenth century, the technical and normal schools. 
The schools of technology, engineering, etc., are, 
of course, mainly the development of nineteenth- 
century business conditions, as the primary school 
was the development of business conditions of 
the sixteenth century. The normal school arose 
because of the necessity for training teachers, 
with the idea partly of professional drill and 
partly that of culture. 

Without going more into detail, we have some 
eight different parts of the school system as repre- 


sented on the chart, all of which arose historically 
at different times, having different ideals in view, 
and consequently different methods. I do not 
wish to suggest that all of the isolation, all of the 
separation, that has existed in the past between 
the different parts of the school system still per- 
sists. One must, however, recognize that they have 
never yet been welded into one complete whole. 
The great problem in education on the adminis- 
trative side is how to unite these different parts. 

Consider the training schools for teachers — 
the normal schools. These occupy at present a 
somewhat anomalous position, intermediate be- 
tween the high school and the college, requiring 
the high-school preparation, and covering a cer- 
tain amount of college work. They are isolated 
from the higher subject-matter of scholarship, 
since, upon the whole, their object has been to train 
persons how to teach, rather than what to teach; 
while, if we go to the college, we find the other half 
of this isolation — learning what to teach, with 
almost a contempt for methods of teaching. The 
college is shut off from contact with children and 
youth. Its members, to a great extent, away 
from home and forgetting their own childhood, 
become eventually teachers with a large amount of 
subject-matter at command, and little knowledge 
of how this is related to the minds of those to whom 
it is to be taught. In this division between what 


to teach and how to teach, each side suffers from 
the separation. 

It is interesting to follow out the interrelation 
between primary, grammar, and high schools. 
The elementary school has crowded up and taken 
many subjects previously studied in the old New 
England grammar school. The high school has 
pushed its subjects down. Latin and algebra 
have been put in the upper grades, so that the 
seventh and eighth grades are, after all, about 
all that is left of the old grammar school. They 
are a sort of amorphous composite, being partly 
a place where children go on learning what they 
already have learned (to read, write, and figure), 
and partly a place of preparation for the high 
school. The name in some parts of New England 
for these upper grades was "Intermediate School." 
The term was a happy one; the work was simply 
intermediate between something that had been 
and something that was going to be, having no 
special meaning on its own account. 

Just as the parts are separated, so do the ideals 
differ— moral development, practical utility, gen- 
eral culture, disdpUne, and professional training. 
These aims are each especially represented in some 
distinct part of the system of education; and, with 
the growing interaction of the parts, each is sup- 
posed to afford a certain amount of culture, disci- 
pline, and utiUty. But the lack of fundamental 


unity is witnessed in the fact that one study 
is still considered good for discipline, and another 
for culture; some parts of arithmetic, for ex- 
ample, for discipline and others for use; literature 
for culture; grammar for discipline; geography 
partly for utility, partly for culture; and so on. 
The unity of education is dissipated, and the 
studies become centrifugal; so much of this study 
to secure this end, so much of that to secure 
another, until the whole becomes a sheer com- 
compromise and patchwork between contending 
aims and disparate studies. The great problem 
in education on the administrative side is to secure 
the unity of the whole, in the place of a sequence 
of more or less unrelated and overlapping parts, 
and thus to reduce the waste arising from friction, 
reduplication, and transitions that are not properh^^ 

In this second symbolic diagram (II) I wish to 
suggest that reaUy the only way to unite the parts 
of the system is to unite each to life. We can get 
only an artificial unity so long as we confine our 
gaze to the school system itself. We must look 
at it as part of the larger whole of social life. This 
block (A) in the center represents the school sys- 
tem as a whole, (i) At one side we have the 
home, and the two arrows represent the free inter- 
play of influences, materials, and ideas between 
the home life and that of the school. (2) Below 









s ^ 

< (0 (0 





ri si 




•C ^ 


^ s 





we have the relation to the natural environment, 
the great field of geography in the widest sense. 
The school building has about it a natural environ- 
ment. It ought to be in a garden, and the children 
from the garden would be led on to surrounding 
fields, and then into the wider country, with all 
its facts and forces. (3) Above is represented 
busmess life, and the necessity for free play between 
the school and the needs and forces of industry. 
(4) On the other side is the university proper, with 
its various phases, its laboratories, its resources in 
the way of Libraries, museums, and professional^ 

From the standpoint of the chUd, the great 
waste in the school comes from his inability to 
utilize the experiences he gets outside the school 
m_any, complete and free way within the school 
itself : while, on the other hand, he is unable to 
apply in daily life what he is learning at school. 
That is the isolation of the school — its isolation 
frQagiJiie. When the child gets into the school- 
room he has to put out of his mind a large part of 
the ideas, interests, and activities that predomi- 
nate in his home and neighborhood. So the school, 
being unable to utilize this everyda.y experience, 
sets painfully to work, on another tack and by a 
variety of means, to arouse in the child an interest 
in school studies. While I was visiting in the city 
of Moline a few years ago, the superintendent told 

a- UK 


me that they found many children every year 
who were surprised to learn that the Mississippi 
river in the textbook had anything to do with the 
stream of water flowing past their homes. The 
geography being simply a matter of the school- 
room, it is more or less of an awakening to many 
children to And that the whole thing is nothing 
but a more formal and definite statement of the 
facts which they see, feel, and touch every day. 
When we think that we all live on the earth, that 
we live in an atmosphere, that our lives are touched 
at every point by the influences of the soil, flora, 
and fauna, by considerations of light and heat, 
and then think of what the school study of geog- 
raphy has been, we have a typical idea of the gap 
existing between the everyday experiences of the 
child and the isolated material supplied in such 
large measure in the school. This is but an 
instance, and one upon which most of us may 
reflect long before we take the present artificiality 
of the school as other than a matter of course or 

Though there should be organic connection 
between the school and business life, it is not 
meant that the school is to prepare the child for 
any particular business, but that there should be 
a natural connection of the everyday life of the 
child with the business environment about him, 
and that it is the alTair of the school to clarifv 


and liberalize this connection, to bring it to con- 
sciousness, not by introducing special studies, 
like commercial geography and arithmetic, but 
by keeping ahve the ordinary bonds of relation. 
The subject of compound-business-partnership is 
probably not in many of the arithmetics nowa- 
days, though it was there not a generation ago, 
for the makers of textbooks said that if they left 
out anything they could not sell their books. 
This compound-business-partnership originated 
as far back as the sixteenth century. The joint- 
stock company had not been invented, and as 
large commerce with the Indies and Americas 
grew up, it was necessary to have an accumula- 
tion of capital with which to handle it. One man 
said, "I will put in this amount of money for six 
months," and another, "So much for two years," 
and so on. Thus by joining together they got 
money enough to float their commercial enter- 
prises. Naturally, then, "compound partnership" 
was taught in the schools. The joint-stock com- 
pany was invented; compound partnership dis- 
appeared, but the problems relating to it stayed 
in the arithmetics for two hundred years. They 
were kept after they had ceased to have practical 
utiHty, for the sake of mental discipline — they 
were "such hard problems, you know." A great 
deal of what is now in the arithmetics under the 
the head of percentage is of the same nature. 


Children of twelve and thirteen years of age go 
through gain and loss calculations, and various 
forms of bank discount so complicated that the 
bankers long ago dispensed with them. And 
when it is pointed out that business is not done 
this way, we hear again of "mental discipline." 
And yet there are plenty of real connections 
between the experience of children and business 
conditions which need to be utilized and illumi- 
nated. The child should study his commercial 
arithmetic and geography, not as isolated things 
by themselves, but in their reference to his social 
environment. The youth needs to become ac- 
quainted with the bank as a factor in modern 
life, with what it does, and how it does it; and 
then relevant arithmetical processes would h^ve 
some meaning — quite in contradistinction to the 
time-absorbing and mind-killing examples in per- 
centage, partial payments, etc., found in all our 

The connection with the university, as indi- 
cated in this chart, I need not dwell upon. I 
simply wish to indicate that there ought to be 
a free interaction between all the parts of the 
school system. There is much of utter triviaUty 
of subject-matter in elementary and secondary 
education. When we investigate it, we fmd that 
it is full of facts taught that are not facts, which 
have to be unlearned later on. Now, this hap- 


pens because the "lower" parts ot our system 
are not in vital connection with the "higher." 
The university or college, in its idea, is a place of 
research, where investigation is going on: a place 
of libraries and museums, where the best resources 
of the past are gathered, maintained, and organ- 
ized. It is, however, as true in the school as in 
the university that the spirit of inquiry can bt 
got only through and with the attitude of inquiry. 
The pupil must learn what has meaning, what 
enlarges his horizon, instead of mere trivialities. 
He mast become acquainted with truths, instead 
of things that were regarded as such fifty years 
ago or that are taken as interesting by the mis- 
understanding of a partially educated teacher. 
It is difficult to see how these ends can be reached 
except as the most advanced part of the educa- 
tional system is in complete interaction with the 
most rudimentary. 

The next chart (III) is an enlargement of the 
second. The school building has swelled out, so 
to speak, the surrounding environment remaining 
the same, the home, the garden and country, the 
relation to business life and the university. The 
object is to show what the school must become 
to get out of its isolation and secure the organic 
connection with social life of which we have been 
speaking. It is not our architect's plan for the 
school building that we hope to have; but it is a 


diagrammatic representation of the idea which 
we want embodied in the school building. On 
the lower side you see the dining-room and the 
kitchen, at the top the wood and metal shops and 
the textile room for sewing and weaving. The 
center represents the manner in which aU come 
together in the library; that is to say, in a collec- 
tion of the intellectual resources of all kinds that 
throw light upon the practical work, that give it 
meaning and liberal value. If the four comers 
represent practice, the interior represents the 
theory of the practical activities. In other words, 
the object of these forms of practice in the school 
is not found chiefly in themselves, or in the tech- 
nical skill of cooks, seamstresses, carpenters, and 
masons, but in their connection, on the spcial 
side, with the Hfe without; while on the individual 
side they respond to the child's need of action, of 
expression, of desire to do something, to be con- 
structive and creative, instead of simply passive 
and conforming. Their great significance is that 
they keep the balance between the social and 
individual sides — the chart symbolizing particu- 
larly the connection with the social. Here on 
one side is the home. How naturally the lines of 
connection play back and forth between the home 
and the kitchen and the textile room of the school ! 
The child can carry over what he learns in the 
home and utilize it in the school; and the things 























learned in the school he applies at home. These 
are the two great things in breaking down isola- 
tion, in getting connection — to have the child 
come to school with all the experience he has got 
outside the school, and to leave it with something- 
to be immediately used in his everyday life. The 
child comes to the traditional school with a 
healthy body and a more or less unwilling mind, 
though, in fact, he does not bring both his body 
and mind with him; he has to leave his mind 
behind, because there is no way to use it in the 
school. If he had a purely abstract mind, he 
could bring it to school with him, but his is a 
concrete one, interested in concrete things, and 
unless these things get over into school life he 
cannot take his mind with him. What we want 
is to have the child come to school with a whole 
mind and a whole body, and leave school with a 
fuller mind and an even healthier body. And 
speaking of the body suggests that, while there 
is no gymnasium in these diagrams, Jhe^ active 
life carried on in its four corners brings with it 
constant physical exercise, while our gymnasium 
proper will deal with the particular weaknesses 
of children and their correction, and will attempt 
more consciously to build up the thoroughly 
sound body as the abode of the sound mind. 

That the dining-room and kitchen connect with 
the, country and its processes and products it is 


hardly necessary to say. Cooking may be so 
taught that it has no connection with country life 
and with the sciences that find their unity in geog- 
raphy. Perhaps it generally has been taught 
without these connections being really made. But 
all the materials that come into the kitchen have 
their origin in the country; they come from the 
soil, are nurtured through the influences of light 
and water, and represent a great variety of local 
environments. Through this connection, extend- 
ing from the garden into the larger world, the 
child has his most natural introduction to the 
study of the sciences. Where did these things 
grow ? What was necessary to their growth ? 
What their relation to the soil ? What the efi"ect 
of different climatic conditions? and so on. ,We 
ail know what the old-fashioned botany was: 
partly collecting flowers that were pretty, press- 
ing and mounting them; partly pulling tliese 
flowers to pieces and giving technical names to 
the different parts, finding all the different leaves, 
naming all their different shapes and forms. It 
was a study of plants without any reference to 
the soil, to the country, or to growth. In contrast, 
a real study of plants takes them in their natural 
environment and in their uses as well, not simply 
as food, but in all their adaptations to the social 
life of man. Cooking becomes as well a most 
natural introduction to the study of chemistry. 


giving the child here also something which he can 
at once bring to bear upon his daily experience. 
I once heard a very intelligent woman say that she 
could not understand how science could be taught 
to Uttle children, because she did not see how they 
could understand atoms and molecules. In other 
words, since she did not see how highly abstract 
facts could be presented to the child independently 
of daily experience, she could not understand how 
science could be taught at all. Before we smile 
at this remark, we need to ask ourselves if she is 
alone in her assumption, or whether it simply 
formulates the principle of almost all our school 

The same relations with the outside world are 
found in the carpentry and the textile shops. 
They connect with the country, as the source of 
their materials, with physics, as the science of 
appl}dng energy, with commerce and distribu- 
tion, with art in the development of architecture 
and decoration. They have also an intimate con- 
nection with the university on the side of its 
technological and engineering schools; with the 
laboratory and its scientific methods and results. 

To go back to the square which is marked the 
library (Chart III, A) : if you imagine rooms half 
in the four comers and half in the library, you will 
get the idea of the recitation-xoom. That is the 
place where the children bring the experiences, the 


problems, the questions, the particular facts which 
they have found, and discuss them so that new 
light may be thrown upon them, particularly new 
light from the experience of others, the accumu- 
lated wisdom of the world — symbolized in the 
library. Here is the organic relation of theory and 
practice; the child not simply doing things, but 
gettincr also the idea of what he does; getting 
from the start some intellectual conception that 
enters into his practice and enriches it; while 
every idea finds, directly or indirectly, some appli- 
cation, in experience and has some effect upon 
life. This, I need hardly say, fixes the position of 
the "book" or reading in education. Harmful 
as a substitute for experience, it is aU-important 
in interpreting and expanding experience. . 

The other chart (IV) illustrates precisely the 
same idea. It gives the symbolic upper story of 
this ideal school. In the upper comers are the 
laboratories; in the lower comers are the studios 
for art work, both the graphic and auditory arts. 
The questions, the chemical and physical problems, 
arising in the kitchen and shop, are taken to the 
laboratories to be worked out. For instance, this 
past week one of the older groups of children doing 
practical work in weaving, which involved the use 
of the spinning wheel, worked out the diagrams 
of the direction of forces concerned in treadle and 
wheel, and the ratio of velocities between wheel 

(0 o 





and Chemi 



rO (1) 
O 0) 




and spindle. In the same manner, the plants 
with which the child has to do in cooking afford 
the basis for a concrete interest in botany and may 
be taken and studied by themselves. In a certain 
school in Boston science work for months was 
centered in the growth of the cotton plant, and yet 
something new was brought in every day. We 
hope to do similar work with all the types of plants 
that furnish materials for sewing and weaving. 
These examples will suggest, I hope, the relation 
which the laboratories bear to the rest of the school. 
The drawing and music, or the graphic and 
auditory arts, represent the culmination, the 
idealization, the highest point of refinement of 
all the w^ork carried on. I think everybody who 
has not a purely literary view of the subject recog- 
nizes that genuine art grows out of the work of 
the artisan. The art of the Renaissance was 
great because it grew out of the manual arts of 
life. It did not spring up in a separate atmos- 
phere, however ideal, but carried on to their 
spiritual meaning processes found in homely and 
everyday forms of life. The school should observe 
this relationship. The merely artisan side is 
narrow, but the mere art, taken by itself, and 
grafted on from without, tends to become forced, 
empty, sentimental. I do not mean, of course, 
that all art work must be correlated in detail to 
the other work of the school, but simply that a 


spirit of union gives vitality to the art and depth 
and richness to the other work. All art involves 
physical organs — the eye and hand, the ear and 
voice; and yet it is something more than the mere 
technical skill required by the organs of expression. 
It involves an idea, a thought, a spiritual rendering 
of things; and yet it is other than any number of 
ideas by themselves. It is a living union of 
thought and the instrument of expression. This 
union is symbolized by saying that in the ideal 
school the art work might be considered to be that 
of the shops, passed through the alembic of library 
and museum into action again. 

Take the textile room as an illustration of such 
a synthesis. I am talking about a future school, 
the one we hope, some time, to have. The basal 
fact in that room is that it is a workshop, doing 
actual things in sewing, spinning, and weaving. 
The children come into immediate connection 
with the materials, with various fabrics of silk, 
cotton, linen, and wool. Information at once 
appears in connection with these materials; their 
origin, history, their adaptation to particular uses, 
and the machines of various kinds by which the 
raw materials are utilized. Discipline arises in 
dealing with the problems involved, both theo- 
retical and practical. Whence docs the culture 
arise ? Partly from seeing all these things reflected 
through the medium of their scientific and historic 


conditions and associations, whereby the child 
learns to appreciate them as technical achieve- 
ments, as thoughts precipitated in action; and 
partly because of the introduction of the art idea 
into the room itself. In the ideal school there 
would be something of this sort: first, a complete 
industrial museum, giving samples of materials 
in various stages of manufacture, and the imple- 
ments, from the simplest to the most complex, 
used in dealing with them; then a collection of 
photographs and pictures illustrating the land- 
scapes and the scenes from which the materials 
come, their native homes, and their places of 
manufacture. Such a collection would be a vivid 
and continual lesson in the synthesis of art, science, 
and industry. There would be, also, samples of 
the more perfect forms of textile work, as Italian, 
French, Japanese, and Oriental. There would 
be objects illustrating motives of design and 
decoration which have entered into production. 
Literature would contribute its part in its ideal- 
ized representation of the world-industries, as 
the Penelope in the Odyssey — a classic in literature 
because the character is an adequate embodiment 
of a certain industrial phase of social life. So, 
from Homer down to the present time, there is 
a continuous procession of related facts which 
have been translated into terms of art. Music 
lends its share, from the Scotch song at the wheel 


to the spinning song of Marguerite, or of Wagner's 
Senta. The shop becomes a pictured museum, 
appealing to the eye. It would have not only 
materials — beautiful woods and designs — but would 
give a synopsis of the historical evolution of 
architecture in its drawings and pictures. 

Thus I have attempted to indicate how the 
school may be connected with life so that the 
experience gained by the child in a familiar, 
commonplace way is carried over and made use of 
there, and what the child learns in the school is 
carried back and appUed in everyday life, makmg 
the school an organic whole, instead of a com- 
posite of isolated parts. The isolation of studies 
as well as of parts of the school system disappears. 
Experience has its geographical aspect, its artistic 
and its literary, its scientific and its historical sides. 
All studies arise from aspects of the one earth and 
the one Ufe Uved upon it. We do not have a series 
of stratified earths, one of which is mathematical, 
another physical, another historical, and so on. 
We should not be able to live very long in any one 
taken by itself. We live in a world where all sides 
are bound together. All studies grow out of 
relations in the one great common world. When 
the child hvcs in varied but concrete and active 
relationship to this common world, his studies 
are naturally unified. It will no longer be a prob- 
lem to correlate studies. The teacher will not 


have to resort to all sorts of devices to weave a 
little arthmetic into the history lesson, and the like. 
Relate the school to life, and all studies are of 
necessity correiated. 

Moreover, if the school is related as a whole to 
life as a whole, its various aims and ideals— cul- 
ture, discipline, information, utility — cease to be 
variants, for one of which we must select one 
study and for another another. The growth of 
the child in the direction of social capacity and 
service, his larger and more vital union with Ufe, 
becomes the unifying aim; and discipline, culture, 
and information fall into place as phases of this 

I wish to say one word more about the rela- 
tionship of our particular school to the University. 
The problem is to unify, to organize, education, 
to bring all its various factors together, through 
putting it as a whole into organic union with 
everyday life. That which lies back of the peda- 
gogical school of the University is the necessity 
of working out something to serve as a model for 
such unification, extending from work beginning 
with the four-year-old child up through the 
graduate work of the University. Already we 
have much help from the University in scientific 
work planned, sometimes even in detail, by heads 
of the departments. The graduate student comes 
to us with his researches and methods, suggesting 


ideas and problems. The library and museum 
are at hand. We want to bring all things edu- 
cational together; to break down the barriers 
that divide the education of the little child from 
the instruction of the maturing youth; to identify 
the lower and the higher education, so that it 
shall be demonstrated to the eye that there is no 
lower and higher, but simply education. 

Speaking more especially with reference to the 
pedagogical side of the work: I suppose the oldest 
university chair of pedagogy in our country is 
about twenty years old — that of the University 
of Michigan, founded in the latter seventies. 
But there are only one or two that have tried to 
make a connection between theory and practice. 
They teach for the most part by theory, by lectures, 
by reference to books, rather than through the 
actual work of teaching itself. At Columbia, 
through the Teachers College, there is an extensive 
and close connection between the University and 
the training of teachers. Something has been 
done in one or two other places along the same 
line. We want an even more intimate union here, 
so that the University shall put all its resources 
at the disposition of the elementary school, con- 
tributing to the evolution of valuable subject- 
matter and right method, while the school in turn 
will be a laboratory in which the student of edu- 
cation sees theories and ideas demonstrated, 


tested, criticized, enforced, and the evolution of 
new truths. We want the school in its relation 
to the University to be a working model of a 
unified education. 

A word as to the relation of the school to edu- 
cational interests generally. I heard once that 
the adoption of a certain method in use in our 
school was objected to by a teacher on this ground : 
''You know that it is an experimental school. 
They do not work under the same conditions that 
we are subject to." Now, the purpose of per- 
forming an experiment is that other people need 
not experiment; at least need not experiment so 
much, may have something definite and positive 
to go by. An experiment demands particularly 
favorable conditions in order that results may be 
reached both freely and securely. It has to work 
unhampered, with all the needed resources at 
command. Laboratories lie back of all the great 
business enterprises of today, back of every great 
factory, every railway and steamship system. 
Yet the laboratory is not a business enterprise; 
it does not aun to secure for itself the conditions 
of business Ufe, nor does the commercial under- 
taking repeat the laboratory. There is a difference 
between working out and testing a new truth, or 
a new method, and applying it on a wide scale, 
making it available for the mass of men, making 
it conmiercial. But the first thing is to discover 


the truth, to afford all necessary facilities, for this 
is the most practical thing in the world in the long 
nm. We do not expect to have other schools 
literally imitate what we do. A working model 
is not something to be copied; it is to afiford a 
demonstration of the feasibility of the principle, 
and of the methods which make it feasible. So 
(to come back to our own point) we want here to 
work out the problem of the unity, the organ- 
ization of the school system in itself, and to do this 
by relating it so intimately to Ufe as to demonstrate 
the possibility and necessity of such organization 
tor all education. 




Naturally, most of the public is interested in 
what goes on day by day in a school in direct 
relation to the children there. This is true of 
parents who send their boys and girls for the sake 
of the personal results they wish to secure, not for 
the sake of contributing to educational theory. 
In the main, it is true of visitors to a school who 
recognize, in var}^ing degrees, what is actually 
done with the children before their eyes, but who 
rarely have either the interest or the time to con- 
sider the work in relation to underlying problems. 
A school cannot lose sight of this aspect of its work, 
since only by attending to it can the school retain 
the confidence of its patrons and the presence of its 

Nevertheless a school conducted by a depart- 
ment of a university must have another aspect. 
From the university standpoint, the most impor- 
tant part of its work is the scientific — the con- 
tribution it makes to the progress of educational 
thinking. The aim of educating a certain nuinber 
of children would hardly justify a university in 
departing from the tradition which limits it to 


those who have completed their secondary instruc- 
tion. Only the scientific aim, the conduct of a 
laboratory, comparable to other scientific labora- 
tories, can furnish a reason for the maintenance by 
a university of an elementary school. Such a 
school is a laboratory of applied psychology. That 
is, it has a place for the study of mind as mani- 
fested and developed in the child, and for the search 
after materials and agencies that seem most likely to 
fulfil and further the conditions of normal growth. 

It is not a normal school or a department for 
the training of teachers. It is not a model school. 
It is not intended to demonstrate any one special 
idea or doctrine. Its task is the problem of view- 
ing the education of the child in the light of the 
principles of mental activity and processes of 
growth made known by modern psychology^ The 
problem by its nature is an infinite one. All that 
any school can do is to make contributions here 
and there, and to stand for the necessity of con- 
sidering education, both theoretically and prac- 
tically, in this light. This being the end, the 
school conditions must, of course, agree. To 
endeavor to study the process and laws of growth 
under such artificial conditions as prevent many 
of the chief facts of child life from showing them- 
selves is an obvious absurdity. 

In its practical aspect, this laboratory problem 
takes the form of the construction of a course of 


Study which hannonizes with the natural history 
of the growth of the child in capacity and experi- 
ence. The question is the selection of the kind, 
variety, and due proportion of subjects, answering 
most definitely to the dominant needs and powers 
of a given period of growth, and of those modes 
of presentation that will cause the selected material 
to enter \atally into growth. We cannot admit 
too fully or too freely the limits of our knowledge 
and the depths of our ignorance in these matters. 
No one has a complete hold scientifically upon the 
chief psychological facts of any one year of child 
life. It would be sheer presumption to claim that 
jue/t the material best fitted to promote this growth 
has as yet been discovered. The assumption of an 
educational laboratory is rather that enough is 
known of the conditions and modes of growth to 
make intelligent inquiry possible; and that it is 
only by acting upon what is already known that 
more can be found out. The chief point is such 
experimentation as will add to our reasonable con- 
victions. The demand is to secure arrangements 
that wall permit and encourage freedom of investi- 
gation; that will give some assurance that impor- 
tant facts will not be forced out of sight; conditions 
that will enable the educational practice indicated 
by the inquiry to be sincerely acted upon, without 
the distortion and suppression arising from undue 
dependence upon tradition and preconceived 


notions. It is in this sense that the school would 
be an experimental station in education. 

What, then, are the chief working hypotheses 
that have been adopted from psychology ? What 
educational counterparts have been hit upon as in 
some degree in line with the adopted psychology ? 

The discussion of these questions may be 
approached by pointing out a contrast between 
contemporary psychology and the psychology of 
former days. The contrast is a triple one. . Earlier 
psychology regarded mind as a purely individual 
affair in direct and naked contact with an external 
world. The only question asked was of the ways 
in which the world and the mind acted upon each 
other. The entire process recognized would have 
been in theory exactly the same if there were ojie 
mind living alone in the universe. At present the 
tendency is to conceive individual mind as a func- 
tion of social life — as not capable of operating or 
developing by itself, but as requiring continual 
stimulus from social agencies, and finding its nutri- 
tion in social supplies. The idea of heredity has 
made familiar the notion that the equipment of the 
individual, mental as well as physical, is an inherit- 
ance from the race: a capital inherited by the 
individual from the past and held in trust by him 
for the future. The idea of evolution has made 
familiar the notion that mind cannot be regarded 
as an hidividual, monopolistic possession, but repre- 


sents the outworkings of the endeavor and thought 
of humanity; that it is developed in an environ- 
ment which is social as well as physical, and that 
social needs and aims have been most potent in 
shaping it — and the chief difference between 
savagery and civilization is not in the naked nature 
which each faces, but the social heredity and social 

Studies of childhood have made it equally appar- 
ent that this socially acquired inheritance operates 
in the individual only under present social stimuli. 
Nature must indeed furnish its physical stimuli 
of light, sound, heat, etc., but the significance 
attaching to these, the interpretation made of 
them, depends upon the ways in which the society 
in which the child lives acts and reacts in reference 
to them. The bare physical stimulus of light is 
not the entire reality; the Interpretation given to it 
through social activities and thinking confers upon 
it its wealth of meaning. It is through imitation, 
suggestion, direct instruction, and even more indi- 
rect unconscious tuition, that the child learns to 
estimate and treat the bare physical stimuli. It is 
through the social agencies that he recapitulates in 
a few short years the progress which it has taken 
the race slow centuries to work out. 

Educational practice has exhibited an uncon- 
scious adaptation to and harmony with the prevail- 
ing psychology; both grew out of the same soil. 


\j Just as mind was supposed to get its filling by direct 
contact with the world, so all the needs of instruc- 
tion were thought to be met by bringing the child 
mind into direct relation with various bodies of 
external fact labeled geography, arithmetic, gram- 
mar, etc. That these classified sets of facts were 
simply selections from the social life of the past 
was overlooked; equally so that they had been 
generated out of social situations and represented 
the answers found for social needs. fNo social 
element was found in the subject-matter~nor in the 
intrinsic appeal which it made to the child ; it was 
located wholly outside in the teacher — in the 
encouragements, admonitions, urgings, and de\aces 
of the instructor in getting the child's mind to work 
upon a material which in itself was only accidea- 
tally lighted up by any social gleam. , It was for- 
gotten that the maximum appeal, and the full 
meaning in the life of the child, could be secured 
only when the studies were presented, not as bare 
external studies, but from the standpoint of the 
relation they bear to the life of society. It was 
forgotten that to become integral parts of the 
child's conduct and character they must be assimi- 
lated, not as mere items of information, but as 
organic parts of his present needs and aims — which 
in turn are social. 
/ In the second place, the older^isyxhology-jKasj 

V psychology of knowledge, of intellect. Emotion 


and endeavor, ^occupied but an ^incidental and 
derivative place. Much was said about sensations 
— pext to nothing about movements. TEere was 
discussion of ideas and of whether they originated 
in sensations or in some innate mental faculty; 
but the possibility of their origin in and from the 
needs of action was ignored. Their influence upon 
conduct, upon behavior, was regarded as an 
external attachment. Now we beheve (to use the 
words of Mr. James) that the intellect, the sphere 
of sensations and ideas, is but a "middle depart- 
ment which we sometimes take to be final, failing 
to see, amidst the monstrous diversity of the 
length and complications of the cogitations which 
may fill it, that it can have but one essential 
function — the function of defining the direction 
which our activity, immediate or remote, shall 

Here also was a pre-established harmony 
between educational practice and psychological 
theory. Knowledge in the schools was isolated 
and made an end in itself. Facts, laws, informa- 
tion have been the staple of the curriculum. The 
controversy in educational theory and practice was 
between those who relied more upon the sense 
element in knowledge, upon contact with things, 
upon object-lessons, etc., and those who empha- 
sized abstract ideas, generalizations, etc. — reason, 
so called, but in reality other people's ideas as 


formulated in books. In neither case was there any 
attempt to connect either the sense training or the 
logical operations wath the problems and interests 
of the life of practice. Here again an educational 
transformation is indicated if we are to suppose 
that our psychological theories stand for any 
truths of life. 

The third point of contrast lies in the modern 
conception of the mind as essentially a process — 
a process of growth, not a fixed thing. According 
to the older view mind was mind, and that was 
the whole story. Mind was the same throughout, 
because fitted out with the same assortment of 
faculties whether in child or adult. If any differ- 
ence was made it was simply that some of these 
ready-made faculties — such as memory — came into 
play at an earlier time, while others, such as judg- 
ing and inferring, made their appearance only after 
the child, through memorizing drills, had been 
reduced to complete dependence upon the thought 
of others. The only important difference that was 
recognized was one of quantity, of amount. The 
boy was a little man and his mind was a little 
mind — in everything but the size the same as that 
of the adult, having its own ready-furnished equip- 
ment of faculties of attention, memory, etc. Now 
we believe in the mind as a growing affair, and 
hence as essentially changing, presenting dis- 
tinctive phases of capacity and interest at different 


periods. These are all one and the same in the 
sense of continuity of life, but all different, in that 
each has its own distinctive claims and offices. 
"First the blade, then the ear, and then the full 
corn in the ear." 

It is hardly possible to overstate the agreement 
of education and psychology' at this point. The 
course of study was thoroughly, even if uncon- 
sciously, controlled by the assumption " that since 
mind and its faculties are the same throughout, the 
subject-matter of the adult, logically arranged 
facts and principles, is the natural "study" of the 
child — simplified and made easier of course, since 
,_the wind must be tempered to the shorn lamb.i 
iThe outcome was the traditional course of study in 
jwhich again child and adult minds are absolutely 
I identified, except as regards the mere matter of 
i_amount or quantity of power. The entire range 
o' the universe is first subdivided into sections 
called studies; then each one of the«^c studies is 
broken up into bits, and some one bit assigned to a 
certain year of the course. No order of develop- 
ment was recognized — it was enough that the 
earlier parts were made easier than the later. To 
use the pertinent illustration of ]Mr. W. S. Jackman 
in stating the absurdity of this sort of curriculum : 
" It must seem to geography teachers that Heaven 
smiled on them when it ordained but four or five 
continents, because starting m far enough along 


the course it was so easy, that it really seemed to be 
natural, to give one continent to each grade, and 
then come out right in the eight years." 

If once more we are in earnest with the idea of 
mind as growth, this growth carrying with it 
typical features distinctive of its various stages, it 
is clear that an educational transformation is again 
indicated. It is clear that the selection and grad- 
ing of material in the course of study must be done 
with reference to proper nutrition of the dominant 
directions of activity in a given period, not with 
reference to chopped-up sections of a ready-made 
universe of knowledge. 

It is, of course, comparatively easy to lay down 
general propositions like the foregoing; easy to use 
them to criticize existing school conditions; easy 
by means of them to urge the necessity of some- 
thing different. But art is long. The difficulty 
is in carrying such conceptions into effect — in seeing 
just what materials and methods, in what propor- 
tion and arrangement, are available and helpful 
at a given time. Here again we must fall back 
upon the idea of the laboratory. There is no 
answer in advance to such questions as these. 
Tradition does not give it because tradition is 
founded upon a radically different psychology. 
Mere reasoning cannot give it because it is a ques- 
tion of fact. It is only by trying that such things 
can l)e found out. To refuse to try, to stick 


blindly to tradition, because the search for the 
truth involves experimentation in the region of 
the unknown, is to refuse the only step which can 
introduce rational conviction into education. 

Hence the following statement simply reports 
various lines of inquiry started during the last five 
years, with some of the results more recently indi- 
cated. These results can, of course, make no 
claim to be other than tentative, excepting in so far 
as a more definite consciousness of what the prob- 
lems are, clearing the way for more intelligent 
action in the future, is a definitive advance. It 
should also be stated that practically it has not as 
yet been possible, in many cases, to act adequately 
upon the best ideas obtained, because of adminis- 
trative difficulties, due to lack of funds — difficulties 
centering in the lack of a proper building and 
appHances, and in inability to pay the amounts 
necessary to secure the complete time of teachers 
in some important lines. Indeed, with the growth 
of the school in numbers, and in the age and ma- 
turity of pupils, it is becoming a grave question how 
long it is fair to the experiment to carry it on 
without more adequate faciUties. 

In coming now to speak of the educational 
answers which have been sought for the psycho- 
logical hypotheses, it is convenient to start from 
the matter of the stages of growth. The first stage 
(found in the child say of from four to eight years 


of age) is characterized by directness of social 
and personal interests, and by directness and 
promptness of relationship between impressions, 
ideas, and action. The demand for a motor outlet 
for expression is urgent and immediate. Hence 
the subject-matter for these years is selected from 
phases of hfe entering into the child's own social 
surroundings, and, as far as may be, capable of 
reproduction by him in something approaching 
social form — in play, games, occupations, or minia- 
ture industrial arts, stories, pictorial imagination, 
and conversation. At hrst the material is such as 
lies nearest the child himself, the family life and its 
neighborhood setting; it then goes on to something 
shghtly more remote, social occupations (especially 
those having to do with the interdependence* of 
city and country life), and then extends itself to 
the historical evolution of typical occupations and 
of the social forms connected with them. The 
material is not presented as lessons, as something 
to be learned, but rather as something to be taken 
up into the child's own experience, through his 
own activities, in weaving, cooking, shopwork, 
modeling, dramatic plays, conversation, discussion, 
story-telling, etc. These in turn are direct agen- 
cies. They are forms of motor or expressive 
activity. They are emphasized so as to dominate 
the school program, in order that the intimate 
connection between knowing and doing, so char- 


acteristic of this period of child life, may be main- 
tained. The aim, then, is not for the child to go to 
school as a place apart, but rather in the school so 
to recapitulate typical phases of his experience 
outside of school, as to enlarge, enrich, and gradu- 
ally formulate it. 

In the second period, extending from eight or 
nine to eleven or twelve, the aim is to recognize and 
respond to the change which comes into the child 
from his growing sense of the possibility of more 
permanent and objective results and of the neces- 
sity for the control of agencies for the skill necessary 
to reach these results. When the child recognizes 
distinct and enduring ends which stand out and 
demand attention on their own account, the previ- 
ous vague and fluid unity of life is broken up. The 
mere play of activity no longer directly sarisfies. 
It must be felt to accomplish something — to lead 
up to a definite and abiding outcome. Hence the 
recognition of rules of acrion — that is, of regular 
means appropriate to reaching permanent results — 
and of the value of mastering special processes so 
as to give skill in their use. 

Hence, on the educational side, the problem is, as 
regards the subject-matter, to diflerentiate the 
vague unity of experience into characteristic 
typical phases, selecting such as clearly illustrate 
the importance to mankind of command over 
specific agencies and methods of thought and 


action in realizing its highest aims.l The problem 
on the side of method is an analogous one : to bring 
the child to recognize the necessity of a similar 
development within himself. — the need of securing 
for himself practical and intellectual control of 
such methods of work and inquiry as will enable 
him to realize results for himself. 

On the more direct social side, American history 
(especially that of the period of colonization) is 
selected as furnishing a typical example of patience, 
courage, ingenuity, and continual judgment in 
adapting means to ends, even in the face of great 
hazard and obstacle; while the material itself is 
so definite, vivid, and human as to come directly 
within the range of the child's representative and 
constructive imagination and thus becomes, vicaji- 
ously at least, a part of his own expanding con- 
sciousness. Since the aim is not "covering the 
ground," but knowledge of social processes used 
to secure social results, no attempt is made to go 
over the entire history, in chronological order, of 
America. Rather a series of t>'pes is taken up: 
Chicago and the northwestern Mississippi valley; 
Virginia, New York, and the Puritans and Pilgrims 
in New England. The aim is to present a variety 
of climatic and local conditions, to show the differ- 
ent sorts of obstacles and helps that people found, 
and a variety of historic traditions and customs 
and purposes of different people. 


The method involves presentation of a large 
amount of detail, of minutiae of surroundings, 
tools, clothing, household utensils, foods, modes 
of living day by day, so that the child can repro- 
duce the material as life, not as mere historic in- 
formation. In this way, social processes and 
results become realities. Moreover, to the personal 
and dramatic identification of the child with the 
social hfe studied, characteristic of the earlier 
period, there now supervenes an intellectual identi- 
fication—the child puts himseK at the standpoint 
of the problems that have to be met and rediscovers, 
so far as may be, ways of meeting them. 

The general standpoint — the adaptation of 
means to ends — controls also the work in science. 
For purposes of convenience, this may be regarded 
as now differentiated into two sides — the geograph- 
ical and the experimental. Since, as just stated, 
the history work depends upon an appreciation of 
the natural enviroimient as affording resources 
and presenting urgent problems, considerable 
attention is paid to the physiography, mountains, 
rivers, plains, and lines of natural travel and 
exchange, flora and fauna of each of the colonies. 
This is connected with field excursions in order 
that the child may be able to supply from observa- 
tion, as far as possible, the data to be used by con- 
structive imagination, in reproducing more remote 


The experimental side devotes itself to a study 
of processes which yield typical results of value 
to men. The activity of the child in the earlier 
period is directly productive, rather than investi- 
gative. His experiments are modes of active 
doing — almost as much so as his play and games. 
Later he tries to find out how various materials 
or agencies are manipulated in order to give cer- 
tain results. It is thus clearly distinguished from 
experimentation in the scientific sense — such as 
is appropriate to the secondary period — where the 
aim is the discovery of facts and verification of 
principles. Since the practical interest predomi- 
nates, it is a study of applied science rather than of 
pure science. For instance, processes are selected 
found to have been of importance in colonial lifip — 
bleaching, dyeing, soap and candle-making, manu- 
facture of pewter dishes, making of cider and vine- 
gar, leading to some study of chemical agencies, 
of oils, fats, elementary metallurgy. "Physics" 
is commenced from the same apphed standpoint. 
A study is made of the use and transfer of energy 
in the spiiming-wheel and looms; ever^-day uses 
of mechanical principles are taken up — in locks, 
scales, etc., going on later to electric appHances 
and devices — bells, the telegraph, etc. 

The relation of means to. ciids is emphasized also 
in other lines of work. In art attention is given 
to practical questions of perspective, of proportion 


of spaces and masses, balance, effect of color 
combinations and contrasts, etc. In cooking, the 
principles of food-composition and of effects of 
various agencies upon these elements are taken 
up, so that the children may deduce, as far as 
possible, their own rules. In sewing, methods of 
cutting, fitting (as applied to dolls' clotliing) 
come up, and later on the technical sequence of 
stitches, etc. 

It is clear that with the increasing differentia- 
tion of lines of work and interest, leading to greater 
individuality and independence in various studies, 
great care must be taken to find the balance 
between, on one side, undue separation and isola- 
tion, and, on the other, a miscellaneous and casual 
attention to a large number of topics, without 
adequate emphasis and distinctiveness to any. 
The first principle makes work mechanical and 
formal, divorces it from the life-experience of the 
child and from effective influence upon conduct. 
The second makes it scrappy and vague and leaves 
the child without defijiite command of his own 
powers or clear consciousness of purposes. It is 
perhaps only in the present year that the specific 
principle of the conscious relation of means to ends 
has emerged as the unifying principle of this period ; 
and it is hoped that emphasis of this in all lines of 
work will have a decidedly cumulative and unifying 
effect upon the child's development. 


Nothing has been said, as yet, of one of the most 
important agencies or means in extending and 
controlling experience — command of the social or 
conventional symbols — symbols o f lan^age . in- 
cluding those of quanlity. The importance of 
these instrumentalities is so great that the tra- 
ditional or three R's curriculum is based upon them 
— from 60 to 80 per cent of the time program of the 
first four or five years of elementary schools being 
devoted to them, the smaller figure representing 
selected rather than average schools. 

These subjects are social in a double sense. 
They represent the tools which society has evolved 
in the past as the instruments of its intellectual 
pursuits. They represent the keys which will 
unlock to the child the wealth of social capital 
which lies beyond the possible range of his limited 
individual experience. While these two points of 
view must always give these arts a highly impor- 
tant place in education, they also make it neces- 
sary that certain conditions should be observed in 
their introduction and use. In a wholesale and 
direct application of the studies no account is 
taken of these conditions. The chief problem at 
present relating to the three R's is recognition of 
these conditions and the adaptation of work to 

The conditions may be reduced to two: (i) The 
need that the child shall have in his own personal 


and vital experience a varied background of con- 
tact and acquaintance with realities, social and 
physical. This is necessary to prevent symbols 
from becoming a purely second-hand and con- 
ventional substitute for reality. {2) The need that 
the more ordinary, direct, and personal experience 
of the child shall furnish problems, motives, and 
interests that necessitate recourse to books for their 
solution, satisfaction, and pursuit. Otherwise, the 
child approaches the book without intellectual 
hunger, without alertness, without a questioning 
attitude, and the result is the one so deplorably 
common: such abject dependence upon books as 
weakens and cripples vigor of thought and inquiry, 
combined with reading for mere random stimula- 
tion of fancy, emotional indulgence, and flight from 
the world of reality into a make-belief land. 

The problem here is then (i) to furnish the child 
with a sufficiently large amount of personal activity 
in occupations, expression, conversation, con- 
struction, and experimentation, so that his indi- 
viduality, moral and intellectual, shall not be 
swamped by a disproportionate amount of the 
experience of others to which books introduce 
him; and (2) so to conduct this more direct experi- 
ence as to make the child feel the need of resort to 
and command of the traditional social tools — 
furnish him with motives and make his recourse to 
them intelligent, an addition to his powers, instead 


of a serv'ile dependency. When this problem shall 
be solved, work in language, literature, and number 
will not be a combination of mechanical drill, 
formal analysis, and appeal, even if unconscious, 
to sensational interests; and there will not be the 
slightest reason to fear that books and all that 
relates to them will not take the important place 
to which they are entitled. 

It is hardly necessary to say that the problem is 
not yet solved. The common complaints that 
children's progress in these traditional school 
studies is sacrificed to the newer subjects 
that have come into the curriculum is suffi- 
cient evidence that the exact balance is not yet 
struck. The experience thus far in the school, 
even if not demonstrative, indicates the following 
probable r esults : (i) the more direct modes of 
activity, constructive and occupation work, scien- 
tific observation, experimentation, etc., present 
plenty of opportunities and occasions for the 
necessary use of reading, writing (and spelhng), 
and number work. These things may be intro- 
duced, then, not as isolated studies, but as organic 
outgrowths of the child's experience. The prob- 
lem is, in a systematic and progressive way, to 
take advantage oi chese occasions. (2) The 
additional vitality and meaning which these 
studies thus secure make possible a very con- 
siderable reduction of the time ordinarily devoted 


to them. (3) The final use of the symbols, whether 
in reading, calculation, or composition, is more 
intelligent, less mechanical; more active, less 
passively receptive; more an increase of power, 
less a mere mode of enjoyment. 

On the other hand, increasing experience seems 
to make clear the following points: (i) that it is 
possible, in the early years, to appeal, in teaching 
the recognition and use of symbols, to the child's 
power of production and creation; as much so in 
principle as in other lines of work seemingly much 
more direct, and that there is the advantage of a 
limited and definite result by which the child may 
measure his progress. (2) Failure sufficiently to 
take account of this fact resulted in an undue 
postponement of some phases of these lines of 
work, with the effect that the child, having pro- 
gressed to a more advanced plane intellectually, 
feels what earlier might have been a form of power 
and creation to be an irksome task. (3) There is 
a demand for periodic concentration and alterna- 
tion in the school program of the time devoted to 
these studies — and of all studies where mastery of 
technique or special method is advisable. That is to 
say, instead of carrying all subjects simultaneously 
and at an equal pace upon the program, at times 
one must be brought to the foreground and others 
relegated to the background, until the child is 
brought to the point of recognizing that he has a 


power or skill which he can now go ahead and use 

The third period of elementary education is 
upon the borderland of secondary. It comes when 
the child has a sufficient acquaintance of a fairly 
direct sort with various forms of reality and modes 
of activity; and when he has sufficiently mastered 
the methods, the tools of thought, inquiry, and 
activity, appropriate to various phases of experi- 
ence, to be able profitably to specialize upon 
distinctive studies and arts for technical and intel- 
lectual aims. While the school has a number of 
children who are in this period, the school has not, 
of course, been in existence long enough so that 
any typical inferences can be safely drawn. There 
certainly seems to be reason to hope, however, that 
with the consciousness of difficulties, needs, and 
resources gained in the experience of the last five 
years, children can be brought to and through this 
period without sacrifice of thoroughness, mental 
discipline, or command of technical tools of learn- 
ing, and with a positive enlargement of life, and a 
wider, freer, and more open outlook upon it. 



One of the traditions of the Elementary School 
of the University of Chicago is of a visitor who, in 
its early days, called to see the kindergarten. On 
being told that the school had not as yet estab- 
lished one, she asked if there were not singing, 
drawing, manual training, plays and dramatiza- 
tions, and attention to the children's social rela- 
tions. When her questions were answered in the 
affirmative, she remarked, both triumphantly and 
indignantly, that that was what she understood 
by a kindergarten, and that she did not know 
what was meant by saying that the school had no 
kindergarten. The remark was perhaps justified 
in spirit, if not in letter. At aU events, it suggests 
that in a certain sense the school endeavors 
throughout its whole course — now including chil- 
dren between four and thirteen — to carry into effect 
certain principles which Froebel was perhaps the 
first consciously to set forth. Speaking still in 
general, these principles are: 

I. That the primary business of school is to 
train children in co-operative and mutually 
helpful living; to foster in them the conscious- 
ness of mutual interdependence; and to help them 


practically in making the adjustments that will 
carry this spirit into overt deeds. 

2. That the primary root of all educative activity 
is in the instinctive, impulsive attitudes and 
activities of the child, and not in the presentation 
and application of external material, whether 
through the ideas of others or through the senses; 
and that, accordingly, numberless spontaneous 
activities of children, plays, games, mimic efforts, 
even the apparently meaningless motions of 
infants — exhibitions previously ignored as trixaal, 
futile, or even condemned as positively evil — are 
capable of educational use; nay, are the foundation- 
stones of educational method. 

3. That these individual tendencies and activi- 
ties are organized and directed through the uses 
made of them in keeping up the co-operative living 
already spoken of; taking advantage of them to 
reproduce on the child's plane the typical doings 
and occupations of the larger, maturer society 
into which he is finally to go forth; and that it is 
through production and creative use that valuable 
knowledge is secured and clinched. 

So far as these statements correctly represent 
Froebel's educational philosophy, the School should 
be regarded as its exponent. An attempt is mak- 
ing to act upon them with as much faith and 
sincerity in their application to children of twelve 
as to children of four. This attempt, however, to 


assume what might be called the kindergarten 
attitude throughout the whole school makes neces- 
sary certain modifications of the work done in 
what is more technically known as the kinder- 
garten period — that is, with the children between 
the ages of four and six. It is necessary only to 
state reasons for believing that in spite of the 
apparently radical character of some of them they 
are true to the spirit of Froebel. 


Play is not to be identified with anything which 
the child externally does. It rather designates his 
mental attitude in its entirety and in its unity. 
It is the free play, the interplay, of all the child's 
powers, thoughts, and physical movements, m 
embodying, in a satisfying form, his own images 
and interests. Negatively, it is freedom from 
economic pressure — the necessities of getting a 
living and supporting others — and from the fixed 
responsibilities attaching to the special callings of 
the adult. Positively, it means that the supreme 
end of the child is fulness of growth — fulness of re- 
alization of his budding powers, a realization which 
continually carries him on from one plane to another. 

This is a very general statement, and taken in 
its generality, is so vague as to be innocent of prac- 
tical bearing. Its significance in detail, in applica- 
tion, however, means the possibility, and in many 


respects the necessity, of quite a radical change of 
kindergarten procedure. To state it baldly, the 
fact that "play" denotes the psychological attitude 
of the child, not his outward performances, means 
complete emancipation from the necessity of 
following any given or prescribed system, or 
sequence of gifts, plays, or occupations. The 
judicious teacher will certainly look for suggestions 
to the activities mentioned by Froebel (in his 
Mother-Flay and elsewhere), and to liiose set forth 
in such minute detail by his disciples; but she will 
also remember that the principle of play requires 
her carefully to investigate and criticize these 
things, and decide whether they are really activi- 
ties for her own children, or just things wliich may 
have been vital in the past to children liv-ing in 
different social conditions. So far as occupations, 
games, etc., simply perpetuate those of Froebel and 
his earlier disciples, it may fairly be said that in 
many respects the presumption is against them — 
the presumption is that in the worship of the 
external doings discussed by Froebel we have 
ceased to be loyal to his principle. 

The teacher must be absolutely free to get 
suggestions from any and from every source, asking 
herself but these two questions: Will the proposed 
mode of play appeal to the child as his own ? Is it 
something of which he has the instinctive roots in 
himself, and which will mature the capacities 


that are struggling for manifestation in him ? 
And again: Will the proposed activity give that 
sort of expression to these impulses that will carry 
the child on to a higher plane of consciousness and 
action, instead of merely exciting him and then 
leaving him just where he was before, plus a 
certain amount of nervous exhaustion and appetite 
for more excitation in the future ? 

There is every evidence that Froebel studied 
carefully — inductively we might now say — the 
children's plays of his own time, and the games 
which mothers played with their infants. He also 
took great pains — ^as in his Mother-Play — to point 
out that certain principles of large import were 
involved. He had to bring his generation to 
consciousness of the fact that these things were 
not merely trivial and childish because done by 
children, but were essential factors in their growth. 
But I do not see the slightest evidence that he sup- 
posed that just these plays, and only these plays, 
had meaning, or that his philosophic explanation 
had any motive beyond that just suggested. On 
the contrary, I believe that he expected his fol- 
lowers to exhibit their following by continuing 
his own study of contemporary conditions and 
activities, rather than by literally adhering to the 
plays he had collected. Moreover, it is hardly 
Hkely that Froebel himself would contend that in 
his interpretation of these games he did more than 


take advantage of the best psychological and 
philosophical insight available to him at the time; 
and we may suppose that he would have been the 
first to welcome the growth of a better and more 
extensive psychology (whether general, experi- 
mental, or as child study), and would avail himself 
of its results to reinterpret the activities, to dis- 
cuss them more critically, going from the new 
standpoint into the reasons that make tliem educa- 
tionally valuable. 


It must be remembered that much of Froebel's 
symbolism is the product of two peculiar conditions 
of his own life and work. In the first place, on 
account of inadequate knowledge at that time of the 
physiological and psychological facts and principles 
of child growth, he was often forced to resort to 
strained and artificial explanations of the value 
attaching to the plays, etc. To the impartial 
observer it is obvious that many of his statements 
are cumbrous and far-fetched, giving abstract 
philosophical reasons for matters that may now 
receive a simple, everyday formulation. In the 
second place, the general political and social con- 
ditions of Germany were such that it was impos- 
sible to conceive continuity between the free, co- 
operative social life of the kindergarten and that of 
the world outside. Accordingly , he could not regard 


the "occupations" of the schoolroom as literal 
reproductions of the ethical principles involved in 
community life — the latter were often too restricted 
and authoritative to serve as worthy models. 
Accordingly he was compelled to think of them 
as symbolic of abstract ethical and philosophical 
principles. There certainly is change enough and 
progress enough in the social conditions of the 
United States of today, as compared with those 
of the Germany of his day, to justify making 
kindergarten activities more natural, more direct, 
and more real representations of current life than 
Froebel's disciples have done. Even as it is, the 
disparity of Froebel's philosophy with German 
political ideals has made the authorities in Germany 
suspicious of the kindergarten, and has been un- 
doubtedly one force operating in transforming its 
social simplicity into an involved intellectual 


An excessive emphasis on symbolism is sure to 
influence the treatment of imagination. It is of 
course true that a little child lives in a world of 
imagination. In one sense, he can only ''make 
believe." His activities represent or stand for the 
life that he sees going on around him. Because 
they are thus representative they may be termed 
symbolic, but it should be remembered that this 


make-believe or symbolism has reference to the 
activities suggested. Unless they are, to the child, 
as real and defijdte as the adult's activities are to 
him, the inevitable result is artificiality, nervous 
strain, and either physical and emotional excite- 
ment or else deadening of powers. 

There has been a curious, almost unaccountable, 
tendency in the kindergarten to assume that 
because the value of the activity lies in what it 
stands for to the child, therefore the materials used 
must be as artificial as possible, and that one must 
keep carefully away from real things and real acts 
on the part of the child. Thus one hears of garden- 
ing activities which are carried on by sprinkling 
grains of sand for seeds; the child sweeps and dusts 
a make-believe room with make-believe brooms and 
cloths; he sets a table using only paper cut in the 
flat (and even then cut with reference to geometric 
design, rather then to dishes), instead of toy tea 
things with which the child outside of the kinder- 
garten plays. Dolls, toy locomotives, and trains 
of cars, etc., are tabooed as altogether too grossly 
real — and hence not cultivating the child's imagi- 

All this is surely mere superstition. The imagi- 
native play of the child's mind comes through the 
cluster of suggestions, reminiscences, and antici- 
pations that gather about the thmgs he uses. 
The more natural and straightforward these are. 


the more definite basis there is for calling up and 
holding together all the allied suggestions which 
make his imaginative play really representative. 
The simple cooking, dishwashing, dusting, etc., 
which children do are no more prosaic or utihtarian 
to them than would be, say, the game of the Five 
Knights. To the children these occupations are 
surcharged with a sense of the mysterious values 
that attach to whatever their elders are concerned 
with. The materials, then, must be as "real," 
as direct and straightforward, as opportunity 

But the principle does not end here — the reality 
symbolized must also lie within the capacities of 
the child's own appreciation. It is sometimes 
thought the use of the imagination is profitable in 
the degree it stands for very remote metaphysical 
and spiritual principles. In the great majority of 
such cases it is safe to say that the adult deceives 
himself. He is conscious of both the reality and 
the symbol, and hence of the relation between 
them. But since the truth or reality represented 
is far beyond the reach of the child, the supposed 
symbol is not a sjrmbol to him at all. It is simply 
a positive thing on its own account. Practically 
about all he gets out of it is its own physical and 
sensational meaning, plus, very often, a ghb facility 
in phrases and attitudes that he learns are expected 
of him by the teacher — without, however, any 


mental counterpart. We often teach insincerity, 
and instil sentimentalism, and foster sensationalism 
when we think we are teaching spiritual truths by 
means of symbols. The realities reproduced, 
therefore, by the child should be of as familiar, 
direct, and real a character as possible. It is 
largely for this reason that in the kindergarten 
of our School the work centers so much about the 
reproduction of home and neighborhood life 
This brings us to the topic of 


The home life in its setting of house, furniture, 
utensils, etc., together with the occupations carried 
on in the home, offers, accordingly, material which 
is in a direct and real relationship to the child, and 
which he naturally tends to reproduce in imagina- 
tive form. It is also sufhciently full of ethical 
relations and suggestive of moral duties to afford 
plenty of food for the child on his moral side. The 
program is comparatively unambitious compared 
with that of many kindergartens, but it may be 
questioned whether there are not certain positive 
advantages in this limitation of the subject-matter. 
When much ground is covered (the work going over, 
say, industrial society, army, church, state, etc.), 
there is a tendency for the work to become over- 
symbolic. So much of this material lies beyond the 
experience and capacities of the child of four and 


five that practically all he gets out of it is the 
physical and emotional reflex — he does not get any 
real penetration into the material itself. More- 
over, there is danger, in these ambitious programs, 
of an unfavorable reaction upon the chCd's own 
intellectual attitude. Having covered pretty 
much the whole universe in a purely make- 
believe fashion, he becomes blase, loses his 
natural hunger for the simple things of direct 
experience, and approaches the material of the 
first grades of the primary school with a feeling 
that he has had all that already. The later years 
of a child's life have their own rights, and a super- 
ficial, merely emotional anticipation is likely to do 
the child serious injury. 

Moreover, there is danger that a mental habit 
of jumping rapidly from one topic to another be 
induced. The little child has a good deal of 
patience and endurance of a certain type. It is 
true that he has a liking for novelty and variety; 
that he soon wearies of an activity that does not 
lead out into new fields and open up new paths for 
exploration. iMy plea, however, is not for mo- 
notony. There is sufiicient variety in the activi- 
ties, furnishings, and instrumentalities of the 
homes from which the children come to give con- 
tinual diversity. It touches the civic and the 
industrial life at this and that point; these concerns 
can be brought in, when desirable, without going 


beyond the unity of the main topic. Thus there 
is an opportunity to foster that sense which is 
at the basis of attention and of all inteUectual 
growth — a sense of continuity. 

This continuity is often interfered with by the 
very methods that aim at securing it. From the 
child's standpoint unity lies in the subject-matter — 
in the present case, in the fact that he is always 
dealing with one thing: home life. Emphasis is 
continually passing from one phase of this life 
to another; one occupation after another, one 
piece of furniture after another, one relation after 
another, etc., receive attention; but they all fall 
into building up one and the same mode of living, 
although bringing now this feature, now that, into 
prominence. The child is working all the time 
within a unity, giving different phases of its clear- 
ness and defijiiteness, and bringing them into 
coherent connection with each other. When there 
is a great diversity of subject-matter, continuity 
is apt to be sought simply on the formal side; that 
is, in schemes of sequence, "schools of work," a 
rigid program of development followed with every 
topic, a "thought for the day" from which the 
work is not supposed to stray. As a rule such 
sequence is purely intellectual, hence is grasped only 
by the teacher, quite passing over the head of the 
child. Hence the program for the year, term, 
month, week, etc., should be made out on the basis 


of estimating how much of the common subject- 
matter can be covered in that time, not on the 
basis of intellectual or ethical principles. This 
will give both defijiiteness and elasticity. 


The peculiar problem of the early grades is, of 
course, to get hold of the child's natural impulses 
and instincts, and to utilize them so that the child 
is carried on to a higher plane of perception and 
judgment, and equipped with more efficient habits; 
so that he has an enlarged and deepened conscious- 
ness and increased control of powers of action. 
Wherever this result is not reached, play results in 
mere amusement and not in educative growth. 

Upon the whole, constructive or *' built up" 
work (with, of course, the proper alternation of 
story, song, and game which may be connected, 
so far as is desirable, with the ideas involved in the 
construction) seems better fitted than anything 
else to secure these two factors — initiation in the 
child's own impulse and termination upon a higher 
plane. It brings the child in contact with a 
great variety of material: wood, tin, leather, yarn, 
etc. ; it supplies a motive for using these materials 
in real ways instead of going through exercises 
having no meaning except a remote symbolic one; 
it calls into play alertness of the senses and acute- 
ness of observation; it demands clear-cut imagery 


of the ends to be accomplished, and requires in- 
genuity and invention in planning; it makes 
necessary concentrated attention and personal re- 
sponsibility in execution, while the results are in 
such tangible form that the child may be led to 
judge his owti work and improve his standards. 

A word should be said regarding the psychology 
of imitation and suggestion in relation to kinder- 
garten work. There is no doubt that the little 
child is highly imitative and open to suggestions; 
there is no doubt that his crude powers and imma- 
ture consciousness need to be continually enriched 
and directed through these channels. But on 
this account it is imperative to discriminate be- 
tween a use of imitation and suggestion which is so 
external as to be thoroughly non-psychological, and 
a use which is justified through its organic relation 
to the child's own activities. As a general prin- 
ciple no activity should be originated by imitation. 
The start must come from the child; the model or 
copy may then be supplied in order to assist the 
child in imaging more definitely what it is that he 
really wants — in bringing him to consciousness. 
Its value is not as model to copy in action, but as 
guide to clearness and adequacy of conception. 
Unless the child can get away from it to his own 
imagery when it comes to execution, he is rendered 
servile and dependent, not developed. Imitation 
comes in to reinforce and help out, not to initiate. 


There is no ground for holding that the teacher 
should not suggest anything to the child until he 
has consciously expressed a want in that direction. 
A sympathetic teacher is quite likely to know more 
clearly than the child himself what his own instincts 
are and mean. But the suggestion must^/ in with 
the dominant mode of growth in the child; it 
must serve simply as stimulus to bring forth more 
adequately what the child is already blindly striv- 
ing to do. Only by watching the child and seeing 
the attitude that he assumes toward suggestions 
can we tell whether they are operating as factors 
in furthering the child's growth, or whether they 
are external, arbitrary impositions interfering with 
normal growth. 

The same principle applies even more strongly 
to so-called dictation work. Nothing is more 
absurd than to suppose that there is no middle 
term between leaving a child to his own unguided 
fancies and likes or controlling his activities by a 
formal succession of dictated directions. As just 
intimated, it is the teacher's business to know 
what powers are striving for utterance at a given 
period in the child's development, and what sorts 
of activity will bring these to helpful expression, in 
order then to supply the requisite stimuli and 
needed materials. The suggestion, for instance, of 
a playhouse, the suggestion that comes from seeing 
objects that have already been made to furnish it. 


from seeing other children at work, is quite suflS- 
cient defijiitely to direct the acti\ities of a normal 
child of five. Imitation and suggestion come in 
naturally and inevitably, but only as instruments to 
help him carry out his own wishes and ideas. They 
serve to make him realize, to bring to conscious- 
ness, what he already is striving for in a vague, 
confused, and therefore ineffective way. From 
the psychological standpoint it may safely be said 
that when a teacher has to rely upon a series of 
dictated directions, it is just because the child has 
no image of his own of what is to be done or why it 
is to be done. Instead, therefore, of gaining power 
of control by conforming to directions, he is really 
losing it — made dependent upon an external source. 
In conclusion, it' may be pointed out that such 
subject-matter and the method connect directly 
with the work of the six-year-old children (corre- 
sponding to the first grade of primary work). 
The play reproduction of the home life passes 
naturally on into a more extended and serious 
study of the larger social occupations upon which 
the home is dependent; while the continually 
increasing demands made upon the child's own 
ability to plan and execute carry him over into 
more controlled use of attention upon more dis- 
tinctively intellectual topics. It must not be for- 
gotten that the readjustment needed to secure 
continuity between "kindergarten" and "first- 


grade" work cannot be brought about wholly from 
the side of the latter. The school change must be 
as gradual and insensible as that in the growth of 
the child. This is impossible unless the subprimary 
work surrenders whatever isolates it, and hospi- 
tably welcomes whatever materials and resources 
will keep pace with the full development of the 
child's powers, and thus keep him always prepared, 
ready, for the next work he has to do. 




By occupation is not meant any kind of "busy 
work" or exercises that may be given to a child 
in order to keep him out of mischief or idleness 
when seated at his desk. By occu pation I mean 
Ca mode of activity on the part of the child which 
reproduces, or runs parallel to, some form of work 
carried on in social U^ In the University Ele- 
mentary School these occupations are represented 
by the shop work with wood and tools ; by cooking, 
sewing, and by the textile work herewith reported 

The fundamental point in the psycholo^ of an 
occupation is that it maintaiiis_aL_b.alance between 
the inteUectuaL and the practical phases of experi- 
ence. As an occupation it is active or motor; 
it finds expression through the physical organs — 
the eyes, hands, etc. But it also involves con- 
tinual observation of materials, and continual 
planning and reflection, in order that the practical 
or executive side may be successfully carried on. 
Occupation as thus conceived must, therefore, be 
carefully distinguished from work which educates 
primarily for a trade. It differs because, its end 
Js_in itself; in the growth that comes from the 


continual interplay of ideas andjtheir embodiment 
in action, not in external utility. 

It is possible to carry on this type of work in 
other than trade schools, so that the entire empha- 
sis falls upon the manual or physical side. In such 
cases the work is reduced to a mere routine or 
custom, and its educational value is lost. This is 
the inevitable tendency wherever, in manual 
training for instance, the mastery of certain tools, 
or the production of certain objects, is made the 
primary end, and the child is not given, wherever 
possible, intellectual responsibility for selecting 
the materials and instruments that are most fit, 
and given an opportunity to think out his own 
model and plan of work, led to perceive his own 
errors, and find out how to correct them — that is, 
of course, within the range of his capacities. So 
far as the external result Is held in view, rather than 
the mental and moral states and growth involved 
in the process of reaching the result, the work may 
be called manual, but cannot rightly be termed 
an occupation. Of course the tendency of all 
mere habit, routine, or custom is to result in what 
is unconscious and mechanical. That of occupa- 
tion is to put the maximum of consciousness into 
whatever is done. 

This enables us to interpret the stress laid (a) 
upon personal experimenting, planning, and rein- 
venting in connection with the textile work, and (b) 


its parallelism with lines of historical development. 
The first requires the child to be mentally quick 
and alert at every point in order that he may do 
the outward work properly. The second enriches 
and deepens the work performed by saturating it 
with values suggested from the social life which it 

Occupations, so considered, furnish the ideal 
occasions for both sense-training and discipline in 
thought. The weakness of ordinary lessons in 
observation, calculated to train the senses, is that 
they have no outlet beyond themselves, and hence 
no necessary motive. Now, in the natural Life 
of the individual and the race there is always a 
reason for sense-observation. There is always 
some need, coming from an end to be reached, that 
makes one look about to discover and discriminate 
whatever will assist him. Normal sensations 
operate as clues, as aids, as stimuli, in directing 
activity in what has to be done; they are not ends 
in themselves. Separated from real needs and 
motives, sense-training becomes a mere gymnastic 
and easily degenerates into acquiring what are 
hardly more than mere knacks or tricks in 
observation, or else mere excitement of the 
sense organs. 

The same principle applies in normal thinking. 
It also does not occur for its own sake, nor end in 
itself. It arises from the need of meeting some 


difficulty, in reflecting upon the best way of over- 
coming it, and thus leads to planning, to projecting 
mentally the result to be reached, and deciding 
upon the steps necessary and their serial orderT) 
[This concrete logic of action long precedes the logic 
iof pure speculation or abstract investigation, and 
through the mental habits that it forms is the best 
[of preparations for the latter. 

Another educational point upon which the psy- 
chology of occupations throws helpful light is the 
place of interes Lin school work . One of the objec- 
tions regularly brought against giving in school 
work any large or positive place to the child's 
interest is the impossibility on such a basis of 
proper selection. The child, it is said, has all kinds 
of interests, good, bad, and indifferent. It, is 
necessary to decide between the interests that are 
really important and those that are trivial ; between 
those that are helpful and those that are hamiful; 
between those that are transitor}' or mark immedi- 
ate excitement, and those which endure and are per- 
manently influential. It would seem as if we had 
to go beyond interest to get any basis for using 

Now, there can be no doubt that occupation 
work possesses a strong interest for the child. A 
glance into any school where such work is carried 
on will give suflicient evidence of this fact. Out- 
side of the school, a large portion of the children's 


plays are simply more or less miniature and hap- 
hazard attempts at reproducing social occupations. 
There are certain reasons for believing that the 
type of interest which springs up along with these 
occupations is of a thoroughly healthy, permanent, 
and really educative sort; and that by giving a 
larger place to occupations we should secure an 
excellent, perhaps the very best, way of making 
an appeal to the child's spontaneous interest, and 
yet have, at the same time, some guaranty that 
we are not dealing with what is merely pleasure- 
giving, exciting, or transient. 

In the first place, every interest grows out of 
some instinct or some habit that in turn is finally 
based upon an original instinct. It does not follow 
that all instincts are of equal value, or that we do 
not inherit many instincts which need transforma- 
tion, rather than satisfaction, in order to be useful 
in life, 'itut the instincts which find their conscious 
outlet and expression in occupation are bound to be 
of an exceedingly fundamental and permanent 
type. The activities of life are of necessity directed 
to bringing the materials and forces of nature I/' 
under the control of our purposes; of making them 
tributary to ends of life. Men have had to work 
in order to live. In and through their work they 
have mastered nature, they have protected and 
enriched the conditions of their own life, they have 
been awakened to the sense of their own powers — 



have been led to invent, to plan, and to rejoice 
in the acquisition of skill. In a rough way, all 
occupations may be classified as gathering about 
man's fundamental relations to the world in which 
he lives through getting food to maintain life; 
securing clothing and shelter to protect and 
ornament it, and thus, finally, to provide a perma- 
nent home m which all the higher and more spiritual 
interests may center. It is hardly unreasonable 
to suppose that interests which have such a history 
behind them must be of the worthy sort. 

However, these interests as they develop in the 
child not only recapitulate past important activi- 
ties of the race, but reproduce those of the child's 
present environment. He continually sees his 
elders engaged in such pursuits. He daily has to 
do with things which are the results of just such 
occupations. He comes in contact with facts that 
have no meaning, except in reference to them. 
Take these things out of the present social life and 
see how little would remain — and this not only on 
the material side, but as regards intellectual, 
aesthetic, and moral activities, for these are largely 
and necessarily bound up with occupations. The 
child's instinctive interests in this direction are, 
therefore, constantly reinforced by what he sees, 
feels, and hears going on around him. Suggestions 
along this line are continually coming to him; 
motives are awakened; his energies are stirred to 


action. Again, it is not unreasonable to suppose 
that interests which are touched so constantly, and 
on so many sides, belong to the worthy and endur- 
ing type. 

In the third place, one of the objections made 
against the principle of interest in education is that 
TF tends to disintegration of mental economy by 
constantly stirring up the child in this way or that, 
destroying continuity and thoroughness^ But 
an occupation (such as the textile one herewith 
reported on) is of necessity a continuous thing. 
It lasts, not only for days, but for months and 
years. It represents, not a stirring of isolated 
and superficial energies, but rather a steady, 
continuous organization of power along certain 
general lines. The same is true, of course, of any 
other form of occupation, such as shopwork with 
tools, or as cooking. The occupations articulate 
a vast variety of impulses, otherwise separate and 
spasmodic, into a consistent skeleton with a firm 
backbone. It may well be doubted whether, 
wholly apart from some such regular and progres- 
sive modes of action, extending as cores throughout 
the entire school, it would be permanently safe to 
give the principle of "interest" any large place in 
school work. 




The subprimary or kindergarten department is 
undertaking the pedagogical problems growing out 
of an attempt to connect kindergarten work inti- 
mately with primary, and to readapt traditional 
materials and technique to meet present social con- 
ditions and our present physiological and psy- 
chological knowledge. A detailed statement of 
the work will be pubUshed later. 

Little children have their observations and 
thoughts mainly directed toward people: what 
they do, how they behave, what they are occupied 
with, and what comes of it. Jheir interest is of a 
personal rather than of an objective or intellectual 
sort. Its intellectual counterpart is the stor>^- 
form; not the task, consciously defined end, or 
problem — meaning by story-form something psy- 
chical, the holding together of a variety of persons, 
things, and incidents through a common idea that 
enhsts feehng; not an outward relation or tale. 
Their minds seek wholes, varied through episode, 
enlivened with action and defined in salient fea- 
tures—there must be go, movement, the sense of 
use and operation — inspection of things separated 
from the idea by which they are carried. Analysis 


lof isolated detail of form and structure neither 
[appeals nor satisfies. 

Material provided by existing social occupations 
is calculated to meet and feed this attitude. In 
previous years the children have been concerned 
with the occupations of the home, and the contact 
of homes with one another and with outside life. 
Now they may take up typical occupations of soci- 
ety at large — a step farther removed from the 
child's egoistic, self-absorbed interest, and yet deal- 
ing with something personal and something which 
touches him. 

From the standpoint of educational theory, the 
following features may be noted: 

I. The study of natural objects, processes, and 
relations is placed in a human setting. During the 
year, a considerably detailed observation of seeds 
and their growth, of plants, woods, stones, animals, 
as to some phases of structure and habit, of geo- 
graphical conditions of landscape, cUmate, arrange- 
ment of land and water, is undertaken. The 
pedagogical problem is to direct the child's power of 
observation, to nurture his s>Tnpathetic interest in 
characteristic traits of the world in which he lives, 
to afford interpreting material for later more special 
studies, and yet to supply a carrying medium for the 
variety of facts and ideas through the dominant 
Spontaneous emotions and thoughts of the child. 
Hence their association with human life. Abscv 


lutely no separation is made between the "social" 
side of the work, its concern with people's activities 
and their mutual dependencies, and the "science," 
regard for physical facts and forces — because the 
conscious distinction between man and nature is 
the result of later reflection and abstraction, and to 
force it upon the child here is not only to fail to 
engage his whole mental energy, but to confuse 
and distract him. The environment is always 
that in which life is situated and through which 
it is circumstanced; and to isolate it, to make it 
with little children an object of observation and 
remark by itself, is to treat human nature incon- 
siderately. At last, the original open and free 
attitude of the mind to nature is destroyed; 
nature has been reduced to a mass of mean- 
ingless details. 

In its emphasis upon the "concrete" and "indi- 
vidual," modern pedagogical theorj' often loses 
sight of the fact that the existence and presentation 
of an individual physical thing — a stone, an orange, 
a cat — is no guaranty of concreteness; that this is a 
psychological affair, whatever appeals to the mind 
as a whole, as a self-sufficient center of interest 
and attention. The reaction from this external 
and somewhat dead standpoint often assumes, 
however, that the needed clothing with human 
significance can come only by direct personification, 
and we have that continued symbolization of a 



plant, cloud, or rain which makes only pseudo- 
science possible; which, instead of generating love 
for nature itself, switches interest to certain sensa- 
tional and emotional accompaniments, and leaves 
it, at last, dissipated and burnt out. And even 
the tendency to approach nature through the 
medium of literature, the pine tree through the 
fable of the discontented pine, etc., while recogniz- 
ing the need of the human association, fails to note 
that there is a more straightforward road from 
mind to the object — direct through connection 
with life itself; and that the poem and story, the 
literary statement, have their place as reinforce- 
ments and idealizations, not as foundation stones, 
'what is wanted, in other words, is not to fix up a 
connection of child mind and nature, but to give 
free and effective play to the connection already 

2. This suggests at once the practical questions 
that are usually discussed under the name of 
/"correlation," questions of such interaction of the 
\ various matters studied and powers under acquisi- 
tion as will avoid waste and maintain unity of 
mental growth. From the standpoint adopted 
the problem is one of differentiation rather than 
of correlation as ordinarily understood. The unity 
of life, as it presents itself to the child, binds 
together and carries along the different occupations, 
the diversity of plants, animals, and geograpbl- 


conditions; drawing, modeling, games, construc- 
tive work, numerical calculations are ways of carry- 
ing certain features of it to mental and emotional 
satisfaction and completeness. Not much atten- 
tion is paid in this year to reading and writing; 
but it is obvious that if this were regarded as 
desirable, the same principle would apply. It is 
the community and continuity of the subject- 
matter that organizes, that correlates; correlation 
is not through devices of instruction which the 
teacher employs in tying together things in them- 
selves disconnected. 

3. Two recognized demands of primary educa- 
tion are often, at present, not unified or are even 
opposed, ^e need of the familiar, the already 
experienced, as a basis for moving upon the un- 
known and remote, is a commonplaceT] \The 
claims of the child's imagination as a factor is at 
least beginning to be recognizedl The problem 
is to work these two forces together, instead of 
separately. The child is too often given drill upon 
familiar objects and ideas under the sanction of 
the first principle, while he is introduced with 
equal directness to the weird, strange, and impos- 
sible to satisfy the claims of the second. The 
result, it is hardly too much to say, is a twofold 
failure. There is no special connection between 
the unreal, the myth, the fairy tale, and the play 
of mental imagery. Imagination is not a matter 


of an impossible subject-matter, but a constructive 
way of dealing with any subject-matter under the 
influence of a pervading id^aj The pointjs not to 
dwell with wearisome iteration upon the familiar 
and under the guise of object-lessons to keep the 
senses directed at material which they have already 
made acquaintance with, but to. . enlJY en aj id 
illumine the ordinary, commonplace, and homely 
by using it to build up and appreciate situations 
previously unrealized and alien. And this also is 
culture pXimagiimtion. Some writers appear to 
have the impression that the child's imagination 
has outlet only in myth and fairy tale of ancient 
time and distant place or in weaving egregious 
fabrications regarding sun, moon, and stars; and 
have even pleaded for a niythical investiture of all 
"science" — as a way of satisfying the dominating 
imagination of the child. But fortunately these 
things are exceptions, are intensifications, are 
relaxations of the average child; not his pursuits. 
The John and Jane that most of us know let their 
imaginations play about the current and familiar 
contacts and events of life — about father and 
mother and friend, about steamboats and loco- 
motives, and sheep and cows, about the romance of 
farm and forest, of scasliore and mountain. What 
is needed, in a word,|2s to afford occasion by which 
the child is moved to educe and exchange with 
others his store of experiences, his range of uiforma- 


tion, to make new observations correcting and 
extending them in order to keep his images moving, 
in order to find mental rest and satisfaction in 
definite^nd vivid realization of what is new and 

With the development of reflective attention 
come the-need and the possibility of a change in the 
mode of the child's instruction. In the previous 
• paragraphs we have been concerned with the direct, 
spontaneous attitude that marks the child till into 
his seventh year — his demand for new experiences 
and his desire to complete his partial experiences by 
building up images and expressing them in play. 
This attitude is ty-pical of what writers call sgon- 
.tajiemiSL-alteiition, or, as some say, non-voluntar>' 

The child is simply absorbed in what he is doing; 
the occupation in which he is engaged lays complete 
hold upon him. He gives himself without reserve. 
Hence, while there is much energy spent, there is 
no conscious effort; while the child is intent to th^ 
point of engrossment, there is no conscious inten- 

\ With the development of a sense of more remote 
eiTds, and of the need of directing acts so as to make 
them means for these ends (a matter discussed 
in the second n-imber), we have the transition to 
what is termed indirect, or, as some writers prefei 
to say, voluntary, attention.,/ A result is imaged. 


and the child attends to what is before him or what 
he is immediately doing because it helps to secure 
the result. Taken by itself, the object or the act 
might be indifferent or even repulsive. But 
because it is felt to belong to something desirable 
or valuable, it borrows the latter's attracting and 
holding power. 

This is the transition to "voluntary" attention, 
but only the transition. The latter comes fully 
into being only when the child entertains results 
in the form of problems or questions, the solution of 
which he is to seek for himself. In the intervening 
stage (in the child from eight to, say, eleven or 
twelve) , while the child directs a series of interven- 
ing activities on the basis of some end he wishes 
to reach, this end is something to be done or made, 
or some tangible result to be reached ; the problem 
is a practical difficulty, rather than an intellectual 
question. 'But with growing power the child can 
conceive of the end as something to be found out, 
discovered; and can control his acts and images 
so as to help in the inquiry and solution. 1 This is 
reflective attention proper. 

In history work there is change from the story 
and biography form, from discussion of questions 
that arise, to the formulation of questions. Points 
about which difference of opinion is possible, 
matters upon which experience, reflection, etc., 
can be brought to bear, are always coming up in 


history. But to use the discussion to develop 
this matter of doubt and difference into a definite 
problem, to bring the child to feel just what the 
difficulty is, and then throw him upon his own 
resources in looking up material bearing upon the 
point, and upon his judgment in bringing it to bear, 
or getting a solution, is a marked intellectual 
advance^/ So in the science there is a change from 
the practical attitude of making and using cameras 
to the consideration of the problems intellectually 
mvolved in this — to principles of light, angular 
measurements, etc., which give the theory or 
explanation of the practice. 

In general, this growth is a natural process. But 
the proper recognition and use of it is perhaps the 
most serious problem in instruction upon the intel- 
lectual side. A person who has gained the power 
of reflective attention, the power to hold problems, 
questions, before the mind, is in so far, intellectually 
speaking, educated. He has mental discipline — 
power of the mind and for the mind. Without 
this the mind remains at the mercy of custom and 
external suggestions. Some of the difficulties may 
be barely indicated by referring to an error that 
almost dominates instruction of the usual type. 
Too often it is assumed that attention can be given 
directly to any subject-matter, if only the proper 
will or disposition be at hand, failure being regarded 
as a sign of unwillingness or indocility. Lessons in 


arithmetic, geography, and grammar are put before 
tlie child, and he is told to attend in order to learn. 
But excepting as there is some question, some 
doubt, present in the mind as a basis for this 

! attention, rejleciive attention is impossible. If 
there is sufficient intrinsic interest in the material, 
there will be direct or spontaneous attention, which 
is excellent so far as it goes, but which merely of 
itself does not give power of thought or internal 
mental control. If there is not an inherent 
attracting power in the material, then (according to 
his temperament and training, and the precedents 
and expectations of the school) the teacher will 
either attempt to surround the material with 
foreign attractiveness, making a bid or offering a 
bribe for attention by "making the lesson interest? 
ing"; or else will resort to counterirritants (low 
marks, threats of non-promotion, staying after 
school, personal disapprobation, expressed in a 
great variety of ways, naggings, continuous calling 
upon the child to "pay attention," etc.); or, 
probably, will use some of both means. 

But (i) the attention thus gained is never more 
than partial, or divided; and (2) it always remains 
dependent upon something external — hence, when 
the attraction ceases or the pressure lets up, there 
is httle or no gain in inner or intellectual control. 

I And (3) such attention is always for the sake of 
"learning ," i.e., memorizing ready-made answers 


lo possible questions to he put by another. jTrue^ 
reflectiv e attention , on the other hand, always 
involves judging, reasoning, deKberation; it means 
that the child has a question ofjii s own and is 
actively engaged in seeking and selecting relevant 
material with which to answer it, considering 
the bearings and relations of this material — the 
kind of solution it calls for. The problem is one's 
own; hence also the impetus, the stimulus to atten- 
tion, is one's own; hence also the training secured 
is one's own — it is discipline, or gain in power of 
control; that is, ^habii of considering problems. 

It is hardly too much to say that in the tra- 
ditional education so much stress has been laid upon 
the presentation to the child of ready-made ma- 
terial (books, object-lessons, teacher's talks, etc.), 
and the child has been so almost exclusively held 
to bare responsibility for reciting upon this ready- 
made material, that there has been only accidental 
occasion and motive for developing reflective 
attention. Next to no consideration has been 
paid to the fundamental necessity— Reading the 
child to realize a problem as his own, so that he is 
self-induced to attend in order to find out its 
answer. So completely have the conditions for 
securing this self-putting of problems been neg- 
lected that the very idea of voluntary attention 
has been radically perverted. It is regarded as 
measured by unwilling efi'ort — as activity called 


out by foreign, and so repulsive, material under con- 
ditions of strain, instead of as self-initiated effort. 
r*Voluntary" is treated as meaning the reluctant and 
uisagreeable instead of the free, the self-directed, 
^ rough personal interest, insight, and power. 




If history be regarded as just the record of the 
past, it is hard to see any grounds for claiming 
that it should play any large role in the curriculum 
of elementary education. The past is the past, 
and the dead may be safely left to bury its dead. 
There are too many urgent demands in the present, 
too many calls over the threshold of the future, 
to permit the child to become deeply immersed 
in what is forever gone by. Not so when, history 
is considered as an account of the forces and forms 
of social life. Social hfe we have always with us; 
the distinction of past and present is indifferent to 
it. Whether it was hved just here or just there is a 
matter of sHght moment. It is life for all that; 
it shows the motives which, draw men together and 
push them apart, and depicts what is desirable 
and what is hurtful. Whatever^ history may be 
for the scientific historian, for the educator it rnust 
be an indirect sociology — a study of society which 
lays bare its process of becoming and its modes 
of organization. '; Existing society is both too com- 
plex and too close to the child to be studied./ He 
finds no clues into its labyrinth of detail and can 


mount no eminence whence to get a perspective 
of arrangement. 

If the aim of historical instruction is to enable 
the child to appreciate the values of social life, to 
see in imagination the forces which favor and let 
men's effective co-operation with one another, to 
understand the sorts of character that help on and 
that hold back, the essential thing in its presentation 
is to make it moving, dynamic. History must be 
presented, not as an accumulation of results or 
effects, a mere statement of what happened, b\i| . 
as --a forceful, acting thing. The motives — that 
is, the motors — must stand out. To study history 
is not to amass information, but to use_information 
in constructing a vivid picture of how andjsJbi^ men 
did thus and so ; achieved their successes and carPie 
to their failures. 

When history is conceived as dynamic, as mov- 
ing, its economic and industrial aspects are empha- 
sised-, These are but technical terms which express 
the problem with which humanity is unceasingly 
engaged ;/Eow to live, how to master and use nature 
so as to make it tributary to the enrichment of 
human hfey The great advances in civilization 
have come through those manifestations of intelh- 
gence which have hfted man from his precarious 
subjection to nature, and revealed to him how he 
may make its forces co-operate with his own pur- 
poses. The social world in which the child now 


lives is so rich and full that it is not easy to see 
how much it cost, how much effort and thought lie 
back of it. Man has a tremendous equipment 
ready at hand. The child may be led to translate 
these ready-made resources into fluid terms; he 
may be led to see man face to face with nature, 
without inherited capital, without tools, without 
manufactured materials. And, step by step, he 
may follow the processes by which man recognized 
the needs of his situation, thought out the weapons 
and instruments that enable him to cope with them ; 
and may learn how these new resources opened 
new horizons of growth and created new prob- 
lems. The uidustrial history of man is not a 
materialistic or merely utilitarian affair. It is a 
matter of intelhgence. Its record is the record 
of how man learned to think, to think to some 
effect, to transform the conditions of Ufe so that 
life itself became a different thing. It is an 
ethical record as well; the account of the con- 
ditions which men have patiently wrought out 
to serve their ends. 

The question of how_huHian„heingS-Iive, indeed, 
represents the dominant interest with which the 
child approaches historic material. It is this 
point of view which brings those who worked in 
the past close to the beings with whom he is daily 
associated, and confers upon him the gift of sympa- 
thetic penetration. 


The child who is interested in the way in which 
men lived, the tools they had to do with, the new 
inventions they made, the transformations of life 
that arose from the power and leisure thus gained, 
is eager to repeat like processes in his own action, 
to remake utensils, to reproduce processes, to 
rehandle materials. Since he understands their 
problems and their successes only by seeing what 
obstacles and what resources they had from nature, 
the child is interested in field and forest, ocean and 
mountain, plant and animal. By building up a 
conception of the natural environment in which 
lived the people he is studying, he gets his hold 
upon their liv^ This reproduction he cannot 
make excepting as he gains acquaintance with the 
natural forces and forms with which he is himself 
surrounded. The interest m history gives a^more 
human coloring, a wider significance, to his own 
study of jiature. His knowledge of nalure Jends 
point and accuracy to his study of history. This 
is the natural "correlation" of history and science. 

This same end, aTdeepcning appreciation of social 
Uifi, decides the place of the .biq£ra£hic__clement in 
historical instruction, '^^at historical material 
appeals to the child most completely and vividly 
when presented in individual form, when summed 
up in the lives and deeds of some heroic character, 
there can be no douliE/ Yet it is possible to use 
biographies so that they become a collection of 


mere stories, interesting, possibly, to the point of 
sensationalism, but yet bringing the child no nearer 
to comprehension of social life. This happens 
when the individual who is the hero of the tale is 
isolated from his social en vdronment; when the 
child is not brought to feel the social situations 
which evoked his acts and the social progress to 
which his deeds contributed. If biography is pre'=^ 
sen ted as a dramatic summary of social needs and/ 
achievements, if the child's imagination pictures/ 
the social defects and problems that clamored" 
for the man and the ways in which the individual 
met the emergency, then the biography is an organ 
of social study. 

A consciousness of the social aim of history pre- 
vents any tendency to swamp history in myth, 
fairy story, and merely literary renderings. I 
cannot avoid the feeling that much as the Her- 
bartian school has done to enrich the elementary 
curriculum in the direction of history, it has often 
inverted the true relationship existing between 
history and Uterature. In a certain sense the 
motif of American colonial history and of De Foe's 
Robinson Crusoe are the same. Both represent 
man who has achieved civilization, who has 
attained a certain maturity of thought, who has 
developed ideals and means of action, but suddenly 
tlirown back upon his own resources, having to 
cope with a raw and often hostile nature, and to 


regain success by sheer intelligence, energy, and 
persistence of character. But when Robinson 
Crusoe supplies the material for the curriculum of 
the third- or fourth-grade child, are we not putting 
the cart before the horse ? Why not give the child 
the reality with its much larger sweep, its in tenser 
forces, its more vivid and lasting value for life, using 
the Robinson Crusoe as an imaginative idealization 
in a particular case of the same sort of problems 
and activities ? Again, whatever may be the worth 
of the study of savage Ufe in general, and of the 
North American Indians in particular, why should 
that be approached circuitously through the 
medium of Hiawatha, instead of at first hand ? 
employing indeed the poem to furnish the idealized 
and culminatmg touches to a series of conditions 
and struggles which the child has previously real- 
ized in more specific form. Either the life of the 
Indian presents some permanent questions and 
factors in social life, or it has next to no place in a 
scheme of instruction. \If it has such a value, this 
should be made to stand out on its own account, 
instead of being lost in the very refinement and 
beauty of a purely literary presentation. 

The same end, the understanding of character 
and social relations in their natural dependence, 
enables us, I think, to decide upon the importance 
to be attached to chronological ord er in histor ical 
instruction. Considerable stress has of late been 


laid upon the supposed necessity of following the 
development of civilization through the successive 
steps in which it actually took place — beginning 
with the valleys of the Euphrates and the Nile, and 
coming on down through Greece, Rome, etc. The 
point urged is that the present depends upon the 
past and each phase of the past upon a prior past. 
We are here introduced to a conflict between the 
logical and psychological interpretation of history. 
If the aim be an appreciation of what social life is 
and how it goes on, then, certainly, the child 
must deal with what is near in spirit, not with the 
remote. The difficulty with the Babylonian or 
Eg^'ptian life is not so much its remoteness in time, 
as its remoteness from the present interests and 
aims of social life. It does not smiplify enough 
and does not generalize enough; or, at least, it 
does not do so in the right way. It does it by 
omission of what is significant now, rather than 
by presenting these factors arranged on a lower 
scale. Its salient features are hard to get at and 
to understand, even by the specialist. It undoubt- 
edly presents factors which contributed to later 
life, and which modified the course of events in the 
stream of time. But the child has not arrived 
at a point where he can appreciate abstract causes 
and specialized contributions. What he needs is a 
picture of typical relations, conditions, and activi- 
ties. In this respect, there is much of prehistoric 


life which is much closer to him than the compli- 
cated and artificial life of Babylon or of Egypt. 
When a child is capable of appreciating institutions, 
he is capable of seeing what special institutional 
idea each historic nation stands for, and what 
factor it has contributed to the present complex 
of institutions. But this period arrives only 
when the child is beginning to be capable of 
abstracting causes in other realms an, well; in 
other words, when he is approaching the time of 
secondary .educatiun . 

In this general scheme JJire£_periods or phases 
are recognized: first comes the generalized and 
simplified -history — history which is hardly history 
at all in the local or chronological seiise, but which 
aims at giving the child insight into, and sympathy 
with, a variety of social activities. This period 
includes the work of the six-year-oJd children in 
studying typical occupations of people in the 
country and city at present; of the seven-year-old 
children in working out the evolution of inventions 
and their effects upon life, and of the eight-year-old 
children in dealing with the gj'eat movements of 
migration, exploration, and discover}' which have 
brought the whole round world into human ken. 
The work of the first two years is evidently quite 
independent of any particular people or any par- 
ticular person — that is, of historical data in the 
strict sense of tlie term. At the same time, plenty 


of scope is pro\dded through dramatization for the 
introduction of the individual factor. '^The account 
of the great explorers and the discoverers serves 
to make the transition to what is local and specific, 
that which depends upon certain specified persons 
who lived at certain specified places and times) 

This introduces us to the second period where 
local conditions and the. defixdte activities of par- 
ticular bodies of people become prominent — 
corresponding to the child's growth in power of 
dealing with limited and positive fact. Since 
Chicago, since the United States, are localities 
with which the child can, by the nature of the case, 
most effectively deal, the material of the next 
three years is derived directly and indirectly from 
this source. Here, again, the third year is a 
transitional-_year, taking up the connections of 
American life with European. By this time the 
child should be ready to deal, not with social life 
in general, or even with the social life with which 
he is most familiar, but with certain thoroughly 
differentiated and, so to speak, peculiar types of 
social fife ; with the special significance of each and 
the particular contribution it has made to the whole 
world-history. Accordingly, in the next period the 
cb.ronplagicai- order is followed, beginning with the 
ancient world about the Mediterranean and coming 
down again through European history to the pecul- 
iar and differentiating factors of American history 


The program is not presented as the only one 
meeting the problem, but as a contribution; the 
outcome, not of thought, but of considerable experi- 
menting and shifting of subjects from year to 
year, to the problem of giving material which 
takes vital hold upon the child and at the same 
time leads on, step by step, to more thorough and 
accurate knowledge of both the principles and 
facts of social life, and makes a preparation for 
later specialized historic studies.