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experience; dry, indigestible food offered to a soul alive with heart-interest only. The child discovers nothing; information is forced into his mind process for stunting rather than developing; no love or interest in relationship has been awakened, the cardinal principles of unity, harmonization, not recognized. Surely, to such work Freebel must say, “I never knew you.In defense it may be asked, is not investigation the aim of the gifts? Yes. But this is investigation according to the letter only — wrong because in violation of the laws of the child's being, in opposition to the laws of growth, belonging to the very system against which the kindergarten is a protest. The points of knowledge concerning the material should come through spontaneous investigation, which a properly planned play, full of life and spirit, will naturally call forth.

If a child should never while in kindergarten formulate this knowledge of corners, edges, and faces, he ought to be regarded as less lacking than if he should not intelligently see how to fit and use these corners and edges economically in building.

Let me illustrate still further:

This play called forth spontaneous, individual expression, and independent thought; led the children to reason out the fitness of each block for its partieular use, stimulated by the idea, which at the same time required an orderly arrangement. This would seem to be the characteristic and investigative use of the gifts.

For different times, and for different conditions of the children, there are many individual and specific uses to be made of them. These for convenience

may be classed under two heads — free play and dictation play. Free play, when the gift is given to the child for the first time, allows him full and free investigation of the object, an opportunity to act out the impulses aroused by the first sight of it, and spontaneously to enjoy the surprise. So long as the child does not indulge in caprice, or grow tired, he should be allowed to follow out his own inclinations; at the slightest sign of weariness, of exhausted resources, or trifling with the material, the kindergartner should be ready to suggest, to lead to new views and experiments, and thus to continue the play. Indeed, in all play the right attitude of the kindergartner seems that of sympathetic and ready responsiveness, whether in sequence, dietation, or in free play. If a child is so full of some recent experience as to seem unable to take the idea suggested, he should never be repressed or forced ; so long as he is serious and earnest he should be allowed to express his feeling, whether it carries out any preconceived plan, or not.

The circumstances calling for dictation play may arise with timid children, or those with few resources and small invention, unused to working out ideas. In such cases, to dictate happily and sympathetically any specific idea may encourage the child and start him aright. As soon as this is accomplished the kindergartner withdraws her help till it is needed again. In the case of erratic children, this method often sobers and gives concentration; with older children, who have failed in an earnest effort to express some difficult architectural idea, a little judicious dictation serves as encouragement.

These details are given but to make clear the idea that the material was made for the children, not the children for the material, as might sometimes be inferred.

The second great difficulty is symbolism. The symbolic use of kindergarten material is frequently based on as little truth as is sequence in moves. Both are often made arbitrary, accidental, untrue. As sequence, intended to be a guide to freedom, leads, when perverted, to slavery, so symbolism, destined to mirror truth and to lead to spiritual growth, leads, when misused, to untruth and to materialism.

In studying the symbolism felt and seen by the child, we shall find it always true in spirit, for there will be at least one point, or characteristic, common to the real object and the imaginary one; and it is that point which stands for the whole. For instance, the stick is a horse to the child, not because it has legs, head, mane, and tail — for it lacks all these but because by communicating to it his energy he makes it move. To him the motion makes a horse of the stick, for motion is the quality which to him stands for a real horse. It is therefore motion, the chief characteristic in the horse, which he embodies in the stick. He is not telling an untruth; he is giving the spirit, not the letter, of the fact.

All normal children feel, not see, the spiritual resemblances of things, and their sense is usually much truer and more discriminating than that of grown people. Hence the attempt of the grown person to symbolize for the child is usually clumsy, and often a failure; we are apt to destroy our symbol altogether by referring to literal points not included in the symbol. For instance, the first gift may be used to represent birds; and that is right and true, because curves of thought and curves of motion are common to both. It is this which the ball symbolizes. So the children enjoy the balls hopping - flying — east, west, north, south, in straight lines and in curves. But soon the kindergartner's limited resources in motion are exhausted, and she attempts to prolong the play by reference to feathers; she has the birds eat, tips then over to drink, goes through all the literal details of a bird's life, until the broad idea she started with is lost in the attempt to make the balls literally represent the birds. It began in truth and ends in untruth. It was the spirit, the lite of the bird, shown in the motion, a spiritual idea alone, to be dealt with. The kindergartner's safety lies in keeping to the broad qualities and truth in her symbols. If the children feel more, let them express it, so long as it is true to them; but let not the suggestion come from her. They will grow into the deeper sense, and forget their mistake of confusing letter and spirit, sooner than if the mistake is hers. The only escape from the danger of confusing truth and fact is in a clear and definite understanding of the quality or idea to be given the child, and so avoiding too literal interpretation. There must be at least one quality, if not more, in common between the material and the

thing symbolized. The cube can never symbolize anything but objects at rest, and the ball, objects capable of motion.

Such a view does away with the seeming difficulty in the way of fairy stories. These stories are indispensable in the training of a child's spiritual sense by symbolizing what his mind cannot grasp, but his feelings apprehend. Every fairy story cannot do this —the majority of them are false; but a true fairy story, one that has truth for its basis, such as the pretty little tale of “Double Darling”—has a power no realistic story can ever exert. It is all the difference between truth through the mind and truth through the feeling. A literal-minded, unimaginative child, such as we often see in the free kindergarten, may need some preparation for the fairy story; he should be led to itnot dosed with it because it is good; the best things are good only relatively.

The kindergartner should herself be always definitely conscious whether she is speaking after the letter or after the spirit — keeping the two distinct in the child's mind.

In a recent paper there was an article headed, “Kindergarten Ideas Applied to Sunday-School Lessons.” The following is an extract from it: “To love, to trust, to obey, are given as the conditions upon which one may become a member of God's family. As a closing exercise the three blocks of the Second Gift, the cube, the cylinder, and the sphere, are set up. The cube the foundation - is named love, the cylinder trust, the sphere obey." Had this been headed “Kindergarten Material used in Sunday School Lessons," the title would have been a more fitting one.

If this be a right use of material, then the ball, cube, and cylinder may symbolize any idea. It is purely arbitrary, and is misleading. There is no reason why the blocks should be used to represent these ideas any more than a box, a bottle, and a marble. Do the objects make clearer to the child's mind the particular ideas? Do they not add difficulty rather than clearness? Is it not a blind, almost superstitious, use of Freebel's aids ? It can only lead to materializing spiritual things instead of spiritualizing material things. How easily sentimentality may be substituted for spirituality. Fræbel's idea is to see through physical relations their corresponding spiritual relations, not to put spiritual meanings haphazard and arbitrarily into some little blocks. The little blocks do typify a great truth, but do not typify all the details of truth in the universe. Is it to be wondered at that strangers to the real principles should consider kindergartens empty and trifling. The fourth gift play, and also the others given, illustrate the idea here intended of spiritualizing material things.

The intention was to lead the children to the meaning back of forms of every inanimate object especially, showing that necessity and desire are the basis of all construction - not leaving the child in the hour, but bringing at once to grasp the why which illuminates all things with the reality back of them. Thus he is at once initiated into the difference between fact and truth. The Baroness Marenholz von Bulow says upon this subject: “The reproach of mysticism applied to Freebel's system has a certain justification, so long as the theory lying at the foundation of his emotional idea is not completely understood and scientifically established, and thus far there is little prospect that this will really happen very soon, since the great mass of the representatives of the cause can comprehend only its outside.” This indicates that those who most impede the progress of kindergarten are among its friends. To face the fact is wholesome for all concerned, and likely to drive out any complacency unconsciously entertained regarding our possession of a broad and comprehensive gospel. Wisdom would be shown in an earnest, humble struggle to make our discipleship a reality, not a name. Self-satisfaction and self-deception shut out light and leave us in greater darkness than any we may hope to dispel. It is but just to look to the normal school to remedy the failings seen in kindergartens.

While perfect training cannot be expected, it is certainly not unreasonable to hope for such as shall prevent a violation of the cardinal principles of the system. Could the grave errors in practice exist to the extent they do if the normal training connected in the pupils' experiences the apparently irreconcilable opposites of practice and theory?

The principles of all true teaching are the same, whether for adults or children, and the same developing laws must be carried out in the normal training as are required for the children; failure in the one case brings about the same disappointing consequence as in the other. To attenipt to give more principles than opportunity to assimilate through experience, is but to cram, and render skillful use of principle an impossibility. Practice is the basis of all the most important part of the normal course; for the student, even with daily experimenting, fifteen months is scarcely sufficient to give the necessary equipment. When the offer is made to graduate a kindergartner in three months, such violence is done to the principles of Frebel as shall make his prophetic vision sadly true.

Only effort and failure, repeated again and again, can possibly enable us to reconcile practically the extremes found in developing a human being. The student must learn that at every instant she must be two-sided — as Freebel expresses it, “giving and taking, uniting and separating, dictating and following, active and enduring, deciding and setting free, fixed and movable.” Prof. Hailmann thus discriminates: The child is not to study Freebel, but to “unfold the divinity within himself.” With equal truth this may be said of the training teacher. To tell the subtle principles to the grown person is as useless as to tell them to the child. Said a kindergartner truly: “Kindergarten could be learned in a short time if we were properly prepared before we begin the study.” What is needed for our normal students, to save them from kindergarten cant and pharisaism, is not glib quoting of Freebel's phrases, but free development of faculties, balancing of powers, incarnation of truth. Until

they are trained to independence of Freebel's material, so as to be able if necessary to use in the development of a child anything at hand, instead of slavishly depending on certain forms, we shall not have done our whole duty by them. Until they are able to develop thought, rouse feeling, call forth creative power without this material, they are not free enough to properly

use it.


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