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INFINITE

countries, viz. in providing facilities for washing and attending to the personal needs of the younger children. There is no femme de service as in Belgium on the staff of English schools. While in Ireland the children below the age of five attend the elementary schools in much the same proportion as in England and Wales, in Scotland it has never been the general custom for such children to attend school.

United States of America.-In no country has the kindergarten system taken such firm root, and the provision made for children- below the compulsory age is based upon1tT In 1873 there were 42 kindergartens with 1252 pupils; in 1898 the numbers had risen to 2884 with 143,720 pupils; more than half these were private schools, managed by charitable institutions or by individuals for profit. In 1904-1905 there were 3176 public kindergartens with 205,118 pupils.

Austria H ungary.-Provision in Austria is made for children under six by two types of institution, the Day Nursery (Kinderbewahram stalten) and the Kindergarten. In 1872 as the result of a State Commission the Kindergarten was established in the state system of education. Its aim is to “confirm and complete the home education of children under school age, so that through regulated exercise of body and mind they may be prepared for institution in the primar school." No regular teaching in ordinary school subjects is allowecf; games, singing and handwork, and training of speech and observation by objects, tales and gardening are the means adopted. The training for teachers in these schools is regulated by law. No children are to be received in a kindergarten till the beginning of the fourth and must leave at the end of the sixth year. In 1902-1903 there were 77,002 children in kindergartens and 74,110 in the day nurseries. In Hungary a law was passed in 1891 providing for the education and care of children between three and six, either by asyle or nurseries open all the year round in communes which contribute from £830 to £1250 in state taxation, or during the summer in those whose contribution is less. Communes above the higher sum must provide kindergartens. In 1904 there were over 233,000 children in such institutions.

Belgium.-For children between three and six education and training are provided by Ecoles gardiennes or Jardins d'enfants. They are free but not compulsory, are provided and managed by the communes, receive a state grant, and are under government inspection. Schools provided by private individuals or institutions must conform to the conditions of the communal schools. There is a large amount of voluntary assistance especially in the provision of clothes and food for the poorer children. The state first recognized these schools in 1833. In 1881 there were 708 schools with accommodation for over 56,000 children; in 1907 there were 2837 and 264,845 children, approximately one-half of the total number of children in the country between the ages of three and six. In 1890 the minister of Public Instruction issued a code of rules on which is based the organization of theEcoles gardiennes throughout Belgium, but some of the communes have regulations of their own. A special examination for teachers in the Eccles gardiennes was started in 1898. All candidates must pass this examination before a certijicat de capacité is granted. The training includes a course in Froebelian methods. While Froebel's system underlies the training in these schools, the teaching is directed very much towards the practical education of the child, special stress being laid on manual dexterity. Reading, writing and arithmetic are also allowed in the classes for the older children. A marked feature of the Belgian schools is the close attention paid to health and personal cleanliness. In all schools there is a femme de service, not a teacher, but an attendant, whose duty it is to see to the tidiness and cleanliness of the children, and to their physical requirements.

France.-The first regular infant school was established in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century and styled a Salle d'essai. In 1828 a model school, called a Salle d'asile, was started, followed shortly by similar institutions all over France. State recognition and inspection were granted, and by 1836 there were over 800 in Paris and the provinces. In 1848 they became establishments of public instruction, and the name Ecole matemelle which they have since borne was given them. Every commune with 2000 inhabitants must have one of these schools or a Classe enfan-tine. Admission is free, but not compulsory, for children between two and six. Food and clothes are provided in exceptional cases. Formal mental instruction is still given to a large extent, and the older children are taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Though the staffs of the school include femmes de service, not so much attention is paid to cleanliness as in Belgium, nor is so much stress laid on hygiene. In 1906-1907 there were 4111 public and private Eccles maternelles in France, with over 650,000 pupils. The closing of the clerical schools has led to some diminution in the numbers.

Germany.-There are two classes of institution in Germany for children between the ages of 2% or 3 and 6. These are the Kleinkinderbewahranstalten and Kindergarten. The first are primarily social in purpose, and afford a place for the children of mothers who have to leave their homes for work. These institutions, principally conducted by religious or charitable societies, remain open all day and meals are provided. Many of them have a kindergarten attached, and others provide some training on Froebelian principles. The kindergartens proper are also principally in private hands, though most municipalities grant financial assistance. They are conducted on advanced Froebelian methods, and formal teaching in reading, writing and arithmetic is excluded. In Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfort and Munich there are municipal schools. The state gives no recognition to these institutions and they form no part of the public system of education.

Switzerland.-In the German speakin cantons the smaller towns and villages provide for the younger children by Bewahranstalten, generally under private management with public' financial help. The larger towns provide kindergartens where the training is free but not compulsory for children from four to six. These are generally conducted on Froebel's system and there is no formal instruction. In the French speaking cantons the Ecoles en fan tines are recognized as the first stage of elementary education. They are free and not compulsory for children from three to six years of age.  (C. We.) 


INFINITE (from Lat. in, not, jinis, end or limit; cf. jindere, to cleave), a term applied in common usage to anything of vast size. Strictly, however, the epithet implies the absence of all limitation. As such it is used specially in (1) theology and metaphysics, (2) mathematics.

1. Tracing the history of the world to the earliest date for which there is any kind of evidence, we are faced with the problem that for everything there is a. prior something: the mind is unable to conceive an absolute beginning (“ ex nihilo nihil ”). Mundane distances become trivial when compared with the distance from the earth of the sun and still more of other heavenly bodies: hence we infer infinite space. Similarly by continual subdivision we reach the idea of the infinitely small. For these inferences there is indeed no actual physical evidence: infinity is a mental concept. As such the term has played an important part in the philosophical and theological speculation. In early Greek philosophy the attempt to arrive at a physical explanation of existence led the Ionian thinkers to postulate various primal elements (e.g. water, fire, air) or simply the infinite ro iivreipov (see IONIAN SCHOOL). Both Plato and Aristotle devoted much thought to the discussion as to which is most truly real, the finite objects of sense, or the universal idea of each thing laid up in the mind of God; what is the nature of that unity which lies behind the multiplicity and difference of perceived objects? The same problem, variously expressed, has engaged the attention of philosophers throughout the ages. In Christian theology God is conceived as infinite in power, knowledge and goodness, uncreated and immortal: in some Oriental systems the end of man is absorption into the infinite, his perfection the breaking down of his human limitations. The metaphysical and theological conception is open to the agnostic objection that the finite mind of man is by hypothesis unable to cognize or apprehend not only an infinite object, but even the very conception of infinity itself; from this standpoint the infinite is regarded as merely a postulate, as it were an unknown quantity (cf. / - 1 in mathematics). The same difficulty may be expressed in another way if we regard the infinite as unconditioned (cf. Sir William Hamilton's “philosophy of the unconditioned, ” and Herbert Spencer's doctrine of the infinite “ unknowable”); if it is argued that knowledge of a thing arises only from the recognition of its differences from other things (i.e. from its limitations), it follows that knowledge of the infinite is impossible, for the infinite is by hypothesis unrelated.

With this conception of the infinite as absolutely unconditioned should be compared what may be described roughly as lesser infinities which can be philosophically conceived and mathematically demonstrated. Thus a point, which is by definition infinitely small, is as compared with a line a unit: the line is infinite, made up of an infinite number of points, any pair of

which have an infinite number of points between them. The line itself, again, in relation to the plane is a unit, while the plane is infinite, i.e. made up of an infinite number of lines; hence the plane is described as doubly infinite in relation to the point, and a solid as trebly infinite. This is Spiuoza's theory of the