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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/466

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

play, exercise, or work that shall be useful in developing the body, and in making it apt to attain proficiency in physical arts and sciences. We would suggest that, in the school itself, the means for this physical instruction should be provided; but we would not by any hard and fast line hold by the school as the only place. If it were found in any case that a scholar had the means, in his half-time, of following any proper and profitable occupation without injury to himself, we should let him follow it, by which plan, as we believe, the sting of the compulsory clause in the education act would be most effectually blunted.

2. We propose that, while the mind of the child shall not be surcharged with book-learning at a time when the body is in the most critical stage of development either into a sound and helpful or into an unsound and helpless body, there shall be made a provision in the school itself, by which education shall be allowed to go on after the usual prescribed time, in which it is presumed that the education is completed.

3. We propose, in the introduction of physical education into schools, that it should be at once of the simplest and best kind; not a system of one particular character, but one which should combine everything that is useful in various systems, and which should interest the scholar, while it develops his physical life. We agree with an observation made by Mr. Charles Roberts, in a letter in which he says:

I have examined with some care, from a physiological point of view, the various systems of physical education, but I am not satisfied with any of them. The military drill, in use in many schools, puts too great a strain on the lower limbs, and too little on the arms and trunk, and, though the exercises are useful for discipline, they are monotonous and wearisome to children, and may be injurious, by inducing flat-foot and other deformities of the body. On the other hand, the exercises in ordinary German gymnasiums are generally too severe for children, and not sufficiently under the control of the non-medical teacher; their expense, moreover, places them beyond the reach of elementary schools. The Swedish system, again, as taught in the board schools, lacks spirit and energy, from the entire absence of apparatus, and therefore of motive, to attempt or complete a definite object—a defect which Miss Chreiman's system has removed to considerable extent, by the limited use of simple apparatus.

4. We propose that there should be introduced into the system what may be shortly explained as systematic training of the senses, so that the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and even smell, should be brought up to the best standards of perfection. Such training, we are of opinion, could be carried out by means of lessons and of simple apparatus, and would, in the course of carrying it out, afford facility for practically testing the capacity of every scholar, and his fitness or unfitness for the after-duties he may be called upon to undertake. In