THE NORMAL CHILD
|THE NORMAL CHILD: ITS PHYSICAL GROWTH AND MENTAL DEVELOPMENT|
By Professor BIRD T. BALDWIN
FOR purposes of psycho-educational analysis it should be recognized that a child has five parallel or interrelated ages: a chronological age in years, months and days, denotive of the temporal span of life; a physiological age denotive of stages of physical growth and maturity; a mental age denotive of the ripening of certain instincts, capacities and mental traits; a pedagogical age denotive of the rate and position in school progress; and a moral age denotive of fairly well-defined nodes of development in moral judgment and religious awakenings. In a normal child these ages balance each other.
This paper presents the results of a study of the physical growth (physiological age) and the pedagogical age (school standing) of a group of boys and girls from six to eighteen years of age when observed consecutively. The chief value of the study lies in the fact that it is the first attempt to follow for any considerable length of time the same group of individuals through the elementary and high schools, either in physical growth, school standing or the relation of the two.
The scope of the investigation includes, first, a series of norms based on the height, weight and age distributions: the average and average deviations of individual yearly and half-yearly increments of growth in height, weight and lung capacity; and individual curves in height, weight and lung capacity with health notes, and weight, height and vital indices. The second part of the paper deals with the school standing of the same individuals in marks, grades and ages; the third with the relation or correlation of physical growth to mental development as shown in school progress. The data comprise 43,840 measurements on approximately 1,000 boys and 1,000 girls, and 21,683 final quarterly term marks for 135 of these same boys and girls from the Horace Mann School at Teachers' College, New York, the University of Chicago Elementary and High Schools and the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago.
That these boys and girls form a select group and that school-medical inspection, directed play and physical training are important educational agencies are shown by the fact that on the average these children are taller, heavier and have better lung capacity than any other group in a series of 112 groups extending from Quetelet's first study in 1836 to 1914, and comprising over one million individuals.