Abbildungen der Seite

school library; toy-manufacturing; a lunch-room; a law firm to look after the legal contacts and court trials that arise under the self-established government and from the conflicts of projects; a brokerage company; a second-hand store on pawnshop lines; a towel-supply service; a lost-and-found office; getting out the school catalogue (which is almost entirely performed by the students); camera shop; serving as secretaries to the director and instructors; advertising production for school announcements and business projects; an insurance company, which protects against various losses, including broken panes in the greenhouse that still shelters the larger part of the school; an advertising company; a bookstore; a transfer company; a construction company; and so on.

What with the handling of the many and diverse projects, and the work of the 'details' that perform the school chores, such as such as janitoring, janitoring, the internal business administration of the school, and some of its external relations, are largely carried on by the pupils. There are, of course, various clubs, and sports and play are as much a part of the daily programme as classes and 'projects.'


The very fact that the school began in a disused greenhouse and without much physical equipment opened the way for many projects and leaves it still open. There were, and are, many alterations to be made. The boys plan changes in their environment, and carry them out with saw and hammer, plane and paint-brush. Subject to the advice and counsel of the instructors, they make their way through school much as they will have to make it when the designated school years are over. They educate themselves. With in spacious bounds they follow the

paths of their own interests and inclinations through the studies and activities that give the mastery of the arts of life. They are driven on by the impulsions born of what they do. In a large sense they 'run' themselves and the school. Thus they come to the final goal of the twelfth grade, though grades are but shadowy things in this school, which flows steadily rather than advances by steps, only partly by virtue of the book-learning that is revealed by set examinations, but as men progress in daily life; and they show their progress by their deeds rather than by accounts of what they have memorized.

[ocr errors]

The pupils are divided into four groups, with a normal allocation of four years to the first or primary group, two years to the second, three years to the third, and three years to the fourth. To each group are assigned certain standards, the attainment of which indicates eligibility for the next higher group. The standards are not arbitrary, but are used as goals, and are subject to change. Just now, for example, the child is ready to emerge from the first group when (1) he has made definite progress in physical development toward the norm for his age, according to standard tables; (2) when he has attained satisfactory standing in at least seven of the personal traits of self-control, thrift, perseverance, trustworthiness, obedience, truthfulness, helpfulness, generosity, courage, initiative, self-reliance; (3) when he shows by mental tests that his intelligence is within two years of the normal for his actual age; and (4) when he has reached a full fourth-grade standard in the 'drill subjects,' namely, reading, spelling, numbers, and writing.

To complete the work of the second group, the requisite normal physical progress must be in evidence; there must have been satisfactory advancement in the personal traits; there must be a well

established purpose' to support the right and oppose the wrong'; there must be an intelligence within two years of that indicated as normal for the child's actual age, and the attainment of a full sixth-grade proficiency in the drill subjects.

To pass through the third group the pupil must keep his physique up to the age-standard, pass mental tests indicating an intelligence within two years of that for his age, and have a standing of 'good' in at least seven of the nine 'occupations' that are based on the primal occupation of body-building or health-preserving; and must have completed, with a grade of 'good,' at least ten of the twelve units of the drill-subject work of this group - a unit being a year's work.

To complete the fourth group (end of twelve years of work), the physical standard must be satisfied, the intelligence test must be passed, all the nine 'occupations' must be mastered to the extent of 'good,' and, finally, credit gained for twelve units of conventional studies of this group, and a total sixteen units, including those of the last year of the third group. These units are chosen so that they 'equip for entrance to college or for a life occupation.'

In reviewing these progress-requirements, it will be observed that in each group there are three fields of appraisal in addition to the conventional ones. Roughly, it might be said that at Moraine the work of the typical school counts only as one fourth of the pupil's advancement; and that statement presents briefly the difference between this school and the familiar ones. Were it not for the fact that Moraine must adapt itself to the general educational scheme, in order to equip its graduates for college entrance examinations and to enable them to produce the accepted symbols of education, it would doubtless give still less weight to the conven

tional. It is the hope of the founders and director to persuade colleges and universities to accept Moraine graduates on the school's recommendation, full confidence being felt that they will more than make good. Already Michigan, Ohio State, and some other universities and colleges have agreed to accept Moraine boys for the full valuation the school accords to them. A number of boys, by their college records, have justified the school's confidence in them and in itself.

Moraine is as adaptable and reasonable in its own entrance-requirements as it would have the colleges in theirs. By means of an application blank, which is an elaborate questionnaire, it gets a survey of the applicant's life, character, disposition, attainments, performance, inclinations, and health. The parent, not the child, fills out and signs this blank. The last two questions remind him sharply of the educational creed he subscribes to in sending his child to Moraine. They are:

'Do you believe that self-discipline is the kind for children to acquire, rather than that they be trained by force of the will of adults?'

'Do you believe that books, classes, materials, are of secondary importance to fundamental attitudes and qualities in education?'


The pressure of Dayton boys and girls to get into this school, lured by the glowing accounts of its fascinating adventures in the book of life, soon scrapped the original scheme of a private school for a dozen or so sons of the creators. The latter are all democratic Americans, and they abhor exclusiveness. They had no intention of establishing a school that should seek patronage, but were merely trying to find a better way of educating their children.

not to set them apart from other

children. Within limits, a larger number of pupils would contribute to the realization of their ideas, as it would create a community, and establish opportunity for contacts and the practice of the 'occupations' that would be impossible in a small group. Moreover, a larger school would afford a desirable demonstration of the applicability of the conception to the public schools. By a weighted scale of tuition, whereby wealthy parents pay more than those less fortunate, it has become possible to keep the school from becoming a mere congregation of rich men's sons. As the school is a self-governing democracy, the 'citizens' have a voice in the matter of admissions. Newcomers are accepted on probation while the community gets a chance to give them the 'once over.' No snobs or mere sons of their fathers can get by that searching scrutiny, although hasty judgments are often revised after taking counsel with the instructors.

The democratic spirit of the school is further promoted by the comradeship of instructors and pupils. The former have no pride of position. They are of, for, and by the boys. They stand on no dignity of authority. The boys address them as familiarly as they do each other, and they maintain their leadership solely by virtue of their engaging personalities and their success in helping the boys to explore zestfully the realm of education. The teacher who requires the support of authority cannot remain at Moraine Park.

The expansion of the school, now but three years old, has compelled an enlargement of its housing. A beautiful home - not a schoolhouse has been erected in Dayton proper for the accommodation of the little tots, a cottage for the older girls has been erected at the Park, and soon the boys will have a new building there; but the greenhouse will not be forsaken. Moraine

Park is out in the country, though but a few miles from Dayton, so that the older children have the advantage of passing all their school-work and playhours in the midst of fields and forests, though their homes are in the city. So far, Moraine is entirely a school for Dayton, there being no accomodations for children who do not live with their families. The long waiting-list makes it doubtful whether Moraine will ever grow away from Dayton. Its spirit will doubtless go to other cities in like schools to be.

The admirers of the conventional school will decry Moraine Park as one more of many pedagogical fads and educational experiments, and 'practical' men will brand it as a doomed child of theory. Yet it is entirely the creation of practical men self-made men who desired a thoroughly practical school for their boys. When, some ten years ago, Colonel E. A. Deeds and Mr. C. F. Kettering, men whose names are of much import in the American automotive industries, and others, were developing one of the products of their genius, two boys, imitating their fathers, developed a waste-paper basket, and manufactured and marketed it with such success, that, though they were but seven or eight years old, they made a thousand dollars. This venture being wound up, one of the boys took up poultry-raising and made a corresponding success of it. The fathers, perceiving that the boys had developed strong commercial, engineering, and industrial tendencies, and were educating themselves in the 'getting-on' side of life, so indispensable to happiness in this age, bethought themselves whether it was possible to send the boys on through school and college, and give them the rest of the equipment of a well-balanced man of culture, without checking or perverting their spontaneous tendencies to learn for themselves.

In other words, they desired their sons to get college educations without losing their innate practicality and their oneness with life. They sought a prepara"tory school that would make the boys resistant to the diversion of college life and equip them to make the most of its potentialities.

to establish a sort of exceptional business or technical school and were thinking not at all of cultural values, a few sentences from this remarkable circular must be quoted, with regret that the whole of it cannot be reprinted here.

Among the acquirements which reduce the embarrassments and inefficiencies of everyday material life are an experimental knowledge of commercial habits, rules and methods; of the art of being solvent; of appraising accurately one's possessions; and of making correct measurements and judgment of material values. . . . The teaching of common-school subjects can be interwoven with all these interests. . . . By such methods proficiency in elementary and high-school subjects, as well as manual training, to some extent, may be acquired coincidentally with a knowledge of the usual contacts of everyday life, whether they be industrial, domestic, scientific, or cultural. . . . Any education is vitally at fault which does not develop a habit of enjoyment of ship of the teacher should result in opening the finer resources of life. The companioneyes and minds to the phenomena of natural science to life-processes and habits of plants and animals; to the data of geology, of physics and of astronomy; and to the appeal of good literature, poetry, history, and the various forms of art. . . . Education is not complete if its aim is so to engross the attention of men and women, either in industrial, professional, or social life, that

Thinking along similar lines, individually for his own son, and generally for better educational methods, was Mr. Arthur E. Morgan, an eminent engineer, who had come to Dayton to direct the $35,000,000 task of preventing such floods in the Miami Valley as the one that cost that part of Ohio several hundred lives and a property loss of more than $100,000,000 in 1913. So it came about that these men, and others who soon became interested, decided to start a school of their own, which would embody their ideas of what education should be. Realizing that the first essential was the finding of a teacher with sympathetic conceptions of education, possessing at the same time the character, energy, and personality to be an inspiring comrade and leader for normal boys, the searchers for something new in schooling set out in a characteristic way to find him. Being engineers and producers, they drew up, through Mr. Morgan, what they facetiously they will not have time to ask themselves called plans and specifications for the type of man they desired. They proceeded deliberately. Just as they had taken five years to plan their huge work of flood-prevention before they put a shovel in the ground, so they took two years to find the man who would fit their plans and specifications. The whole of the United States was combed over, and more than two thousand men offered themselves for consideration in response to the circular setting forth the requirements and the conceptions of what the proposed school should be.

Lest it be inferred that these busy men of large affairs were seeking merely

the question, 'What is it all about?' To have asked this question and to have reached a satisfactory attitude, which is not out of harmony with present-day knowledge, is necessary to a teacher who is wisely to direct the minds of boys. And unless the conclusion he has reached results in his having and imparting an enthusiastic faith in the worth-whileness of a full development of the physical, mental, and moral faculties, and in his being committed to complete intellectual and spiritual freedom, he would be out of place with us. As a corollary of this attitude, we would expect that the controlling necessity of life would be intellectual and moral integrity, with comprehensive unity of purpose. . .`.

Bearing in mind always the need for maintaining progress approximately equal to that of our graded schools, the aims should be, not first of all to impart knowledge, but to open the boys' eyes and minds; to arouse interest, aspiration, and determination; to develop accuracy of observation and of judgment. We should aim at vital orderliness, not dead conformity; at self-reliance, selfdiscipline, self-control; providing enough routine to develop patience, power of adjustment, and habits of social team-work.

The circular lays stress on the teaching of manners born of 'considerateness and good-will'; on the encouragement of independence, 'so that a boy will stand on his own resources'; on the conservation of 'the spirit of daring and adventure so nearly universal in youth, commonly thwarted at every turn in a boy's life'; and adds: 'A man whose personality and temperament do not answer to this spirit in the boy would be out of place with us.'

While the Dayton seekers after an ideal education were advertising, corresponding, and traveling in search of their Moses, a group of educators in Colorado, meeting in 'shop' conference every six weeks, had progressed far in thinking out, from the standpoint of the professional teacher, a programme of education that the Dayton men were groping for from the standpoint of the layman familiar with the shortcomings of educational systems as measured in terms of actual life. They, too, had evolved the idea of the 'occupations' of life, the mastery of which would constitute education. One of them was Frank D. Slutz, then superintendent of the public schools of Pueblo. When the Colorado teachers heard of the Dayton quest for a new school and a teacher, they recommended Mr. Slutz and freely gave him the right to use their jointthought product. He was elected, and, with the help of other teachers and the pupils, the particular adaptation of this

general theory to the actual practice of the schoolroom' has been evolved.

After three years of such practice, Mr. Slutz and the Dayton citizens who support the school are more enamored than ever of their venture. They regard it as a return in conscious form to the unconscious schooling of an earlier American day, when the farm-boy 'had but three months of schooling in the year, which left nine months for him to get an education.' Now that the three months of schooling have grown to nine, they seek to make them, as well as the other three, months in which to get an education.

'One way of looking at our school,' says Mr. Slutz, 'is to consider it as a return to Americanism. We had abundant education in this country of a very good quality, if of narrow field, when the average boy got two or three months of usually distasteful "book larnin'," and put in the rest of the year getting his education in the barn, the shed, and the field. With the taking on of an elaborate system of public schools that largely copied their methods from the Germans or the classic English public school, and with the extension of the scholastic year to include three fourths of the calendar year, we crowded out the American sort of education, which, as Mr. Morgan says, is as old as life. American schools should make Americans. To make Americans, you must inculcate and strengthen American traits. That, our schools are not doing. Initiative is a prime American trait, but our schools teach conformity. We are an ambitious people, but our schools put a premium on average performance. We are a sports-loving, athletic people, but our schools tend to delegate athletics to specialists. The American is many-sided, but our educational system aggrandizes only one side of the mastery of living. Business shrewdness is another distinctive American trait, but

« ZurückWeiter »