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The superior feelings include the moral sentiments by excellence; those which lead man to love his neighbour, to respect his neighbour's rights, and to love, obey, and adore his God; in terms, benevolence, justice, and veneration or piety. The exercise of these three feelings constitutes natural ethics. Actions are good or evil according as they agree or disagree with their dictates. It consti. tutes, not less, the ethics of christianity, which, as Bishop Butler has said, is a republication of the ethics of Nature—is the law in the mind with which, according to the apostle, the law in the members wars, but to which is given, both by Nature and Scripture, a supremacy and control, the exercise of which is justice. This, in scriptural language, is “to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with God." Moral education, then, will exercise and improve these three high controlling powers, and thereby elevate the character. To the higher feelings likewise belong firmness or endurance of purpose, hope, ideality, for the beautiful and sublime, the ludicrous, and imitation. Both the inferior and superior feel. ings are emotions, and are also desires leading to acts for their gratification.
Intellectually the knowing faculties acquire knowledge. They include the five senses, the power of observing existencies and events, or things that are and things that happen, under one or other of which categories all our knowledge must be found. Intel. lectual education will improve the senses, as the informants of the mind of certain qualities of matter, and cultivate and start the observing powers with the knowledge of the external world and its changes. Lastly, the reflecting powers compare and deduce, or reason upon the knowledge with which the knowing faculties are stored. Every human faculty has its relative object in external Nature, to the quality and constitution of which it is beautifully adapted.
From the sketch now given of man's constitution in body and mind, it will at once appear that the teacher of youth should know and communicate to his pupil a knowledge of the relations which exist between that constitution and the creation in which man is placed. He will find that creation is in the most harmonious relations to man's nature—that as light is related to the structure of the eye, air to the ear, to the lungs, and the blood, so are human appetites and sentiments to their respective objects. The three-fold division of elementary education into physical, moral, and intellectual, offers itself at once to the mind when satisfied of the truth of the foregoing observations. The three departments will proceed
together, beginning with the very commencement of our being. Physical education should actually commence before birth, prospectively, in the temperate and healthful habits of the mother, the avoidance by her of stimulants, physical and moral, the tranquil exercise and engagement of all her faculties. Much evil results from an opposite course, and great is the responsibility. From the moment of birth, that the being may possess a vigorous frame of body and the concomitant sound health-without which every species of moral and intellectual exercise is cramped and frustratedhe must be subjected to such processes of management, and afterwards trained to such habits of food, muscular exercise, cleanliness, and respiration of fresh air, as have been ascertained to conduce to health and strength.
Moral education will, as above stated, commence at the same time with physical. For the sake of himself and society, man must be habituated, from the dawn of consciousness and feeling, to the moderate activity and proper regulation of the inferior feelings of our nature ; and gradually to the due exercise of the moral sentiments of mercy, justice, and truth towards his fellow beings, and veneration towards his Almighty Creator and the objects of his faith. In time, as his intellectual faculties develope themselves, he ought to be instructed in the theory and impressed with the higher functions of that morality in which he has been previously trained and exercised.
Intellectual education, beginning almost at birth, in the proper direction of the senses and observing powers, will proceed elementarily, in exercising the human powers and storing them with that knowledge of Creation and the nature of things which all sane human beings were intended, by the very endowment of their minds with the necessary powers, to acquire.
Physical, moral, and intellectual education, then, for all ages, from birth to fourteen years, may be said to have three periods, when different degrees of it will be applicable; namely, cradle education, infant education, and juvenile education.
CRADLE EDUCATION is new in practice, and new even as a term. The nurse must here be the educator ; and it concerns society and human happiness more than is at first apparent that nurses, including mothers, should be fitted, more than they have ever been, for this delicate and important office. Many an infant is sent to its grave by ignorance in its nurse of those simple organic laws necessary to its safety and comfort, which may be easily known and practised. A large proportion of the children born in this country die before two years of age. This was not intended by Nature; it does not happen in the inferior tribes, and must arise from some grievous error or ignorance in man. Food, air, exercise, temperature, sleep, ablutions, skilfully managed, ought to produce better results. Many a child, moreover, is ruined in temper and disposition in an ignorant nurse's arms. If it be naturally irascible, it is injudiciously fretted and provoked ; if petulant and revengeful, it is told to beat the floor on which it falls, the table it has run against, or any person or thing that comes in its way. It is carefully taught to scold, and stamp, and rage, and it is pacified by hav. ing its wide-open mouth stuffed with sugar. By this last act another lesson of evil, and one which is a deep source of human woe, is inculcated; it is made a selfish politician before it can utter an intelligible word: it grows up violent, revengeful, and artful, turning upon and rending most cruelly the repentant parent, who, changing her plan, in vain endeavours to whip out what she herself put in, and which, far beyond her management, will vent itself upon a really injured society.
Nurses must, therefore, be educated to train all the human feel. ings, and their earliest manifestations ; to remove the causes which excite the inferior, to divert from their paroxysms when these chance to occur; never exhibiting their activity in their own manner or expression of countenance, which ought always to be mild and cheerful; to direct the earliest dawn of observation to its most attractive objects; and last, not least, to regulate the child's habits in food, air, exercise, and sleep, so as to nourish both body and mind. At two years of age, or as soon as the child can walk alone, he, or she, should be entered at an infant school. This should consist of not fewer than forty or fifty pupils, in order to obtain the advantage of a variety of dispositions for mutual exercise in the little community. The school-room should be large, lofty, and well-ventilated and warmed, and the value of all these advantages early and constantly impressed upon the pupils. There they should find a teacher and his wife-for no kind of colleagues are better fitted for co-operation--quick, intelligent, fond, children-loving, cheerful, and amusing ; with whom it is impossible to connect fear, or anything but love and attachment ; for on these two last the whole system is based. In a roomy play-ground should be arranged all the means of exercise, by safe and judicious gymnastics, such as the circular swing, &c. Refinement and taste will be cultivated by accustoming the pupils to flower borders, fruit trees, and even ornaments, which they will respect, and not, as is now done by children, deface and destroy. In this play-ground-which is in truth the school, the school-room being a mere accessory—the intercourse should be left as free as is consistent with the most careful observ. ance by the teacher, who will watch all the minutest out-breakings of selfishness and passion, or failures in justice, truth, and honesty. Into all such matters, however trifling, the teacher should minutely, patiently, and temperately inquire ; distinguish, in the presence of all the school, the right from the wrong, instead of the present practice, in nursery quarrels, to knock together the heads of the combatants, and there finish the matter. By this last rude and indiscriminating practice all moral distinctions are confounded, and the same mode of arranging, or rather deranging, human affairs in after life perpetuated. In the play-ground, where fruit, and flowers, and ornaments are respected by the youngest child, pets—the more helpless the better-should be kept, and gentleness and kindness to animals, with an utter absence of cruelty, practised and enforced.
The intellect should be trained by an early and minute exercise of the faculties enumerated above, by observing material objects and their qualities; in other words, the reaL SYSTEM—the most radical revolution which has yet taken place in intellectual educationshould be commenced and be steadily pursued as long as the pupil remains at school. Of the first suggestion of the real system, Pestalozzi had the glory, for there is no higher term for its merit. Deshaye has made it familiar by his Lessons on Objects, which should be the text-book of every infant-school teacher and every mother of a family. It is divided into seven series, with from fifteen to twenty lessons in each, and conveys a thorough knowledge of material objects in their external features, qualities; and uses, and last, what is for after study, their chemical and mechanical changes. For example, the first lesson is on the aspect and obvious qualities of glass. The substance is put into the pupil's hands, its transparency, brittleness, &c., made evident to him, and these words pronounced, read, and spelled by him as exhibited in printed cards, or written with chalk on a black board. By this means, reading, and ultimately writing, is incidentally and almost insensibly attained. In the seconil lesson something is exhibited different from glass, though resembling it in one or two qualities : for example, India rubber. It is not brittle, but tough ; not transparent, but opaque, though it is elastic. It is also combustible and odorous; all which terms are learned as words incidentally ; so that by the time the whole seven series are finished, the child can read. The first four series are enough for the infant school ; the remaining
VOL. VI.NO. XIX.
three go into more complicated qualities and combined relations, and are, therefore, more adapted for the advanced or juvenile school.
Besides a knowledge of objects, with their qualities and uses, much useful information may be communicated, such as easy arithmetic by tangible objects, the simpler geometrical figures, the elements of Geography, and even History, with an endless variety of amusing and instructive matters, which may all be selected to be of value as preparatory for more advanced education, and future life.* But let it never be forgotten, that all this may and must be attained without TASKING or FATIGUING the infant pupil. The following is an extract, on this vital point, from Chambers' Infant Education :
“ This section ought not to be concluded without a caution, the omission of which might cause infant education to become an irremediable evil instead of good to its innocent objects. We learn from physiological observations, too numerous and accurate to admit of doubt, that the brain, the instrument of the mind, is in infancy imperfectly developed, unconsolidated, and subject, in its own substance, to serious disease, as well as to be the cause of other diseases, by being overtasked. Now this overtasking is an error into which infant-school teachers are very apt to fall in the intellectual department of the training. They cannot, they suppose, give enough of lesson exercise, or advance their pupils too fast and too far “in their learning. Parents, they say, expect it, and have not learned to appreciate anything else ; and to their ignorant prejudices they are forced to yield. This is a grievous, often a fatal error. We refer to what has been said in our introductory matter, on the secondary importance of intellectual to moral, and even to physical, training, at that early age. It ought to be secondary in the time allotted to it and the attention bestowed upon it. It should not task the memory, or have in it the slightest character of labour for any of the faculties. Conversant with objects more than words, it should be little more than a better directed and more systematic exercise of the senses and the simple observing powers—those the child would engage in if left to himself. It ought all to be amusement, not study or exertion. If the knowledge is gained, it should be as easily gained as if picked up spontaneously by the way. It may be
* I may here recommend, as guides in infant education, Wilderspin's work on the subject, and the number of Chambers' Educational Course, entitled Infant Education, equally suited to the infant school and the nursery.