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completeness in intellectual culture and to an exalted position of which its friends and the community may well be proud, yet, entertaining for its welfare a profound interest and viewing it as we do from a physical stand-point and believing that in the haste for intellectual culture the physical is too much neglected, the nervous system is developed to the omission of other portions of the body, thus giving rise to a long train of ills and producing an unsymmetrical and distorted organization in the young, entirely unfitted for the stern duties of life: Therefore,
"Resolved, First, that physical culture is of primary importance in our public schools and that gymnastic exercise should be made a part of our school-system.
"Secondly, that the Kindergarten-system' should be ingrafted upon our publicschool-system.
"Thirdly, that the school-buildings should not exceed two stories in height. "Fourthly, that 300 cubic feet of space and 25 square feet of floor-space should be the minimum for each child in a school-room in connection with good ventilation.
"Fifthly, that proper warmth and pure air are of the first importance, and should always be considered before ornamentation.
"Sixthly, that scholars should not maintain the same position more than half an hour at a time.
Seventhly, that two short sessions, daily, are better than one long one.
"Eighthly, that no child should be admitted into our public schools, as now conducted, under 7 years of age.
"Ninthly, that under 12 years of age, three hours a day, and for 12 years and over, four hours a day, is sufficiently long confinement to mental culture.
"Tenthly, that study out of school should not usually be permitted.
"Eleventhly, that all incentives to emulation should be used cautiously, especially with girls.
Twelfthly, that the half-time system' should be introduced into our public schools.” The PRESIDENT. The subject is now before the department for discussion, and I would especially invite gentlemen of the medical profession who have favored us with their presence this evening to participate.
Dr. C. C. Cox, of the board of health of Washington, said:
I had hoped, Mr. President, that some other member of the profession better qualified than myself would have availed himself of the opportunity thus presented to respond. I appreciate, however, the privilege that is extended to me of expressing my personal gratification with the proceedings on this occasion.
I have been attracted to this room, sir, not so much by the importance of the subject announced for discussion, nor yet by the wide-spread and well-known reputation of the distinguished gentleman who has treated this subject so ably and exhaustively this evening, as by the evidence, the pregnant evidence, accorded, that this body of intelligent educators has been penetrated by a large share of that wide-spread and growing interest, which is felt at this day as it has never been felt before, in the practical relation of public teaching to the most important development of our race in every regard, and for the dearest interests which lie at the foundation and constitute the basis of our prosperity as individuals, as communities, and as nations.
I say, sir, that the interest of this subject and the reputation of the lecturer would, under ordinary circumstances, be sufficient inducements for me to be present here or anywhere; but I am more impressed with the fact that these intelligent gentlemen present, representing one of the great interests in this country and forming but a part of the wide-spread feeling which exists everywhere, are, as I have said, penetrated by a deep interest in what they know to be one of the most essential elements in the successful prosecution of public education and instruction of youth.
We know that a healthy mind cannot exist in an unhealthy body, and the history of literature and the science of the whole world demonstrate it. Where do you find
thoughts so fresh and glowing and philosophic as come to us from the clime of Scotland, where every man is endowed with strength and where exercise is regarded as one of the necessary adjuncts, as essential as eating and sleeping or any other operation of life.
I was very forcibly impressed, sir, by the resolutions with which the distinguished lecturer closed his remarks. Those resolutions are in accord with the views which I have always entertained. I think no more disagreeable precedent exists in connection with the history of education in this country than the so-called infant-schools which existed some years ago. The intelligence of the age has arrived at the importance of cultivating at that period the physical foundation or basis upon which all mental enlargement and all mental advancement exist. We all know, as physicians and medical men, that a child is born into the world with a large preponderance of the nervous element. He has a large head, a big brain, while the other parts of the system, the muscular and other portions of the constitution, are not developed in a corresponding ratio; and hence the extreme sensitiveness that attaches to the young child in connection with the peculiar nervous development. The object of that period is not to stimulate the nervous system by too much culture other than that which nature shall suggest in the simple operation of play and exercise, which the child most wants. The effect of such a course of stimulation is still further to oppress the powers and the peculiar condition of the system upon which mental success depends. And just as certainly as the child is forced into that culture, at that age, just as certainly as that system is adopted, just so certainly do you find the child the subject of premature mental decay. The vital powers are taken away, and he drops: a monument to the folly that has forced his mind into exercise before his body is prepared for development.
Now, sir, to the consideration of the principle inculcated by those resolutions as to the time at which the child should be introduced into the school. The number of hours required for the first few years I consider of great importance, and this cannot but be indorsed by this body, every letter and every word of it. Then, sir, the practical relations hinge upon the school-house itself; the architectural construction of it, the amount of space, of cubic feet of atmosphere required for the respiration of each individual, the heating of the house, the time of exercise, the peculiar arrangement of stndy-these are all practical subjects, which cannot be too fully and too strongly enforced in this day of ours.
These subjects have been elaborately discussed, particularly that in regard to the importance of pure air and plenty of it.
It is not my purpose to take up the time of this body by adding one word to what has been so ably and properly said. I merely arose to make my acknowledgment for the courtesy extended by the president to gentlemen not members of the convention to join in the purposes for which this meeting is assembled on this occasion, and as a member of the board of health of this city, and as one of its humblest representatives.
General EATON. It is my purpose to offer a few observations upon this subject, but not to discuss it.
Few careful observers in this country have failed to note the difference between a country school-house and a city school-house. Those who have attended schools in both have felt the difference and those who have passed beyond this personal experience into a study of the relations of health and education have been startled at every step by the results of the comparison. No one can enumerate the times that Mr. Mann and Dr. Barnard were compelled to call attention to lack of air and defects in furniture and construction. They and their coadjutors smote down certain evils within their reach, but beyond these evils. still exist. In our cities, while we have erected many fine school-houses,
well adapted to their purposes, and while we have greatly improved the architecture of our college-buildings and other institutions for the instruction of youth, yet any one who has traveled and observed extensively in almost any State will have found that the importance of these primary laws bearing upon the conditions of health, to which the doctor has alluded this evening, are ignored. They are not understood, and therefore are not applied. And while, in certain instances, they have been apprehended and applied, in others new college-buildings are being erected in utter disregard of them; immense sums are being put into brick and mortar which will entail upon coming generations the same evils suffered by those in the past. The effect is not confined to the primary school, where so many are placed together. It can be seen in all manner of institutions; traced from juvenile-reform and orphan-asylums, up through every grade of school to colleges and universities, to law and theological, and even to medical schools. How rarely do we find the lecture-rooms in our professional schools properly lighted or furnished with pure air at a proper temperature.
Now, it does seem that the situation here represented is a scandal to all the professions concerned, a reproach to the architects who erected these buildings, to the officers of the colleges and the boards of trust in our cities and districts who are responsible for their erection, and to the medical profession, for, while it is their function to cure, they alone can best prevent; and we look to them for the means of doing this, and thus contributing to the general health of the community. If I understand the various efforts in the direction of sanitary science now making, some general good results may reasonably be anticipated. While myself interested as a school-officer in collecting facts involving education generally, I have felt that here was a mass of facts bearing on public health and underlying all education, that should be collected. Sound conclusions upon this subject are so absolutely dependent upou a correct knowledge of all the existing facts that a few thousand dollars could be wisely expended every year in making a series of accurate observations throughout the entire country in reference to all peculiarities of climate, of local surroundings, and of all the varieties of construction used in buildings devoted to the use of schools and other public buildings used for audiences, with the different methods in use for lighting, heating, and ventilating. Who can doubt that such a series of observations, properly conducted, would result in such knowledge upon these important points as would correct the present absurdities and evils?
One of the first publications of the Bureau of Education after I took charge contained an article on diseases peculiar to the school-room, and I believe we have every year since said something about health and education, which has brought out many needed facts.
But there is still another class of facts which it has been my desire to bring out and lay before the educators, the parents, and all the peo
ple of the country. I mean those relating to the breaking-down of the mind. Our medical friends, who have charge of the insane, and who have earned our gratitude by so far consummating their plans for the cure of mental disease, should also begin to devise means of prevention. Many of them will tell you that "two-thirds of these cases of insanity under our charge could have been successfully treated in childhood, youth, or middle age, by training or by other means within human control." And further they will tell you that a very large number of the insane never come within the walls of asylums. Certainly if the professional skill of the educator is ever to be perfected, a great mass of these facts must be gathered and used. They must be carefully observed, accurately recorded and collected, and the result will be an easy impression on the judgment of educators. Then, in our buildings for educational purposes, whether for primary, elementary, or secondary schools, for colleges, professional, or special schools, we shall begin to understand how to adapt air to life, light to the eye, and surroundings to health. We shall reach a method of health, not only to the body but to the mind. Whereas now, if the facts are correctly stated, with all the good we are doing and trying to do, we must confess with shame that we are doing much to cause the very results we are seeking to avoid.
I remember the impression made upon me in college by having a man at my side break down with insanity. It has been one of those startingpoints, beginnings of thought, which will crowd one to the end of life. I have since known similar cases. I have met them in different parts of the country, and followed some into the asylums. In this matter I am confident that, if educators will use the resources at their command, they can so modify the courses of study, and the methods, and time, and surroundings of instruction, as to secure greater health of mind.
Early in my study of education, looking at the child with an anxiety to understand what his normal training should be, I found myself seeking out the most degraded youth in the community, to learn the abnormal side of human nature, that I might better know what it should be in its normal condition; and I was amazed at the philanthropy educators have been compelled to exercise to make their efforts successful. I found it of the greatest possible advantage to visit the prison and the pauperinstitution, to study all these conditions of the human being, as full of instruction, showing what was to be avoided and what was to be modified in the methods of instruction that we were pursuing.
Now, on this subject of health, it has seemed to me that professional educators need to go to the physician, as this association has gone tonight; to bring in his experience and expedients; to go over on the diseased side of the human system; to bring to their aid the, observations that have been recorded, until the sentiment is roused that should permeate the whole country and the modifications which we all regard as necessary are adopted.
It has been exceedingly gratifying to find a hearty response from the whole country to everything the Bureau of Education has published as the result of observation on this subject. Boards of health and individual physicians write us what they are trying to do and beg us to go further; many inquiries and suggestions bear on this educational point. I have great hope that those gentlemen in charge of asylums for the insane will begin a series of observations on a concerted plan, from which professional educators shall be able to gather a vast amount of wisdom now hidden from them; that we shall learn from the medical profession what diseases in their practice come from the school-room; what diseases among the young are due to misdirected education in the home or the school; and that this knowledge shall be conveyed in such plain terms that none can fail to understand and heed it.
I hope that this subject will not receive merely sentimental attention, but that there will be organized action. It has been so deeply considered by the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science and by the National Health Association, that they are both making the same inquiries in the same general direction. I hope educators will take hold with them and aid them in collecting facts that will end in a satisfactory result; and that such action will be taken before we adjourn as will have an immediate influence upon the gentlemen here as they return to their respective posts of duty. [Applause.]
Dr. L. H. STEINER, of Maryland, said:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have nothing to add to the views which Doctor Bell has so clearly presented in reference to the necessity of proper ventilation in our schools. Hardly any superintendent is present who has not had abundant illustration of the fact that 25 square feet of space are not allotted to the pupil of the common school. During my own career as a county-school-superintendent, I had quite a number of schools where I should have been very well satisfied if I could have had 8 square feet to each pupil occupying the room. At the present time-and I do not wish to exaggerate-I can recollect where in one instance 6 square feet was about the maximum to each pupil. The ventilation, however, it is proper to state, in this case, was secured in another way, not by architectural intent, but by the moldering effect of time, which had greatly relieved the chinking and daubing placed properly between the logs, in the first instance, in its erection, and allowed a very free circulation of air. [Merriment.] The difficulty was on the score of heat, and not of ventilation. Possibly the health of our country children is saved from the evil effects of badly-constructed rooms just in this way. I have often wondered, looking at a school where the children were seated upon slab-benches, with not enough sitting-space for each pupil to sit fairly and squarely fronting the desk, how they had the bloom of health on their cheeks. This was due possibly, in the first place, to a naturally good constitution, inherited, and, secondly, as I have already said, to the moldering effect of time, which the architect never contemplated.
One mode of reaching, however, a healthy action in this case, I think, would be by some little instruction in our schools. I do not wish to add another branch to those studies that children are obliged now to take up, but I think some little attention should be paid to this very subject of respiration; what is meant by it; what is necessary in it; how dependent health is upon it. The child will take this novelty home, and the younger the child, I think, the more certainly will he take home everything he hears from his teacher, rather than what he gets from his books. The child will take this home, and thus we will begin just at the right point, with the parents,