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How can you warm yourselves without going to the fire?
The children now commence with a quick motion of the feet stamping on the floor.
Now warm your hands. This is done by clapping. Now your arms.
This is done by swinging the arms rapidly round the waist and crossing them before, again and again.
Then call for right hand. Left hand. Hands behind.
When sufficient exercise for the time is taken in this way, the teacher should say–Now let me see how you can rest. All sit down with their hands clasped, or with one finger upon the lips.
The beauty of such exercises is, to have them regular, performed in quick succession, and every one engaged at the same time.
Show me how the earth moves round the sun.
is east? Which way west? Which north?
Which south? The children all pointing in answer to the questions.
Show me how the vapor rises. Show me how the rain falls.
All raise their hands gently, then pat them in rapid succession upon the lap.
Show me height. Show me depth. Length. Breadth.
This is performed by extending the arms in various ways, to form an answer to the question.
The motions made in performing various kinds of labor form a pleasing, and useful manual exercise; such as making clothes, mowing, sowing grain, reaping, threshing, making shoes. Also, exercises of imitation, performed by the teacher or monitor standing before them,
and making a great variety of motions with the hands and arms, in rapid succession, requiring from the children an exact imitation. This is performed silently, as it requires the mind to be engaged in observation, and is found
very useful in forming a habit of attention.
This is a very engaging exercise, and has a happy effect in training the infant pupils to order and regularity.
The children proceed in their marches, stamping the right foot heavily upon the floor, and clapping the hands at the same time. Thus they are animated and assisted in keeping time.
The instant the signal is made the children take their places in two lines, half on one side and half on the other side of the school room. One is selected for a leader. When the leader gives a stamp with his foot, the children immediately begin clapping their hands and stamping the right foot in regular time. Lines chalked or painted upon the floor serve to direct their course. It is however found expedient to vary the course of these lines from time to time, that novelty may increase the interest. Perfect regularity is requisite in their marches, which, though difficult at first, may be acquired by the persevering effort of the teacher. This not only forms the chief beauty of the exercise, but, it is of very important use in furnishing the infant mind with a principle of order and regularity, which will soon be found to affect their conduct in other things.
Two or three monitors are sometimes employed to direct their marches.
When they have learned the art of marching, they will be able to sing or repeat lessons while performing the exercise; in which case the marching and clapping serves to keep time.
In leaving the school for recess, or at the close, the children take their places on the line at the accustomed signal; at the second signal they commence marching round in a regular line, until the leader comes against the door, which is then thrown open and they all march out singing some pleasing rhymes.
This is the way we leave our school,
RHYMES ADAPTED TO THEIR MARCHES.
O how pretty 't is to see
While you ’re exercising.
Clap your hands now more and more,
While you 're exercising. The following little piece has a charming effect, sung by the children while standing on the line, and about to march out to their play. Sung to the tune Auld Lang Syne.
Go, run away, you little things,
And march, and jump, and play;
Se run away, I say.
And yonder shines the sun,
Will in the race be run.
For little boys and girls must run
And march, and jump and play
So run away, I say.
“ Music hath charins to soothe the savage breast."
The pleasing effects produced by singing, render it an important, if not an indispensable part of the system. It seems to tranquillize and soften the more obdurate tempers. It also acts as a magnet of attraction to the volatile. It tends to soothe the impatient, and greatly elevates the feelings of all; and, in connexion with well adapted hymns, seems to inculcate pure devotion; and when witnessing this exercise we readily assent to the truth of the declaration, “ Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.”
Singing is so admirably calculated to harmonize the feelings of the children, and cement attachment to each other, that it is proper to have frequent recourse to it. Many of their lessons may be sung, viz. all which are in rhyme; also some parts of the multiplication table and the alphabet. But the best subjects for their music are those beautiful lessons of moral instruction contained in the numerous hymns which have been prepared particularly for Infant Schools.*
By singing these hymns the infant mind is enriched with pure and important sentiments, which it is believed will not fail in some degree to direct the future conduct of all, and through the blessing of God, to prepare many of them, to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb in the mansions of glory.
The teacher should be prepared to teach this branch by previous acquaintance with a set of tunes adapted to the capacities of children, also with the new and improved method of teaching children music. It is presumed that recent publications, supply ample means for improvement in this branch.
* See Infant School Hymn Book, published in New York
The exercises of the infant school may be arranged at the discretion of the teacher, and varied from time to time, as occasion shall require; so that the regulations of one day will be sufficient for an example. The general principle is that every succeeding exercise should be so selected as to form in some degree a contrast to that immediately preceding, as this arrangement will prevent fatigue. The time allotted for school hours should be divided into periods of fifteen or twenty minutes length, and the business for each period previously assigned to each portion of time during the week, of which arrangement a memorandum may be kept, that the teacher need never be perplexed with devising her business in school hours.
1. The children assemble at nine o'clock.
2. At the ringing of the bell they place themselves on the low seat, in a single row, round the middle floor.
3. One is selected for a monitor, and placed on the rostrum.
4. The signal is given by the bell for them to kneel towards the seats, each one covering the eyes with the hands, while all together repeat the prayer after the monitor.
5. A few moments spent in singing morning hymns.
6. Reading, spelling and defining. When there are several classes in reading, monitors should be employed to prevent the inconvenience of one class being obliged to wait for another. When this evil cannot be prevented, it is well for them to have slates and pencils to occupy their attention.
7. Signal given for assembling on the gallery, manual exercise, various lessons taught verbally, also exercises with the numerical frame, and black board.
8. Signal for the girls to stand on the line, march round the floor, at the same time count, multiply, or repeat some easy lessons ; after a short exercise in this manner the door is opened for them to march out.