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SIZE OF GROUNDS.
The average size of the rural school lot is about a half an acre. If the school were merely a place for assigning and hearing lessons a comparatively small area would be sufficient for the school ground, but with the enlarged idea of the mission of the school as the center of a many-sided, busy life of study and recreation, of social and moral influences, of the learning of many things quite as important as the knowledge of books, larger school grounds are imperatively demanded. The school ground is a place where the
Problems. elementary problems of society and citizenship are worked out through the free and unhampered action of the children at study and at play. We must realize that proper recreation and exercise including helpful plays, constitute an important element in a child's education. They cannot safely be hampered even for the purpose of preserving beautiful lawns and artistic flower beds. A good sized playground will afford an opportunity to add vigor and activity to the life of the child and afford him an opportunity to be alert, active, and thoughtful in his contact with his fellows. The school ground should afford no possible opportunity for contamination, physical or moral.
If we admit these statements we must conclude that an acre of ground is small enough and that from two tò three acres would be much better. In discussing this question the grounds for our city and village schools will not be dealt with particularly, for our people in villages and cities have learned the value of parks and playgrounds and the value of their proper ornamentation to a greater extent than have the people in the rural communities. These suggestions therefore, will apply more directly to beautifying and adorning rural school grounds.
The friends of this movement must have a clear conception of the necessity of larger school grounds and they must lose no opportunity to convince all persons who are interested in the public schools (and that includes every man, woman, and child) of the necessity of a definite plan, for carrying out improvements along these lines. When the citizens of any community are aroused as to the necessity of accomplishing any desired object a way can always be easily found.
As has been stated every rural school ground should contain not less than one acre of land and I would advise two acres in every case.
PLAN OF THE GROUNDS.
In laying out the grounds the plan will depend upon their location, as the arrangement will not be the same for a corner lot as would be best for a lot that simply fronts on the street. If the lot is on the corner there should be a good substantial fence on the two sides that adjoin other property. If the lot fronts on the street then a fence on three sides is necessary. If the lot is longer on the street than it is deep the house should be located at one end so as to leave the other for a playground. If the lot is on a corner it would be best to have the house nearer the street, thus leaving the playground in the rear of the building. The same plan is best if the lot is deeper than it is wide.
In the cuts which follow it will be noticed that this plan is usually carried out: