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cure their good will; for they know that if the child is displeased his parents usually are, and then the child may be withdrawn and sent to another school. Sometimes children are sent to half a dozen schools, from frivolous causes, in as many months. The public school teacher is less under the influence of this temptation, and is not so apt to be moved by the freaks of falsely indulgent parents, being generally sustained by his employers in the administration of wholesome discipline.
The manner in which children are governed, exerts a great influence upon their future weal or woe. If, when at home, they are imprudently indulged, and know not parental restraint, they will claim the same indulgence when sent to school. If they do not receive it, they are dissatisfied, and are perhaps sent to another and a more indulgent teacher. This makes the matter worse. They have been accustomed to disobey father and mother with impunity, and they are now encouraged to disobey their teacher. Soon they will be found throwing off all the restraints of society, and trampling under foot the laws of the land. Should they occasionally attend church, and listen to the reading of the Scriptures, and the counsels of the man of God, having been accustomed to disobey father and mother, the precepts of their
teachers, and the laws of their country-in short, having established the habit of disobedience—they will disregard the authority of conscience, and heed not the monitions of Heaven. But if children are taught obedience at home and in the school, they will more readily yield to the claims of society, in compliance with the laws of the land. Having been accustomed to obedince--having formed the habit of obeying those whose right it is to govern them-they will be more apt to heed the voice of conscience, ponder the counsels of their spiritual teachers, and yield a ready and cheerful obedience to the sublime precepts of the Bible. What vast and farreaching consequences, then, depend upon the early training of children? and what wisdom and discretion are required to teach and govern them aright?—[Ira Mayhew, Sup't, 1848.
LOCATION AND VENTILATION OF SCHOOL HOUSES. In this State six hundred and forty acres of land in every township are appropriated to the support of common schools. Suppose there are ten school districts in a township; this would allow sixtyfour acres to every school district. It would seem that when the general government has appropriated sixty-four acres to create a fund for the support of schools, that each district might set apart one acre as a site for a school house. Once more: one school district usually contains not less than twenty-five hundred acres of land. Is it asking too much to set apart one acre as a site for a school house in which the minds of the children of the district shall be cultivated, when twenty-four hundred and ninety-nine acres are appropriated to clothing and feeding their bodies?
I would respectfully suggest, and even urge the propriety of locating the school house on a piece of firm ground of liberal dimensions, and of enclosing the same with a suitable fence. The enclosure
should be set out with shade trees, unless provided with those of nature's own planting Scholars would then enjoy their pastime in a pleasant and healthful yard, where they have a right to be protected alike from the scorching sun and the wintry blast. They need then no longer be hunted as trespassers upon their neighbors' premises, as they now too frequently are.
Although there is a great variety in the dimensions of school houses, yet there are few less than sixteen by eighteen feet on the ground, and fewer still larger than twenty-four by thirty feet. Exclusive of entry and closets, when they are furnished with these appendages, school houses are not usually larger than twenty by twenty-four feet on the ground, and seven feet in heighth. They are, indeed, more frequently smaller than larger. School houses of these dimensions have a capacity of three thousand three hundred and sixty cubic feet, and are usually occupied by at least forty-five scholars in the winter season. Not unfrequently sixty or seventy, and occasionally more than a hundred scholars occupy a room of this size.
A simple arithmetical computation will abundantly satisfy any person who is acquainted with the composition of the atmosphere, the influence of respiration upon its fitness to sustain animal life, and the quantity of air ihat enters the lungs at each inspiration, that a school room of the preceding dimensions does not contain a sufficient quantity of air to sustain the healthy respiration of even forty.five scholars, three hours, the usual length of each session; and frequently the school house is imperfectly ventilated between the sessions at noon, or indeed, for several days in succession.
The prevailing practice with reference to their ventilation, is opening and closing the door, as the scholars enter and pass out of the school house, before school, during the recesses, and at noon. Ven. tilation, as such, I may safely sas, has not hitherto been practiced in one school in fifty. It is true, the door has been occasionally set open a few minutes, and the windows have been raised, but the object has been, either to let the smoke pass out of the room, or to cool it when it has become too warm, NOT TO VENTILATE IT.
Ventilation by opening a door or raising the windows, is imperfect and frequently injurious. A more effectual and safer method of ventilation is to lower the upper sash of the windows, or in very cold or stormy weather, to open a ventilator in the ceiling, and allow the vitiated air to escape into the attic. In this case, there should be a free communication between the attic and the outer air, by means of a lattice window, or otherwise. A ventilator may be constructed in connection with the chimney, by carrying up a partition in the middle. One half the chimney, in this case, may be used for a smoke flue, and the other half for a ventilator. But it may be asked why it is not just as well to raise the lower sash of the windows as to lower the upper ones. There are two good reasons why lowering the upper sash is the better method:
1. Ventilation is more effectual. In a room which is warmed and occupied in cold weather, the warmer and more vitiated portion of
the air rises to the upper part of the room, while the colder and purer air occupies the lower part. The reason for this may not be readily conceived, especially when we consider that carbonic acid, the vitiating product of respiration, is specifically heavier than common air.
Three considerations will make the reason apparent: 1. Gases of different specific gravity mix uniformly, under favorable circumstances. 2. The carbonic acid which is exhaled from the lungs at about blood heat, is hence rarified, and specifically lighter than the air in the room, which inclines it to ascend. 3. The ingress of cold and heavier air from without, is chiefly through apertures near the base of the room. Raising the lower sash of the windows allows a portion of the purer air of the room to pass off, while the more vitiated air above is retained. Lowering the upper sash allows the impure air above to escape, while the purer air below remains unchanged.
2. Lowering the upper sash is the safer method of ventilation. It not only allows the impure air more readily to escape, but provides also for the more uniform diffusion of the pure air from without, which takes its place through the upper part of the room.
The renovated air will gradually settle upon the heads of the scholars, giving them a purer air to breathe, while the comfort of the body and lower extremities will remain undisturbed. This is as it should be. Warm feet and cool heads contribute alike to physical comfort and clearness of mind. Raising the lower sash of the windows endangers the health of scholars, exposing those who sit near them, to colds, catarrhs, &c. Indeed, when it is very cold or stormy, it is unsafe to ventilate by lowering the upper sash of the windows. At such times, provision should be made for the escape of impure air at the upper part of the room, and for the introduction of pure air at the lower part.-[Ira MATHEW, Sup't, 1848.
CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL HOUSEG.
There are few school houses the internal construction of which is in all respects alike; yet, by far the majority of them will rank in one of the three following classes:
1. The first class embraces those which are constructed with one or two tiers of desks along each side of the house, and across one end of it; the outer seat having the wall of the house for its back, and the front of each tier of desks constituting the back to the next inner seat. There is usually an alley on each side of the house and at the end of it, leaving the seats of sufficient length to accommodate from five to eight scholars. Those sitting next the alleys can pass to and from their seats without discommoding others. All the rest, (usually not less than three-fourths the entire number,) disturb from one to five or six scholars every time they pass to or from their seats; unless, (which is about as commonly practised, especially with the scholars most distant from the alleys,) they climb over the desks in front of them.
Occasionally the desks are shorter, accommodating three or four scholars; and, sometimes, they are intended to accommodate two
scholars only, so that each of them, (excepting the outer ones at the end desks,) sits adjacent to an alley, and can pass to and from his seat without disturbing others. There is usually a desk, or table, for the teacher's use, (or at least a place for one,) at the end of the house not cccupied by the cross seats.
2. The second class embraces those in which the desks extend across the house, with an alley through the middle of it lengthwise, and occasionally one around the outside of the room. All the desks of the second class front the teacher's desk or table.
3. The third class embraces those which are constructed with a row of desks along each side of the house, and across one end of it, the desks fronting the walls of the house, so that the backs of the scholars, while sitting at them, are turned towards the teacher. In this class of houses there are usually three long seats without backs, just within the desks. Sometimes the seats are joined at the corners so as to continue unbroken, twice the length of the house and once its width, a distance of forty-five of fifty feet. There is usually a second tier of seats, and sometimes desks within them, fronting the central part of the room.
There is one impropriety in the construction of a majority of school houses. The desks are generally constructed with close fronts extending to the floor, whereby a free circulation of air, and consequent equilibrium of temperature, are interrupted, which would take place were the seats and desks so arranged as to allow suitable channels of communication. The scholars behind the desks are necessarily troubled with cold feet, unless the room is kept too warm.
Were this evil removed, the first class, with short desks, would constitute a very comfortable and convenient arrangement, except from the circumstance that the children are placed opposite each other, which is a serious evil, especially were both sexes are in the same room, as is the case in nearly all of our common schools.
Another objection to long desks, is the inconvenience to which the scholars are subjected in passing to and from their seats. This objection exists to a considerable extent in the second class of houses, especially where there is not an alley around the outside of the room. Were it not for this inconvenience, which might be obviated by introducing a greater number of alleys and shortening the desks, 80 as to accommodate but two scholars, each of whom would sit adjacent to an alley, and could pass to and from his seat without disturbing others--the second would, in my judgment, constitute the preferable plan. All the scholars should face the teacher, but none of them should face each other. This is particularly important where both sexes attend the same school.
And what shall I say of the third class? I can readily enumerate some of its inconveniences, but its real advantages are, in my opinion, few. The following are some of the inconveniences: 1. There is little or no uniformity usually, in the position of the scholars. Some of them face the walls, others the inner part of the room, and others sit astride the seat. 2. When the teacher desires the attention of the school, a portion of the scholars must either turn about, or sit with
their backs towards him while he addresses them. 3. In changing their positions in foul weather the scholars are apt to muddy the seats, and the clothes of those who sit adjacent to them. 4. The change of position is frequently embarrassing to the girls. 5. Front lights are less pleasant, and more injurious to the eyes than the side lights or back ones, are. 6. Sitting on a plain seat without a back is uncomfortable, and often engenders diseases of the spine, especially in childhood and youth.
The principal supposed advantage of this construction is, I believe, that it affords the teacher a better opportunity for detecting the scholars when engaged in mischief. I do not see how any material advantage of this kind can exist, till the bodies of children become transparent.
But were the supposed advantage real, it seems to me to be tempting children to do wrong, to give the teacher an opportunity of displaying his skill in detecting them. When children cannot see their teacher, they frequently think he cannot see them, and conduct accordingly:
There are several inconveniences not yet specified, existing to a less or greater extent, in each of the three classes of bouses | have described.
1. The height of the seats, although sometimes adjusted with great care, is frequently determined without any apparent regard to the size and comfort of the scholars who are to occupy them. I have visited many schools in which the majority of the scholars reverse the ordinary practice of standing up and sitting down. They literally sit up and stand down, their heads being higher while sitting than when standing.
2. The desks with their close fronts, are frequently several inches too high. I have visited many schools in which all that could be seen of a majority of the scholars occupying the back seats, was a part of their heads, and that too, when they sat erect upon their seats. The desks, moreover, are frequently inclined twenty-five or thirty degrees, so that a book laid upon them immediately slides off. An inclination of one inch to the foot will be found more convenient than greater obliquity. A
of three inches on the most distant por. tion of the desk should be left horizontal, for inkstands, pencils, pens, &c.
3. The floor is sometimes considerably inclined, for the purpose, I suppose, of giving the teacher a better opportunity of seeing the more distant scholars. The whole school is not only subjected to the inconvenience of walking up and down an inclined plane, but what is much worse, when scholars sit upon their seats and rest their feet upon the floor, when within reach, they are constantly sliding from under them.
School houses are not generally furnished with suitable conveniences for disposing of the loose wearing apparel of the scholars, their dinners, &c. There are sometimes a few nails or shelves in a common entry, through which all the scholars pass, upon which a portion of their clothes may be hung or laid, and where dinners may be de