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Varied Occupations in Weaving


    THERE is a scientific and an artistic side to the kindergarten system of education. Froebel's graduated sets of simple apparatus, known as “gifts,” are most valuable in training a child to observe and think. The first of the gifts, consisting of six wool balls, coloured respectively violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, serve to teach elementary colours; the second, consisting of a wooden cube, a sphere, and a cylinder, is used to familiarise children with geometrical forms, and with the figures presented when the objects are rotated around different axes. A number of other gifts follow these, each calculated to develop the minds of the infants for whom they are intended. So much cannot be said, however, for all the “varied occupations” which are carried on in many elementary schools. The educational value of an occupation such as that described in the book before us, lies not in the development of the mind, but in the training of the hand and eye. If the elements of kindergarten knowledge have been previously acquired by the young students, there is no harm in teaching how to weave paper mats, and to do macramé work, though our opinion is that the child might be better employed in object-lessons, which naturally follow a scientifically arranged kindergarten course. For this playing at making things is often carried too far, and leads to technical instruction being given before instruction in the broad principles inculcated by means of FroebePs early gifts. Possibly we do not fully appreciate the value of hand and eye training for children. The greatest benefit to be derived from such training seems to be the cultivation of the imitative and inventive faculties. Addition and multiplication can be taught by the weaving occupations described by Mrs. Walker, but they can be taught just as well by means of Froebel's gifts. However, the book is the outcome of twenty years' experience in kindergarten methods of teaching, and therefore should be of great service to teachers of children, even though its value, when viewed from a scientific point of view, is but little.

    Varied Occupations in Weaving.

    By Louisa Walker. Pp. 224. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1895.)

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