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at that age. 2. They are particularly fond adapted to this tender age, when we are of hearing stories and histories, and thus almost incapable of abstraction. they listen with eager attention to their " To moral education and instruction nurses or parents when they relate the ab- belong the daily prayers in Italian for surd fables common amongst the people. morning, noon, and evening, and for reLet us avail ourselves of this natural cu- turning thanks, containing short, but ferriosity, and we may advantageously sub- vent, liftings up of the mind to God, taken stitute for these foolish and tasteless sto- from the Scriptures and from the Catholic ries some solid information, as, for in- liturgy, and which are always accompastance, a sketch of sacred history, which nied with the Lord's Prayer, the Salutamay besides serve as an introduction to tion of the Angels, &c. Add to this the the doctrines of Christianity.
explanations of the pictures of sacred his- The children themselves are our best tory, from which we do not fail to deduce guides as to the fittest method of commu- moral principles for the regulation of the nicating this sort of information to their conduct. The very discipline of the school young minds. If we show them a picture too is all a moral education, since it is inrepresenting either a figure or an action, dispensable to exact obedience and subthey eagerly examine it, and immediately ordination from all, by which they are habegin to ask, Who is this? Who is that? bituated to order. Whenever, too, slight What is he about? What's that? &c. Se- differences arise between the children, lecting then the best pictures representing they are taken advantage of to establish scenes of the sacred history, and showing principles of conduct and of mutual kindthem to the children, explaining the sub- ness, which are not slow to strike root in ject and the person's represented, they their tender minds, nor easily lose their inwill acquire with pleasure and insensibly, fluence in after-life. from their earliest years, much important 6. Their moral education is also promo. religious knowledge.
ted by the Psalms, which they learn as "Again, it is a well-known fact that chil- they sing them. It is true that they may dren are fond of singing, and this exer- not comprehend all contained in these cise, when well directed, serves to give a hymns, but the time will come when they proper tone to the voice, and to communi- will understand their meaning; then, incate to the ear a sense of proper intona- stead of the indecencies and nonsense tion and harmony. It is besides of great contained in the songs of the people, use (and of this the schools afford repeat they will find themselves instructed and ed examples) in preventing every defect strengthened with sentiments of a divine of the organs of speech, which, if neglect-morality. ed during the first years of childhood, may “We now come to the physical educacause at a more advanced age the habit tion. The organs of the voice and of of stuttering; a most serious defect, which hearing are educated by the exercise of often becomes ridiculous and humiliating singing, and by the inspection of prints to persons of distinguished intellect. Last- (in the choice of which the best and most ly, children like to write, read, and count regular should be selected) the sight is objects.
educated to appreciate what is beautiful In conformity with the above observa- and well proportioned. The games and tions, the following plan of education is gymnastic exercises adapted to their age constructed. As to the education and in- and strength contribute greatly to give struction of the intellect, it is proposed to them force and agility. As a part of phyeffect this by the knowledge of familiar sical education, we must besides consider objects, and of their names, disposed sys- the regular life which they lead at the tematically and distributed into classes; school, their frequent recreations, even so that, while children learn them, they the studies being conducted in the manmay be directed to distinguish their like ner of a diversion, their eating at fixed ness or unlikeness, the whole and its va- hours and of wholesome food, the marchrious parts, the genera and species. In ing round the school-room, and the walkthis part of instruction are comprised the ing to and from the school.” names of the parts of the human body, of our clothes, and of the most common na- Italian infant-schools are founded.
Such are the principles upon which the tural objects, divided into animals, vege- furniture of one of these institutions is com.
The tables, and earths, of food, of buildings, and of their parts, &c.
posed of few and simple articles. Besides “The method employed for the commu- the building and play.ground, with a few im. nication of this and all other knowledge, plements for gymnastic exercises, there are is the demonstrative, that is, by the actual benches, and desks with slates let into the exhibition of the objects themselves, or of wood, for the highest class. The mistress faithful representations of them. To this has á desk with drawers for the registers, department of education belongs also the study of the alphabet, of reading, writing,
prints, &c. and the first rules of arithmetic, as well
Everything being taught by means of the as of religion, regarded as a principal ob- sight or of imitation, books are not neces. ject, and treated historically, as is most sary. The subjects of instruction, besides
the prayers and psalms, are moral stories, illustrated by pictures ; about which they are or parts of the Scriptures, related to the chil- questioned as to their uses, their food, their dren in
and simple language, and after. paces, their cries, &c., with injunctions to wards more fully illustrated by pictures treat them always with kindness. The girls painted for the purpose by ladies of the so- learn to sew, &c., both sexes to knit, and cieties, representing the scenes described, other easy work, whilst the youngest occupy which particularly interest the children, and their hands in picking to pieces silk rags. make them very attentive to the story, in We may here remark that, in the garden order that, when the picture is exhibited, they attached to the infant-school at Geneva, we may be able to understand it. This leads remarked beds of shrubs and flowers, proto questions on the scene represented in the tected only by a low slight fence, by which picture, the persons, their attitudes, the color means the children are accustomed to abof their clothes, and innumerable others, all stain from exercising that destructive dispo. calculated to give a habit of observation and sition in which they are naturally inclined an idea of art. Pictures also of instruments to indulge. This would be an excellent employed in different trades, and men at idea wherever it could be contrived in Eng. work with them, are very interesting to the land, where, it is a universal complaint, children, and afford a vehicle for much use. that the working classes, young and old, are ful information. The youngest learn to re. more mischievous than those of any
other peat distinctly their own names, the parts of nation. their persons, and of their clothing, ihe fur. It is found in Italy that a distribution of niture of the room, and so on. They are prizes in the infant-schools is rather injuritaught to count first single numbers, then ous than otherwise, those who obtain them two at a time, three at a time, and so on; not understanding their value; while the and the four rules of arithmetic—all by rest, who receive nothing, are hurt and dismeans of a great frame, having twelve wires, appointed. Corporeal punishments are enstretched horizontally one beneath another, tirely unnecessary, and are completely exon each of which are strung twelve balls. cluded from these schools, the mistress be. Numeration, or the value of figures, accord. ing only allowed to make the offender ing to the place they occupy, is taught by a stand apart from his companions; and to similar instrument, only having the wires induce him, by kind remonstrance, to feel perpendicular, with nine balls on each, all sorrow for his fault and a desire for par. or any of which may be kept out of sight by don.* means of a spring, which retains them be. A great deal of the benefit of these schools hind a board by which the upper part of the arises from the proper selection of the miswires is covered. The wires, beginning at tress, who keeps a register of any cbservathe right of the spectator, correspond to the tions or incidents which she may think in. places of units, tens, hundreds, &c. Above teresting. Ladies are also appointed by each. wire may be placed moveable cards the societies to inspect the schools in turn, having the Arabic numerals on them, so as and they also keep a register of any inte. to exhibit to the children at the same time resting facts or reflections which may occur the actual number by means of the balls, to them, which are read at the meetings of and its corresponding Arabic representative. the committee.. From this accurate study For teaching fractions another" frame may of a number of children, at an age when be employed with horizontal wires, on the previously formed habits have less power uppermost of which is strung a cylinder, on to counteract the efforts of the teacher, the the second two cylinders, making, when most valuable hints for the science of edu. joined, one of the same length as the first, cation may
be obtained. and thus representing two halves; below is In the spring of the present year, 1837, one divided into three equal parts, for thirds, another for quarters, and so on. Syllables, * We were struck by an observation on this and then short words, are taught by placing subject made by the excellent director of the inon a frame, in view of all the children, move. lecture on the principles of punishments, and the
stitution for schoolmasters at Lausanne. In a able cards having letters printed upon them. nature of those adapted to schools, he remarked The more advanced are called upon to come that the education of a child was wholly different to the frame and form a given word. They which results merely from fear is of little value, then pick out, one by one, from the case in the great object must be to reach the heart, and which the cards are contained, each letter to excite in the child a true repentance; whereas of the word, and then divide it into syllables, corporal punishment is considered by the child pronouncing each separately. Notions of to be in itself an expiation of his fault. On these the natural history of the domestic animals principles the law on public instruction in the
canton of Vaud expressly forbids corporal chasare taught by stories relating to them, and tisement in the public schools.
there were in existence in the Lombardo-, ultra-purists raised a cry against the indeliVenetian kingdom, besides the infant-schools cacy of assembling infants of from one and at Cremona above mentioned, another in a half to five years old, of the two sexes, in that province, one in each of the provinces the same room, though they are placed at of Mantua and Bergamo, two at Venice, opposite ends of it. They took some pains to one at Vicenza, and one at Verona, while persuade the parents that it would be highly others were in preparation. On the 16th improper to allow their children to frequent of March, the secretary of the society for a school where such promiscuous associainfant schools in Milan made his report on tion was permitted. Next came the priests, their state in that city, which does the crying out against the scandal of teaching greatest credit to its inhabitants. The pre- children to say their prayers in their mosident of this interesting meeting was the ther-tongue. It gave us great pleasure to son of the great Beccaria a circumstance learn, however, that the evident advantages which could not but suggest to all present of the institution are every day winning to the progress which has been made in the the cause those who at first honestly objectassertion of the claims of humanily since ed to it from ignorance and prejudice. the period when his father raised his voice At the school.which we visited we found against the cruelty and absurdity of the two Saurs de la Charité from near Turin, criminal law and procedure in his days. who had come expressly for the purpose of The report commences by derailing the ex- studying the system of instruction, in order, ertions of the committee, in obtaining for the with the approbation of the Sardinian go. infant school society the privileges of per. vernment, to establish a similar school on petuity and other advantages belonging to their return. But to return to our Report. what is called in Lombardy a causa pia. Within a year from the first commencement The first requisite towards this object was a of this new era in the education of Milan, capital properly invested, (patrimonio di there were opened three infant schools, consiabile dotazione,) for which purpose they taining 300 infants, who would shortly be succeeded in raising the large sum of 15,811 increased to 350, and they expected graAustrian lire, about 5271. The institution dually to add to these schools five others, had enjoyed the active support of the go- the building for one of which, to contain vernor of Lombardy, Count Hardig, the 150 children, had already been purchased, protection of the vice-queen, and the super- so that they will be commensurate with the intendence of the Archbishop of Milan. wants of the population. Each school is These circumstances are of importance, in- under the immediate surveillance of an in. asmuch as this is the first instance in Italy spector chosen from among the subscribers, where a similar object has been recognized and also is daily visited by one of the laby the government as of sufficient impor- dies of the society, who take this maternal tance to be ranked as a regular institution duty upon themselves in turn for a week at of public beneficence; having hitherto only a time. Six physicians and two surgeons been tolerated.
That this object was not visit gratuitously the three infant schools, gained without considerable exertion may and make a report of the state of health of be supposed from some notices which we the children received, and of the effect of gathered from private sources on the spot. the change in their manner of life after When license was requested of the govern- their entrance. Four druggists furnish ment for the first school of the sort to be gratis the necessary medicines. The comopened at Milan, there were not wanting mittee chosen out of the whole society have those of the highest classes who opposed it the appointment of the mistresses, and of with all their influence, and went so far as the course of education pursued in all the to represent it to the government as an im- schools. moral proposal, and one of which they won. No little indirect advantage has accrued dered that a priest should be guiliy. It to the poorer classes in Milan from the was observed to us, that, had it been a plan visits made at their houses by the inspectors for founding a new convent for monks or and the priests of the different parishes, in nuns, or for creating a school to be intrust- order to verify their claims to admission for ed to such bands, every assistance, pecu- their children into these schools, which are niary or of other kinds, would have been entirely gratuitous. The scenes of misery afforded. But to think of introducing an which these visits have revealed would institution copied from the heretics of Greal have too often passed unheard of and unreBritain or Switzerland was too bad. When, lieved, but for this happy accident bringing however, by the enlightened support of the charitable persons to their doors. The ingovernment, these objections were over. human custom, which a false charity has ruled, and the school put in operation, the made so common in Italy, of abandoning
their infants to the foundling hospital, has pleasure of perusing one or two of several received a check, as has been the case in incidents mentioned in the Report, in proof other cities, by the establishment of these of the success of these instructions, though schools. "Four mothers," says the Report, commenced only a few months before. “ upon the simple promise that their chil The mistress of the school of S. M. Sedren should be received into the schools, greta having gone into the country on acimmediately claimed them from the found- count of her health, the children, quite afling hospital, and were preserved from the flicted at not finding her on their arrival at necessity of placing their infants there by school one morning, begged the assistant the relief afforded them in the reception of mistress (who was the mother of the other) their elder children into the schools." to allow them to say an Ave Maria. * And
The physicians, in their report to the so. for whom,” said she, “ do you wish to say ciety, express themselves satisfied with the it ?” To which the children answered with improvement in the health of the children, emotion, “ We wish to say it for our dear consequent on their attendance at the angel (angioletto) who, we fear, is ill." schools. Of the school of S. Francesco de “ And who is this dear angel ?" asked the Paola it says, –
assistant in astonishment. “Our good mis.
tress," answered the children in distress. “The improvement in the general health They had given this seraphic name to their of this school is surprising. A sufficiency excellent instructress, for whose restoration of food of good quality, administered at stated hours, the alternation of repose to health they were anxious to offer their with a judicious exertion of mind and bo- prayers to the Virgin. Such a spontaneous dy, and cleanliuess in their persons and proof of affection towards her daughter, on dress, which is enjoined upon the parents the part of sixty infants, was so affecting a as a particular duty, appear to have pro- spectacle that the mistress declared that she duced an effect so great that it may be al
never should forget it. most called a prodigy. So that whoever
On another occasion, the mistress was remembers the condition in which we received these children, and compares it compelled to employ the only chastisement with that which they now present, will be permitted in those schools, that of making really affected by it, a reward almost too the naughty child stand apart from its comabundant for those who, either with their panions; and this correction was to be apmoney or their care, have assisted in re, plied to a little girl who was generally the storing to society, as active and useful best in the school. Unaccustomedto such a members, those who otherwise, afflicted with a painful existence, would only have punishment, confused and weeping, she had been a burden to it."
not courage to move from her place: the
mistress had hardly risen to compel her obeTurning now from the physical condi- dience, when all the children together begtion of these infants to their moral and in- ged her to pardon the delinquent. The partellectual training, the Report correctly don was granted to this unanimous intercesstates the true intention of these institutions. sion, and this act of benevolence on the part It consists not so much in a precocious de- of her companions had the happiest effect in velopment of the intellect, as in a well. preventing the little girl from falling again directed preparation for the most useful no. inte any offence. tions of practical life, and, more than all, in So natural is the taste for singing among the fostering religious and moral sentiments, the children of Italy, that the introduction of which may be reduced by practice and ex- this exercise has been found one of the most ample to fixed and unshaken habits. The ready means of rendering them docile and system of Aporti, detailed in the Manual of obedient. The Report says: the Abate Ferranti Aporti, and also in his Guide for Infant Shools, published in 1835,
“The privileged race which draws its of which we have already given some idea, breath under the sky of Italy is born for
song ; set them singing, and you have alhas been adopted at Milan.
ready civilized them! From the instinct But the chief care is bestowed, in all of imitation, most of them on entering the these exercises, in their amusements, and, schools had already caught some of the on every occasion which presents itself, on unrefined songs common among the peocreating in them proper feelings, respect ple. It became then important to substifor each other's property, abhorrence of tute for these songs a better kind, and this falsehood, habits of obedience and docility, part of their education has had this happy gratitude and benevolence to each other, by dren frequent the schools, the elder mem
effect that, in those families whose chil. seuling their little disputes, and making bers have learned from the little creatures them, as far as possible, judges of their own the hymns which the latter brought home actions. We cannot refuse our readers the with them, and thus perhaps the praises of
their Maker, and of the virtues of Chris- by repairing a street leading to one o! the tians, have forever superseded the inde- schools, and ordered besides a flagging to cent airs in which they before indulged." be laid expressly for the accommodation of
children frequenting this establishment. On Christmas-day last, the rector of S.
The small expense at which an immense M. Segreta allowed the children of the benefit may be diffused by these institutions school over which he presides with such is proved by the accounts of those of Milan, activity, to sing Manzoni's splendid hymn as everywhere else; 45 Austrian lire, or 11. on the Nativity, in his church. The inno. 10s. English, being sufficient for a year's cent voices of those infants moved to tears education for each child, besides supplying all the congregation; it was like the song of them with a sort of frock with sleeves to be the angels who first announced the great worn in school, a dinner in the middle of event.
the day, and medical attendance. “ We know not how to express," says schools that the public spirit of the inhabi
It is chiefly in the infant and Sunday the Report, "the humble joy with which the parents that day took their children tants of Lombardy can manifest itself in the home from church. They had become, furtherance of education, whereas in Tusas it were, sacred in their eyes: they had cany a much wider field is open for the exsung the praises of their Maker in a way ertions of philanthropy, the instruction of which the more advanced in life cannot the lower orders of all ages being very imequal. All the poor people present desired to have some connection, either by relation- perfectly provided for. The Tuscans have ship or by kind offices, with these infants; not neglected this opportunity of proving they were proud of possessing little crea- that the liberality and energy in theprotures so improved. Such a solemn con- motion of public objects, which rendered solation afforded to the poor man is of the their country so remarkable in the history greatest effect in filling his heart with the of former times, is still not extinct. A sys. comforting persuasion that his tears are tem of government schools was indeed eswiped away, and his griefs alleviated. He tablished by the great reformer Leopold I., returned home blessing in his heart the and yet exists in the laws, but has been in ternal care of the government, which had general allowed to fall into a stale of leso steadily supported from its first birth thárgy, and where it yet shows some signs this institution of true Christian charity." of life, is little in unison with the wants of
the present age.
This state of things has The general interest which these insti. stimulated private beneficence to endeavor tutions are beginning to excite in Milan, to supply the deficiency, according to the now that their claims to public support are wants and means of satisfying them possessmore generally known, may be judged of ed by each locality. Hence, no general by the fact, that, notwithstanding the great description can be given of the means
of eduexertion necessary, on the part both of pri- cation in Tuscany, no regular system bevate individuals and of the authorities, for ing established, but each part being differmitigating the terrors of the cholera, which ently circumstanced. Though, however, visited Milan last year, not only were large the population may by this means be less sums subscribed for the permanent founda- uniformly supplied with instruction, this tion and annual expenses of the schools, state of things favors the development of but others sent presents of linen, furniture, an originality and independence of ideas, and other necessaries, whilst the very work- from which the science of education has men rivalled each other in the moderation of much to hope, and which may render the their prices and their rapidity in executing schools of Tuscany as eminent in the scithe necessary adaptations in the buildings ence of teaching, as its republics of old were appropriated to the schools.
in that of government.
In this country It has been before stated, that gentlemen both infant and Lancasterian schools have of the medical profession afford their time taken root in a congenial soil, and flourish and skill gratuitously, and the same is done with an independent and vigorous growth, by the architects who furnish plans for the quite different from that of an institution buildings. Ladies (including the vice- merely borrowed from another people. queen) have contributed work to be dispo In the year 1835, the population of the sed of by lottery for the benefit of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany amounted to schools, and some of the first painters and 1,421,000. sculptors of the city have likewise contribu Omitting the academical instruction afted the fruits of their genius in aid of these forded in Tuscany by the Universities of excellent institutions. The corporation Pisa and Siena, (founded in 1160 and manifested its interest for their prosperity 1275, and containing, the first, about 600,