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Full text of "The Forty-Sixth Yearbook Of The National Society For The Study Of Education Part II Early Childhood Education"

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Prepared by the Society's Committee 




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No part of this Yearbook may be reproduced in any form without 
written permission from the Secretary of the Society 

The responsibilities of the Board of Directors of the National Society 
for the Study of Education in the case of yearbooks prepared by the 
Society's committees are (1) to select the subjects to be investigated, W 
to appoint committees calculated in their personnel to insure consideration 
of all significant points of view, (S) to provide appropriate subsidies for 
necessary expenses, (4) to publish and distribute the committees' reports, 
and (6) to arrange for their discussion at the annual meetings. 

The responsibility of the Yearbook Editor is to prepare the submitted 
manuscripts for publication in accordance with the principles and regula- 
tions approved by the Board of Directors in the "Guide for Contributors" 

Neither the Board of Directors, nor the Yearbook Editor, nor the 
Society is responsible for the conclusions reached or the opinion* 
by the Society's yearbook committees. 

Published 1947 
First Printing, 3,500 Copies 

Printed in the United States of America 


Board of Directors 
(Term of office expires March 1 of the year indicated) 

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 

W. W. CHARTERS (1948) 
Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri 

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 

State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 

T. R. MCDONNELL (1949) 
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

ERNEST 0. ME&BY (1947) 
New York University, New York, New York 

University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 

RALPH W. TYLER (1950)* 
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

NELSON B. HENRY (Ex-offido) 
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

Secretary- Treasurer 


University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

* Elected for three years beginning March 1, 1947. 


JOHN E/AiO>ER80N, Director, Institute of Child Welfare, University of 
Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

FRANK N. FREEMAN, Dean, School of Education, University of Cali- 
fornia, Berkeley, California 

BESS GOODYKOONTZ, Director of Division of Elementary Education, 
United States Office of Education, Washington, D. C. 

HELEN HEFFERNAN, Chief, Division of Elementary Education, State 
Department of Education, Sacramento, California 

N. SEAELE LIGHT (Chairman), Director, Bureau of School and Com- 
munity Services, State Department of Education, Hartford, Con- 

WORTH McCmRE, Executive Secretary, American Association of 
School Administrators, Washington, D. C. 

RUTH UPDEGRAFF, Associate Professor of Preschool Education, State 
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 


MILLIE C. ALMY, Instructor, Teachers College, Columbia University, 
New York, New York 

MARGUERITE P. BuRNHAM, Associate Professor of Education, State 
Teachers College, New Haven, Connecticut 

GERTRUDE E. CHITTENDEN, Head, Department of Child Development, 
Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa 

HELEN CHRISTIANSON, Supervisor of Nursery School Training, Uni- 
versity of California, Los Angeles, California 

MARY DABNEY DAVIS, Educational Specialist, United States Office of 
Education, Washington, D. C. 

HELEN C. DAWE, Associate Professor of Home Economics, University 
of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 

FINIS E. ENGLEMAN, Deputy Commissioner of Education, State De- 
partment of Education, Hartford, Connecticut 

ELIZABETH MECHEM FULLER, Assistant Professor and Principal of 
Nursery* School and Kindergarten, Institute of Child Welfare, 
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 



HAZEL F. GABBABD, Senior Specialist, Extended School Services, United 
States Office of Education, Washington, D. C. 

ROMA GANS, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia Uni- 
versity, New York, New York 

MARY V. GUTTBEIJXJE, Head, Department of Early Childhood Educa- 
tion, Merrill-Palmer School, Detroit, Michigan 

NEITH HEADLEY, Kindergarten Supervisor and Instructor, Institute of 
Child Welfare, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

CHRISTINE M. HEINIG, Editor, Child Development Two-to-Six Maga- 
zine, New York, New York 

ANNE HOPPOCK, Assistant in Elementary Education, State Depart- 
ment of Education, Trenton, New Jersey 

ETHEL KAWIN, Lecturer in Education, University of Chicago, and 
Guidance Consultant, Public Schools, Glencoe, Illinois 

CATHERINE LANDRETH, Institute of Child Welfare, University of Cali- 
fornia, Berkeley, California 

JOHN J. LEE, Dean, Graduate School, Wayne University, Detroit, 

LEAH LEVINGER, formerly Fels Research Institute, Cleveland, Ohio 

MARGARET MACFARLAND, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Mount 
Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 

Lois BARCI/AY MTJRPHY, Department of Psychology, Sarah Lawrence 
College, Bronxville, New York 

HARRIET NABH, Consultant, Nursery and Parent Education, State De- 
partment of Education, Hartford, Connecticut 

JOHN E. NICHOLS, Architect, West Hartford, Connecticut 

AMY D. PETERSON, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

ROBERT R. SEARS, Director, Child Welfare Research Station, State 
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 

AGNES SNYDER, Education Consultant, Bank Street Schools, New York, 

New York 
JESSIE STANTON, Education Consultant, Bank Street Schools, New 

York, New York 

LEE M. VINCENT, Dean, New York State College of Home Economics, 
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 

STEIXA LOTTCSE WOOD, Miss Wood's Kindergarten-Primary Training 
School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 


The outline for the present yearbook was first prepared by the 
chairman of the yearbook committee at the request of the Board of 
Directors. At the meeting of October 21, 1944, in the course of a 
general discussion of types of yearbooks that might properly be 
developed for publication by the Society, the members of the Board 
were found to be in agreement on the question of the timeliness of a 
yearbook dealing with recent movements relating to the care and 
training of children younger than the traditional school-entering age. 
Accordingly, it was decided to seek advice concerning the appropriate 
contents and organization of a yearbook in this area. The request for 
such assistance was submitted to Mr. Light in view of his work as 
President of the National Association for Nursery Education. 
The suggested outline presented by Mr. Light was considered at the 
meeting of the Board in June, 1945, and approved with provision for 
review by a special committee consisting of Mr. Light, Miss Goody- 
koontz, and Mr. Stoddard. Following the meeting of this committee 
in September, 1945, the yearbook committee was organized under the 
chairmanship of Mr. Light. The preparation of the volume has been 
carried on in spite of many discouraging experiences, these involving 
interruptions to the undertakings of committee members themselves 
as a result of illness in some instances and of the claiming of other 
members for governmental services abroad. The editor vouches for 
the devoted interest and effort of "available" members of the com- 
mittee at all stages of the exacting task of completing this volume 
for publication in 1947. 

Among the noteworthy contributions of this volume are an en- 
lightening interpretation of the sociological backgrounds of primary- 
education and of the results of scientific studies of child develop- 
ment, the review of progress and present practices in the application 
of new knowledge to the developing procedures for institutional train- 
ing in early childhood, and the description of facilities and resources 
needed for effective implementation of an organized system of edu- 
cation to serve the varying needs of all classes of children prior to 
their enrolment in the elementary school. It is not inappropriate in 
this connection to note the fact that the Society has repeatedly under- 
taken to stimulate professional interest in the educational needs of 
very young children. In 1907 and again in 1908, Part II of the year- 
book was devoted to the consideration of kindergarten training for 
preschool children; the Twenty -eighth Yearbook, Preschool and Par- 
ental Education, and Part II of the Thirty-eighth Yearbook, Child 



Development and the Curriculum, were widely recognized as dis- 
tinctive contributions to the literature of this field ; and the two vol- 
umes of the Forty-fourth Yearbook, American Education in the Post- 
war Period, gave significant emphasis to the need of substantial ex- 
pansion of educational opportunities on behalf of children of nursery- 
school and kindergarten age. 













Far Horizons and Home- front Effects 6 

Child Life Uprooted and Unrooted 7 

Child Life and Economic Planning 8 

The Shift in Responsibility for Child Welfare 9 

First Years and Their Basic Priorities 10 

Young Children and the Common School System 11 

Conclusion 13 




The Child Population To Be Educated 15 

Rural Children 19 

Socialization in Young Children 24 

Assumptions in Early Childhood Education 35 

Implications of the Social Scene for Early Childhood 

Education 37"' 

Early Childhood Education and Society 40 





Progress in Early Childhood Education in Recent Decades 44 
Developments of the Past Twenty Years Which Have 
Influenced the Development of Early Childhood Edu- 
cation 58 

Summary , 69 






Our Society Is Democratic 70 

The Growth Process and the Time Dimension 71 

" Social Demands and the Wisdom of the Body 73 

The Nature of the Child 74 

The Acquisition of Skill 85 

Maturation and Learning 86 

The Organization of Experiences for Children 88 

The Role of the Teacher 92 

Place of Early Childhood Education in the Community. . 95 

The Future of Early Childhood Education 99 

TION 101 




Relating Theory to Practice 101 

Practices and Resources in Early Childhood Education . . 106 

Children's Needs as Reflected in Practices 118 

Digest of Resources in Early Childhood Education 159 



I. The Need for Integrating Research Findings and 
the Curriculum of Early Childhood Education 

(Updegraff) 172 

IL Experiences in Which Young Children May Learn 
To Share (Chittenden) 179 

III. The Child's Experiences in Communication (Dawe) 193 

IV. The Child's Experiences in Bodily Activity 
(Gutteridge) 208 

V. Summary (Updegraff) 2J22 


The Challenge of Extended Educational Services for 

Young Children ... , . 224 

The Kind of Teachers Needed 224 

Teachers Now Working with Young Children, 228 



Acute Shortage of Qualified Teachers 230 

Recruitment and Preparation of Teachers of Young Chil- 
dren 232 

In-Service Training of Teachers of Young Children 242 

Types of Positions and Qualifications of Personnel 244 

Summary 246 



The Site 248 

The Building 258 

The Equipment 271 

Planning Future Progress 278 



Functions, Form, and Content of Records 282 

Uses of Records 288 

Reports 300 

Observations, Tests, and Measurements 304 



Introduction 315 

Definition and Concept of Exceptionality in Children. . . . 316 

Number and Types of Exceptional Children 317 

Certain Principles of Child Development and the Need 

for Preschool Programs for Exceptional Children 318 

Principles of Program Organization and Essential Services 

for Exceptional Children 319 

A Perspective of Present Programs 320 

Applications to the Different Types of Exceptional Chil- 
dren 322 

Summary and Recommendations 336 


MBNTS 340 

Introduction 340 



Special Problems of Rural Education 340 

Extending Educational Opportunity for Young Children . . 343 
Providing Programs and Services on a Nation-wide Scale. 347 




Child Development for the Professions 350 

Practicum Methods 351 

Procedures 353 

Practicum Organization 353 

Sample Programs 355 

The School's Gain 361 



History and Evolution 362 

Types of Units 365 

The Early Childhood School an Immediate Concern, . . 368 
Democratic Procedures Organization of the Early 

Childhood School 370 

Financing the Program 372 

Transportation 374 

Attendance 375 

The Staff and Its Organization 377 

Administering the Curriculum 378 

Conclusion , 382 

INDEX 385 










Director, Bureau of School and Community Services 

State Department of Education 

Hartford, Connecticut 

Early childhood education emerges from the tests of depression 
and war into peacemaking and the atomic age with perhaps fewer 
challenges to its basic principles, goals, and practices than any other 
level of education. The requirements for social adequacy and indi- 
vidual competence in an age of struggle to achieve a world brother- 
hood of man before new forces unlocked by science shall destroy man 
himself are singularly identical with the ends toward which early 
childhood education has been slowly moving. 

In this new age, education in the exercise of freedom is impera- 
tive. Beginning in its simplest forms as soon as the child is capable 
of making a choice and of feeling responsibility for the outcomes of 
that choice, education in freedom must increase under intelligent guid- 
ance throughout the school years until the child shall have become a 
mature adult. It is only by appropriate education that acceptance of 
responsibility and self-reliance can be attained, and the only ap- 
propriate education consists of opportunities to make a choice between 
various courses of action and to accept responsibility for that choice 
and its outcomes. The child learns both from his successes and from 
his failures, and he learns, especially, to know and to accept himself 
as well as others. 

Choice in courses of action implies choice in goals and that, in 
turn, implies an opportunity to consider the implications of learnings ; 
and that, itself, can be a rewarding experience for children. Children 
should learn to set goals for themselves, goals which they can reason- 
ably expect to achieve, goals they can measure as achieved, goals 
that are worth while. It is not merely that such goals furnish strong 
motivation but that ability to set them and to hold themselves to 
them is of life-long value, especially if it becomes a habitual practice. 


Inherent in this process is the development of self -discipline. It is 
only by increasingly effective discipline of self that the child, then 
the youth, and then the adult can learn to accept responsibility for 
his actions. External discipline imposed by the school has its ultimate 
purpose beyond the maintenance of order and safety the purpose of 
developing self-disciplined individuals. That it is not generally so 
conceived or administered is quite apparent. The educational purpose 
of school discipline is too frequently sacrificed to the practical demands 
of the immediate. Discipline is something essential in order to edu- 
cate. We have yet to accept in practice the concept that discipline is 
an inseparable factor of education in democratic living. 

Children are not born with the ability to use freedom wisely. They 
have to learn what freedom means and what it entails for one who 
would have it and keep it. They have to learn self-discipline. They 
have to learn to subordinate their own interests to the good of the 
group and, thereby, learn something of their obligations in a demo- 
cratic society. Children have to learn "to think for themselves but to 
act for the group," and, as they do so, they gain in understanding of 
present-day associational living. 

In any educational program of this order, children will be con- 
fronted with a succession of situations which present problems, some- 
times simple, but inevitably of growing complexity as they penetrate 
further and further into life activities about them. This is bound to 
happen because the learnings under consideration here are not to be 
had from books. They come only from real experience in association 
with others in and about the school and in the community, and they 
can be assured, even then, only when there is understanding guidance 
which assists them in interpreting their experiences. The reading of 
books and other materials may illuminate and enrich their experiences 
and may help in the solution of problems, but it is no substitute for 
them. Skill in attacking a real problem, knowledge of sources and how 
to use them, skill in organizing materials, and the ability to come to a 
decision are not the least of the values to be gained from this program. 

The programming of worth-while experiences to further and guide 
development into effective citizenship in this atomic age is no simple 
matter, but it is of the greatest importance. Any discussion of this 
problem !n this introductory chapter would be quite out of place. Its 
importance in the period immediately ahead does need to be stressed 
and not overlooked in the long list of urgent tasks for education. 

Along with concern for the social and intellectual development of 
the child should go concern for his emotional development, Perhaps 


the words "mature adult" suggest emotional stability to more people 
more often than any other personality characteristic. Certainly the 
emotional development of the child is of the greatest importance to 
him and to society, and yet, educationally, little is known about it and 
still less is done about it. That children have emotions and that they 
express them vigorously when free to do so, nobody will deny. Pos- 
sibly nobody will deny that, in general, the tendency in schools has 
been to suppress expressions of emotion. In some quarters, any real 
expression of emotion is not good form. To be sure, expressions of 
hostility and aggression have recently attracted much attention, with 
marked differences in opinion resulting. Are acts of aggression or ex- 
pressions of hostility ever acceptable? If so, when? Under what con- 
ditions? Within what limits? Here is a field of active controversy. 
Must the incorporation of positive programs of emotional development 
in the schools await still further research, or is there is a sufficient 
basis in the vast literature of this field for going further than outlining 
measures for the prevention, control, or cure of certain emotional re- 
sponses commonly considered to be behavior problems? It may be that 
teachers and psychologists should pool their resources in a concerted 
attack on this problem. A beginning on a program of emotional de- 
velopment is what is needed now. 

Significant to the emotional well-being of the child has been the 
recent trend in medicine away from adult-imposed schedules and 
routines to programs largely regulated by the child. Here is recog- 
nition of individual differences in infancy and encouragement to similar 
trends in education at higher age levels. One of the causes of emotional 
insecurity in the child is a sense of unmet personal needs. Cor- 
respondingly, security comes to the child when his needs are met. 
This is the justification for the steps early childhood education has 
taken in recent years to give the child a feeling that he is wanted, to 
provide expressions of affection for him, and to satisfy other basic 
needs of the child. 

While much of what has been written here may seem somewhat 
remote from early childhood education and more the concern of edu- 
cation at later stages, it is all pertinent. The beginnings are of the 
greatest importance; they are the business of early childhood educa- 
tion and have, in many ways, been accepted as such. Practice has, how- 
ever, lagged far behind, partly because of administrative hindrances, 
partly because of inadequately trained teachers, but not because of 
public opinion. Public opinion has, in general, supported changes in 
recognition of children as persons, each with his own potentialities and 


The problems of early childhood education are those of improving 
practices which utilize more fully the fruits of research upon children 
in a variety of fields. A vast amount of research is already available, 
and more becomes available every year. This yearbook opens with a 
consideration of the social scene and the pressures upon the individual 
child, upon selected groups of children, and those that impinge upon 
all children. Implications for education, and for curriculum-making in 
particular, are numerous. As the social picture changes, the implica- 
tions change; and curriculum changes should follow if they do not 
anticipate social changes. With curriculum changes should come 
changes in organization, in administrative procedures, in school plant 
and equipment, in teacher education, and in record-making and re- 
porting for these are the means of making teaching effective. 

From psychology, from child development centers and from medi- 
cine, notably pediatrics and child psychiatry, the flow of research ma- 
terials upon young children increases rapidly. This flow of reports 
of research presents a problem of synthesis for educational purposes. 
Is this the exclusive function of education, or is it a problem of co- 
operation and articulation? In this yearbook, examinations of re- 
search reports on a few selected problems of educational guidance are 
presented. Among the problems discussed is that of making research 
in child development more useful to teachers. A suggested remedy is 
collaboration of research personnel and teachers in planning, con- 
ducting, reporting, and evaluating research studies. One of the ad- 
vantages of the suggested procedure is that it would be one step toward 
a synthesis of educational and child development research on the 
operational level 

But this sort of approach is not enough. No teacher or parent to- 
day can keep abreast of publications in his field. Worse than that, 
both are frequently the victims of garbled and distorted versions of 
reports. Some way must be found for synthesizing the results of re- 
search, for selecting that which is of importance to those interested 
in guiding the development of children, and for making the results 
available quickly and in an authoritative form. 

This is to suggest, also, that research teams should be more gen- 
erally used in planning and conducting research on projects which 
have potential values for education. The presence of a qualified teacher 
on the research team would tend to enhance the educational value of 

The team technique is a logical outcome of a situation in which 
research on any ph^se of life 5s more and more dependent upon re- 


search on other phases. The biologist, studying the problems of cell 
growth in the body, associates with himself the chemist and physicist 
for the sake of their knowledge of the cell, the molecule, and the atom. 

While the research specialist, following the pattern of the natural 
sciences, attempts to isolate a phase of child behavior for study, the 
teaching concept of the child is that of a living organism capable of 
thinking and willing, an organism that acts and reacts as a unit. 
Anything that happens to the child affects the organism as a whole. 
Guidance of the development of children to maturity is a function of 
education exercised chiefly by the teacher and parent. Research in 
child development must have improvement in child guidance as one of 
its objectives, if not its chief objective. It would seem to follow that 
the qualified teacher should play an important role in many child 
development research projects at all stages. 

Curriculum-making is, quite evidently, becoming a more and more 
difficult problem even with the very young child. If it ever was simple, 
it certainly is not so now. It was for this reason that this yearbook 
is devoted chiefly to that field with its implications for organization, 
administration, teacher education, and other phases of the educational 
program. It is in no sense a teacher's handbook. It is addressed, 
rather, to leaders in the field of education and research as a critical 
interpretation with a restrained projection into the future. 



Professor of Education 

Teachers College, Columbia University 

New York, New York 


This is a period of awesome change. Within the span of a few 
years all earth-bound means of protection of man and nations from 
invasion by aggressive forces and ideas have been swept aside. We 
now quiver with consternation as we discover ourselves as world 
neighbors bereft of sheltering national boundaries and compelled to 
chisel out an enduring peace. We cannot beg for time to catch our 
breath and unify our home front; we cannot ask for a cessation of 
international communication until we educate ourselves for more 
adequate understanding; we cannot nullify these last years with their 
devastating effects and "go back to normal times." No, we must face 
the todays and the tomorrows and summon our intellectual and moral 
resources to aid in building a world solidarity, free from the threat 
of momentary destruction. 

How do such considerations relate to young children? Our obvious 
answer is to indicate the importance of educating them so that they 
are able to take hold of affairs in judicious manner once their turn 
comes, assuming with all the hope our hearts can hold that affairs 
can be righted so their turn will come. But, like the present complexity 
of world affairs, our ideas on how to meet the needs of young children 
have become more involved and complex. This is readily appreciated 
when one takes the time to consider how these changes which have put 
a whole world in such terrifying flux leave their mark upon the day- 
to-day life of children. It is the intention of the committee who 
planned this yearbook to contribute to this essential area of under* 
standing. Although the yearbook may appeal primarily to the leaders 
in the field of education of young children, it is of real importance 
to those in the field of public school education and to welfare and 
service groups working closely with the family. 



These first postwar years are characterized by a pervasive un- 
easiness that reaches right into the family hearth for those who have 
even the semblance of a family hearth. Fear of atom power far out- 
weighs anticipation of its constructive use. An uneasiness a "what if ?" 
feeling is reflected in the minds of most adults. This uneasiness, even 
if scarcely articulated, is felt by children. Until nations in their new 
eye-to-eye relationship have worked out a sufficiently broad common 
denominator of agreement upon which to project international con- 
fidence, this uncertainty with its accompanying check on a confident 
home atmosphere is bound to continue. 

In later chapters the importance of a steady home and community 
life to the child's well-being is emphasized. Yet, how few children 
will be fortunate enough to grow from birth through age six in the 
same home, with mother-father-children as the family unit. The high 
rate of mobility induced by the war, the great shortage of houses, 
the shift in industry from wartime to peacetime production, and the 
increase in deferred travel immediately following a slackening of 
wartime travel restrictions have pulled out the familiar props from 
the lives of millions of young children and whisked them about too 
rapidly for them to feel familiar with faces, places, and customs they 
meet. At the very time when they should have been sending down 
their roots in a simply-structured family culture into which they were 
born, they were being shifted about, and, for many, this may have 
created a lack of steadiness which basic roots in steady experience 
supply. Claudia Lewis's study, 1 reported in Children of the Cumber- 
land, bears significantly on this point. 

In still another way the present world scene registers its impact 
at the child's door. As people from different lands and cultural back- 
grounds come face to face and as they pool ideas, new customs and 
ideas may filter into family discussion and affect family life. Even 
adults feel as if they had been bombarded following a discussion in a 
mixed-culture group and may wish for time to assimilate the effects 
while remaining on an even keel. To the young child even graver ef- 
fects may follow. He may not retain his emotional poise because, to 
him, these new or different ideas spell conflict. The oft-repeated re- 
port of a child's confusion and lingering disturbance which follows his 
transfer from a home or agency with one type of authority to a home 
or agency practicing another type is evidence of the way in which 

* Claudia Lewis, Children, of the Cumberland. New York: Columbia Uzxi- 
veraity Press. 


a child meets differences of views and customs. Some of the refugees 
who entered the United States these past years found it necessary to 
establish nursery schools under their own direction in New York City 
to ease young children into our culture with its concept of discipline 
so different from their formal, adult-imposed control of behavior. 


The problem of economic security for all had not yet been solved 
when World War II befell us. Not only has the need and the difficulty 
of meeting that need been intensified by the war but it has also been 
magnified to include facing our own families' economic adequacy 
while, at the same time, helping to share in plans to aid other nations 
to do likewise. The resolution of the tug of war between labor and 
industry has not been faced from a basic approach. The palliatives 
of increase in wages, reduction of hours, and improvement of work- 
ing conditions seem to be losing even their temporary effectiveness. 
Factors essential to a creative role of the worker in industry must be 
faced if that large number of citizens are to achieve happiness and 
have heart in their work. 

While this struggle persists, families are in process of attempting 
to improve their lot by finding more favorable employment or by push- 
ing against the low economic wage scale and, obviously, by expressing 
overtly or subtly their worry about the family welfare in the future. 
The still too-widely accepted view of the inevitability of depressions, 
on the one hand, and the wilful rejection, in other quarters, of the 
concept of national economic planning for family economic welfare 
naturally contribute to a feeling of impending "bad luck," and even 
disaster, within families at this time. The young child is, no doubt, 
frequently aware that today's requests better not be heeded because 
"we don't know what lies ahead." To a young child this may cause 
qualms of immediate and dire threats, the more fearful, perhaps, be- 
cause they are vague or unnamed. 

Another and direct effect of this uncertain aspect in our economic 
life has been its imprint upon child-care institutions and agencies* 
The withdrawal of federal funds from child care on March 1, 1946, 
threw many homes, agencies, and entire communities into a great dis- 
turbance. The dislocation created in family and community life, in 
general, high-lighted not only the need for better economic plawxiag 
but also the tenuous quality of young child life through failing to 
meet this great social need in our rapidly shifting times, A brief but 
succinct report of how some communities sprang into action to offset 


the withdrawal of federal funds from child-care groups was reported 
by the National Committee on Group Care of Children. 2 If com- 
munities, so aroused, continue to work on this problem, lasting and 
widespread good results might be developed. 


Emerging at this time is the question regarding the status of private 
social welfare. Because many social, privately financed agencies have 
had programs of health, education, and shelter for children from birth 
to school age, a shift in the affairs of these groups will add to the 
general state of flux already impinging upon child life. Dr. Eduard 
C. Lindeman, in a meeting with the Federation of Protestant Wel- 
fare Agencies, stated that the trend toward public social welfare was 
genuine but that this did not imply government control of the work 
of the agencies which accept financial aid from the federal funds. 3 

The fluctuation of attitude toward grants to private agencies and 
the growing demands for services for young children seem to spell out 
clearly the public's moral responsibility to extend financial aid to 
children wherever the need exists. The wide divergence of financial 
ability between states and within states tends to indicate need for 
federal finance. Public responsibility to supplement private interest 
was recommended by James Brown in a paper read before the Child 
Welfare Planning Committee of the Council of Social Agencies of 
Chicago. 4 

The degree to which the trend toward public support of such es- 
sential work is planned and financed by the public depends upon the 
future course of national and international affairs. If the trend to 
reject national planning as it bears on family welfare grows, the 
public financing of welfare will doubtless not develop and the fate of 
young children will fluctuate with privately financed budgets; if, to 
the contrary, the reverse occurs, the outgrowth will be a steady, 
emerging growth in procedure of community planning for the total 
well-being of children which will be reflected in the quality and 
adequacy of health, education, and welfare services. 

1 Community Planning on Group Care of Children. Bulletin No. 2 of the 
National Committee on Group Care of Children, January, 1946. New York: 
National Committee on Group Care of Children. 

'Reported in New York Times, October 25, 1946, p. 30. 

4 James Brown, The Future oj Private Child Caring Agencies. Reprinted b] 
the Citizens 1 Committee on Children of New York, Inc. 



The war years have greatly reinforced the recognition of the first 
six years of life as the personality and behavioral-building years of 
life. The implications of this concept, as expressed by one authority, 

That the way in which children come to terms with the problems and 
life tasks which they begin at birth to face, and the reactions they develop, 
constitute the process by which their personality is developed and their 
mental health is jeopardized or secured. 

That the same problems or life tasks in successive forms and settings 
confront the individual all through his life and that the way he learns to 
meet them in infancy and the preschool years sets the patterns with which 
he will meet them in adolescence, in adult living, in involution, and in 
senescence. 5 

Much evidence is being gathered now in the study of the severe 
breakdowns of veterans. Off-the-record and preliminary reports sub- 
stantiate the foregoing statement of the mental hygienists. Also with 
the war came a vigorous impetus to enlighten the public on basic 
understandings in the field of mental hygiene. Current commercial 
magazines, newspapers, and radio programs have done much to ac- 
quaint the public with the need for a deeper understanding of human 
behavior and also of the importance of the experience of the early 
years of life. Parent groups have delved deeper into the study of 
children's behavior and the implications for family, school, and com- 
munity life. 

One emerging result is the increased respect and demand for group 
experience for children beginning at three years of age. Present life 
with its tempo, hazards, and complexities is compelling the parent in 
the urban community to become overprotective out of fear* The child 
who is old enough to stretch his exploration to new neighborhood places 
and new neighborhood faces is inhibited because neighborhoods and 
neighbors no longer are familiar as they once were. Therefore, for 
a child to grow socially and with increasing independence in meeting 
daily life situations, protective group experience must be provided. 
This, the nursery school purposes to offer. Viewed from this function, 
the nursery school becomes essential for all children who, because of 
living in too congested areas or, as in the case of the rural child, in 
too isolated areas, do not have the freedom to get about unencumbered 
by constant adult supervision, 

* w Cb-ordinatmg Mental-Hygiene Work fop Children," Tfo Child, p. 188, TX 
S. Department of Labor, Children's Bureau, Vol. 9, No. 12. Wftfthingtoa: Govern- 
ment Printing Office* 

GANS 11 

The need for group experience for younger children as a supplement 
or substitute for the mother will vary to some degree with the affairs 
of our nation and world. An increase in the standard of living for 
workers will reduce the number of women now at work who must sup- 
plement the family income. If our economy assures continuous em- 
ployment, many women, now at work to help the family save enough 
for lean years, will relax their fear of the lean years and remain at 
home with young children. 

However, as polls have indicated, a shift in attitude on the part 
of women has taken place in the last decade or so, and child-rearing 
and homemaking as a dual role seems to be desired by a growing 
percentage of women without reference to financial need. This is, 
doubtlessly, a normal part of the process of developing a status for 
women consistent with the political, social, and spiritual aspirations 
of our time. This full status, to be articulate, demands that women's 
influence be brought to bear on the direction society takes and on the 
enduring values toward which this direction is consciously bent. 
Women will, therefore, need to plan their lives so as to feel secure 
and fit in carrying out their mission in a wider scope of civic life 
while continuing to carry on family responsibilities. 

The importance of family stability, not only for children but for 
the adults themselves is a matter of wide concern. Therefore, the dual 
or multiple role of women may make demands hitherto unprobed. 
The variety of services for family supplementation has grown in the 
past two decades. Some glaring omissions, such as homes for con- 
valescent children of working mothers, seem far removed from the next 
steps in new projects. Whatever form the emerging status of women 
takes, a proper regard for the right nurture of young children will 
have to be assured. 


The natural outgrowth of this awareness of the importance of 
group experience is already discernible in the demand for publicly 
supported nursery schools, permissive state aid for younger chil- 
dren, state certification for nursery-school teachers and in the at- 
tempt to get federal aid for schools which would include nursery 
schools. The reasons for publicly financed nursery schools have been 
clearly articulated. The beginnings now are in order. Again, the 
promise of growth in this need is tied up with the future economic 
affairs of our nation. Would that all parents, educators, and citizens 
always kept clearly in mind this relationship of the needs of children 
with our national economic outlook. 


Fundamental issues are met as soon as consideration is given to a 
continuous and consistent program for children from the three-year- 
age level into elementary school. From observation of private schools 
with programs for children of two or three years of age through twelve 
or older, a dichotomy clearly marked between the play years and 
formal learning years is obvious. Part of this is the result of the break 
in emphasis at the five-year age of most of the research in the field 
of child development. Longitudinal research from birth through later 
years is costly and difficult to achieve. Research in the age period 
from six through twelve years has concerned itself chiefly with learn- 
ing in the skills, especially in the field of learning to read. These dif- 
ferences may account for the sharp contrast in general point of view 
reflected in existing programs beginning with the young children and 
extending into grade school. It is hoped that the research needed 
in relation to this older age group will be carried on in the immediate 
future. Other striking differences between these two age groups include 
the ends for which programs are developed, the language witli which 
the work is described, and, of course, teacher preparation. Therefore, 
as stated in a later chapter, much needs to be done to educate teachers, 
principals, and supervisors for a consistent, longitudinal understand- 
ing of the guidance of children. 

Other adjustments, too, must be anticipated. Among the many 
impressive facts about trends in the guidance and care of young 
children, perhaps none is so striking as the fact that large, sweeping 
events of the country have had almost an immediate effect upon 
children and their home life as well as upon the institutions for young 
children. Part of this close relationship between the sociology of the 
times and young children could not have been averted. However, part 
of it arose out of the acceptance of the function of such institutions 
as day nurseries and child-care centers to plan and to carry otit pro- 
grams to fit the essential needs of children. Consequently there exists 
a minimum of lag between what the young child needs and what the 
institutions, according to their lights, do for him. 

This responsive quality meets an abrupt difference as oon as one 
considers public and private school programs for older children. For 
years these systems have operated on pohedulefl which remained 
fairly constant within a given locality and were also almost uniform 
throughout the nation. While in the nursery school the rloora opened 
at the hour when the largest number of families would best be served, 
the doors of the public school open at "a stated time** for rural chil- 
dren, commuters' children, and early or late workers' children alike, 

OAN8 13 

even in communities where considerable homogeniety of family sched- 
ule prevailed. 

This example is typical of a condition which came into being over 
the hundred years our schools have developed. Its significance lies 
not within the specific desirableness or lack of it but rather in the 
general factor of remoteness from family-life needs and, therefore, 
children's needs which has resulted. During the war years a great 
dent was made in this remoteness when schools offered extended 
services through before- and after-school programs to provide super- 
vision of school-age children before and after regular school hours 
while mothers were at work. The pervasive effect of such services will 
do much to ease the adjustment between the so-called preschool and 
the school-age groups. 

The degree to which a forthright attempt is made by the lay and 
professional public to develop school programs for all the group-ready 
children depends upon the wider forces which challenge the interest 
and the aspirations of our land in these times. If we achieve a climate 
of security in enduring peace rather than continue the fear of atomic 
destruction, if we devise a far-reaching economic well-being rather 
than accept the threat of collapse, and if all other essential needs to 
daily living flow from such basic assurances, then human life will be 
viewed in its position of proper value and the children's day of ap- 
propriate care will follow. 


The important issues of our time have their effects upon child life. 
The deep undercurrents of fear intensified by an atomic age, the grow- 
ing uncertainties of work, the difficulty of meeting basic family needs, 
the panorama of mixed cultural ideas passing as if in review before 
our eyes all these, sometimes subtly but rather surely, affect the 
well-being of children. 

Major shifts in our national life may turn events in the direction 
of a more favorable outlook for meeting the essential needs of young 
children, or they may exert an influence in the opposite direction. 
The fact that young children develop with greater security if they 
spend their early years in a steady family life and in a stable neigh- 
borhood adds considerable weight to the widespread concern over the 
effects on the youngest children of the high mobility of life during 
the war years and first postwar years. 

The succeeding chapters will add content to the major areas under 
consideration. The best this yearbook can do is to point the direction. 


It is the hope that during these first postwar years progress will be 
gained toward a new educational outlook for young children through 
research and experience with programs and through broad social ex- 
perimentation in the national and international process of living as 
neighbors in this new age. 



Formerly, Fels Research Institute 
Cleveland, Ohio 



Department of Psychology 

Sarah Lawrence College 

Bronxville, New York 


About two million babies are born in the United States each year. 
Education is concerned with the ways in which these children grow 
into the democratic society into which they are born, the ways in which 
the complexities of this society shape their individual personalities, 
and the difficulties or problems they encounter in becoming acceptable 
and happy members of this society. Education is also concerned with 
the question of whether the cultural experiences of the present will 
prepare the children to solve such problems of the future as the pre- 
vention of war, the elimination of interracial conflict, and the ameliora- 
tion of physical and mental disorders produced by the strains of 
modern life. 

Economic Factors in Child Development 

While the standard of living of our children is favorable in compari- 
son with that of children of many other nations, statistics show that be- 
fore the war nearly two-thirds of the children in urban areas were 
living in families whose income was less than the equivalent of SI, 260 
a year for a family of four, the minimum income needed for a "main- 
tenance standard of living/' Rural families, with lower incomes, have 
more children. As we shall see later, this probably does not mean 
deprivation with respect to the personality development of the child, 
thanks to the realism axxd richness of farm life, but it means edu- 
cational and cultural deprivation in many of the poorer areas. 



The decade of the thirties, with its prolonged depression, gave 
many millions of children the experience of living for a shorter or 
longer period in homes in which normal conditions of living could not 
be maintained. In the early months of 1934 eight million families, 
containing more than eleven million children, were receiving relief or 
wages from the public works program. Even late in 1940 approxi- 
mately seven million children belonged in families that were receiv- 
ing aid. In addition, many families that were trying to avoid being 
put on relief were getting along on even less than those who received 
relief. Translated into concepts of the values of adequate housing, 
play space and equipment, privacy, food, clothing 7 books, and edu- 
cational stimulation at home, the conditions noted mean that a large 
number of children of this generation have made their start in in- 
adequate environments. Translated into attitudes toward one's future, 
confidence regarding the place one can make for himself, the oppor- 
tunity one may have to make a contribution, we should expect to find 
much doubt in the minds of young people who remember the de- 
pression which preceded the artificially exaggerated activity of the 
war years. We do not know to what extent depression inadequacies 
lie back of psychoneurotic failures in the war or of the eager response 
to the special opportunities offered by the war. We do know that 
inadequate schools in depressed areas result in lessened competence 
for the children who attend them. 

The Problem of Minority Groups 

About one-third of the children in our culture belong to minority 
groups. These include approximately 4,000,000 Negro children, over 
1,000,000 Jewish children, 140,000 Indians, 15,000 Chinese, 56,000 
Japanese, 600,000 Mexican children, and about 8,000,000 other chil- 
dren who were either born abroad or have foreign-born or mixed 

Social and psychological studies of these children are limited to a 
few excellent studies of Negroes and the familiar studies of racial 
prejudice. The experience of growing up as a member of a minority 
group, Jewish, Chinese, or Mexican, remains to be effectively docu- 
mented. Studies are badly needed to show what lies back of tense 
interracial attitudes in some children and friendly co-operative feel- 
ings among others. There is evidence that some minority-group chil- 
dren are taught in their families to be suspicious or fearful of majority- 
group children, just as some majority-group children are taught to 
reject Jews, Negroes, or Mexicans, But some families in all social 


groups and some schools teach respect for and understanding of chil- 
dren of different backgrounds. 1 That interracial attitudes are not 
solely the result of direct teaching is documented by studies illustrating 
how resentment and antagonism within families of a minority group 
can become attached to that minority group as a class. Psychological 
and economic factors underlying family insecurity lay a foundation 
for interracial conflict. 

Other minority groups include 250,000 children in institutions for 
dependent children or in foster-family homes and some 23,000 chil- 
dren in state schools for delinquents. Some 365,000 children are 
crippled, and many of these have special problems of socialization. 
An unknown number of mentally subnormal and retarded children 
need training and special help in growing into the social world of their 
day. Studies reported from many sources, such as clinics and uni- 
versity centers as well as studies like Klineberg's (19), give evidence 
that dull children are often dull because of lack of wholesome mental 
and emotional stimulation. It is probable that we do not need to have 
as many dull children as we have, just as we are not predestined to have 
the number of delinquents which our society now produces. In par- 
ticular, the evidence now seems very clear that institutional life dur- 
ing infancy and preschool years in hospitals, orphanages, and the 
like can be seriously retarding, so severe are the effects upon the 
intellectual and emotional development of the young child. We are 
not saying that this is necessary; several studies have shown that chil- 
dren who are retarded as a result of lack of stimulation can improve 
in a better environment. We do not know the exact overlapping of 
these groups, but therfc is no doubt that economic handicaps and 
minority-group membership overlap considerably and that the com- 
bination of the two often means marginal relation to the community, 
with consequent attenuation of constructive experience in the process 
of growing into the culture. 

While we cannot interpolate all the points in the scale of cultural 
opportunities, we can get some idea of the range from the following 
comparison. In a surburban district in New York, children are grow- 
ing up in a village of about 7,000 population in an area of one square 
mile. In this community, 68.3 per cent of the men and women over 
25 years of age have had four years of high school; 82 per cent of the 
men have managerial, professional, or commercial jobs; and 27.4 per 
cent of the homes are owned by the occupants. The village supports 

* Yearbook of the John Dewey Society, Bureau of Intereultural [Relations. 
(In process of preparation.) 


a school which provides training in sports, social dancing, art, music, 
and science as well as the usual elementary and secondary curriculum 
taught by experienced and exceptionally well-trained teachers. Four 
churches, active Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs, summer re- 
creation school, and evening "open house" parties at the high school are 
part of the provision the community makes for young people. At the 
other end of the scale we might consider the Negro children studied 
by Charles Johnson (17) or by Bollard and Davis (6), some of whom 
were in schools taught by teachers who had not completed or had not 
even gone to high school and whose parents were comparably unedu- 
cated and lived where community facilities were woefully lacking. We 
need not, of course, go so far for this contrasting example. At a dis- 
tance of fifteen to twenty miles from the privileged community men- 
tioned, we could find the Harlem and East Side sections of New York 
where children, crowded into small apartments, have often only the 
resources of the streets for out-of-school activities. 

These contrasts have been noted in order to make clear that the 
pattern of socialization often taken for granted as typically or uni- 
versally American preschool years in a loving and comfortable home, 
followed by learning how "to be a good sport," "to take it on the 
chin," "to hold your own with the best," "to do your part" in a well- 
equipped school and neighborhood is probably experienced by less 
than half of the children in our society. 

Family Instability 

Divorces, prolonged illness of one parent, or death, alcoholism, and 
emotional stress are hazards to family life which are by no means 
confined to economically insecure groups. In one upper middle-class 
group of one hundred and thirty nursery-school children, about 20 
per cent had experienced a broken home for a period of six months 
or more before the age of five. In some cases the condition was due 
to prolonged illness, such as tuberculosis or a nervous breakdown; in 
others, to deaths or divorces. Where relatives can contribute a sense 
of protection and stability, such experiences may not greatly alter 
the smooth rhythm of the child's social maturing, but when a child 
is constantly uprooted and feels the ground to be shaky under his 
feet, character traits of withdrawal, scattered behavior and thinking, 
or aggression may mark his social development. 

While general economic and social facts about society are easily 
accessible, their impact on children is little known. The presumably 
definitive and comprehensive Manual of Child Psychology (5), pub* 


lished in the spring of 1946, shows how complete and shocking is the 
lack of data in respect to organized and substantial knowledge of the 
social scene as it impinges on the development of young children. 
Chapters on development of behavior, physical growth, maturation, 
learning, and mental growth proceed to their conclusions as if it made 
no difference at all what son of culture or social scene provides the 
context for the child's physical and mental growth. Only when we 
look at Mead's summary of research on primitive children (23) do we 
realize how great is the need of comparable studies of cultural factors 
in the growth of our own children in the development of basic 
physical skills, ways of thinking, emotional patterns, character, or 
potentialities as citizens of a democracy. 

These earliest basic experiences may appear to be very remote 
from the concerns of teachers and other educators, but clinical and 
experimental data alike agree that the earliest learnings by muscles 
and nervous system go far toward establishing the direction of de- 
velopment of the personality. Now that we have been asked to write 
a chapter about an area in which there is almost no research we shall 
have to go ahead on the basis of the piecemeal material now available 
and project a hypothetical pattern of answers which will have to be 
verified by the research of others. We shall draw heavily on data 
from records at the Fels Research Institute, where Leah Levinger 
worked for three years, and from records at the Sarah Lawrence Col- 
lege Nursery School, conducted by Lois B. Murphy and co-workers. 2 


One of the gravest deficiencies of existing child-development data, 
and especially of the data from clinical studies, is the neglect of the 
early experience of farm children who make up such a large pro- 
portion of our child population. Certain useful studies have been re- 

*This material was gathered from two main sources, Mrs. Murphy's ex- 
perience has been chiefly in Westchester County and New York City, in various 
research programs comprising middle-class and upper-middle nursery schools, 
war workers 1 day nurseries, and a Hebrew Nursery school. Miss Levinger's ex- 
perience has been in southern Ohio at the Samuel 3. Fels Research Institute, 
conducting a longitudinal, child-development study, with cases drawn from the 
surrounding cities, towns, villages, and rural districts representing a range of 
socioeconomic groups. While the Fels material has been freely drawn upon, the 
interpretations are those of the present authors, not of the Fels Institute. The 
bibliography does not attempt to give a definitive survey of all the relevant 
material that has come out during the last few years but to list those works which 
have the most immediate implication for this problem. The Survey Graphic has 
been rich in descriptive material for depression and war years. 


ported of the moral attitudes of farm children from different re- 
ligious environments, of the amount of time per day the farm mother 
spends with the child as compared with the urban mother, and of 
breast feeding in rural and urban groups, but we lack comprehensive, 
step-by-step pictures of the meaning of a farm environment for the 
growing child. Many of the generalizations made about children in 
America may be found invalid for farm children when we have a 
fuller knowledge of rural life. The research at Fels Institute offers 
a few suggestions, but data from prosperous or even marginal southern 
Ohio farms should not be applied to southern tenant farms, large 
western ranches, the changing world of the migratory fruit workers, 
or other subcultural divisions of rural America. 

No one debates the premise that we live in a highly materialistic 
society where the making, ownership, and protection of "things" is of 
high importance. Children everywhere are expected to build and to 
"make something" even when they play in the mud. "I'll show you 
how to make a pie," the grown-up suggests to the two-year-old who 
is merely messing around instead of "doing something." "Respect for 
objects" is taught the child through the emphasis on order and on 
knowing that he must not touch certain objects. Thus, schools have 
placed a balancing emphasis on equipment which the child himself 
may handle. Very often in farm families, however, there is not the 
same proportional valuation put upon neatness and orderliness; the 
child's movements are inhibited more often because of danger. Inside 
the house the warnings are not against disarranging bric-a-brac but 
against being burned at the open stove. In the farm yard and barns 
the limitations are imposed in terms of the heavy, sharp tools, pitch- 
forks, and threatening animals. The cause and effect of a child's 
activities are likely to be much clearer in the farm setting. If a city 
child leaves open a forbidden door, arbitrary punishment may follow. 
If a farm child leaves open a gate, he sees the young turkeys head for 
the highway, and this direct experience puts meaning into the punish- 
ment that follows. Inhibitions that stem from concrete things doubt- 
less have a different meaning from those that stem from mere words 
spoken by people; not only are the "do's" and "do not's" much easier 
for the young child to grasp in the natural-consequence setting but 
it is likely that there is not the same kind of tension as that which 
comes from violating the arbitrary orders of older members of the 
family. The process of gaining clarity about objective dangers may 
stimulate more self-confidence than the process of constant yielding 
to adult demands. 


Toilet training and sex education for farm and urban children is 
often such a different experience as to be noncomparable, with much 
more freedom of observation and less mystery or taboo on the farm. 

Age and Status Relationships among Farm Children 

Age and status appear to be more closely related for farm chil- 
dren. With the city child there is a series of recognized steps in the 
process of growing up, of which the sharpest is going to school; but 
there are also such stages as being big enough to cross streets alone 
and to stay out until later hours. For the young farm child there are 
much more varied and concrete bases of an awareness of what being 
"big*' means, as when he sees the older children of the family going 
about their chores. While the goals are much clearer, there is at the 
same time less pressure toward them, less of the "when you know how 
to behave we'll let you" and more of the "you will when you're big 
enough." To reach the coveted maturity is an inevitable event beyond 
the child's control As a rule, farm families make an abrupt transition 
from the "he's too little," when the child remains a house boy, to 
"he's big enough," at which time he is given both the run of the farm 
and the corresponding responsibilities. We know what a disturbing, 
even at times traumatic, experience the transition from preschool life 
to first grade can be. For farm children, when this is accompanied by 
a sudden change of status at home, it is likely to be an even more diffi- 
cult experience to absorb, A comparative study of ages at which 
emotional problems appear might well be made; perhaps it would 
reveal that early school age is a relatively more difficult period for 
farm children because of this factor. However, it is equally possible 
that both the clarity and the cultural universality of this status change 
make for less rather than more severity, except in the deviate cases 
of physical or emotional immaturity* 

Basic Early Experiences of Farm Children 

In consideration of any of these factors it must be kept in mind 
that the weight of no one childhood experience can be measured 
without recognition of the weight of all the others. This is especially 
striking when we try to sort out the factors in the first fifteen months 
of the child's life. Among farm children early toilet training is often 
casual and delayed. Coupled with this is the farm families' usual at- 
titude that the child is a little animal who is to be fed and let alone to 
grow, rather than to be stimulated and trained for specific skills. The 
combination of the pressure of farm work on the mother and the 


physical dangers of the farm environment often mean that the baby 
is left far more on the sidelines. However, this relatively minor 
position of the baby is balanced by two highly important factors, the 
greater frequency of breast feeding and the more frequent participa- 
tion of older children in his care and play. In regard to the former, 
studies of breast feeding (7) have shown the importance of this factor 
in the child's emotional development, and the fact of breast feeding 
up through the first year may more than compensate for the lack of 
other cuddling and stimulation. In regard to the latter, the larger 
family on the farm and the general lack of worry about germs and 
contamination may mean that the baby is much earlier socialized and 
initiated into the child world. The older children, not inhibited by 
commands of "wash your hands before touching the baby" and "don't 
get the baby too excited," are often more demonstrative in their af- 
fection toward the infant, while his relatively minor role in the family 
may often serve as a safeguard against the common sibling rivalry in 
urban families. It may be that these influences make later adjust- 
ments to group experiences easier for farm children. 

Another characteristic of farm families is to accept each child as 
a unique being. Certain family stereotypes are common, with one 
child known as the "shy one," another as "the house boy," another 
as the "real farmer." These stereotypes are often set up at an early 
age, because of a real or fancied resemblance to some older cousin 
or other relative, and serve to exaggerate whatever real differences 
there are among the children. While in some cases they may result 
in cutting the child off from certain developments of which he is cap- 
able, they may also produce a kind of freedom. Since it is accepted 
without qualification that Dicky is the shy one, he is under no pressure 
to learn to behave correctly before strangers; and since Wayne is the 
"farm boy," his speech retardation brings forth no censure. The farm 
families tend to have much less need than the more sophisticated, 
urban families to produce "well-rounded" children, and because of 
these tolerance idiosyncracies, as long as the children fit recognizable 
stereotypes, individual differences seem to have much more leeway. 
Two important questions would have to be explored further before 
we could have any idea whether this early stereotyping is, as a whole, 
constructive or destructive in its effects on individual development: 
(1) Is each stereotype actually accepted with equal value by the 
parents? (2) What happens to the child who is placed in either an 
inaccur&te or a limiting stereotype? 


The Young Farm Child at School 

Early entrance into school is infrequent for farm children and 
there is relatively little research on the way they respond to this 
situation. The Fels Institute maintains an observational school for 
both rural and urban children which the children attend for a period 
of one month twice yearly. While such a period does not yield fully 
comparable data for the two groups, certain suggestive group gen- 
eralizations are possible. On first coming to school the young farm 
child is more at a loss than the urban child, partly because much 
of the physical setting is new to him. The indoor plumbing, a multi- 
tude of toys, and child-sized furniture are more often strange ex- 
periences for him, through which he has tentatively to feel his way. 
Further, although he may be more used to older children and babies, 
the large crowd of his own age is often too much for him. Some farm 
children, overwhelmed by the crowd, have been observed to withdraw 
into a corner for a longer period and with greater intensity of feeling 
than the average newcomer; others, especially those coming to school 
for the first time at the age of four or five, will be exceptionally as- 
sertive and overstimulated by their peers. In other children there is 
seldom such a sharp distinction between indoor and outdoor behavior 
during the first days at school. Whether the farm child is physically 
adept or not, he tends, in the greater space and familiarity of the 
playground, to be much freer than within the school building. A child 
who, indoors, will shrink back or reveal his confusion by running 
amuck may play outdoors with far more readiness and ease. The 
shift from home to school in terms of the social situation is also con- 
siderably greater for the farm child. More detailed studies will be 
necessary in order to see under what conditions the shift is most diffi- 
cult and how much the early experiences discussed give the child the 
kind of basic security that carries him through this difficulty. The 
situation at Fels Institute did not permit consecutive attendance for 
two or three years so we do not know how long these differences would 
have remained in evidence. 

Small-Town Children 

A child from a middle-class home in a midwest town of 1,000 to 
10,000 population grows up in a setting that is in some ways as dis- 
similar to an eastern suburban community of the same size as it is 
to a large city. Many of these differences first influence the child in 
the second year of life when he has acquired independent motility. 
Many of the same constraints impinge upon him as upon the eastern 


suburban or city child; he is confined for long periods to the high 
chair, the potty, or the play pen; the house is filled with many objects 
that are "naughty" to touch. Except in the abnormally neat house- 
hold, there usually are some free areas where the child is allowed to 
putter and mess or to explore. There may be a large porch where 
furniture and toys are piled in no particular order or a part of the 
yard that is not landscaped where the child can play as he wishes. 
Often in the learning period there is considerable confusion on the 
child's part as to which are the areas where he may do as he pleases, 
but once the distinction is made it is likely that he is better able to 
accept the restrictions within the house because of these free areas 
than is the child who lacks such places. The value of this lack of re- 
striction must, of course, be seen in a context of other factors 
whether, for example, the child is supervised or let alone here during 
his play and how much leeway he is allowed in getting dirty, tearing 
clothes, or breaking toys. These restrictions and taboos on handling 
things affect not only the child's attitude toward objects but his con- 
cept of himself and his feelings about his own impulses. Patterns of 
inhibited behavior, such as shyness and difficulty in handling objects 
or in contact experiences with people or compulsive patterns of be- 
havior, may be related to these early taboos. 


Advocates of school for children under six have made a strong 
case for the importance of preschool group experience, since the 
present-day small family leaves the preschool child isolated without 
companions of his own age. However, this situation does not generally 
exist in small communities. When a small-town child is past three, 
or in some cases earlier, if he is exceptionally active or has an older 
sibling, he may become a member of the neighborhood group. The 
group is usually limited to the child's block, because of the street- 
crossing taboo, and it is a matter of luck whether it consists of one 
or of a dozen other children in the age group from three to six. Little 
study has been made of these preschool-age gangs, although they play 
an important role in the development of many children. Since pre- 
school studies (26) have shown that greater opportunities for sympa- 
thetic behavior exist within mixed-age groups than in like-age groups, 
it is probable that within these informal groups some training in sym- 
pathy, helping, and sharing occurs. Further, while in even the "freest" 
school situation adult direction is an ever-present factor, roaming, 
random collecting, and aimless, repetitive play may have a much 


larger place within these little gangs, thus laying the foundations for 
the private, inner societies of school-age children. 

Achievement Pressures 

Recent studies have laid great stress upon the premature pressures 
for achievement which either the school or the home places on the 
child. While there is ample evidence of this, it is important not to 
lose sight of another source of pressure, that from slightly older chil- 
dren. This pressure may come from siblings or from the preschool 
gang, especially as it interacts with school-age children, in communi- 
ties where preschoolers are hangers-on to older groups. The striving 
of four- and five-year-olds to do things beyond their ability can often 
be traced directly to such causes. The pressure from other children 
has probably quite a different meaning for the child than the adult 
pressure. To understand this problem it will be necessary to dis- 
tinguish between the various pressures which make children "com- 
petitive" by considering separately those motivations that are com- 
petitive in terms of a goal and those that arise simply from rivalry in 
terms of doing better than others. It is also desirable to distinguish 
those arising from the desire of the growing organism to gain new 
skills and powers as a part of its own self-actualization from those ex- 
pressing the secondary desire of the child in our competitive culture 
to win approval by showing to the outside world what he can do in 
terms of their group objectives. 

But even without exact knowledge, the recognition that by the 
time the child starts the first grade he recognizes certain goals and 
expectations which he has derived from the family, from slightly 
older children, and from his own desires should help the teachers to 
realize that neither they nor the parents are the only sources of 
achievement pressures. 

Standards of Behavior 

In describing their babies the Ohio mothers, perhaps like most 
other American mothers, frequently employ the term, "He's a good 
baby" not meaning morally good but "good" in the sense of causing 
little trouble, being placid, a ready eater, a sound sleeper, and a non- 
crier. Many of the same standards of goodness apply to the toddler. 
We have discussed the severe training required to keep him "good," 
that is, nondestructive, obedient, not too mobile, not fussy or rude 
in the presence of strangers. Such standards of goodness are often 
counter to the child's own motor development. Another requirement 


is that he should be "kind" and "thoughtful," As one parent put it, 
"I can't stand a mean or ungrateful child," a requirement which is 
premature in terms of the child's emotional and intellectual readi- 
ness to comprehend the feelings of others. But another difficulty exists 
from the child's point of view. He is expected to be good but not too 
good ; that is, the desire for a good child tends to run counter to the 
desire for the kind of child one can proudly display before neighbors. 
If the child is too quiet and subdued, that characteristic becomes a 
liability in the situations where he is expected to show off before 
strangers. The "bashful" child is as unwanted as the "forward" one, 
and he may meet alternately the reproaches, "Will you pipe down!" 
and "Everyone talks but you, Jimmy." For a boy these ambiguities 
are particularly puzzling; he receives, along with the girl, intensive 
training against messiness and aggression, but, if it is fully effective 
and he becomes overtly meticulous or nonaggressive, then he is con- 
sidered a "sissy" and fails to meet the requirements for a "real boy." 
The middle western stereotypes of proper sex roles and behavior ex- 
tend down to the child of two, a fact that is too often forgotten in 
the nursery-school society where sex differences are minimized. Mead 
(24) has pointed out that the training of boys for a masculine pat- 
tern is in itself colored by the ambivalences of women who are in 
charge of the principal training ; and this inconsistency of attitude is 
accentuated by the fact that the time of training for sex roles coin- 
cides with the time of training for conforming behavior that goes so 
counter to it. 

Parental standards in some groups are influenced by developmental 
norms derived from medical and psychological books. We have al- 
ready noted the high degree of tolerance that exists for individual 
differences within farm families where a child is accepted as "puny," 
"shy," or "coming along slowly" rather than being prodded to keep 
up with other children. This tolerance is not so characteristic of 
either college or noncollege subculture in an urban community. The 
difference between the college and noncollege group is in terms of 
what norms, and how many norms, they are concerned with and with 
what methods they use to bring the child up to these norms. The 
college-trained (and more sophisticated) parent tends to be concerned 
with the over-all development and wants an "advanced" and "ad- 
justed" child in every area, while the noncollege (and less sophisti- 
cated) parent is concerned with the child's development only in cer- 
tain delimited areas of speech, toilet training, and so on. The greater 
the degree of sophistication on the part of the families and the 


greater their awareness of current psychological concepts of person- 
ality as a whole, the more pervasive will be the pressures on the child 
for acceleration. This is observable when mothers call for their chil- 
dren after school. More precise clinical data are needed on the effects 
of these differing accelerator^ attitudes upon the child. We have ample 
evidence that early training for neatness can produce the desired 
results ; but little is known about what happens to motor development 
or creative activity under acceleration. There is a possibility that a 
high degree of adult interest and stimulation in these areas may make 
the child feel that these pressures are part of the adult world rather 
than his own and so operate to stifle rather than to stimulate him. 
Good teachers of young children have always defended the child's 
right to satisfaction at his own level of development, and children 
need this defense as much as ever, especially in groups where parents 
are eager to have their children "advance" as rapidly as possible. 

The influence of the Gesell (11) findings is widespread. Many 
parents who are not readers have been drawn into the fringes of the 
norm- conscious group through Parents 1 Magazine and other periodicals, 
newspaper articles, movie shorts, radio programs, or through conver- 
sation with their friends, However, the norms may be glibly memorized 
without much or any understanding of the range of normal variation. 
If "the book" says a certain behavioral item appears on the average 
of 15 months but with a range from 12 to 18 months, each mother 
expects her child to manifest the behavior at the stroke of 12, and 
the child's failure to manifest such behavior at 15 months, at the 
latest, is a source of alarm. Norms can be very useful where they lead 
to an acceptance of growth stages; they defeat their purpose when 
they are used to add fuel to the fires of competition. 

Father's Relation to Young Child 


The almost complete absence of the father from the child's early 
experiences is often lamented by observers of city children. It is, 
however, inadvisable to make generalizations on a national scale. 
Actual time spent in the father's presence is much greater in small 
midwest towns than in suburban-commuting families; in some cases 
the father comes home for lunch and in most cases is home for the 
child's evening. The time is even greater in farm families. The cultural 
stereotypes do not permit the father to have much share in the physical 
care of the child, but he is encouraged to participate in the child's 
play* In many homes the expected thing is for the mother to take care 
of the child and cuddle him and for the father to rough-house with 


him, do things with him, make things for him. Even for a child under 
one year this is an important environmental factor and becomes in- 
creasingly so during the preschool years, probably more typically for 
boys than for girls. During gardening, while cleaning the car, or when 
puttering around the workshop, the young child is often permitted to 
be a spectator, and in the frequent cases where these activities are 
not done under pressure (as the mothers housekeeping often is) the 
three- or four-year-old may be allowed fuller participation with his 
father thaa with his mother. 

Clinical studies have often pointed out the jealousy that exists on 
the father's part toward the relationship between mother and child; 
of perhaps equal importance is the jealousy that so frequently exists 
on the mother's part toward the relationship between the father and 
child. With the modern taboo against harsh physical punishment for 
young children, which has become accepted by a good portion of 
middle-class families, the father is seldom called in to administer 
punishment until the child reaches school age. Then, when the supreme 
threat, "Wait till I tell your father!" is employed, it falls upon a 
child who has in his past life known his father as the figure of uncon- 
taminatcd fun and play, while the mother with her milder punish- 
ments has been the nagging and inhibiting figure as well as the nurtur- 
ing one. In considering a child's later response to authority, this factor 
must be taken into account, and his interpersonal relationships must 
be seen in the light of his earlier experiences of parental rivalry for 
his affection. 

Impacts of the War 

The sudden influx of southern and other rural families into the 
industrial cities created severe dissensions. In letters to the local news- 
papers or in conversation these people were contemptuously dubbed 
"hill people" or "trailer-camp people/' and everything from civic un- 
tidiness to delinquency was blamed on them. In a southern Ohio town 
a school principal remarked regretfully that their policy of race 
segregation meant that her white school had to take the newcomer's 
children and that "rightfully they belong with the colored; they're 
just as ignorant and unteachable." The school-age children of both 
the old residents and the newcomers were well aware of this chasm. 
While in some schools it resulted in organized fights, more often there 
was a simple exclusion policy. The group tension was less obvious for 
the preschool child. The Horowitz (13) studies have pointed out that 
the child's recognition and acceptance of Negro-White differences de- 
velop gradually and that fbr the child to learn to differentiate between 


people of the same color is a more difficult process. The school-age 
children were quick in noting that the newcomers "talk funny" and 
accepted the adult generalization that they were dirty or bad. The 
younger children made sporadic attempts to follow along in this dis- 
crimination but did so only with considerable confusion. The con- 
fusion was increased because the taboos were not consistent. One 
could play with a southern child in the street but could not bring him 
home or could play with him in one's own yard but not go over to 
his because of the danger of "catching something." 

To date, no comprehensive studies have been published on the 
problem of the increased interracial tension during the war as it af- 
fects the young child, nor do we have any way of estimating how 
widespread the impact has been or how deep will be the effect. Some 
work on Japanese children in a relocation center and in a western 
town emphasizes the wide variations in the effects of war on the 
anxiety, aggressiveness, and family-centeredness of different children. 

One of the greatest changes in American life during the war was 
the change in the role of women with the huge number entering in- 
dustry. While only a comparatively small number entered the armed 
forces, the amount of publicity they received accentuated the idea that 
women were sharing men's work. With this change in the adult world, 
it would be worth knowing how much the sex-role identification of 
little girls was affected, as revealed by their play and their expressed 
expectations for the future. For this purpose it would be necessary 
to have precise data from nursery schools whose populations were 
heavily drawn from the war workers. In the groups observed in the 
midwest only a fraction came from such families, and for this group 
it was striking how little the changes in adult life affected the girls. 
The traditional "house" play continued, where the father went to work 
and the mother stayed home to take care of the babies and to keep 
house. In several years of nursery school observation no instances 
have been noted of girls playing a game of going off to work. 

Another change brought by the war was the altered character of 
the family group, where families had to "double up" or where the 
mother and young children went to live with the grandparents when 
the father entered the army. For some children the grandmother as- 
sumed even greater importance when the mother went to visit the 
father in camp, leaving the children in her care. Small-sample clinical 
studies have shown both the desirable and undesirable role of the 
grandmother in early childhood experience. Increased role of the 
grandmother points the need of further studies. How much, for ex- 


ample, in middle-class families, has the grandmother's influence served 
to counteract the parent-education movement? Or to what extent has 
it brought about some basic confusions and inconsistencies in the 
child's life as he was reared under two sets of codes, either simul- 
taneously or at alternate times? Grandmothers have expressed the 
feeling of helplessness, "I could make him mind, the way I made my 
own children, but she says that's the wrong thing to do." What does 
it mean for the young child to be under the care of an adult who is 
uncertain as to what method to use? It seems probable that some of 
the uncertainty would deeply affect the child and that his doubts of 
the stability of adult authority and his sensitivity to ambiguities might 
carry over to school life. 

Radio, Movies and Comics 

Research on the effects of radio, movies, and comics has been 
largely confined to older children who can be shown to have larger 
vocabularies as a result of these contemporary influences, to be stimu- 
lated to delinquent behavior, or to derive important release from 
emotional conflicts. For younger children we can only refer to com- 
mon observation of children learning to read through the stimulus 
of the comics, being lulled to sleep by the radio, and being subjected to 
questionable types of emotional stimulation at the movies. Anxious 
parents and teachers who think all comics and all radio programs are 
concerned with gangsters overlook the universal satisfactions of 
animal stories, family experiences, or adventure stories that make up 
a large proportion of both, as well as the amount of interesting and 
important information which children pick up. The problem for 
parents and teachers alike is one of selection and enjoyment with the 
children of comics, radio programs, and movies adapted to the age 
level of the child. For the average child who enjoys both active under- 
takings of his own devising and the passive interest which accom- 
panies radio entertainment, there is little harm and much that is sound 
for the child. IB a few instances where children rely on ready-made 
stimulation to the exclusion of play or constructive exercises, they 
may postpone an effort to cope with reality. 

Urban and Suburban Patterns 

Back of these patterns which reflect the currently changing social 
scene are others of more stability for our culture, some of which are 
also important in shaping the pattern of development of American 
children. For example, the reactions of young children to American 


ways of idolizing the baby may be affected by the fact that we live 
in a culture fairly well educated to contraceptives. At least, it is clear 
that this fact has emphasized the importance of the question whether 
the child was wanted, planned for, and joyously accepted or was an 
accident and a cause of annoyance and frustration at the start. Our 
society forbids infanticide but cannot prevent the early distortions 
recorded in the literature of social work as characteristic of the per- 
sonality of some unwanted or rejected children. Where children are 
an economic asset, as when they provide hands to work the farm, they 
are guaranteed a kind of acceptance which the child of the slums, 
an economic liability rather than asset, cannot always enjoy. Many 
city children live in box-like apartments or houses with little or no 
land, trees, or gardens. Many of them have no pets or experiences 
with animals, no direct contact with the economic world in which 
fathers and mothers make a living and from which food, clothes, and 
home equipment come by unknown paths. 

The limited space of the city affects the child's early motor de- 
velopment; he often spends long periods of time in crib, playpen, or 
carriage. The baby carriage is a vehicle which stimilates the child 
in a gently soothing way, accustoming him from the beginning to 
rhythmic motion and inducing sensory satisfaction of a passive sort. 
It permits easy vision of the surrounding world, the child being pushed 
by the mother so that he does not see her but looks at the world in 
front of him; and if his mother gives him his airing while she does 
her shopping, this world consists of other children with their mothers 
out shopping and with the walls and shop windows of the stores or 
with the streets or park roads along the way. Children who are visually 
excited often clamor to get out of their carriages to crawl or toddle 
around so they can explore for themselves. Despite the necessity for 
much confinement, each stage of motor development sitting, standing, 
walking is greeted with much praise and enthusiasm by adults. Many 
babies get satisfaction and great stimulus to motor achievement at the 
same time that they are frustrated in basic physiological ways by 
abrupt or too early weaning, by overrigid training schedules which at- 
tempt to force toilet-training regardless of the child's own rhythm and 

Even more confining than carriages and even more detached from 
their mothers are the playpens and kiddie-coop cribs in which children 
are kept safe from dangerous objects. Energetic one-year-olds have 
been known to break the bars of the playpen "cage" and get out by 
their own efforts; and almost any child makes attempts to get free 


as soon as his skill permits. The important points here are the various 
experiences of visual contact with the world, being inclosed and limited 
in motor activity, being protected from discovering danger by trial 
and error, being restricted to the small amount of contact with the 
mother's body as compared to the babies described by Mead (24) 
and other students of primitive society. 

The stimulus to become acquainted with the outside world visually, 
as against early weaning from the mother's body and frequent ex- 
perience of prolonged confinement, may be related to the preschool 
child's pleasure in motor skills, to his desire to escape from the fence 
surrounding his preschool play yard, and to his "extroverted" attitude 
of interest in materials and the world outside himself. It is possible 
that excessively early weaning from the mother's body may also in- 
volve strain, if not shock, and be related to the anxiety that the child 
feels at the further separation involved in being left at the school. 

Many children with backgrounds like this grow up to be very 
normal, according to our cultural standards, but some may be with- 
drawn and even retarded. We have records of numerous instances 
where children who have been excessively confined to cribs, buggies, 
or playpens, with the result that they have received an inadequate 
amount of visual, motor, or social stimulation, have actually failed 
to develop adequately. It is possible that these experiences of exces- 
sive confinement are most damaging when they are only one aspect 
of a total experience of neglect, such as lack of affectionate and re- 
ciprocal relationship during infancy with a responsive mother or 
nurse. This seems especially likely since normal children have often 
had long periods of confinement alternated with affectionate and gay, 
stimulating care by the mother or nurse. The significance for preschool 
education is that children of fairly normal parents should not be 
labeled defective or hopelessly retarded without a careful analysis 
of the details of the cultural situation to determine how barren or 
how stimulating it was. 

The fact that babies are left alone and in confinement so much 
of the time in our culture may be related to their continuing need for 
passive sensory satisfactions of a variety of sorts, just as thumb- 
sucking is a specific need which probably results from the practice 
of early weaning and of bottle-feeding with its inadequate sucking 
time. Swings and slides, are characteristic favorites in our culture, 
prolonging some aspects of the passive sensory stimulation started by 
the rocking of the baby carriage. We are not suggesting that there 
is anything undesirable in this, although it may be related to future 


passive satisfiers, such as the radio and the movies. In general* 
achievement or construction is "work," related to adulthood, while 
"fun" consists of relaxation, infantile passivities, and sensory satis- 
factions which are enjoyed with little or no effort On the other hand, 
some aspects of preschool education, with or without an explicit 
analysis of the cultural trend, encourage the regarding of construction 
and creation as fun, not just work, or as work which is fun. 

Backgrounds of Aggressiveness 

Preschool children themselves give us a picture of cultural ex- 
periences as felt by them through their use of toys and play. Plenty 
of research has established the frequency of negativism with a peak 
at two and one-half or three years and of aggressive behavior in- 
creasing up to age four in the nursery schools in which it has been 
studied. The child's side of the picture, through play technique ses- 
sions, shows retaliative attitudes toward adult authority, along with 
anxiety or rivalry toward younger siblings. Isaacs (16) has analyzed 
some of the sources of aggression on the basis of her English data, 
but we need to have comparable material from other cultures in order 
to evaluate both the American and English pictures. 

For America we can suggest the following: babies are rather com- 
monly glamorized, adored, welcomed, and fussed over, the more so in 
families which expect only one or two, in which each one is a tri- 
umphant achievement, often realized only after years of waiting. Each 
item of normal development from smiling to walking is greeted with 
excitement and an appreciation which builds the infant's ego and gives 
him a strong sense of his importance and central position in the family. 
The specific encouragement of motor achievement stimulates his extro- 
verted, outgoing impulses with an effect that often lasts a lifetime. At 
the same time it encourages him to expect that his world is an oyster 
to open for his own delectation; and when he starts that "into-onto- 
under" exploring that goes with motor security at two years, he is 
hardly prepared for the avalanche of "no's" which descends upon him. 
He has every right to expect that he will be allowed to use his arms 
and legs, now that they can really do things. But everything he at- 
tempts, as he now undertakes to do the things he has watched others 
do from his playpen, crib, or carriage put things into drawers, take 
them out, take things off tables is forbidden. In many families the 
number of "no's" is many times as great as the number of shar- 
ing, agreeing, and approving comments on the actions of young chil- 
dren. It does not need a very elaborate frustration-aggression hypoth- 


esis to visualize the feelings of the child who is exposed to this se- 
quence or to guess why the peak of negativism and aggression or 
"brattishness" develops. When we add to this the child's normal need 
to get facts straight in this complex world and the adult's frequent 
annoyance with the child's persistent questions, we see that many 
children are exposed to frustration in the verbal area equal to that 
appearing in the motor area. 

There are many different patterns of child response to basic cul- 
ture. These are the result of the enormous variations in maternal 
feeling toward children, the ease with which different mothers can 
give a child physical contact and security as well as social and verbal 
companionship, the degree of tenseness with which the early motor 
explorations are shaped by the prohibiting mother, and the degree of 
urgency of the individual child himself. Children are very likely to 
resort to self and bodily satisfactions in this period of frequent pro- 
hibitions and disapprovals, and the frequency of body play in pre- 
school children may be not so much an expression of "normal" 
curiosity as the effort of a child with strong drives to find substitutes 
where so many prohibitions exist. 

The struggle with authority has its roots in the basic sequences of 
our methods of adult handling of children and appears as a backdrop 
against which individual variations in aggressiveness, autoeroticism, 
or withdrawal, can be seen. 

Early School Experience 

School in this context appears as a situation affording opportunities 
for varied types of active and passive motor experience, extending the 
patterns of satisfaction and achievement built into the infant before 
he comes to school: a situation containing numerous sibling-substi- 
tutes on whom he may project much of the feeling accumulated in his 
own home-sibling situation; a situation containing, instead of one 
adult with whom he is intimately concerned, one or more adults, more 
neutral in feeling though clear in their authoritarian role, in relation 
to whom he can work out his feelings about authority* His earlier 
needs for sensory satisfaction have sometimes been neglected but 
now are increasingly allowed for in the provision of finger-paints, clay, 
mud, and other materials. 

.School also becomes a place in which there is an opportunity to 
correct some of the distortions which may have developed from ex- 
cessively rigid feeding and toilet*twwng, excessively cold or exces- 
sively sentimental handling by mothers, and excessive competition 
with a sibling. 


We do not have enough comparisons of nursery-school with non- 
nursery -school children to know to what extent early school life itself 
presents more problems to many children than they can handle. The 
high incidence of aggressive behavior in the early school period may 
be very threatening to some children who might have developed more 
serenely in a less hectic atmosphere. While some schools do extend the 
child's resources beyond those of the average home, they also remove 
certain types of experience: sitting on laps, enjoying the undivided at- 
tention of one devoted adult, exploring the fascinating newnesses and 
variations of culinary processes in the kitchen or the day-to-day hap- 
penings in the neighborhood. They may thus tend to limit the child 
emotionally and to stereotype his development more than we have 
admitted. Granted the security of the familiar, it is not in any sense 
proven that exposure to standard materials (such as blocks, five days 
a week, with an opportunity to make innumerable variations on the 
general theme of station, tracks, and skyscrapers) is the most con- 
structive experience for the child of kindergarten age. An extension 
of materials the child handles to include some variety in textures, 
colors, and degrees of mobility would do no harm and might be a 
very important advantage, especially to children of superior potentiali- 

The parents' attitude is sometimes confused about school. They 
are uncertain whether to regard the teacher as a glorified nursemaid 
and the school's routines as mere rituals to keep the children amused 
or whether to think of the teacher as an "expert" and the routines as 
models which they as parents should try to emulate. As increasing 
numbers of children under six attend school, further investigation will 
be needed to ascertain the parental attitudes in different cultural groups 
and to learn how they affect the child's school experience. Meanwhile, 
it is important for teachers to be sensitive to childhood confusions 
which are due to conflicts between rules and freedoms of the home and 
those at school. These are confusions which can be greatly decreased 
if the teacher will help the child to accept the differences. 


Schools themselves are generally well aware of the fact that groups 
for young children meet a need in a culture in which families are 
small, where there are few child-centered homes or homes even 
partially equipped for children, and where the lack of materials and 
of other children means a lack of normal outlet for activity and 
emotional needs at th0 "puppy" stage where tumbling, chasing, "bop- 
ping,** pulling, and pusfaifag are natural. 


They are also well aware that the increase in life expectancy, the 
use of contraceptives, the decrease in birth rate among middle and 
upper classes mean less experiences with children on the part of 
mothers, many of whom come to the major task of their lives without 
preparatory orientation and with little accessible guidance. Schools 
for very young children have been close to parent education, even to 
the extent of using books with titles like Parents and Children Go to 
School, with the implication that the school is not only a place for the 
child to have an opportunity for experiences he needs but also a place 
for mothers to learn what children need, how they can be handled, 
and what to expect of normal children. It is sometimes also recog- 
nized that, in a culture which has increasingly emphasized objectivity 
and scientific procedures and which is often dominated by very de- 
tached experts, mothers themselves need emotional education, need 
actually to learn how to love young children and to be spontaneous 
and understanding with them. They learn to recognize that their own 
fears for the child may be projected in overprotection or other tension 
and to understand their irritations and resentment of the child's 
nuisance tactics. 

Actually, much as this philosophy makes sense, it is founded on a 
variety of assumptions which have, for the most part, gone untested 
by research of any sort. For example, there is very little evidence that 
"love" in the romantic sense in which our western civilization uses 
the term is indispensable to healthy childhood growth, granted that 
something which might be called "belonging to a group" and probably 
close, warm contact are characteristic of wholesome development in 
any culture, 

Hartoch has defined three groups of children seen in a day 
nursery for children of working mothers loved, unloved, and pseudo- 
loved. She finds that, among the unloved children, some may become 
very disorganized and hostile but that others may satisfy their drives 
in strong relations with the world of nature, a real independence which 
the loved children may not attain. "Pseudo-loved" children have the 
hardest time to develop a strong inner self. We do not know whether 
the difficulties children experience from too much moving are really 
the result of the place-changes or the result of the disturbed feelings 
of the adults who are irritable over so many changes. For the time 
being, the best we can do is to go ahead, shaping our educational pat- 
terns to the guesses we can make, but it is important that most of 
our assumptions be tested as rapidly as possible, 



Especially because of wartime and postwar instabilities and 
crowded living, young children need certain things which have always 
been emphasized: a dependable pattern of life which will give them a 
chance to know what comes next and to feel at home with places, 
people, and routines; equipment and activities suited to their growing 
legs, their need to build and to make believe; a design for living suited 
to their rhythms of playing, resting, eating, and eliminating. In ad- 
dition, education for young children often needs to make more room 
for the following: 

Richer Experiences. City children, as we have said, living in con- 
fined apartments need to see, feel, and touch grass, animals, and 
flowers. .Watching a turtle creep across a table can elicit delighted 
squeals from the children. A sweet-potato plant, putting out more 
and more leaves, is enthralling. Even a walk in a city park is im- 
portant to the children. 

For the past several years some parents, especially fathers, have 
found it difficult to take vacations with their children, and the very 
young children need leisurely, explorative trips that may or may not 
have "educational value" in the school sense. Older children, from 
the age of four on, also need varied opportunities to become ac- 
quainted with the world in which they live. Trips to grocery stores, 
dairies, buildings under construction, ferries, docks, railroad stations, 
freight yards, lumber yards, fire and police stations, chicken or dairy 
farms, as well as zoo, park, brook, or lake help to expand their ex- 
perience. Young children generally like to go back to the same place 
repeatedly one trip is not enough. Trips are apt to be most success- 
ful when arrangements are made ahead of time with the adults who 
are to explain how things work. Often such trips mean happy ex- 
periences with kind, interested adults who are happy to have the 
contact with small children. Trips are important for farm children 
as well as town children. The farm children need especially to visit 
the school which they will later attend and the stores and other build- 
ings in the town where their future school is located. 

Contacts with Children of Different Ages. In small urban com- 
munities the only child or the child of a small family can find play- 
mates of various ages on the "block." In the larger cities children of 
the lower-income groups play unsupervised on the busy city streets 
all day very often subject to aggression from older, "tougher kids" 

* We are indebted to many preschool workers, especially Mary H, Frank, for 
help op tbege suggestions. 


but, nevertheless, getting their play patterns and language from older 
children. The child from a middle-class home who comes to school 
may be a child who has had no contact with other children. He goes 
home very often with a nurse or maid, if his mother is working, to 
play alone in his own room with only the companionship of the adult 
who may be busy preparing his five o'clock supper. 

It would be a good thing to let these children have more and easier 
access to other and younger groups not just a short visit but a morn- 
ing of play in a "family group" made up of children of different age 
groups. This would also break down the sometimes awful barrier of 
the yard, roof, or schoolroom making it a larger world which the 
child can explore. Many children spend a great deal of time looking 
over the fence at the other group, and some rebel at not being allowed 
to open the gate to the next yard. It might be very valuable to let 
them explore all the corners of their world when the confined spaces 
at home are made small and more rigid with prohibitions on the living 
room, mother's room, and other areas. 

Flexibility in Routines. Many parents these days are anxious about 
toilet-training, regular meals, daily sunshine, and so on. This has 
meant pretty stiff routines where the child is trotted to the bathroom 
or to the table where he performs or doesn't perform, according to 
the degree of passivity or activity with which he accepts the routine. 
Very often it has been observed in school that the child who stays dry 
all day and who avoids soiling his hands or clothing in play will balk 
at the ten o'clock bathroom routine and say, "I don't need to" or "I 
can wash my hands myself." Perhaps these children need to feel 
that they have some autonomous control over their own bodies. Such 
children respond with almost noticeable gratitude to such answers as, 
"Well, you tell me when you need to go to the bathroom and we'll go" 
or "When you're ready, yott could wash your hands for dinner." 

Dr. Milton Senn and Dr. Benjamin Spock have also advocated 
similar flexibility regarding eating and sleeping where the needs, even 
of children of the same age, vary widely. The body itself can go far 
in determining its own needs. Forced eating and forced sleeping often 
lead to resistance to food and rest or to bad habits. 

An accepting attitude toward each child's physical and emotional 
needs, his growth patterns, and his personality are first steps toward 
putting him at ease, relieving tension, and helping him to grow. 

Farm Children. Children of rural areas, who have had rich ex- 
periences with animals, digging, exploring, and the like, may still have 
had little or no contact with other children, Kttle or no use of wheel 


toys and other large equipment for children. A "circulating library" 
of toys and equipment loaned for specific periods to each farm home 
might help the farm child to feel less strange and unpractised in town 
arts when he later comes to school with town children. Farm mothers 
might, with a little help from a county educational consultant, ar- 
range to alternate responsibility for a small group of children. It 
would take only four to six mothers, each giving one morning or after- 
noon a week in rotation, to provide several periods of group experience 
per week. This would help many children to feel less strange in the 
larger group life of school later on. 

Spontaneity. We would like to stress over and over again that, 
in all the activities of the school, the teacher should recognize the im- 
portance of doing what the child enjoys most or wants to do now, 
doing it for the moment and for the sheer joy of that moment. Chil- 
dren all over the country have felt the tension of war. "Don't take 
too much butter, it's hard to get," "Don't annoy that soldier who is 
sleeping in the seat across the way," "Don't bother me now, I'm trying 
to get a little rest" all are things that make a child feel frustrated 
because they are meaningless to him at a time when he wants to ex- 
plore. He ought to be able to mess with water, clay, and mud not 
just keep it on a clean board. He needs to smear paint on the floor, 
to play silly games and to giggle, to make tents out of the blankets, 
to use the table for boats, or to make soup out of his ice cream without 
being told that "it isn't the thing to do." 

Adults Who Are Human. During the war years when so many 
mothers were working, young children often had too little affection, 
too little mother-child cuddling, too little conversation and play. Some 
children need this from teachers, even in the first grade, and giving 
it to those who need it seldom creates any problem for those who do 
not need it. 

Mothers of many children are baffled by their own performance 
in that they try to be calm and unruffled with their children, that they 
try to hide anger and upset, and that sometimes they just can't help 
themselves and "let out" at the child. Indeed, the child must be even 
more baffled when he expects serenity and gets a spanking or expects 
anger and gets the response, "We really need a rest now." It is im- 
portant to be steady and mature with the child, but it is important 
also to let him feel that you are a person with emotion and response, 
that some days you are cross or tired, that the teacher, too, has feel- 
ings. He is a sensitive observer, and we can't be sure that he isn't 
irritated by a constantly serene teacher who is as placid when he bites 
his neighbor as when he is sleeping. Of course, a mature adult will not 


direct her violent temper toward a child, but she cannot face a child 
all day with an unruffled exterior without creating the same tensions 
which pseudo-love and lack of love must create, 

Men. Unfortunately, during the war years many children have 
been temporarily or permanently deprived of associations with their 
fathers. This needed contact with a man should be provided for 
through a substitute, such as a grandfather, a big brother, or a high- 
school or a grade-school boy who likes children. If teachers can accept 
the minor disruptions of routines caused by the presence of people 
unfamiliar with their schools, they will find enormous compensation 
in the good experiences which boys and men can give young children. 

Release and Control of Aggression. The irregularities of life, lack 
of affection, and frustration of wartime and postwar living may leave 
young children with accumulated tension which comes out in hitting, 
biting, getting mad too easily, or other forms of "aggression." All the 
things mentioned above should help to relieve this tension. In general, 
the more satisfactions the child has the less he will feel the need for 
aggressive outbursts. But some children need special help explicit 
friendly reminders Of limits, such as "You can't play with the group 
if you hit or bite" and varied opportunities for release. Clay to mold, 
cardboard or heavy paper to cut, a workbench for sawing and pound- 
ing, a linoleum-walled smearing-room where finger paint or cold cream 
can even be thrown at the wall, miniature life toys with which one 
can play out one's feelings of rebellion and hate against grown-ups, 
all these can give legitimate release to the child with "mean feelings 
bottled up inside." Coupled with special responsibility, special ap- 
preciation for good days or a good play time, release can be a first 
step toward happier adjustment to the group. 

Time To Be Alone. Children who are slow to make use of the 
materials and to associate with other children in the group may need 
opportunities to play alone in a quiet room or in a protected corner 
of the playroom. 

Special Help. Children with severe problems which do not respond 
to nursery-school life within a few months may need psychiatric help, 
for which parents generally have to be prepared by slow stages, except 
in the rare cases where they are clearly aware of the child's problem 
and understand how a child psychiatrist can help. 


Teachers are usually the first to recognize that their efforts are of 
little avail unless they are supported by community interest. Parents 


and teachers will multiply the returns from their efforts if they work 
on the social scene as well as with the child. Community responsi- 
bility for the care of young children, giving special consideration to 
dependents and children of working mothers, and for recreational 
facilities and guidance, giving special consideration to delinquent 
areas, is a tangible and readily attainable goal. Preparation of parents 
for care of young children can well begin in elementary school, giving 
all growing young people a chance to understand gradually the needs 
of little children and infants. Opportunities to play with or to be 
cared for by older boys are often excellent father-substitutes. 

Early school foundations for friendly interracial attitudes will be 
more enduring in a community where equality of work, of housing, 
and of social opportunities is a reality. 

Basic to these and other aspects of the development of the child 
is the fundamental quality of human relations in the community in 
which he grows up. A child, physically and emotionally satisfied in 
infancy, realistically and affectionately introduced to the necessary- 
conformities of social life, having plenty of opportunity for normal, 
childlike exploration and activity, growing in a world where friend- 
liness toward people of other groups is general, is not likely to be de- 
linquent, dull, or hostile. The prescription is simple, yet it involves 
basic thinking and planning in relation to almost every phase of our 
culture the kinds of apartments, houses, and yards we live in; the 
time-schedules we obey; the relative values put upon family living 
and fun as compared to achievement, salaries, or social "climbing; and 
our willingness to give young children what they need instead of being 
too concerned about saving money. 


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and Social Science, CCXH (1940). 

2. BALDWIN, A. L.; KALHORN, J.; and BKEESE, F. H. Patterns of Parent Be- 
havior. Psychological Monograph^, LVm, No. 3 (1945). Evanston, Illinois: 
American Psychological Assn., 1945. 

3. BARUCH, D. Parents and Children Go to School. Chicago; Scott, Foresman 
<fe Co., 1939. 

4. BONTB, E. P., and MUSQBOVE, M. "Influence of War as Evidenced in Chil- 
dren's Play/' CMd Development, XIV (1943), 179-200. 

5. CABMICHAEL, LEONARD (editor). Manual of Child Psychology. New York; 
John Wiley & Sons., Inc., 1946. 

6. DOLLAED, JOHN, and DAVIS, AI/LISON. Children in Bondage* Washington: 
American Council on Education, 1940. 


7. FBANCXS, E. V., and FILMOBB, B. A. The Influence of Environment upon the 
Personality of the Child. University of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare, IX, 
No. 2, 1942. 

8. GARDNER, L. P. "A Survey of the Attitudes and Activities of Fathers," 
Journal of Genetic Psychology, LXIH (September, 1943), 15-53. 

9. GERARD, M. W., and OTHERS. "Psychology of Preadolescent Children in 
Wartime/' American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, XIII (1943), 493-517. 

10. GBSBLL, ABOSTOLD, and ILQ, FRANCES L. Infant and Child in the Culture o/ 
Today. New York: Harper & Bros., 1943. 

11. - . The First Five Years of Life. New York: Harper & Bros., 1940. 

12. GREENACRE, P. "Infant Reactions to Restraint: Problems in the Fate of 
Infantile Aggression," American Journal oj Orthopsychiatry, XIV (1944), 

13. HOROWITZ, E. L. "The Development of Attitude toward the Negro/' 
Archives of Psychology, No. 199, 1936. 

14. HUSCHKA, M. "The Child's Response to Coercive Bowel Training," Psy- 
chosomatic Medicine, IV-V, No. 3, 1942. 

15. ISAACS, S. The Nursery Years. London: Routledge, 1929. 

15. - , Social Development m Young Children. New York: Haroourt, 
Brace & Co., 1933. 

17. JOHNSON, G. S. Growing Up in the Black Belt. Washington: American 
Council on Education, 1941. 

18. KALHORN, J. Values and Sources of Authority among Rural Children. Uni- 
versity of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare, XX, No. 409, 1944. 

19. KUNEBBBfy OTTO. Cultural Factors m Intelligence-test Performance. 

20. LEVT, DAVID, "On the problem of Movement Restraint, Tics, Stereotyped 
Movements, Hyperactivity/' American Journal of Orthopsychiatry f XIV 
(1944), 644-71. 

21. LEVJNGER, LEAH. (Unpublished study) 

22. MACFARLANB, J. Studies in Child Guidance. /: Methodology of Data Col- 
lection and Organization, Washington: Society for Research in Child De- 
velopment, 1938* 

23. MBA, MARGARET. And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Look* 
at America. New York: W. Morrow <fe Co,, 1943. 

24. - . Competition and Co-operation among Primitive People** New 
YorJc: McGraw-Hill <fc Co., Inc., 1937. 

25. METEES, C. E. The Effect of Conflicting Authority upon ths CMld. Uni- 
versity of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare, XX, No. 409, 1944. 

26. MtrapHY,L. B. Social Behavior and Child Personality. New York: Colum- 
bia University Frees, 1937. 

27. PXAOKT, J. The Moral Judgment of the Child. New York: Harcourt> Brace 
& Co., 1932, 

2& - . Childhood Experience m Personality and the Behavior Disorder*. 
New York: Ron*ld Pre, 1944. 


29. PRATT, K. C. "A Study of the 'Fears' of Rural Children," Journal oj Genetic 
Psychology, LXVII (1945). 

30. RHINEHABT, J. B. "Some Effects of a Nursery-School Parent-Education 
Program on a Group of Three-year-olds," Journal of Genetic Psychology, 
LXI (1942), 153-61. 

31. REBBLE, M. "Infantile Experience in Relation to Personality," Personality 
and the Behavior Disorders, Vol. II. (J. McV. Hunt, Editor.) New York: 
Ronald Press, 1944. 

32. SCHACHTEL, A. H., and LBVI, M. B. "Character Structure of Day-nursery 
Children in Wartime as Seen through the Rorsehach," American Journal of 
Orthopsychiatry, XV (1945). 

33. SCHILDER, PAUL. Goals and Desires of Man. New York: Columbia Uni- 
versity Press, 1942. 

34. SPOOK, B. The Commonsense Book of Baby and Child Care. New York: 
Duell, Sloan <fe Pearce, 1946. 

35. STOTT, L. H. "Some Environmental Factors in Relation to the Personality 
Adjustment of Rural Children/' Rural Sociology, X (1945), 394-403. 

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nessee Mountain Children." 





U. S. Office of Education 

Federal Security Agency 

Washington, D. C. 

Numerical Growth in School Programs 

Now and then, in the complicated affairs of men, the factors in 
a situation arrange themselves in such a way as to accelerate the 
development of some service or institution so that it makes a gener- 
ation's normal growth in a few short years. This has happened in 
the development of educational services for young children over the 
past dozen years. Nursery schools had a slow start, and a relatively 
late start, in this country. Available records show only three nursery 
schools in existence by 1920; twenty-five had been established by 
1924, one of them in a public school. 1 During the next few years 
colleges and universities pioneered in nursery schools for laboratory 
purposes and numbers of private schools were begun. By 1928 2 there 
were reports from eighty-nine nursery schools, seventeen of them in 
public schools. In all, they served approximately 2,000 children, 
By 1930 the number of nursery schools reporting to the Office of 
Education trebled, the increase coming mostly in college and uni- 
versity laboratories and in private schools. 8 

1 Mary Dabney Davis, Nursery Schools; Their Development and Current 
Practices in the United States, p. 25. United States Office of Education Bulletin 
No. 9, 1932, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1933, 

* Mary Dabney Davis, Kindergarten-Primary Education, p, 40. United States 
Office of Education Bulletin No. 30, 1940. Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1930. 

'Mary Dabaey Davis, Schools for Chftdre* under Six, United States Office 
of Education Bulletin, (In process of preparation), 


This slow but steady development might have continued its snail- 
like pace if social and economic conditions had continued the same. 
A degree of popular interest had developed in educational provisions 
for young children of two, three, and four years of age which justi- 
fied the establishment of private nursery schools. Furthermore, the 
broadened programs in homemaking education were providing child- 
study courses with observation and participation in nursery-school 
laboratories as an accepted part of such study. Provisions for young 
children in public schools, however, were not increasing noticeably. 
Even kindergartens slowed their pace soon after 1930, after sixty 
years of gaining acceptance as a public school service. To be sure, 
they had grown rapidly, from an enrolment of 15,000 in 1888 to 
130,000 in 1900, to 725,000 in 1930. Then the gains ceased, and by 
1934 the enrolment had dropped to 600,000. Depression years took a 
heavy toll of both public and private kindergartens. 

But these same depression years, together with the war period 
following them, brought about two major changes: First, through the 
federally supported relief program in which unemployed adults were 
given work in nursery schools for the children of needy and unem- 
ployed parents, the attention of the general public was first drawn to 
the desirability of school services for children below kindergarten 
age. Second, since these nursery schools were established by adminis- 
trative order "under the control of the public school systems/' the 
public came rather quickly to accept and feel pride in the fact that 
the public school could arid should provide for children of all ages. 

A decade later the wartime program of federally aided nursery 
schools served to broaden the acceptance of these two principles. 
Here again an upheaval in our national economy, this time war-in- 
duced, called for workers to man the production lines. So great was 
the need that women by the thousands left their homes and joined the 
labor force. Extended school services for the children of these work- 
ers, both for the young children and for those of school age, were 
necessary to secure and keep these workers. Thus, again, a national 
economic emergency furthered the extension of school services for 
children of two, three, four, and even five years of age. 

The numbers so served have been impressive. More than 1,900 
emergency nursery schools were reported to the Works Progress Ad- 
ministration in 1934-35, enrolling approximately 75,000 children. 4 
With improvement in the general economic situation, the number of 

4 Emergency Nursery Schools during the Second year, 1934-35. Report pre- 
pared and published by the National Advisory Committee on Emergency Nursery 


centers and the enrolments decreased until, in 1942, there were 944 nurs- 
ery schools remaining, with an enrolment of 38,735. Since the program 
plans of the extended school services were already under way, many 
of these remaining emergency schools became the nucleus of the 
program for the new child-care center established for the children of 
war workers. In October, 1943, there were 1,180 nursery-school cen- 
ters, enrolling 32,409 children. By March, 1945, the number had in- 
creased to 1,481, with an enrolment of 51,229, and there were 18,150 
other nursery-school children in centers which included both preschool 
and school-age children. From this point on, centers closed out, grad- 
ually, at first, and then rapidly up to March, 1946, the date of with- 
drawal of federal funds. 

A situation conducive to such rapid development of a relatively 
new program naturally encouraged and accelerated the rate of growth 
in institutions of older status. Other types of nursery schools in- 
creased to a reported total of 965, as shown in Table I. 


Type of Nursery School 






Original types ... .. 


203 b 

285 b 

965 b 

Emergency WPA 

1900 e 

944 d 

Extended School Services 


Davis, op, tnt. f Bulletin No. 30, 1930, p. 40. 

* Davis, Schools for Children wnder Sfo, op cit. The number given for 1942 Includes 
kindergartens in those private schools in which nursery schools and kindergartens arc fre- 
quently overlapping or indistinguishable. 

* Bmerffency Nurtery School* during the Second Year, 1934-8$* op. tit. 
d Davis, Schools for Children under Six, op. cit. 

Hearings before Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, House of Representa- 
tive*, 79th Congress, 1st Session on H.R. 8187 and H.Rs 3278, p. 9. 

Similar gains were made by public kindergartens which reversed 
the trend and gained a hundred thousand in enrolment from 1934 to 
1944, almost reaching the high point they had achieved in 1930, as 
shown in Table II. 


Type of Kindergarten 














private ... 












* United States Office of Education, Statistical Summary of Education, 1939-40. Bien- 
nial Survey of Education in the United States, 1038-40. Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1942. 

*Etim4t* f from 6tati*ti<* of SiaU School Systems, 1943-44. United State* Offioa of 
Bducmtion, Biennial Survey of Education in the UniUd State*, 1943-44. Waatogtoa ; 
Government Printing, Office, 1946. 

* Uniud fit&tM Office of Education, StattttfaU Summary of Education, 1&&3-34. Bten- 
nlal Survey of Education in the United 8t*te, 1983-84. Wtthington; Government Printing 
Office, 1037. 


Altogether the two emergency periods, with their inevitable strains 
on children, had, nevertheless, dramatized their needs and required 
an extension of services for them beyond what might have been ex- 
pected under normal circumstances. 

Legal Status of Educational Services for Young Children 

State Laws. The war years, particularly, saw major changes in 
state legislation relating to the provisions of schools for young chil- 
dren. During the years 1942 to 1945, sixteen states lowered or adjusted 
the school-admission age to provide for children below six; thirteen 
states passed permissive laws for the establishment of nursery schools, 
four of them for the emergency only; ten states gave authority to 
local school districts to use their local funds for nursery schools; nine 
states authorized the use of state funds for kindergartens and one 
additional state authorized the use of state funds for supervision of 
kindergartens; five states provided state funds for emergency "child- 
care programs/ 1 that is, for children 2 to 14 years of age; thirteen 
states authorized the acceptance of federal funds, usually with spe- 
cific child-care programs in mind, 6 Probably no similar period had 
ever seen so much legislative action related to schools for young 

There is frequently a sort of progression in the action taken by 
states over a period of years. First, the state gives local districts 
authority to establish kindergartens, and usually to use their own 
local funds to support them (all but one state have done this) ; second, 
the state authorizes local districts to use state funds for kinder- 
gartens (twenty-nine states have done this) ; third, the state author- 
izes local districts to establish nursery schools and to use their own 
local funds for them (ten states have done this) ; and fourth, the 
state authorizes local districts to use state funds for nursery schools 
or other similar programs for children below kindergarten age (six 
states have done this). 

In addition, states may, and frequently do, establish standards or 
locate authority for the establishment of standards. Such standards 
usually relate to qualifications of teachers, either by providing spe- 
cifically for teachers of kindergarten and nursery school (eight states 
provide certification for nursery-school teachers) or by including them 
under general certification provisions. In a number of states the 
health or welfare department is authorized to establish standards of 

* "State Legislative Action for Young Children," School Ufa XXVHI (Janu- 
ary, 1946), 30. 


safety, sanitation, and the like. One other step, which so far has been 
taken by only three states, is that of requiring state registration of 
private schools for young children. New York has had such a law 
sinoe 1939; Louisiana's board of education adopted apian for accredit- 
ing private kindergartens and nursery schools in 1945 which enables 
these schools to be approved under state standards and registered by 
the state department of education; New Jersey passed a law in 1946 
requiring every private nonsectarian child-care center, day nursery, 
nursery school, and boarding school in which tuition is charged to 
secure a certificate of approval before July 1, 1947, from the com- 
missioner of education. 

Federal Legislation. With the termination of grants by the Fed- 
eral Works Agency in March, 1946, no federal agency had funds to 
allot for sucl; services. Federal aid for schools for young children 
has been the object of numerous bills over a long period. The Pepper 
Bill, to provide federal funds to encourage the establishment of kinder- 
gartens, first introduced in June, 1942, has been reintroduccd in suc- 
cessive sessions of Congress. More recently federal aid was sought for 
child-care centers during the war period through the Thomas Bill, 
introduced in May, 1943. Its purpose was to provide funds in an 
orderly way through state departments of education and welfare 
for the development of extended school services (including nursery 
schools) through education agencies and for other types of child- 
care services through welfare agencies. As the withdrawal of federal 
aid was announced in the fall of 1945, the Doyle Bill was introduced 
to meet the immediate emergency, caused by the closing of the war- 
time child-care services, by channeling funds to state educational and 
welfare agencies, None of these bills has been passed, General fed- 
eral-aid bills have sometimes specifically mentioned kindergartens 
and nursery schools as services for which federal funds could be spent 
if , the bills were passed. At other times they have not been mentioned, 
but it has been assumed that states and local school systems would 
be at liberty to spend their federal allotments for any educational 
services for which they could use their own funds. 

In this field, as in other separate aspects of education, the ques- 
tion arises as to whether "general aid" or "specific aid" is more apt 
to be granted and as to which would be better if granted. There are 
persons, who feel that the educational welfare of the nation's young 
children is so important, and still in the developmental stage, that it 
should be guaranteed gen'erously and quickly by federal grants for 
nursery schools and kindergartens that we cannot run the risk of 


states and local communities not having the necessary funds for this 
relatively new service, There are other persons who feel that the prin- 
ciple of maintaining the states' autonomy and individuality through 
general, unspecified grants is of such critical nature that it must be 
preserved even at the risk of failing to serve another generation or two 
of children. 

Current Organization of Early Childhood Education 

Neither kindergartens nor nursery schools had their initial impetus 
in public schools. Early kindergartens, established as private or 
philanthropic institutions, were slow in being accepted, not as a de- 
sirable adjunct to a school system but as the essential beginning unit 
in a school organization. In fact, since not more than one in every 
five of our five-year-olds now attends kindergarten, it may be doubted 
that the concept is yet thoroughly accepted. Nevertheless, where 
kindergartens do exist under boards of education, they are almost 
universally a part of the elementary-school organization, coming 
within the responsibilities of the elementary-school principal and the 
general elementary-school supervisor or director. 

Nursery schools have had a similar history in becoming a part of 
the public school system. Up to 1930, nursery schools were gaining 
popularity among the colleges, primarily as research centers for the 
study of child development and as laboratories for the training of 
child psychologists and teachers of home economics. They were, as yet, 
comparatively unknown in public schools. By 1942, according to 
a study 6 of existing facilities for children under six, 965 nursery schools 
reporting were distributed as follows: 622 private or tuition schools; 
122 in colleges or universities; 156 philanthropic institutions (such as 
kindergarten associations in certain large cities, neighborhood houses, 
and settlements) ; 35 special schools, in connection with hospitals or 
for special groups, such as crippled children; and 30 in public schools. 
Among the latter are the nursery schools established to provide obser- 
vation and practice for homemaking education. Such nursery schools 
are almost always part of a high-school organization, used in training 
programs for secondary-school students and adults. 

The emergency-relief nursery schools did not change the situation 
much. The regulations required that each one be sponsored by a public 
school, but they also required local sponsoring committees of repre- 
sentatives of public service organizations, which committees some- 
times served almost as separate policy-making boards or committees. 

*pavis, Schools for Children under &ix, op. c#. 


Also, since the program was developed to provide as much employ- 
ment as possible, the nursery schools usually had their own full com- 
plement of teachers, supervisors, and custodial workers. All these 
factors militated against the adoption of emergency nursery schools 
as functional units of the elementary school* When they lapsed as 
relief services, they seldom left a unit ready to continue as an integral 
part of an elementary-school organization. 

Nursery schools, established as a part of extended school services 
during the war, had a different experience and a different outcome. 
Organized from the beginning by school officials as a logical extension 
downward of the primary school, they were in most instances an 
accepted part of that school unit. With the discontinuance of federal 
funds at the close of the emergency, a suprising number of units 
continued on public, private, and tuition funds. 7 Four states made 
appropriations to assist local communities: California appropriated 
three and a half million dollars to continue the centers until March, 
1947, and specifically directed that any California child, not just the 
children of working mothers, was eligible; New York made two million 
dollars available for one-third of the cost of operating selected cen- 
ters, the community to provide one-third, and the balance to be made 
up by fees; Washington asked the state superintendent of public in- 
struction to spend a half million dollars to continue nursery schools 
and play centers; Massachusetts passed a bill authorizing the reim- 
bursement of municipalities for salary expense up to 40 per cent, or 
$15,000 annually, for child-care services, 

In numerous communities the child-care centers continued either 
as a part of regular school service with school funds or as a co-operative 
enterprise with financial support from some public service agency or 
organization. For example, Cleveland kept twenty-two centers at 
public expense; the Detroit city council provided funds to the board 
of education to continue twenty-five centers ; Milwaukee, through fees 
and subscriptions, continued three centers under sponsorship of the 
board of education and a citizens' committee; the Philadelphia city 
council granted funds to the board of education to continue the centers; 
in Schenectady the centers were financed by funds from the city 
council, a state grant, and fees; in Atlanta the board of education 
supervised and the Junior Chamber of Commerce financed the centers. 
Throughout the country, communities have clung to their child-care 
centers, pooling all available resources from public funds, fees, and 
contributions of public service groups. In most cases, those which con* 

1 "Extended School Services Continue," School Ufa XXVIII (Jtilr, 1946), &. 


tinned did so as a part of the public elementary schools. It now ap- 
pears that, for the first time, nursery schools operating as the begin- 
ning unit in the public elementary school will soon outnumber all 
other types of nursery schools. 

Status of Public Opinion on Nursery 
Schools and Kindergartens 

Education moves forward only as fast as citizens are enlightened 
and ready to change or add new services to the public school system. 
The schools in our country are one of the great institutions established 
by the people. They mirror advances and changes as the public makes 
known its wishes and takes action to support them. 

Although great strides were made toward having kindergartens and 
nursery schools become an integral part of public education during the 
last twenty years, figures previously quoted indicate that this edu- 
cational privilege is one which is at present enjoyed by relatively few 
children under six years of age. The public was concerned, therefore, 
when federal funds, made available for these services during the war 
emergency, were terminated, thus curtailing in many communities the 
child-care services which people had come rapidly to accept. This 
situation served to stimulate parents and citizen groups to think about 
ways and means of giving more children the opportunity for school 
before they turned six. It also precipitated much argument, 

Opposition to Educational Services for Young Children. Those 
opposed to nursery schools and kindergartens at public expense raised 
certain objections. These arguments should be examined for validity. 

1. Are children at two, three, jowr, and five years ready for formal 

Abundant evidence is available from research findings on human 
development to show that a child's earliest years are by far the most 
important in shaping personality characteristics which will fit or unfit 
him for a well-adjusted life. By the time the child reaches school at 
five or six his education has made considerable headway. His speech, 
health, social adjustments, habits, and attitudes are so far advanced 
that the efforts of the school are, in large measure, conditioned by his 
earlier experiences. With the policy of "hands off" until six, the child's 
haphazard education at home often leaves him unable to make the 
most of the later educational opportunities which are offered. It is a 
tragedy that through neglect, through ignorance, and through public 
apathy, the potentialities of many children for reaching their fullest 
development is impaired and thwarted. 


2. Do not young children need a home environment for their best 

Every child needs a home which can give him the best climate for 
growing a home with affection, security, a feeling of belonging and 
of personal worth. Unfortunately many homes are unable to supply 
all these ingredients in the environment necessary for the happiness 
and stability of the child. The modern nursery school and kindergarten 
has been established, therefore, to supplement the home but not to 
replace it; to strengthen the relationships between parents and chil- 
dren but not to assume the parents' responsibilities; and to bring to 
parents scientific information regarding the needs of children but not 
to lessen their role in guiding their child's development. 

Research reveals that young children benefit greatly if they have 
other children of nearly the same age to play with. The child in the 
average family of today does not have the benefit of the give and take 
implicit in the life of the larger families of a former day. Nursery 
schools and kindergartens, therefore, provide the group living that was 
once found in the home and so furnish a situation in which desirable 
personality development may take place. Even if home is a happy, 
satisfying place, it has been found that children who have had edu- 
cational experiences outside their home are much farther advanced in 
social responsibility, motor co-ordination, health habits, and adaptabil- 
ity to new situations than those who do not have them. Parents recog- 
nize the benefits of early childhood education and urge the establish- 
ment of nursery schools and kindergartens, 

3. Does not public assumption of responsibility for young children 
deprive parents of their responsibility and of the benefits they would 
receive from the total care of their children? 

Even the best and most fortunate homes cannot provide all the 
services children need for their fullest and best development. The care 
of children is a much harder task for the modern urban mother than 
it formerly was. Limited space, environmental hazards, lack of young 
companions, all contribute in our family life today to the child's 
greater dependence on the mother. It is a great physical and psycho- 
logical strain for both child and mother to spend the whole twenty- 
four hours of every day together. The release of this strain, for even 
a few hours each day which nursery school or kindergarten provides, 
has been found beneficial to both child and mother. Instead of taking 
responsibility away from the home and encouraging the mother to 
shirk, the respite offered by nursery schools and kindergartens more 


often has been found to increase the parent's desire to fulfil his obli- 
gations with more competence. 

Opportunities are provided in nursery schools and kindergartens 
for parents to observe and to participate in the program. At such 
times a parent sees his own child in a new and objective way as a 
member of a group. The parent has a chance to talk with the teacher, 
to get professional help on problems, and to observe newer methods 
of work with children. In every sense, parents as well as children are 
members of the school. Parents are thus helped to build the kind of 
relationships with children which both need in order to maintain the 
home as a base for strong emotional ties and comfortable living. It 
is the quality of the time spent together rather than the amount of 
time that brings essential values to each. On this ground, there is a 
sound basis for the public assuming some responsibility for conserving 
and enriching family life through an investment in education. 

4. Are the costs of nursery school and kindergarten prohibitivef 

Any extension of the educational program for children under six 
is bound to raise the question, what will it cost? How do the costs of 
these services compare with those of education at other levels? It 
would be impossible and impractical to answer these questions in 
round numbers. Figures available include so many variables that it is 
difficult to compare operating costs in different school systems. When 
these services are offered under an administrative set-up apart from 
the school system, operating costs are higher. School administrators 
point out that nursery-school and kindergarten programs may be ex- 
pected to cost more than other levels of elementary education because 
more services are included and more individual attention is required. 
However, on an hour-for-hour basis nursery schools have not been 
found more costly than other educational services serving small groups 
and requiring expert guidance. 

5. Are not children in groups subject to serious health hazards f 

Parents are sometimes reluctant to place a young child in a nursery- 
school or kindergarten group because they fear the child will contract 
illness when exposed to a group of children. It is now well established 
by the American Academy of Pediatrics that groups of young chil- 
dren in properly supervised nursery schools and kindergartens en- 
joy good health and can be kept about as free from disease as children 
of similar ages who are cared for in their homes. If daily health in- 
spection of children is practiced in nursery schools and kindergartens, 


and if children are excluded who are ill or might be a menace to others, 
attendance at these groups is not likely to increase the danger of con- 
tracting an illness. 

Some parents assume, too, that the likelihood of an accident is 
greater when a young child is removed from parental observation and 
control. Statistics show that by far the greatest number of accidents 
among young children occur when children are not supervised. The 
record of well-organized nursery schools is far better than the accident 
record for young children not in a supervised school. Physicians who 
are well informed about child development and protection welcome 
nursery schools and kindergartens because they not only offer many 
advantages for the growing child but also assure better opportunities 
for health supervision and greater safeguards against accidents. 8 

6. Isn't care of young children a welfare function which should 
be exercised by welfare agencies? 

If the modern concept of child development is accepted that 
human growth is a continuous learning process then it is no longer 
possible to distinguish between a service which gives "care" to young 
children and another which "educates" them. It is impossible to give 
attention to a child's physical, mental, emotional, and social growth 
as if they were separate aspects of growing. On this premise, then, 
the environment is the key to the child's well-being, and every person 
with whom he comes in contact affects his feeling, thinking, and acting. 

Any program which a community offers young children should be 
planned to provide adequately for the needs of children. Their edu- 
cation is the major concern. Therefore, professionally trained person- 
nel who understand and can apply the principles of child development 
should be required to staff the service. Other specialized services will 
also be needed, such as health, nutrition, and family counseling, but 
these should be integrated with the program to give the fullest benefits 
to the child and his family. Nursery schools and kindergartens in pub- 
lic schools have demonstrated in practical ways how a community may 
bring together services from various community agencies to serve 

Public Support for Educational Services for Young Children, The 
public has become aroused over the age-old subject, how to rear chil- 
dren. The matter is so important an issue it can be found on the 
agenda of many organizations. Statements have been issued by a 
number of organized groups asking for an extension of educational 

* American Academy of Pediatrics, Benefits of a Good Nursery School. (State- 
ment prepared for the National Association for Nursery Education.) 


services for children under six, publicly supported and with attendance 
open to all children. Recommendations made by many groups school 
administrators, professional and service groups, organized labor, par- 
ents, and citizens groups propose an extension of education downward. 

a) School officials and educational organisations. The Educational 
Policies Commission proposes "that the educational services be ex- 
tended downward and that these extended services be closely integrated 
with the rest of the program of public education." 9 

The Committee for Part II of the Forty-fourth Yearbook of the 
National Society for the Study of Education says: 

Educational services should be extended downward to provide for the 

three-to-five-year-old children Boards of education should by law be 

required to provide school opportunities for all five-year-old children who 
apply for admission, and they should be permitted to provide at public ex- 
pense for all three- and four-year-old children whose parents wish them to 
attend and who will themselves participate in a parent-education program 10 

The Research Division of the National Education Association re- 
ports findings based on recommendations "found in hundreds of pro- 
fessional books, bulletins, and magazine articles on the local, state, 
and national aspects of education. These reflect the soundest and 
most practical of current ideas concerning probable trends in public 
education." 11 Its recommendations with respect to children from the 
ages of three through five are: 

School attendance at these ages should not be required. For children 
whose parents or guardians wish them to attend, however, the schools should 
provide suitable care and training during such hours as the needs of the 
children demand, except in attendance areas where the numbers of these 
children are too small or the distances they would have to travel are too 
great to make such school provisions practicable. 12 

The Public Opinion Poll of the Nation's Schools sent a question- 
naire to five hundred school administrators asking them to indicate 

9 Educational Services for Young Children. Washington: Educational Policies 
Commission, National Education Association, and the American Association of 
School Administrators, 1945. 

10 "A Program for Reconstruction of Education," American Education in the 
Postwar Period: Structural Reorganization, p. 297. Forty-fourth Yearbook of the 
National Society for the Study of Education, Part IL Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1945. 

31 Proposals for Public Education in Postwar America, p. 43. Research Bulletin 
of the National Education Association, Vol. XXII, No, 2. Washington: Research 
Division of the National Education Association, 1944. 

* Jbid., p. 44. 


which school services they expected to expand in the postwar years, 
The poll (August, 1945) revealed that school officials thought nursery 
schools and kindergartens would probably be among the school serv- 
ices to receive support necessary for their early expansion. Another 
public opinion poll, in this case for the general population of Minnesota, 
showed 48 per cent in favor of including nursery schools as a regular 
part of the public schools, 44 per cent opposed, and 8 per cent with no 

In The Next Decade in Education, Official Report of Regional 
Conference, 1946, of the American Association of School Administra- 
tors, Superintendent Howard W. Pillsbury emphasizes another service 
of nursery schools: 

Not only is the nursery school important for its direct effect on the pre- 
school child. It is also a most valuable laboratory for parent education. It 
is one of the paradoxes of American education that, despite our recognition 
of the home as next to the school the community's most important edu- 
cational institution we do very little to prepare young people to become 
efficient parents. Many of our states today require at least a four-year pro- 
fessional course for teaching in the school, but for the teaching in the home 
no preparation is considered necessary. We proceed apparently on the as- 
sumption that by some strange alchemy the mere process of parenthood 
endows the individual with all the wisdom, patience, and understanding 
necessary for the most complex and difficult job we know the guidance 
of the physical, mental, social, and spiritual development of the young child. 

b) Other professional and public service groups. Many professional 
and citizens' groups are taking responsibility for arousing public opin- 
ion on what is happening to children born during the war. 

Representatives of nine national organizations 13 at a conference 
in September, 1945, prompted by the announcement of the termination 
of federal funds for child-care centers and the need for long-term 
planning for children, presented to President Truman a series of recom- 
mendations including the following: 

We restate our interest in and approval of federal aid to free tax-sup- 
ported public schools based upon the principles of equalization, a maximum 
of local control, and provision for nursery schools and kindergartens. 

We see the need for and recommend the prompt enactment of additional 
legislation to provide adequate health, welfare, and educational services to 
all children. 

** Organizations included the American Association for Health, Physical Edu- 
cation and Recreation; the American Association of University Women; Ameri- 
can Home Economics Association; Association for Childhood Education; General 
Federation of Women's Clubs; National Association for Nursery Education; Na- 
tional Congress of Parents and Teachers; and the National Education Association. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken the following stand 
on early childhood education: 

Physicians who are well informed on the care and supervision of chil- 
dren welcome an institution such as the nursery school, which not only offers 
many advantages for the growing child but also assures better opportunities 
for health supervision and greater safeguards against accidents. 

This group, comprising 1,500 physicians specializing in the care 
of children, indorses the types of nursery school recommended by the 
National Association for Nursery Education. 14 

In a statement concerning women in the postwar period, "the War 
Manpower Commission Woman's Advisory Committee (April, 1945) 
recommended the expansion of child-care facilities and services, in- 
cluding nursery schools for preschool children and after-school pro- 
grams for the older children." With respect to the value of these 
services the Committee states: 

Analyses presented by the best child-care experts have shown that a 
nursery-school program, with flexible hours, adjusted to the needs of dif- 
ferent children and different home situations, is of great social benefit to the 
child and of immeasurable help to the mother regardless of the circumstances 
of the family. Especially for the working mother, nursery schools are basic 
to her peace of mind and to the welfare of her child. 

c) Organized labor. In their national conventions and publications, 
labor groups have reported their support of extending educational 
services for young children. The annual convention of the Congress of 
Woman's Auxiliaries of the C.I.O. reported: 

Members of the C.W.A., acting together with the C.I.O., as citizens re- 
sponsible for making government serve the general welfare, decided to take 
leadership in pressing for greatly expanded programs for our children. 

Establishment of a permanent program of day care for all children need- 
ing it, whether or not their mothers work outside the home; such a program 
to provide all types of services, such as nurseries and nursery schools, ex- 
tended school services, foster family care, counseling services for mothers, 
parental guidance and education, to be operated through public educational, 
health, and welfare agencies, and to be financed wherever needed by federal 

The Commission on Educational Reconstruction of the American 
Federation of Teachers of the A. F. of L., at a meeting of the Com- 
mission (December, 1945) , were unanimous in the opinion that federal 
funds should be provided permanently to support nursery schools. 

M National Association for Nursery Education, Some Ways of Distinguishing 
a Good Nursery School, 194&. Distribution center, University of Iowa, Iowa Citjr, 


The International Labor Conference, which convened in November, 
1945, in Paris, France, recommended that "preschool education should 
be accessible to all children without being compulsory as soon as 
possible and as far as practicable." 

d) Parent groups. In many large cities, such as Detroit, Cleve- 
land, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, to mention 
a few, parents on their own initiative organized active committees to 
salvage child-care programs established during the war emergency. 
These groups effectively made known their wishes that educational 
programs for young children be provided, and they are continuing to 
work for an extension of services for all children. Not only locally 
but on the state level, representative parent groups are organized to 
work for legislation which will assure these educational services for 
young children. 

In 1929 the National Society for the Study of Education gave a 
full report in its Twenty-eighth Yearbook, Preschool and Parental 
Education, of the history of the child-study movement, both in this 
country and abroad. Some of the results observable at that time were 
described, including the establishment of research institutes, the de- 
velopment of child-study and parent-education groups, the organiza- 
tion of nursery schools both for the education of young children and 
for service in the preparation of various professional groups. It was 
a report of the beginning, so far as this country was concerned, of a 
movement which has had profound significance both in the establish- 
ment of institutions to carry out its principles and on general educa- 
tional practice. Some of the developments over the past twenty years 
will be reviewed to show how and why the numerical growth in serv- 
ices for young children reported in a previous section has come about. 

Popularization of Research in Child Development 
The Twenty-eighth Yearbook was able to report a noteworthy 
body of research in such areas as physical and motor development of 
young children, intellectual, emotional, and social development, chil- 
dren's activities such as play, art, and language experiences, and 
others. Since that time the research has continued unabated and has 
broken down many of the problems which concerned administrators 
and teachers of nursery schools. At the same time numerous means 
have been developed of popularizing the findings through the press, 
the radio, motion pictures, comic strips and cartoon series, lectures, 


and study groups. Syndicated columns on children's problems are 
found in daily papers and in rural weeklies. Popular magazines of all 
types apparently cater to a considerable appetite for information about 
the things which concern children and their parents. Radio series have 
been produced by research institutes and parent-education groups as 
well as by commercial sponsors. 

Altogether the general public has a continuous course in child 
development. Probably not all of the information or advice is well 
founded. The major effect, however, on the public mind is a conviction 
that children behave as they do for certain discoverable reasons ; that 
there are good ways and bad ways of dealing with children; that it 
is possible to secure desirable behavior by providing the needed con- 
ditions. One of the desirable conditions commonly accepted is that of 
an opportunity to play and work with other children under proper 
conditions and supervision. This conviction has led to a desire and 
an increased demand for supervised play groups and nursery schools. 

Slowing Down of the Kindergarten Movement 

The first kindergarten in this country was established in Wisconsin 
in 1856; the first free public kindergarten was opened in Boston in 
1870. Kindergartens were established by public schools in three cities 
in that decade, in thirty cities in the next decade, and by 1888 public 
schools enrolled 15,145 kindergarten children. Private kindergartens 
at that time enrolled 16,082. As has been shown, 15 public kindergarten 
enrolments skyrocketed to nearly three-quarters of a million by 1930, 
but at that point the gains stopped. Depression years gave them no 
comfort, and by 1934 they had sunk to approximately 600,000 at 
which point they stayed until the increased birth rates of the war 
years, the need for child-care services, and the widespread establish- 
ment of nursery schools to serve the younger brothers and sisters 
brought additional kindergarten children into the schools. 

What the factors were, other than financial depression which cut 
short the further growth of kindergartens, is a matter for speculation. 
It is possible that its relative separatism from primary grades in its 
early years did not give the kindergarten the understanding and sup- 
port it needed for stability and further promotion. There is a question 
also as to whether its sometimes formal curriculum and inflexible 
standards may not have failed to serve the needs of children of today 
and were, therefore, unconvincing, both to parents and to professional 

See Table n, page 46. 


persons. With an apparent resumption of increases in enrolments, 
there is a real challenge before persons responsible for early childhood 
education to consider seriously the formulation of programs appropriate 
to current conditions. 

Emergency Programs of Education for Young Children 

Since 1930 two national emergencies, one the financial depression 
and the other the war period, have been responsible for the develop- 
ment of special educational programs for children, with numerical 
results on nursery- school enrolments as described in a previous sec- 
tion. There were other results, as may be seen. 

On October 23, 1933, the administrator of the Federal Emergency 
Relief Administration sent to all state emergency relief administra- 
tions an authorization to provide work-relief wages for qualified and 
unemployed teachers and other workers on relief who were needed 
to organize and conduct nursery schools under the control of the 
public school systems. This was done at the recommendation of the 
U. S. Commissioner of Education who thereafter formulated and 
promulgated to state school officials the policies to govern the organi- 
zation and conduct of emergency nursery schools. From the beginning 
the program was actively sponsored by the E.E.RA. and the 
Office of Education had the continuous assistance in their co-operative 
project of three professional organizations concerned with the edu- 
cation of young children the National Association for Nursery Edu- 
cation, the Association for Childhood Education, and the National 
Council of Parent Education, Within three months at least thirty 
states had organized or had plans for emergency nursery schools. 
Under the leadership of a member of the Office of Education staff who 
was assigned to direct the program, standards were developed for 
staffing and equipping the nursery schools and for training persons, 
and suggestions were made for the inauguration of state and local 
advisory committees- By June, 1934, the program had grown so 
rapidly that it was decided to provide state supervisors for the dif- 
ferent emergency-education programs, of which the Emergency Nurs- 
ery Schools were the sixth. The supervisors were to be selected jointly 
by the state relief administrators and the state superintendents of 
public instruction, they were to work out of the offices of the state 
superintendents, and the expenses of salary and travel were to be 
paid out of F,EJlA. funds. In making the announcement, the ad- 
ministrator said, "It is my desire that the emergency educational pro- 
gram covering various chases of adult education and nuraerv schools 


shall be so administered in the states as to build toward a permanent 
and integral part of the regularly established public school programs." 
Such supervision, and local supervision subsequently authorized , 
greatly aided the development and improvement of the service. 

About this time the F.E.R.A. organized an "educational division," 
which soon had its counterparts in the state relief administrations. 
Thereafter, though federal and state educational agencies continued 
to sponsor the program, they soon ceased to have direct responsibility 
for or relationship to the emergency nursery schools. By 1942, when 
the nursery schools were ordered closed, few of them were taken over 
by local school systems. In many cases they left the double impression 
that nursery schools were good things for the economically under- 
privileged but that they were a service which local schools could not 
undertake without federal aid. 

As the emergency nursery schools were 'closing, the clouds of war 
were gathering. By November, 1942, the Selective Service Act had 
been passed, and the country was deep in its war-production program, 
calling for more and ever more workers. From January, 1941, to 
January, 1944, the number of employed women increased by approxi- 
mately four million, many of them the mothers of young children. In 
August, 1942, the War Manpower Commission issued a directive in- 
structing the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services to present 
plans for the development and co-ordination of federal programs for 
the care of children of working mothers. Very soon thereafter the 
President made $400,000 of emergency funds available for transmittal 
to the TL S, Office of Education and the U. S. Children's Bureau to 
assist the states in establishing needed services. By June, 1943, thirty- 
nine states had developed plans for extended school services to be 
developed under state and local educational agencies, and thirty states 
had similar plans for child-welfare programs to be administered by 
welfare agencies. These state allotments provided 222 positions in 
state governments, among them state supervisors for extended school 
services, which included both nursery schools for young children and 
before- and after-school programs for children of school age. One of 
the supervisor's functions was the stimulation of state and local com- 
mittees for the study of community needs and the development of 
program plans. 

By May, 1943, a federal bill, 18 the Thomas Bill, had been intro- 
duced and passed by the Senate to provide funds to assist the states 
to establish and maintain child-care services for the children of em- 

"S. 1130, 78th Congress, 1st Session. 


ployed women, nursery schools through state and local departments 
of education, and other child-care services through welfare agencies. 
It appeared that in the emergency there would not be piecemeal legis- 
lation but, rather, comprehensive provision for children, embracing 
educational, welfare, and health services. During the year, however, 
the Federal Works Agency (to which the Community Service Pro- 
gram of W.PA. had been transferred) announced that it had begun 
to make grants for nursery schools for the children of employed 
women. This administrative decision was later supported by amend- 
ment to the Lanham Act, after hearings before the House Committee 
on Buildings and Grounds. On this ground, the House of Representa- 
tives refused to hold hearings on the Thomas Bill to provide both edu- 
cational and welfare services to young children. Up to March, 1946, 
when the grants were discontinued, F.W.A. dealt directly with local 
school systems as had been done by F.E.R.A. and its successor, W.PA, 
Due to the fact, however, that the states had developed their plans 
before grants were begun, and also because of an amendment to the 
Lanham Act requiring review by education officials of all school 
projects which were to be aided by federal grants, the extended school 
service nursery schools developed in most cases as integral parts of 
public school systems; funds were handled by school officials; initial 
plans were frequently, if not always, developed jointly by state and 
local school officials; established projects came under the supervision 
of state and local school supervisors, and standards for training, 
certificating, and paying teachers were established by them. 

Besides being of immediate service to many thousands of pre- 
school-age children, these two emergency programs have helped to 
crystallize some opinions, now rather generally held. First, there is 
widespread agreement that nursery schools are not limited in value 
to only underprivileged children but that most children can profit 
from the experiences provided by good nursery schools. Second, there 
is fairly common acceptance of the point of view that such services 
as have been provided are educational services, that what goes on in 
a good nursery school is the sort of curriculum that is appropriate to 
the learning activities of boys and girls of two, three, or four years 
of age. A nursery school is, therefore, not an institution for "day 
care," a term generally used by social workers to denote care of chil- 
dren outside their own homes. The availability of nursery schools may 
lessen the need for "day care" agencies, but a good nursery &cho*)l is 
an educational institution, not an agency primarily for physical care. 
As such, it is appropriately a responsibility of public education 



should be provided in the same way as are school facilities for other 
groups. For this to be accepted by school administrators and school 
boards, as it now is in many places, is an important milestone. Third, 
there is a somewhat vague but nevertheless determined opinion that 
the federal government has a stake in services for young children. 
Either because nursery schools are relatively new and there is a feel- 
ing that the federal government should help to establish new pro- 
grams, or because they have in the past cost more per pupil than other 
education programs, or because the federal government has already 
given funds for the health and medical care of young children what- 
ever the reason the opinion persists that the federal government could 
appropriately and should give aid to the states in promoting these 
services. One point of view apparently gaining ground is that funds 
so spent would be an acceptable and a typically American substitute 
for family allowances. 

Decreasing Birth Rate 

The United States, in common with most other major countries, 
experienced a steadily declining birth rate up until 1940. 

PERIODS FROM 1871 TO 1945 

Tear or Period 

of Births 

Tear or Period 

of Births 




... 16 8 



! 1940 




' 1941 

. . 18.9 

1915 , 
















* Estimated, Journal of American Statistical Association, 3. (1925), 318. 

The social consequences of this declining birthrate have long been 
of serious concern to sociologists. A population which does not re- 
produce itself and which, in addition, participates periodically in ex- 
pensive wars is headed for national suicide. In recent years the de- 
crease in child population has been a matter of common observation 
and comment. Smaller families, greater demand for small houses, 
many families without children, fewer children in the schools and 
churches all these observable results have brought a consciousness 
of the serious fact of birth-rate decline. 

This situation has the effect on families and on the general public 
of encouraging better care of children. As something of value be- 


comes scarcer, it becomes more precious. In this case the decrease in 
numbers of young children has led to insistent demands for better 
health care of mothers and children; more attention to sanitation, 
housing, and safety regulations affecting children; better professional 
training for those persons who are in some way to serve children's 
needs. There is a strong and insistent feeling that whatever children 
need, that must be had at public expense if necessary. This public 
opinion has supported the increasing demand for nursery schools and 
other educational services for young children. 

Schools for Young Children in Other Countries 

Advances made in educational provisions for young children in 
other countries have also had their effect upon the movement in this 
country. Reports of governmental information services issued during 
the war have described emergency school services for children below 
traditional school entrance ages and have featured legislation favor- 
able to permanent nursery-school and kindergarten programs. Public 
concern for the protection and guidance of young children is also ap- 
parent in the newsletters issued by professional groups of teachers and 
by organizations sponsoring both privately and publicly financed 
schools. Increased birth rates, changed standards of living, the neces- 
sary employment of women outside the home, and a growing under- 
standing of the effects of environment upon both normal and handi- 
capped children are emphasizing the value and importance of schools 
for young children. 

Brief notices of problems and of revived efforts to supply chil- 
dren's needs are gradually coming from the "occupied" countries. 
From Denmark, Holland, Czechoslovakia, and Norway come news 
of unified efforts and ingenuity in supplying children's needs and in 
reinstating and extending prewar school programs. 

Those countries spared from occupation but marshalled for war 
services during the past years show benefits resulting from co-opera- 
tive efforts of agencies for health, welfare, recreation, and school 
services for children. Reports show initiative in adapting children's 
school programs to meet family and industrial needs. Legislation in 
some countries now provides public funds for schools for young chil- 
dren which formerly were wholly dependent upon special funds, coji- 
tributions, and fees. Among current problems reported are those con- 
cerned with: staff preparation and the arousing of interest among 
adolescents in the teaching profession; adaptations in designs for 
building and equipment which are suitable to children's needs; the 


development of demonstration-school centers for the benefit of citi- 
zens as well as students and parents; much needed statements of 
standards to govern the conduct of children's programs; and desirable 
3o-ordination of nursery-school and kindergarten programs with the 
primary school. Some of these factors are shown in the following 
accounts of the recent status of children's services. 

England and Wales. Ever since the Education Act of 1907, Eng- 
land has had educational programs for young children. Just prior to 
the second World War, in 1939, about half of the 120 nursery schools 
accredited by the board of education were administered by local edu- 
cation authorities and half by private agencies. All received a 50 per 
sent grant-in-aid from public education authorities. These schools en- 
rolled approximately 9,000 children from two to five years of age. 
[n addition about 170,000 children of these ages were enrolled in 
nursery classes or in different kinds of "reception classes" connected 
with the public elementary schools. But with the outbreak of the war 
oaany changes in school services were made, both for the health and 
security of young children and in order to release women for war 
jyork. Some schools were closed, others were evacuated to the 
country. Due to a limited professional staff of nursery-education 
workers, many day nurseries were provided under the Ministery of 
Eealth. Education authorities more than doubled the number of 
lursery classes and lengthened the school day to meet local industrial 
conditions. They also initiated "play centers," operating before and 
after school for children from five to ten years of age whose mothers 
svere employed. Many types of agencies co-operated in meeting the 
emergency needs for children's services. 

The Education Act of 1944 was put into effect in anticipation of 
Dostwar needs. Under this act the nursery school became an integral 
:>art of the educational system in England for the first time in the 
listory of its public education program. The term "primary educa- 
ion" replaces "elementary" to designate school provisions for chil- 
iren eleven years of age and under, including those below the com- 
>ulsory-attendance age of five. Enrolments of children under the age 
:>f five are voluntary with the parents, but under the Education Act 
ocal school authorities are required to review the areas for which 
^hey are responsible and to determine whether nursery schools for 
shildren two, three, and four years of age are needed. They are also re- 
sponsible for the paying of grants-in-aid for these schools at the 
jame rate as accorded to other levels of school services. Preference is 
riven in the Act to nursery schools over the nursery classes. The 


policy of the Minister of Education encourages classes of forty chil- 
dren, with approximately ten children to a teacher. 

All children, whose parents desire it, will receive school dinners 
and milk without charge. The length of the nursery-school day varies 
from seven to ten hours, according to the needs of the families served. 
Parents of physically handicapped children may ask for an examina- 
tion of any child over two years of age with a view to obtaining such 
special education as may be needed. Compulsory attendance for all 
exceptional children needing education begins at five years, and local 
education plans are required to include provisions for these children. 

The amount of preparation required for the teachers of children 
over and under five years of age in all types of classes is the same. 
Under a co-operative policy of education and health authorities, 
special training and a certificate for "helper" is being provided for girls 
of high-school age. The training is considered of value both as leading 
to a vocation and as preparental education. Special studies of the values 
of an integrated program for children in the age groups from two 
through seven years are being promoted by the Nursery School As- 
sociation of Great Britain with the expectation that experimental 
schools will serve as research and demonstration centers. 

New Zealand. "Free" kindergartens receiving children at three 
and four years of age precede the Infant School which serves children 
from five to seven years. The kindergartens are financed by voluntary 
subscriptions and by direct government assistance, which is estimated 
on a matching basis of expenditures made for capital outlay and 
current expenses, not exceeding a specified annual per capita cost for 
pupils in average attendance. 

The wartime need for employing women in work of national im- 
portance resulted in the converting of two kindergartens into all-day 
nursery schools. In addition, a series of voluntary nursery play-center 
associations have been developed under local committees to aid busy 
parents who have no domestic assistance and to provide social con- 
tacts for children where kindergartens do not exist. So far these centers 
have received only a little government assistance except for dental 
and health services. Their rapid growth during the past few years 
gives evidence that they meet a genuine need. 

The New Zealand Government is conscious of the need to extend 
these several schools for young children, and a clause in the Education 
Amendment Bill of 1943 gives the local education board power to es- 
tablish kindergartens. Government policy in the conduct of these 
schools, however, is not yet established, but questions which the gov- 


ernment is now raising indicate a currently active interest in the pro- 
gram. Among these questions are the following: Should the free 
kindergarten system serve every child able to attend, if his parents 
so desire? Should there be more all-day schools? Is there need for 
more nursery play centers? If direct Government agencies are. to 
establish kindergartens should they be a part of the infant department 
of the primary school? Could kindergarten rooms be used for two 
shifts of children or for both a kindergarten and a play center? 
Should kindergarten sites be purchased in all new government hous- 
ing settlements? How could sufficient teachers be provided? 

Australia. Just prior to the war the five state kindergarten unions, 
under which "free" kindergartens had been provided for fifty years, 
combined as a commonwealth organization for the purpose of improv- 
ing and extending schools for children below the local school-entrance 
ages. With a grant from the Commonwealth Health Department, 
which was made to the Australian Association for Preschool Child 
Development, a federal officer was appointed to develop a demon- 
stration preschool center in the capital city of each of the five Aus- 
tralian states to clarify standards of programs and physical setting, 
to extend teacher preparation facilities, and to unify and extend efforts 
in behalf of the education and protection of young children. 

One evidence of the effectiveness of this nation-wide service was 
shown in the request of the Commonwealth Government far the organ- 
ization of wartime children's centers in three states. These were de- 
veloped through the co-operative efforts of agencies already responsible 
for conducting nursery schools, kindergartens, and day-nursery groups. 
Although the centers were designed as a temporary service to meet 
the wartime needs of families having young children, they have greatly 
helped to extend public interest in nursery-kindergarten education as 
evidenced by current requests from some of the states for substantial 
increases in provisions for added numbers of nursery schools and 
kindergartens. With the appointment of a commonwealth minister 
of education in 1946, there is an expectancy of closer working re- 
lation$hips between the state preschool associations and public edu- 
cation authoritiee and more effective co-operation among oommunity 
groups concerned with the education, health, and welfare services for 
young children in Australia. 

Denmark. The kindergarten is classified as an institution designed 
to prevent the need for child welfare service. Kindergartens receive 
children below the age of seven which is the admittance age to the 
infants department of the public schools. The program. i$ conducted 


as "educational play" which allows each child to use his energy con- 
structively and to develop his individuality. The number of kinder- 
gartens is increasing, and the present problem is overcrowding and a 
shortage of adequately trained teachers. The schools are financed and 
administered by the Minister of Social Affairs. Originally these pro- 
grams depended upon private philanthropy, but following the first 
World War their support was provided for in the Public Assistance 
Act. It is difficult to estimate the present adequacy of the program 
because of large groups of German children for whom the Danish 
government is still responsible. 

The accompanying summary of available reports briefly indicates 
administrative aspects of national programs in ten countries. 


In this country, as in others, the last twenty years have brought 
a growing realization that services for children cannot be put off, that 
their needs are immediate and pressing. The public is waking up to 
the job it has to do, to the possibilities of achieving the things they 
want for children when the democratic process is put to work. Pro- 
fessional groups are seeing their role in social action and are taking 
increasingly effective ways of serving it. After much experimentation 
with services for selected groups, with federally operated programs 
and with local operation, with programs in schools and in other set- 
tings, with some "luxury" programs and many others at average or 
less cost we appear in this country to have arrived at some decisions, 
some rather widely accepted hopes for the future. It remains to be 
seen whether it is the near future. 



Director, Institute of Child Welfare 

University of Minnesota 

Minneapolis,, Minnesota 

Within the larger framework of the philosophy of education lies 
the more limited theory that determines the selection of materials, 
the organization of practices, and the assumptions upon which nursery- 
school, kindergarten, and primary education are based. Both the larger 
framework anQ the more limited theory look to scientific research for 
principles and practices. As experience with young children is gained, 
principles and practices change and move on to new creative levels. 

To understand the education of the young child, something must 
be known of his world the society in which he lives and of his 
nature, his characteristics, and the manner in which he grows. Knowl- 
edge of the manner in which he gains competence and security through 
learning underlies insight into his adjustment. The organized experi- 
ences which facilitate this adjustment come to the child through the 


- Our society is a democratic society. Early childhood education, 
therefore, is democratic in principle. It recognizes the dignity of the 
individual and stresses co-operative and voluntary effort rather than 
control by domination and force. In a democratic society, goals are 
determined by the mutual consent of the members. Because a demo- 
cratic training program assumes that its members can take responsi- 
bility and meet obligations, it gives freecjom to them- Jn a demo- 
cratic society children are trained for responsibility, personal decision, 
and choice. 

Our society is a democratic society in a world that seeks to become 
one world. A deadly war has just been waged against the overriding 
wMl of a small group of self-seeking persons in order to preserve the 
rights of the people to make their own choices and to work together for 



social purposes. Into this world a new force atomic energy has come. 
It can be used destructively to abolish our civilization or constructively 
to bring benefits and progress to all. Its discovery puts before all 
members of society the problem of world unity. The education of 
young children must be fitted into the concepts of a democratic so- 
ciety and of a world which seeks to solve its major problems by co- 
operation and united effort. 


The child from two to six years is not stationary and fixed but is 
moving through a growth period, itself imbedded in the larger period 
that extends from conception to maturity. In turn, this is a part of 
even a greater period that includes the whole life cycle from birth to 
death. In growth the organism changes from a single cell to an adult 
with a complex bodily structure and very involved behavior. In the 
first twenty years of the life cycle much energy goes to growth and de- 
velopment. In the adult, energy goes to the maintenance of life proc- 
esses. A growing organism is then in a state of becoming, which means 
that it is called upon not only to adjust its own level but to prepare 
for adjustment in the future. 

Education for Present or Future. Two theories of education have 
had much vogue in the past. At the extremes, one holds that education's 
purpose is preparation for adult living, with little or no reference to 
present needs. The other holds that education should develop about 
the child's immediate needs and interests, irrespective of future de- 
mands or responsibilities, on the assumption that, by living each 
moment fully, the best preparation for the future is given. The pro- 
ponents of these views have vigorously attacked one another. De- 
velopmentally, time is a dimension through which the child moves, 
with each stage of growth intimately related to that which precedes 
and that which follows. Not only does the child carry his past for- 
ward with him but in his very nature, as an organism, he anticipates 
the future. It is then difficult to separate past, present, and future. 

Past, Present, and Future Interwoven. This view is not far re- 
moved from modern thinking in physics which has gained fruitful in- 
sights by looking at the past, present, and future as interwoven 
rather than as sharply separated. Whether we like it or not and what- 
ever educational theory we develop, in actual fact, in a growing organ- 
ism, what is done at any developmental stage ties in with the past and 
anticipates the future. Educators can then justifiably ask questions 
concerning the needs of the moment and the needs of the future. These 


are also appropriate questions for science, as each living thing as it 
grows includes fewer components that are subject to change and more 
that are not. A child is a more open system; an adult a more closed 

The prediction of the course of development presents important 
problems. The child becomes an adolescent; the adolescent becomes 
an adult. Although each level has its own difficulties, each has some 
forward reference to the next level. Facilitating transitions become 
important. The child needs preparation in advance for the new ex- 
periences to come, while to those directing his new experiences, the 
knowledge of his past should be made available in order that the breaks 
will not be too abrupt or misunderstood. 

Making the Past Available. Providing good educational experi- 
ences, then, depends not only upon the child's momentary charac- 
teristics but also upon previous experience. Relatively little attention 
has been paid to background information. If the teacher knows some- 
thing of what the child hafe done, of his family background and his 
play and home experiences, of the difficulties he has encountered and 
surmounted, and of his aspiraitons and goals, she will understand him 
better. In some schools a cumulative record into which all pertinent 
data about the child, including teachers' running commentaries on the 
child's behavior, is kept and made available to teachers. 

Utilizing Momentary Interests for Permanent Gains. It is de- 
sirable that the developing organism utilize the experiences of the 
moment in such a way that there will be continuing progress and per- 
manent gains in level of functioning. Of the variety of experiences 
available at any moment, some are bad, some indifferent, and some 
good from the long-time point of view. Skill in guiding the child 
through this mass of experience in a complex society, with its varied 
stimulation, demands insight and understanding on the part of the 
school and the teacher. 

Education a Continuing Process. A traditional and naive concept 
confines education to the walls of the schoolroom, limits it to the 
period from 9:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. for nine months each year, and 
begins education with school entrance at six and ends it with gradua- 
tion from high school or college, some twelve or sixteen years later. 
In recent years it has become clear that education is not identical 
with formal schooling but is a life-long process that starts with birth 
and continues until death. 

Some of the child's most important learning occurs under the guid- 
ance of relatively untrained parents before he enters school and comes 


under the trained teachers to whom society entrusts education. For 
example, many students of child development feel that the acquisition 
of the spoken language, which is accomplished mainly before five 
years, is the child's greatest educational achievement. Whether or not 
this holds, kindergarten, elementary, high-school, college, and adult 
education are part of the process by which the cumulated experience 
of society is brought to the individual, who is at all age levels a 
learning organism. Growth is a continuous process with progress by 
small increments; and it is separated into sharply differentiated edu- 
cational periods largely because of practical considerations. 


Not only does the child change with time but he also lives in an 
environment that changes. The world and people about him move 
forward in time. Social institutions, problems, and relations change. 
Upon the educator falls some responsibility for predicting the future 
of this social context, in order that he may prepare the child for what 
is to come. 

If his philosophy is that of meeting the needs of the moment, he 
has an easy out. Perhaps this explains the popularity of this doctrine 
it avoids consideration alike of the changes in the child and the 
changes in the world about him. Much more difficult is an education 
grounded in present needs that looks toward the future. 

Wisdom of the Body. A current and attractive doctrine, expressed 
as the wisdom of the body, holds that the child will make the best 
and wisest choices if let alone. Convincing demonstrations of the 
wisdom of individual choices can be made chiefly in the areas of food 
selection and sleep schedules. If, however, the conditions under which 
these choices are made and the types of materials presented are ex- 
amined, the assumption is clearly not valid for; all behavior and all 
situations. In a free environment, with all types of adequate food avail- 
able, a young child who is permitted to choose his own food will secure 
an essentially balanced diet over a period of time. If, on the other 
hand, through negligence or otherwise, those who present the material 
for choice leave out an essential dietary element, all children will 
automatically have a deficiency. Under primitive conditions, in which 
there is little external control and little danger, the body can be 
quite wise; in a modern city two-year-olds cannot choose to run on 
the city streets. Nor can free choice of drinking water be permitted, 
unless adults have made water available for choice that is pure and 
free of contamination. iTaste alone is a poor guide to the safety of 


water. Despite the attractiveness of the doctrine in a world in which 
choices become narrower and narrower, it does not absolve adults 
from their responsibilities for the care of children. 

Society Is Structured. The society in which the child lives and that 
into which he is to go are structured. Both are made up of various 
objects and institutions, such as buildings, furniture, street cars, auto- 
mobiles, machinery, equipment, skills, attitudes, rules, regulations, 
and limitations. The rules of the game are not formulated by the 
child they are formulated by groups and by society. Often they are 
neither precisely nor explicitly formulated but are implicit outcomes 
of long- continued social processes. They do not change quickly. Bring- 
ing human beings together in groups imposes limitations upon indi- 
vidual conduct and choice. Because they know the group, teachers 
and parents are wiser than children and are given responsibility for 
their guidance. Guidance means a combination of choice and pro- 
tection, freedom and constraint, leisure and work, so designed that the 
child moves forward and builds out of his own fluid and unstructured 
responses the capacity for self-control and responsibility. 

In effective guidance a balance is maintained between that spon- 
taneity and initiative which characterizes the growing organism and 
the formalized structured behavior necessary for meeting society's 
demands. In earlier days education stressed the importance of formal- 
ized and structured behavior. Modern education stresses the develop- 
ment of functions that enable the person to meet life situations as 
they occur rather than the precise content that meets a particular 
momentary situation. This is the important distinction between what 
is learned as a specific outcome and learning how to learn as a general 


Insight into the nature of the child as he is and is to be underlies 
the practical principles of early childhood education. In recent years 
hundreds of studies involving observations and experiments on chil- 
dren of all ages have been made. This vast and growing scientific 
literature, with its many implications for education, very much needs 
interpretation; it is a major task even for a research specialist to 
keep up with it. Historically, child development as a scientific field 
came into being as an attempt to co-ordinate the findings of different 
scientific fields relating to children. It is not a single specialty parallel 
to psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, or psychiatry but 
an attempt to integrate these specialties. As a result, it becomes the 
area of modern research most closely related to early childhood edu- 


In contrast to the research worker, the teacher or supervisor is 
engaged in day-to-day or rather minute-to-minute contacts with actual 
children in real life situations. Her task involves much skill and 
knowledge, some of which lies outside the generalizations of child 
development. Neither in training nor in service does she have much 
opportunity to study this growing body of literature. Hence, a sep- 
aration has appeared between research and practice. This is the tra- 
ditional separation between a science and an art, which has always 
been difficult to bridge. 

The problem of carrying over from what we know to what we do 
is not easy ; in practice, it is complicated by the disagreements among 
research workers, not all of which are as great as they seem when 
baldly and explicitly stated. Thus, the disagreements which center 
about the relative roles of heredity and environment will probably 
never be settled to the satisfaction of all. But both hereditarians and 
environmentalists agree on the desirability of a favorable environ- 
ment for children. Both are interested in good schools; both are con- 
cerned with good care. Although disagreeing on some points, both 
agree on most practical matters and details of procedure. 

The Child is a Living System 

In common with other living things, the child is a system in an 
environment. A living system maintains itself and interchanges con- 
stantly with the environment so long as life exists. Physically it 
takes in food and converts it into energy; mentally it takes in stimu- 
lation and converts it into behavior. The child is a polarizing center 
into which things flow and out of which energy and behavior come. 
In the early years, the rate of interchange is very great and, in relation 
to body size, intake and energy expenditure are greater. In later 
years the rate is lower, since less is taken in and less expended. A 
high intake and a high energy outgo characterize the human being; 
through them he has become much of what he is. 

If this analysis is correct, and much evidence supports it, energy 
expenditure is the child's most important attribute. The problem of 
training and teaching is not one of suppressing energy but one of 
directing it into desirable channels* Whether we like it or not, energy 
is expended. Does it go outward into desirable or undesirable clmn- 
nels or inward to destroy the living system by indecision and con* 
flict? Once energy expenditure is accepted as normal, attention can 
go to evaluating modes of energy expenditure in terms of individual 
and group needs. For the teacher, education is guidance and direction; 


for the child, it is the unblocking of energy expenditure in order to 
utilize fully the resources within the system, 

The Whole Child. As a living system within a single body, the 
child is a unit. This wholeness or unitary character is often forgotten 
in our zeal to develop specialties and to advance knowledge and 
practice. Often the specialist is more concerned with his specialty 
than the person treated. A child becomes a pair of eyes to which 
glasses are being fitted, a hunger to be fed, or a calculating machine 
doing arithmetic. 

The teacher is interested in teaching, the doctor in medicine, the 
athletic coach in motor performance. Each pushes his own demands 
without reference to others. To counteract this tendency, so marked in 
modern times, many of those interested in children emphasize the 
whole child and seek a child-centered school. Sometimes this phrase 
is incorrectly interpreted in terms of an interest philosophy; actually 
what it means is that what is done in school should be evaluated in 
terms of its effects upon and values for the child and not in terms of 
its contribution to outside agencies or remote purposes. 

In the ideal school, specialists consult with one another and bring 
whatever knowledge is available to bear on the problems of any 
child. In contrast, in some schools the results of physical examina- 
tions and of achievement and capacity tests given by appropriate 
specialists are filed in a cabinet and never made accessible to the 
teachers and practical workers who might use them to good effect. In 
general, the more information is made available to those responsible 
for the child's education and welfare, the better will be the practical 
job of child care. 

Sometimes, however, the concept of the whole child has been 
used to criticize the research on children. Research in its very nature 
deals with specific problems that can be formulated. But as knowledge 
increases, new specific techniques for envisaging personality and for 
studying total factors develop. Great advances have been made in 
studying social behavior, the management of children, and the effects 
of social atmosphere by envisaging the child as a whole. 

Balanced Growth. Modern education assumes that the child should 
move forward in parallel and somewhat equivalent steps in anatomical, 
physical, physiological, mental, and social growth. When one area of 
growth is greatly retarded or accelerated to the exclusion of the others, 
harm may be the result. It is the responsibility of the teacher and the 
school to further such balanced development. Sometimes the school 
produces distortion by overemphasizing some subjects to the exclusion 


of others or by making very sharp separations between them. While 
some separation is inevitable and desirable, the question of balance in 
growth is important. How can the child's experience be so organized 
and arranged that he will move forward at a good rate without dis- 
tortion, blocking, or unevenness? How can his experiences be inte- 
grated or tied together so as to preserve his essential wholesomeness 
through his many different activities? How can the school, home, 
and community be brought into relationship to one another to pro- 
vide the optimal environment for good development? 

In early childhood education much emphasis is placed upon whole- 
some and balanced growth. The nursery school not only has brought 
different specialists and agencies into effective relationship with one 
another but, within its own program, has also attempted to corre- 
late and integrate the various influences to which the child is ex- 
posed. It is perhaps more successful in these attempts than are the 
schools for older children, because the younger child is much more 
of a unity with closer relations within and between the parts of which 
he is made, while the older child is more specialized with more sep- 
aration between parts. But at all age levels, integration should be 

The Young Child Is Positively Oriented 

The young child is an active, searching, curious, manipulative 
creature positively oriented to the stimulation in his environment. The 
young child not only seeks stimulation but, when stimulated, seeks 
still more. He reacts negatively to very few objects. Education 
in fact, life experience takes this active, searching, manipulative, 
and curious creature and builds into him organized, structured, and set 
patterns of habits, skills, interest, and attitude. The child has a wide 
range of interests, the adolescent has fewer, and the adult still fewer. 
But the adolescent and the adult follow their interests more efficiently 
and meet life demands better* In the developmental process efficiency 
is acquired at the cost of versatility. The child is changed from a 
multipotential creature that can go in an endless number of directions 
to one with a particular or a few directions. 

Life builds upon what the child already has. The early period 
is one of searching out and exploring the environment and one's self 
in order to establish the base upon which development will take 
place. The broader the base and the paore varied the child's experience, 
the better is the chance that he will find himself and discover the 
possibilities of his environment, and the greater the likelihood of good 


behavior and personal happiness later. If the child cannot discover 

what he can do or what opportunities his environment affords, his de- 
velopmental possibilties are restricted or limited. Early childhood 
education is then conceived in terms of broad and varied experience 
with many opportunties for self-discovery. 

Errors and Outgrown Responses. In studies of infants and young 
children evidence abounds that many elements appear in early be- 
havior sequences. Some become permanent parts of behavior with- 
out much change; some are substantially modified and changed; some 
disappear completely. The young human being makes many errors, 
does over and over again, and bungles and feels his way about. He 
is highly motivated when little or no constraint is imposed on his 
searching, curious, and manipulative behavior. Much of this behavior 
is not meaningless. Neither are his bungling attempts and errors 
mistakes; they are part of the learning process. He learns through his 
errors and his successes. Out of this exploratory and unorganized 
behavior the child weaves the pattern of his life. An educational en- 
vironment for young children should, therefore, provide for breadth 
of experience and manifold opportunities for exploration rather than 
consist of a few limited, definitely structured, and highly selected 
experiences. Many experiences, apparently valueless in terms of the 
moment, are of great value for subsequent development. 

The Young Child's Behavior Is Fluid 

A somewhat related and equally fundamental characteristic of 
the young child appears as a result of modern studies. It can best be 
thought of in terms of fluid behavior and applies not so much to the 
variety of responses as to their organization. It is a common ex- 
perience that a person skilled in examining or teaching adolescents 
has difficulties when he first examines or teaches young children. 
He has been accustomed to giving directions and securing prompt 
responses and to asking questions and getting answers back; in other 
words, he is accustomed to responses that are closely adapted to 
the situation. With the young child, however, the examiner or teacher 
who is too quick on the trigger, too demanding, and too precise will 
be resisted. The answer for which he may have to wait will appear 
casually in the midst of apparently unrelated material. Logicality 
and precision are characteristic of mature forms of thinking. The doc- 
tor c&n proceed quickly with an examination of an older child because 
the child knows what to expect and what to do. With a young child, 
however, he must wait, let the child wander around the room and be- 


come accustomed to the place. The young child is essentially un- 
structured. In studies of babies some difficulty is found in securing 
consistent responses from week to week, even though every attempt is 
made to set up the same situations. One week the babies respond, the 
next week they do not, and the next, perhaps, they do. Later on, they 
respond consistently. The experimenter has to wait on the babies in- 
stead of forcing the baby into the experimenter's framework. 

Pace Set by Child. Therefore, the principle emerges of permitting 
the young child to set the pace, of waiting for the child to adapt, and 
of not expecting too precise or exact behavior. An important area 
for study, with many implications for practice, is opened up. If the 
child is fluid, unstructured, unorganized, and undifferentiated in many 
behavior areas, it is essential that adult attitudes, values, and inter- 
pretations be not projected into child behavior. Adults fail to see how 
completely organized, structured, and precise much of their behavior 
is and how little room there is for modification. Workers with chil- 
dren need to be warned that the child is fluid, has a short attention 
span and a short memory span, is not able to work for remote goals, 
and is concerned very much with present stimulation. He is different 
in the sense of being fluid and responsive rather than fixed and chan- 

Flexible Program. An educational program appropriate for young 
children must, therefore, be adapted to their nature, in that it must 
not be too highly fixed, too patterned, too organized, too demanding, 
or too constraining. There should be patience to permit the child to 
find his way; and there must be confidence in the child's ability to 
structure his own behavior and to attain the organization necessary 
for adjustment. The younger the child, the more he is a creature of 
momentary needs; the more definitely he responds in terms of im- 
pulse, the more suggestible and at the same time the more resistive 
he is to stimulation that does not conform with or meet the pattern 
of the moment. In bringing the child by degrees from informal to 
formal activities, we must see that the possibilities of fluid behavior 
are not arbitrarily restricted, since such limits reduce the possibilities 
of future organization. 

Shall the Schedule Dominate? Should the program for young 
children be set up in a routine way with a fixed schedule of organized 
activities carried on in a very definite fashion? Or shall it be highly 
individualized, flexible, and closely related to the needs of children 
at the moment? In the first case there should be a fixed schedule with 
a program of specific activities designed for all children. Primary em- 


phasis would be placed on getting the group of children through the 
activities. In the second case, the nursery school or kindergarten 
would operate without an obvious program or curriculum, even though 
substantial planning had been done. Its activities from day to day 
and from moment to moment would seem to be spontaneous and 
flexible, with almost complete freedom for the individual. The teach- 
er's tasks are making materials and experiences available and giving 
children opportunities to choose freely from them, instead of rushing 
the group through a predetermined program. In many schools and 
classrooms the schedule dominates the thinking of the teacher and 
children, with the result that children's needs are ignored. The aim of 
scheduling is not the maintenance of a schedule nor the convenience 
of the teacher, as some suppose. It seeks to provide orderly and sys- 
tematic ways of expending energy. The young child has little need for 
orderliness; the adult who lives in a practical world of space and 
time has much need of it. Adult living, especially effective work, is 
partly a matter of maintaining schedules. The child needs experience 
with schedules as well as with freedom. The practical problem centers 
on the relative amounts of free and controlled experience to be given 
at each age level in order to further development. Viewed in this way, 
exacting and structured requirements may well increase with age. 
Thus, with young children there should be more flexibility and a wider 
range of opportunity; with older children, less flexibility and more 

The Young Child's World Is Concrete and Tangible 

The studies of Piaget and his followers on the development of 
thinking show that young children think in concrete rather than ab- 
stract terms and that their thought is closely connected with the 
object or situation in which thought arises. Associations are made 
on the basis of immediate experience rather than through logical 
or causal relations. With growth, particularly in adolescence, there is 
an increase in the capacity to use abstract terms, to work with sym- 
bols when the objects of thought are remote, and to make logical 
and causal associations. The adult uses abstract and general con- 
cepts and substitutes symbols for overt behavior whenever he can. 
Because of their unfamiliarity with these age changes and their fa- 
miliarity with their own thought processes, adults expect children 
to think as adults. Teachers are adults and think like adults, while 
the children they teach are at a more primitive and child-like level. 
Special efforts are needed in the training of teachers to counteract 


and overcome the dominance of adult modes of thought by showing 
them how to use concrete, specific, and tangible materials rather than 
verbal, symbolic, and abstract materials. 

For young children the actual manipulation of objects with their 
own hands is of much greater value than the manipulation of the 
symbols which represent them. This is true, in some degree, of the 
older child. It is much easier for the teacher or adult to rattle off 
symbols glibly than to use specific examples, concrete materials, and 
real life situations. Not only should the teacher understand the value 
of doing, experiencing, and manipulating objects but the school for 
young children should also be equipped with a wide variety of ma- 
terials and should offer many kinds of stimulating experiences in 
order to give the good efforts of the teacher an opportunity to be 
revealed. But the education of the young child should not stop with 
concrete materials and primitive modes of thought. He is also inter- 
ested in language, wants to play with it, and is acquiring facility with 
symbols and abstractions. In a good environment the young child is 
linguistically active much of the time. Language and thought develop 
in an atmosphere in which, in addition to tangible experiences, manipu- 
lation of objects, and doing for himself, the child is free to talk about 
his experiences, to describe them to others, and to indulge in verbal 
play and symbolic manipulation. 

The Young Child Depends on Incentives 

It has been pointed out that the young child seeks more and more 
stimulation from his environment. New objects attract him, new 
sensory experiences pull him. In managing young children, teachers 
and parents utilize external objects and incentives to motivate him. 
It has been said that the young child is a creature of the moment. 
This means that his interests are fleeting and that continuous and 
consistent stimulation is necessary if he is to be kept at a task or to 
carry through to a goal. Here the question as to whether it is de- 
sirable that he be kept at a task or be required to carry through to 
a goal is not asked; our immediate concern is with his nature. As age 
increases, the ability to work for longer periods of time, to think of 
remote goals, and to carry through to a purpose with extended satis- 
faction increases. Extrinsic motivation is replaced by intrinsic moti- 
vation, which is less dependent upon accident or circumstance* The 
young child is more pulled about by his environment, whereas the 
older child is more aware of his own needs and purposes. 

A program for educating young children should make a beginning 


in developing the child's capacity to do for himself and in creating 
a willingness and desire to persist to a solution or goal. To accomplish 
this the child should have opportunities to follow his own purposes 
and to experience their desirable and undesirable outcomes. Some- 
thing is known of the types of environment that produce persistence 
in five-year-olds. Those with high persistence come from homes with 
moderate disciplinary programs, while those with low persistence 
conie from homes that are either very easygoing or very rigid. Doing 
too much for the child results in behavior similar to that which comes 
from doing too little. In between there is a relation between adults 
and children which uses incentives, not for their own sake or for adult 
convenience but primarily to build the self-control that will enable 
the child to work out his own inner needs and interests in socially 
desirable ways. What is meant is not so much a specific product or a 
particular accomplishment as an atmosphere that carries the child 
forward in his capacity to do for himself and others without under- 
cutting initiative and spontaneity. Two methods of motivation are 
contrasted, one of which forces the child into a framework of action 
by external pressure; the other of which, by developing inner needs 
and interests, makes of the child a self-propelling vehicle. Although 
both are interwoven in many activities, one is gradually substituted 
for the other. Extrinsic motivation is easier to use, can be developed 
more uncritically, and gives an appearance of order. Intrinsic moti- 
vation is more difficult to develop and needs more sensitivity and skill 
on the part of the teacher. Although intrinsic motivation sometimes 
does not produce clean-cut and obvious results, in the long run the 
gains in development and power more than make up for the difficulties 
in its development. 

The Young Child Is Emotionally Stable if His World Is Secure 

In early childhood, in order to learn well, the child needs con- 
fidence in his environment and security in his relations with others. 
In later childhood and adolescence, confidence in the environment 
is transformed into confidence in one's self in order to meet the stresses 
and strains of adult life. Confidence and security arise in an environ- 
ment with some stability. When the child is handled inconsistently 
from moment to moment and day to day, he must adjust not only to 
new elements but also to variable changes in their relations. Young chil- 
dren in England who were evacuated in the early days of the war 
showed much tenseness and unhappiness until a familiar type of play 
equipment was seen. With recognition of the familiar axui stable, -they 


calmed down and adjusted well. The familiar, whether in materials 
or in schedule, provides an anchor from which the child can move on 
into the unexplored and the new. 

A good environment contains stable features and consistent pat- 
terns which can be recognized as such by the child. It also gives 
freedom to do and to explore the new. By balancing familiar elements 
and customary experiences with unfamiliar and new elements, transi- 
tions are facilitated, and progress is made possible. When neurotic 
persons care for young children, difficulties arise, not so much out of 
the specific things they do as out of the inconsistencies in what they 
do which keep the child constantly out of balance. Sometimes a strict 
environment, which is consistent, gives the child more security than 
an easy environment that is inconsistent. The child needs confidence 
in the teacher but should not be dependent upon her. Much of the 
skill of a good teacher centers in her ability to build up feelings of 
confidence in children, without making them dependent. In a stable 
and emotionally balanced environment, self-expression, creative efforts, 
and learning are facilitated. 

The Young Child Needs Much Social Experience 

The child is positively oriented toward his environment and seeks 
more and more stimulation from it. In this environment the most im- 
portant Objects are other persons. The child is more interested in them 
than in any other objects because they minister to his wants and 
offer a changing pattern of color, light, shadow, sound, and movement 
which, in itself, holds the child. Moreover, in the world of the future, 
much of his happiness and effectiveness will depend on the manner 
in which he reacts to others and in which they, in turn, react to him. 
He adjusts to others, first in face-to-face, then in group, and, later, 
in more remote contacts. 

Although the prime importance of social adjustment is well recog- 
nized, what is not so well known is the tremendous advances made 
in the early years under appropriate opportunities. There is great 
variation in the number, variety, and types of social experience IB 
childhood. The actual counting of social contacts made by children 
indicates that these contacts run into the hundreds for each day 
of observation. If these figures are multiplied by appropriate num- 
bers for days, weeks, months, and years, it becomes clear that social 
behavior is made up of many skills which are neither momentarily 
evolved nor derived from unvarying patterns coming down through 
heredity. They are the outcomes of learning in situations which recur 


countless times and which are subject to guidance. It has been shown 
that much of the social ineffectiveness of older children is the result 
of ignorance and inexperience rather than of inherited tendencies, 
wilful behavior, or lack of sociality. By appropriate training in skills 
that give social visibility and experience in guiding others, children 
who are submissive, outcasts, or nonparticipants can acquire new 
social behavior that will change their roles in the group. The social 
patterns which are established early are stable and affect later be- 

Quantity of Social Experience, From such observations it is clear 
that in any program of education for young children substantial ac- 
count must be taken of the children's needs for social experience and 
of the values which come directly from appropriate and guided social 
experience in quantity. Even though the group structures and the 
social interrelations among young children may seem quite ephemeral 
to the naive observer, they are, nevertheless, the base from which 
subsequent social development moves. 

A good school for young children recognizes the primacy of social 
experience and seeks to give children a variety of contacts with other 
children in face-to-face and small-group relations, varying all the 
way from the informal and spontaneous groupings that characterize 
the free play period to the formal and guided group experiences which 
are somewhat similar to but do not duplicate those which the child 
will have later in the elementary school. 

Quality of Social Contacts. Such a school is concerned not only 
with the provision of a wide variety of social experiences in order to 
facilitate the development of social behavior but is also concerned 
with the quality of contacts which are made. It is easy, for instance, 
to set up a highly competitive atmosphere in which individual children 
vie with each other for the teacher's attention and for places in the 
sun. It is somewhat more difficult to set up an atmosphere which 
emphasizes co-operative and sharing behavior by teaching the chil- 
dren to take turns, by helping them to work together with common 
toys, or by encouraging them to share their, possessions and experi- 
ences with one another. Evidence indicates that competitive and co- 
operative behavior parallel each other in development and are posi- 
tively correlated. They are to be looked upon as differentiations 
from the more primitive group behavior. 

Importance of Space and Equipment. To establish a good social 
environment for young children, some emphasis needs to be placed 
upon adequate outdoor and indoor play equipment and space. The 


child needs space, outdoor life, and play experience with other children 
in an environment that is not too confining or too restricted. Where 
the space is too limited or where there is little or no equipment and 
few materials, the quality of social responses deteriorates. 

THE AcQtnsrnoN or SKILL 

As the child grows, he faces one situation after another in which 
he must build new modes of behavior. Sometimes the demands upon 
him arise out of his own impulses; more often they grow out of living 
together, i.e., are social in nature. In its early stages adjustment con- 
sists of a relatively unorganized and unstructured approach to the 
situation. In its final stages it consists of responses which are 
organized and structured into a pattern. The process of acquiring this 
pattern is called learning, and what is left behind in the child as a 
fairly permanent way of meeting the situation is known as a skill. 
Thus,, the young child meeting the situation shoes with laces goes 
through much manipulation and unorganized and ineffective move- 
ment. If he persists and tries over a period of time, he learns to lace 
his shoes. What previously took many minutes of fumbling and ap- 
parently useless effort now takes but a moment of time and is done 
smoothly and expertly. From acquiring control over eliminative proc- 
esses, dressing, and eating situations, the child moves on to acquiring 
skill in reading, in numbers, and in social behavior. Literally, hundreds 
of skills go to make up the complex adjustment of an adult in our 
society. During the whole of development, the human is engaged in 
acquiring skill and competence in many areas and under many dif- 
ferent circumstances. In some areas only a few days or weeks are 
involved; in others, months; and in others, years. In some areas 
learning or adjustment is never complete, no matter how long one 
lives. What, then, does the person gain by the acquisition of skill 
in terms of the situation or problem? 

Skill and Freedom. Skill frees the person from the dominance of 
the situation and enables him to move on to other areas. Thus, the 
young child who can lace his shoes is freer than the child who cannot 
lace them. What takes him a minute takes the other ten or fifteen 
minutes. The skilled child has time for other and more desirable 
activities. The child who comes to school without knowing how to 
put on his overcoat or overshoes must be taught these skills by a busy 
teacher at the expense ojf some other and better kindergarten activities* 
Individuals are made free, not by following every impulse or doing 
as they will but by becoming competent in the areas of living which 
are about them. It is the task of the educator to outline and plin 


the orderly acquisition of skills in order that the child may move on 
from lower to higher levels of behavior. 

The Restricted or Bound Child. What happens if the child does 
not acquire competence in a particular area at an appropriate time in 
the developmental sequence? "Appropriate time" may be defined as 
that at which other children acquire competence or the environment 
demands such competence. Consider the child of two and a half or 
three years of age who has not learned to control his eliminative 
habits. The child with control can forget the whole process, since he 
is not unusual or striking in terms of his group and is not bothered 
by the situations connected with elimination. The child who has not 
acquired competence is a marked child among his mates (who may be 
familiar with his lack of control), among his teachers, with his parents, 
and with the physician who may be consulted about the problem. 
Psychologically, he lives in a different world; it is a world in which 
his inadequacy is more or less always present and is a source of 
comment, discussion, and differential treatment, perhaps even ridicule 
and social displeasure. Similarly, one can point out that the child 
who quickly and easily acquires skill in reading in the first or second 
grade can move on without embarrassment, whereas the child who is 
ineffective suffers more or less constant embarrassment. His world 
is different because others react differently to him. In time, his rela- 
tion to his environment is radically different from that of his asso- 
ciates. The child who fails to acquire skills or habits or to respond 
to the demands made upon him is a bound individual in comparison 
with the one who, because he has acquired competence, is freer, less 
constrained, and more open. The teacher is interested in unblocking 
and unbinding the child, thus opening new vistas for him. 


Because he is a growing organism responding to primary life im- 
pulses, the child will move forward in some degree, regardless of 
stimulation. In some environments progress will be slower; in others, 
faster. For practical purposes the distinction between those phases 
of adjustment which depend upon growth and maturing and those 
which depend upon experience or learning is important. Between 
these extremes is a whole continuum in which both maturation and 
learning operate in different proportions and degrees. The separation 
of what is learned from what matures has been attacked in a variety 
of ways by investigators who have found a relation between the com- 
plexity of the activity to be acquired and the effect of learning. In 


many simple skills and ordinary activities the child with specific 
training does only a little better, if at all, than the child who has not 
received any training. With complex skills, on the other hand, guided 
training results in enormous differences between the children with and 
those without training. The practical principles involve: (1) the 
recognition of the child's level when instruction begins; (2) the pro- 
vision of preparatory material to facilitate learning; and (3) instruc- 
tion, stimulation, and guidance in the skills or knowledge to be ac- 

Readiness. At some levels of development and experience the child 
is better prepared to acquire a skill than at other levels. The term 
"readiness" expresses this quality. Readiness to read means being 
prepared to learn to read. The factors behind readiness are found to 
involve some degree of maturity or growth and some particular types 
of experience. Thus, the child is not ready to read until he has some 
facility in the spoken language. A fair mastery of speech symbols 
must be attained before the child can be interested in the visual sym- 
bols necessary to reading. 

But learning to read is facilitated if the child has had particular 
kinds of experience. If the material to be read tells about cows, milk, 
and the farm, the child will make more rapid progress if, prior to in- 
struction, he is familiar with the objects described. A rural child ' 
would have this familiarity as a matter of course, while a child in a 
large city might never have seen a cow or know how milk comes to be 
on the table. The rural child might know nothing about elevators or 
subways. Prior to reading instruction a good teacher organizes ex- 
periences so as to give the child familiarity with the words and con- 
cepts used in reading. This can be done by group discussions, ex- 
cursions, exhibits, and guided play activities. Many of the skills which 
the child needs in our complex society are themselves complex and 
depend on a variety of background material. Readiness, then, involves 
both maturation and experience. To handle the child effectively his 
level should be known. Insight into future education and the inclusion 
of "readiness" material for that future are important for those who 
deal with younger children. 

The study of readiness gives excellent examples of the need and 
importance of the integration of the educational program along vertical 
lines and thus illustrates the principle of time binding which was dis- 
cussed earlier, i.e., the relation between past, present, and future. If 
we knew more about children over longer periods of time, it would 
become clear that there are areas in which one type of material or 


experience definitely facilitates the acquisition or progress in a later 
and different type of experience. These would contribute not only to 
skill and knowledge but also to the child's confidence and personality. 
Groupings by Age Levels. In some nursery schools and kinder- 
gartens children are sharply divided into two-year-old, three-year-old, 
four-year-old, and five-year-old groups, with a pattern of school 
organization that duplicates the traditional age pattern followed in 
most elementary schools. Whether or not this is desirable has not been 
experimentally determined. There is, however, much criticism of the 
elementary school for its rigid age classifications and some emphasis 
in modern thought upon the desirability of having children spread their 
acquaintanceship and social experience over a wide rather than a 
narrow age range. Such contacts would also motivate younger chil- 
dren toward the skills and attitudes of the older children and facilitate 
their vertical progress. A good practice would be to arrange situations 
in which two-, three-, four-, and five-year-old children can mingle, 
play, and work with one another, in addition to providing group ex- 
perience within a narrow age range. 


Two major problems are faced by every person who undertakes 
to lay out a program for the education of children. One is the problem 
of what; the other is the problem of when. The first is the problem 
of content; the second is that of the sequence or location of content 
within the developmental process. In addition, there is the problem 
of how, which cannot be completely dissociated from what and when, 
since within limits there is some variation in location with method. 

. The answers to all three questions depend upon the level of matura- 
tion of the child and his readiness or previous experience. Children 
do with difficulty at an earlier age what they do with ease at a later 
age, when their level of maturity and background of experience are 
greater. Thus, older children can solve problems that are much too 
difficult for younger children, simply because they are older. Children 
of the same age solve problems of differing difficulty because of their 

In a favorable environment preschool children who show marked 
interest in numbers enjoy playing with numbers and with number 
games. This interest, which can be encouraged, creates spontaneous 
practice that, later, makes arithmetic much easier. Clinics find that 
children who have much difficulty in numbers will eagerly play such 
games as "Rummy," which gives painless practice in number combi- 


nations. Such a prescription meets a deficiency in number experience 
which should not have arisen. When lack of experience is viewed as a 
deficiency in early education, the pattern of education emerges as a 
problem. When, and how, and to what degree shall this, that, or the 
other be made a part of the child's experience? 

If we were willing to spend the money and to provide a very high 
type of individual instruction, much of what is now taught children 
could be taught as well or better at earlier ages. McGraw was amaz- 
ingly successful in teaching Johnny complex motor skills before the 
age of eighteen months. Others have reported on early reading, mathe- 
matical, artistic, and musical skills in individual children. Such 
teaching is not only very expensive but it may also be quite undesir- 
able in terms of the balanced growth of the child. Is the greater energy 
and time that is required on the part of the child and teacher neces- 
sary, in view of the fact that a few months or years later equivalent 
mastery can be acquired with less time and energy? These are im- 
portant problems, to many of which there are, as yet, no precise 

In the meantime environments have to be set up for young children 
in terms of the best knowledge available. These will consist of par- 
ticular experiences and opportunities arranged in some order or pat- 

The Curriculum as a Series of Guided Experiences. In the educa- 
tion of children, the concern is not only with single skills and ex- 
periences but also with the general patterns of responses and attitudes 
to be acquired over a period of time. Since everything cannot be made 
available at one time, choices have to be made, both, of the experiences 
to be had and of the emphasis each is to be given. A pattern of op- 
portunities and guided experiences is known as a curriculum. The 
curriculum-maker faces a difficult task. In spite of the best intentions, 
he must break up what he wishes children to have into small segments, 
which, being misinterpreted by teachers, soon acquire hard and fast 
boundaries and lose their flexibility and relation to children's needs. 
For curriculum-planning, the child's past experience, present needs, 
and future possibilities need consideration. 

Units of Experience for Young Children. In discussions of the cur- 
riculum for older children, such terms as "projects" and "units" are 
used. Because they imply too much standardization and formal organi- 
zation, they do not apply very well to the program for younger chil- 
dren. Better terms would be "experiences" or "guided experiences." 
But, in using them, care is to be taken not to think of unplanned or 


accidental experiences. A project that seems very informal to the 
child may be the result of more definite planning and more conscious 
guidance on the part of the teacher than is one which seems highly 
formal and fixed. Some teachers are themselves so highly structured 
that they operate in a purely routine "nickel in the slot" way without 
planning or thinking. A good teacher maintains the appearance of in- 
formality in order to secure interest and motivation from her children. 
But she plans the material or experiences to be presented and gives 
serious consideration in advance to the methods of interesting the 
child and of eliciting his spontaneous enthusiasms. 

The young child, with his short memory and attention spans, shifts 
interests quickly. As he grows older he develops the ability to work 
for longer periods, to seek more remote goals, and to relate present 
behavior to future goals. From the elementary grades through high 
school to college, content is integrated into larger and larger units with 
greater dominance by remote goals. A substantial contribution to be 
made by the school is the development of orderly and systematic work 
habits that make the attainment of remote goals possible. 

Moreover, the number of children who can co-operate or work to- 
gether in a particular unit or project increases with age. Groups of 
from four to six children are maintained spontaneously by four-year- 
old children, while two-year-olds typically are found in groups of two 
or three. By appropriate group experience the attention span of the 
child can be enlarged to enable him to maintain more effective rela- 
tions with larger numbers of people and a greater range of material. 

The experiences provided for two- or three-year-olds should last 
for a short time and be very concrete and tangible. Activities should 
be many and should change frequently. For four-year-olds somewhat 
longer projects and more involved units can be developed, some of 
which may carry over from one day to the next. At the kindergarten 
level, a transition can be made to activities that can be carried over 
a week or ten days and still maintain the interest and wholehearted 
co-operation of children. In the elementary school the child works 
for longer periods of time at activities which, however interesting they 
may be, are of remote value in terms of their immediate contribution 
to personality. Later, insight may come. Thus, a child of nine, who 
suddenly discovered that she could read through a whole book and 
keep it in mind, was both surprised and pleased at discovering this 
ability. This gradual lengthening of time, this increasing complexity 
and holding power of a project which has goal characteristics, is to 
important educational contribution. 


Adults often fail to realize the extent to which their established 
habits and fixed modes of work are the products of their own age and 
experience. As a result, their expectancies in terms of educational 
content are often far too high for young children. The imposition of 
the teacher's goals and adult work structures may be very harmful 
to the child at a time when he cannot really carry through. It is a 
common error to expect far too much in terms of persistence, order- 
liness, and accomplishment from young children. Some teachers are 
much more interested in the perfection of the product (an adult struc- 
ture) than in the process of learning. On the other hand, those with 
experience are constantly surprised at how well young children can 
function. The experienced and intelligent teacher learns to know what 
to expect, not in terms of what adults do but in terms of children's 

Content Should Be De-emphasized. Any discussion of units of ex- 
perience may seem to place too much stress upon content because of 
an adult tendency to think in terms of accomplishments. Ideally, with 
young children, content should be minimized, and stress should be 
placed on adjustment and modes of attack on problems. It is not 
what the child learns in formal terms which is important but what 
he gains from experiences in the way of self-control, emotional bal- 
ance, initiative, interest, and enthusiasm for the material in question. 

Anticipation of Futwre Experiences. The vertical integration of 
content presents a practical problem in curriculum-planning and in 
teaching. To what extent shall future experiences be anticipated and 
work for readiness be placed in the lower grades to prepare for the 
upper grades? Criticism has been made of nursery schools in that they 
make children unhappy in kindergarten by anticipating their ex- 
periences and of kindergartens in that they do too much for children 
who enter first grade. These are not so much criticisms of nursery 
and kindergarten education as indications of failure in co-ordinating 
programs at various levels. They may also indicate lack of teaching 
skill or vision in utilizing the experience and capacities of children for 
educational purposes and in providing interesting new experiences for 
them. They are more apt to arise in a formalized educational system 
and less likely to appear if teachers are trained to adapt programs 
to children's needs. 

Qverstimulation. Another criticism that young children are over- 
stimulated by nursery-school and kindergarten experiences also indi- 
cates poor prqgram-planning and lack of teaching skill. Although it 
may occur in an individual child, it should not happen for a room or 


a school. This criticism often arises out of a misunderstanding of the 
young child's nature. He is not, as some suppose, a physical being 
merely waiting to grow but an active, energetic, and alert person. 
Some home environments are not stimulating enough for young chil- 
dren, who can often do very much more than they actually do or are 
expected to do. A program well adapted to children's needs results in 
growth and development but not in overstimulation. 


For the young child the school is a significant part of his world. 
In it are equipment, materials, other children, and a teacher. The 
teacher is the most important single object in this environment. About 
her the school revolves. She sets the stage and disposes of the players, 
she creates and maintains the atmosphere in which the work and 
play of the children takes place. Much of what goes on in and out 
of her schoolroom depends upon her conception of what teaching is, 
what children are, and what learning is. 

Learning is Self-education. If a child is given a problem which 
can be solved and if he is motivated to respond, correct responses 
will appear, in time, regardless of whether or not a teacher is present 
or instruction is given. All that is essential is that right and wrong 
responses have different outcomes. If guidance and demonstration of 
good procedures are added, the child will make greater progress. 
Literally then, a teacher does not teach; she guides a process inherent 
in the child which could go on even if she were not present but which 
should go on more effectively if she is present. She motivates the 
child in a process of self-education. The child learns through his own 
errors, which are part of the early stages of learning. Therefore, he 
must have opportunities to make errors in order to profit from them. 
The teacher sets up the conditions which motivate the child, i.e., the 
conditions which start the restructuring of behavior, and then moves 
on to facilitate the restructuring in every way possible. It should be 
clear to her that restructuring is an internal rather than an external 
process and that it involves growth and development. 

In these terms, a school for young children is a stimulating en- 
vironment in which appropriate materials and persons are made avail- 
able to children who are motivated toward them in order that learn- 
ing may take place. Emphasis is upon adjustment in a broad sense. In 
some areas, this means mastering specific motor, linguistic, and intel- 
lectual skills for present or later utilization; in other areas it means 
ease and skill in meeting and working with others; in still other areas 


it means emotional balance and self-control. Within the program there 
are few musts and few attempts to force the child for any limited, 
temporary, or narrow purpose. But a double set of general purposes 
one of which is gradual adaptation of the individual to group living 
and societal demands, the other of which is the exploration and stimu- 
lation of the child's own capacities in an environment in which he 
feels secure and free to go about his own development must be kept 
in mind. 

Individual Abilities and Guidance. Practical experience and scien- 
tific research alike show wide differences between children in their 
specific abilities and in the pattern of their abilities. These differences 
are increased by training and experience. In educating the child, ac- 
count must be taken both of his present traits and attainment levels 
and of his future possibilities. Some aspects of the child's personality 
can be greatly modified and others can be changed only to a limited 
degree. A skilful teacher seeks to equalize the opportunities for chil- 
dren not by setting a dead level of uniformity for all but by special 
efforts and devices to interest each child and to encourage him to 
utilize his own capacities and the school opportunities to the full. 
She is particularly alert to help children make up deficiencies. 

Even though the children in a classroom differ markedly from one 
another, they have marked resemblances to one another. Good teach- 
ing provides for these common abilities. While the traditional school 
tended to emphasize the same fixed pattern of tasks for all children at 
the same time, the modern school provides freedom for individual 
activity within a common background of experience. During the free 
play period in a modern school, the children go about separate activi- 
ties and follow their own individual interests. At another period, ,the 
children engage in group activities in which all participate. The edu- 
cational problem is that of providing an atmosphere within the same 
framework which will give opportunities for individual development 
to a high degree and which will develop group responsiveness and 
ability to work for group goals. 

Implicit is the assumption that the teacher is able to recognize 
and encourage specific abilities and interests and is adaptable and 
acute in developing an educational program to utilize them for indi- 
vidual development and for group purposes. This requires some shift- 
ing from year to year and even from month to month in the arrange- 
ment and organisation of group programs in accordance with the abili- 
ties of the children. In one group two or three children may be much 
interested in art, while in another there may be little or no skill in art 


but much in music. In the first instance a skilful teacher may make 
particular use of the art products. In the second group particular use 
may be made of the musical skills. An alert teacher can superimpose 
upon a basic and somewhat fixed program a shifting and adaptable 
program to utilize and develop individual interests and skills. 

Emotional Security and Control. Substantial evidence exists that 
children make the best adjustment in an environment in which they 
feel secure and with adults in whom they have confidence. Much also 
depends upon whether or not the child feels he is an accepted member 
of the group or whether he feels insecure and outside the group. The 
atmosphere of security and co-operation created within the school- 
room by the teacher affects learning in all its phases. In some degree, 
this atmosphere is independent of the specific procedures used by the 
teacher; in part, it is dependent upon them. Thus, a teacher may be 
strict and yet secure co-operation, respect, and even love from her 
children, while another teacher who is strict may fail in securing co- 
operation, love, and respect. An easygoing teacher may bind the chil- 
dren to her or find that the children reject her. Emphasis, then, goes 
upon the whole personality and upon the manner in which the teacher 
has met her own personal problems. 

Two points of view exist with regard to the attitude and practice 
of the teacher toward the emotional difficulties which develop between 
children. One is that the teacher must closely supervise the children, 
that relations between children should always be at or near the 
perfect level, and that the controversies incident to human living 
should be avoided by not permitting them to arise. On the surface 
everything is smooth no matter what turmoil lies underneath. The 
other permits some social freedom because friction, hostility, quarrel- 
ing, and difficulties in human interrelations are recognized as part of 
the normal life process. To a limited degree, social interchanges in 
the school should be permitted to enable children to develop realistic 
attitudes toward one another and thus come to understand the emo- 
tional and social reactions of other persons. The first conception is a 
hothouse conception of complete protection ; the second, the view that 
children can be permitted real life experiences under supervision in 
moderate degree in order to prepare them for the major responsibilities 
they will encounter 'later. The first gives a false impression of security 
and order, while the second, although more immediately charged with 
feeling, builds for strength and security. 

Management and Discipline. In good teaching the child is pot 
made more dependent or attached to the teacher, but rather, more ' 


independent and self-reliant and less attached or dependent upon par- 
ticular adults. It takes skill to free the child and at the same time 
keep him feeling secure and significant. If the teacher is able to 
anticipate problems before they occur and to set the stage so that the 
child can acquire competence through his own efforts, she will do 
well. Her role with young children cannot be described in terms of 
rigid, fixed, and dominating controls but, rather, as one which departs 
radically from the conventional concept of teaching at older age levels. 
The teacher of young children is not one apart from the group but a 
very vital and integral part of it. If she maintains great social dis- 
tance by being aloof and not participating freely in children's activities, 
she will be ineffective. She should not be so far away that the school 
is completely dominated by the children nor so much the center of the 
stage that all activities revolve about her every wish, with all children 
oriented toward her at all times. Instead, the teaching function is con- 
ceived in terms of setting the stage in such a way that she is a part 
of the situation without seeming to be; she is only rarely in the 
foreground but is always significantly in the background. All possi- 
bility of good teaching is sometimes lost because of the sheer number 
of children for whom the teacher is responsible. Too many children 
may result in domination by a fixed schedule. 

Disciplinary and management controls reach a dead and automatic 
level quickly, unless the teacher is continuously alert, is aware of the 
significance of her relationship to the pupil, has some knowledge of 
the importance of the atmosphere she creates within her room, and has 
some insight into her own capacity and function as a social stimulus. 
Such attitudes need continuous reinforcement through the interchange 
of experiences among teachers, through the participation by teachers 
in professional organizations, and by a program of in-service training 
and supervision which will keep the creative spirit alive within the 


The child is a member of a family, a member of a group of asso- 
ciates near his own age level, and a member of the community. With 
growth, his circle of relations will widen as he is played upon by the 
various influences in the community and as he enlarges his own sphere 
of action. Neither vertically, in his development, nor horizontally, 
in his relations with his environment, is it possible to draw sharp 
and hard lines that isolate. 


society, to give him skills and attitudes of personal and social value, 
and to prepare him for future living. The school is imbedded in the 
community and in the culture of which it is a part Schools for young 
children do not differ in fundamental purpose from those for older 
children but do have a significant educational function. 

Progression in Educational Program. For the best development 
of the child a vertical integration which will tie the child's experiences 
together is desirable. The elementary school should build upon the 
preschool, the high school upon the elementary school, the college upon 
the high school. This is a reversal of our traditional practice in which 
education has moved from top downward and in which the needs of 
the college have set the pattern of high-school education, and the needs 
of the high school have set the pattern of elementary education. Good 
integration involves a compromise between the needs of the on-moving, 
developing organism and the demands which society imposes. The 
continuity of the individual and the changing pattern of society, alike, 
call for an education that starts with young children and continues 
through adult life. 

The Value of Early Childhood Education. What is a good school? 
What is a bad school? These are difficult questions to answer since 
any definition of "goodness" or "badness" depends upon the criteria 
set up. Thus, a well-ordered, very neat, and a rigidly scheduled school, 
with every object spotless and in its appropriate place, may be a very 
good school in its physical aspects and yet be a very bad school in 
its psychological and social effects upon children. Another school, 
which in physical appearance and general arrangements seems to be 
very bad, may actually, if its effects upon children are studied, turn 
out to be very good. 

This problem of a criterion not only enters into the evaluation of 
particular schools but also into the study of the value of early child- 
hood education as a whole. If the effectiveness of a school for young 
children is measured in terms of the ability to read or to do arithmetic, 
the test centers in a content with which the school may have little or 
no concern. If the maturity and self-reliance of the children and 
their ability to do for themselves and to participate socially are 
measured, the study will be nearer the experiences with which schools 
for young children deal. Much the same question can be raised con- 
cerning the comparisons in later school years of the progress of chil- 
dren with and without nursery-school and kindergarten experience. 
Far too often the comparisons are made in terms of effectiveness in 
formal school work, to which the contribution of the nursery school 


and kindergarten is minor. Much too seldom are comparisons made 
in terms of general adjustment, sodal relations, personal development, 
and zest and enthusiasm for living the areas emphasized in early 

It is particularly difficult to test the value of an educational pro- 
gram when, and if, it is viewed as a whole. On the other hand, the 
specific contribution made to a particular area of skill or knowledge 
by particular and specialized programs of instruction can be readily 
tested and is often of great value. Who is to say that elementary 
education is bad or good, that high-school education is bad or good, 
when experience in elementary and high school is in the background 
of almost every member of our society? What can be said is that 
such experience is essential for adaptation in our particular society, 
because a person without such education is a lost soul. The evaluation 
of nursery-school and kindergarten education should not and cannot 
be made except in terms of how the child, as a learning, growing, de- 
veloping organism, utilizes and benefits from the experiences pro- 
vided. And even this answer would be only a partial one, since pro- 
grams of education continually improve or at least change with the 
passing years. Education is not something with an all or none value, 
not something permanently fixed. It changes with society and society 
changes with it. 

Need of Professional Public Auspices. In general, the best work 
in education is done by professionally trained people who meet the 
state requirements, which are statements of the type and amount of 
experience that society has found desirable for the task of teaching 
children. Some regard nursery education as distinct and separate from 
public education. It is largely an historical accident that schools for 
young children developed outside of public auspices. But with the 
demonstration of their value, the logical place for them is in the public 
school system. Since society has already established the agencies for 
educating children and has entrusted the responsibility for them to a 
particular group of people, any consideration of future developments 
must recognize the purposes of the public educational system and 
seek to include the program for educating young children with that 
system. Further, although custodial institutions, such as day nurseries 
for young children, have existed ( for some time to meet special needs, 
as time passes they will be forced to develop an "educational" rather 
than a "service" point of view, in. exactly the same way as the cus- 
todial institutions for older children are being replaced by institutions 
with remedial, preventive, and educational philosophies. 


Relation to Home and Community. Horizontally, education is a 
joint enterprise of home, school, and community. That view which 
isolated the child from nine to three o'clock each day, which discour- 
aged contacts with parents, and which held that the school was inde- 
pendent of the remainder of the community is well in the past now. 

Both evidence and experience indicate that the child cannot be 
taught well without some knowledge of his home background and his 
relations in the community. A child may do badly in school, not be- 
cause of an intellectual deficiency but, possibly, because of a disturbed 
family situation which will soon result in divorce of the parents. Be- 
cause his parents can supply him with all the aids to good work, one 
child may make more progress than another of equal ability. Because 
he is kept up late, a young child may be so fatigued that he cannot 
participate in the play and social activities on a par with other chil- 
dren. Wherever we dip into the complex of relations between the 
individual and the community, the school and the community, the 
teacher and the community, and the family and the school, there 
arises evidence of a need for the co-ordination and integration of the 
work of those concerned with the child. 

Parent Education and Early Childhood Education. Out of the 
particularly intimate relation between the school for young children 
and the home arises both the need and the opportunity for an active 
program of parent education. Because the parents of young children 
are much interested in their welfare and face new problems daily in 
their care, they are especially interested in knowing how to improve 
their relations with children, often more so than parents of older 
children who are more likely to have set attitudes. 

Among the many forms which parent education takes are: (1) 
visits of parents to schools to see actual practice in methods of hand- 
ling young children; (2) conferences between parents and teachers or 
other specialists on the behavior and development of the child; (3) 
organized study groups; and (4) a parent-teacher association with a 
planned educational program. Parent-education activities are both 
informal and formal and vary greatly in amount. Because all aspects 
of family life relate to children, they can be of far wider scope than 
child training. 

The modern movement for parent education has paralleled the 
movement for nursery education, just as a century ago the kinder- 
garten came into existence primarily as a device for parent education. 
Schools for young children consider parent education an important 
phase of their program, in order to use the unusual and direct oppor- 


tunities they have for contact with parents. How much parent edu- 
cation is undertaken often depends on their general theory of edu- 
cation and the possibilities of freeing staff members for work with 
parents. Throughout, education at all levels is marked by increasing 
awareness of its responsibilities for adult, parent, and community 

Twenty-five years ago the nursery school was relatively untried; 
a hundred years ago the kindergarten was relatively untried; two 
hundred years ago the public elementary school was relatively un- 
tried. Each phase of public education first goes through a period of 
origination, then one of development, and finally one of acceptance 
and incorporation by society. When the first approach is made, the 
educational program arises out of the needs of a limited group. For 
instance, Robert Owen, who became interested in nursery education 
to meet the needs of working mothers, found his eyes opened to the 
needs of all children. 

Regardless of the purposes of the early developments, which in- 
cluded such diverse aims as research, custodial care, provisions for 
children of working mothers, demonstrations for parents, and meeting 
the immediate needs of children, in time there has been movement 
forward to better understanding, appreciation, and insight into the 
needs of all young children. With that insight the program invariably 
gains vitality and strength and continues to develop. Adults also profit 
much from their association with and study of children. Soon new 
procedures, professions, and institutions arise. 

Nursery Experience for Every Child. Although there is some dif- 
ference of opinion as to the desirability of school experience for every 
young child, those who have worked with young children and know 
most about them feel that early education is desirable for all. With 
thirty years' of experience in the education of young children behind 
them, they are quite sure that good school environments can be estab- 
lished for children at early age levels. For particular classes of young 
children who have disadvantages, chiefly of a social nature, school 
experience is especially valuable. These include (a) handicapped chil- 
dren, (6) only children or children from very small families, (c) chil- 
dren physically isolated in outlying neighborhoods, (d) children 
socially isolated because of a lack of playmates, (e) children in family 
situations so tense that normal adjustment cannot be made, and (/) 
children in small apartments with limited indoor $n4 outdoor play- 


The Future. It has been said that a society can never remain 
stationary; it either goes forward or it goes backward. So with most 
developmental processes in the individual or the group. On the whole, 
despite obvious deficiencies at some points, the program of early child- 
hood education is better now than it was in 1925, in 1930, or in 1935. 
More is known about children and their needs. Educational thinking 
at all levels has been modified by the concern with young children, 
by the stimulating research done, and by the convincing demonstra- 
tions of what good schools can do. This dynamic process conditions 
the future. Out of the strength, insight, and enthusiasm of the present 
program will come a future in which the needs of young children will 
be more adequately met. 




University of Minnesota 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

University of California 
Los Angeles, California 

University of Minnesota 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 


University of California 

Berkeley, California 

University of Minnesota 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 


Miss Wood's Kindergarten-Primary Training School 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 


The preceding chapter has developed the theoretical approach to 
early childhood education. If practices are to express theories within 
the classroom, and if, in turn, new theories are to emerge from class- 
room experiences, attention must be given to maintaining a close 
relationship between theory and practice all along the way. A fre- 
quently heard and somewhat just criticism of the theorist accuses him 
of expounding his theories from a so-called vantage point far removed 

1 Acknowledgment is also due to Katherine Roberts and Evelyn Beyer of the 
Rochester, Minnesota, Community Health Project for their assistance in prepara- 
tion of the initial outline of this chapter. 

This section contributed by Elisabeth Mechem Fuller. 



from children. Likewise, the practitioner is somewhat justly accused 
of perpetuating methods, which came from no one really knows where, 
with little careful thought but with full confidence that "this is the 
way you do it." 

Bridging the gap between theory and practice looms large as a 
pedagogical problem at all levels; it looms especially large in present- 
day early childhood education because of the enormous strides made 
in research in child development during the last quarter-century. 

Early childhood education offers a fertile field for the theorist be- 
cause of the general nature of early compared to later childhood edu- 
cation in our culture. Schools in this country educate first generally 
and then specifically. They have what we call a broad base, where 
children first sample and experience widely and later specialize. There- 
fore, in early childhood education, specific subject matter is typically 
relegated to a position of secondary importance and the emphasis is 
upon providing for the whole child in his social setting. With such an 
all-inclusive aim, early childhood education attracts theorists and 
practitioners from many fields, such as sociology, psychology, medi- 
cine, education, political science, and home economics. The composite 
theory which results is unquestionably superior to any more limited 
approach, but the task of organizing and synchronizing becomes in- 
creasingly difficult. 

The problem of the theorist and that of the practitioner (the 
teacher) differ widely, owing to the nature of their jobs. For example, 
theoretical research provides numerous studies of frustration and its 
effect upon children. The teacher's problem, however, is to direct 
twenty-five or more children in a group situation day after day. She 
has to see incidents as having a past, a present, and a future not as 
stimuli isolated in time and space which might cause frustration in 
an individual child. She has to study the child as a whole as an 
individual and as a. group member. She knows that all individuals 
and all groups suffer occasional frustrations. She knows that she does 
not want to prevent all frustrations if she is preparing her children 
for living. Therefore, she makes decisions constantly as to which 
frustrations to prevent environmentally or in her guidance and which 
ones are to be accepted in the normal process of living. She must try 
to maintain an environment which is facilitating rather than frus- 
trating for all children, but she does not seek to eliminate all frustra- 
tions from her classroom. 

It would seem, then, that the theorist succeeds so far as he goes; 
he identifies, defines, $nd describes frustration and its effect upon 


children. For this information to be really useful for the teacher, 
though, theory must be interpreted in the light of classroom, individ- 
ual, and group practice, and then be restated in general principles for 
ready individual application. 

In considering the hypotheses presented in chapter v, suggestions 
emerge which bear further general development in the light of prac- 
tice because they represent the theoretical foundations upon which 
almost everything that is done in early childhood education is based. 

First, the social form which the school for the young child takes 
is a democratic one in which the individual is important, both as an 
individual and as a member of a group. He is studied as an individual 
and 'treated as an individual wherever possible, and when he is sub- 
ordinated to group demands in the interest of group action, effort is 
made first to gain his voluntary co-operation and his appreciation of 
these demands which must temporarily subordinate him. The indi- 
vidual child is encouraged to realize his potentialities to the fullest 
and then to fit them as harmoniously as possible into a society already 
in existence, so that individual and society will benefit mutually from 
his training. 

Second, since the school respects the democratic ideal, an attempt 
is made to equalize opportunities for all children. Equalization of 
opportunity in practice depends upon recognition of individual differ- 
ences in both nature and nurture aspects of growth. Nurture differ- 
ences among very young children in school are frequently mistaken 
for nature differences with resultant errors of judgment in guidance. 
Older children, due to common experiences in school, usually reflect 
enough similarity in response to their environments to make it some- 
what easier to understand nature and nurture factors. Very young 
children, however, have little common basis in experience for any of 
their reactions to early school situations. Thus, nature and nurture 
may both operate to exaggerate individual differences at the early 
school levels. Add to this the lack of reliable measures of either nature 
or nurture in the young child and it is understandable why the 
problem is so challenging. 

Third, since the nature of the child's school life is to be democratic 
and interpreted in terms of individual differences, skills are developed 
to an optimal level within that framework. The skills of individual 
children in a democratic society become not less important but more 
important to their adjustment and process. It is easier to win recog- 
nition without skill in a controlled society than in an uncontrolled 
one where the individual's success is based upon his own efforts. 


Therefore, the modern educator in practice does not do less to develop 
skills of all sorts in children; he merely does what is done demo- 
cratically, respecting individual differences and using the best methods 
available. In such a plan, the child sets the pace, to be sure, but the 
teacher is there, setting the stage, suggesting, remotivating, integrating, 
and doing what she can to insure the acquisition of skills, which are 
too important to be left to chance or childhood whim. 

Fourth, child development research stresses the oneness of the 
child's response to his environment. Research discovers the interrela- 
tionships among all phases of the child's existence and shows how, 
even when he seems to be making only one response, that response is 
influenced by everything that is happening to him. For example, the 
child learns better when he is well adjusted; he is well adjusted when 
he lives in an environment where he feels reasonably secure; he feels 
secure when he is with contemporaries in situations where enough 
adulfc control exists to keep his pattern of living somewhat consistent, 
yet where enough freedom exists to permit free expression of his 
creative impulses. Therefore, in order to guarantee each young child 
a school environment conducive to desirable adjustments and learn- 
ings, the teacher sets just enough of a schedule to provide reasonable 
consistency and security from day to day yet permits interpretation 
on an individual basis; sets standards specific enough for children to 
understand what is expected of them yet general enough to accommo- 
date all individuals; and establishes personal relationships with the 
children which are colored by her own personality and their individual 

Fifth, practices utilized in early childhood education are based on 
the educator's respect for the researcher's emphasis upon the fact 
that the young child exerts a tremendous amount of energy and that 
any program designed for him must permit expenditure of this energy 
and provide for its channeling into desirable expression consistent 
with the child's personality and maturity level. His energies take the 
form of doing, thinking, feeling first one activity and then, very 
shortly, another active, curious, manipulative, seeking. The adults 
in his world must understand and respect this phenomenon of energy 
output and sometimes let the child alone in the sheer joy of exer- 
cising, sometimes divert his energy to protect him or another member 
of his group, sometimes invest it in some future goal perhaps too re- 
mote to motivate the child at the moment. 

Sixth, early childhood education is to be considered as one segment 
of an educational process which is continuous throughout the life of the 


organism. Whatever is done with young children must be in harmony 
with what is to be expected of them later in home, school, and com- 
munity. Therefore, it is impossible to establish practices to be used 
with young children in any isolated way. These young children must 
progress through a fairly structured society; therefore, plans for the 
early years must anticipate the later years. Sometimes this anticipa- 
tion means early development of positive attitudes toward learning 
in general; sometimes it means pointing toward later reading expe- 
riences by giving early training in language usages and attitudes to- 
ward language; sometimes it means early integration of the child's 
attitudes toward himself as an individual as contrasted with himself 
as a member of a group; always it means recognition of life as con- 
tinuous and onward-looking. Thus, it would seem that the content 
and methods of group education should be established during the 
earliest age at which children come together in groups and that each 
succeeding age should build upon the foundations thus established 
and carry on in the light of knowledge of the characteristics of the age 
group concerned. Actually, however, workers with younger children 
find themselves faced continually with the necessity of carrying on 
"preparatory" functions in an effort to meet the requirements which 
have been set up by other segments of the school system, the ele- 
mentary school, the secondary school, and the college or university. 
The program at every level automatically becomes a compromise 
based not upon what is known about children at a given age but, 
rather, upon what is known about them, re-interpreted in terms of 
what they will be compelled to do later. Educators at all levels should 
get together and plan a sequential, logical, and consistent program of 
education for all children based upon co-operation and mutual under- 

Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the good school is a 
place adapted primarily to the "needs" of the children of the ages 
concerned. All other considerations (those of teacher, parent, research 
worker, and student) are subordinated to child needs, and all persons 
connected with the school understand this system of values and plan 
their work accordingly. Child needs are distinguished from child 
desires in that the school hopes to emulate the discipline of real life 
situations in which one's desires are always subject to intrinsic or ex- 
trinsic limitations. Nevertheless, the environment is so planned that 
any decision as to practice first has to meet the test as to how it would 
affect the child. When compromises have to be made, the child's wel- 
fare is assured of consideration if he is established early and clearly 


as the primary figure in the school situation. Actually, such concern 
for the child operates to improve all school functions in that the high- 
est types of research and the best circumstances for parent, teacher, 
or student result from the willing co-operation of children. If the 
children are made the focal point, there is much less chance for friction 
or misunderstanding among departments in the school, less chance for 
teachers to choose unsuitable materials for teaching, less chance for 
issues between parents and teachers to be confused. With the children 
as the central figures, no department can possibly plan its work inde- 
pendently because each must determine what are the other demands 
on the children at a given time. For example, in a planned environ- 
ment based on the "whole" principle, staff members never set up rigid 
schedules of testing, physical examinations, or even play, and try to 
fit the children to them; they study the children's days or weeks as 
units and try to balance their experiences and the demands to be 
made upon them. Thus, in a whole environment, it would not be pos- 
sible for Jean to return from an illness and be given a mental test 
on the first morning, have a temper tantrum during lunch, and then 
have her outdoor play interrupted to act as subject for a student's 
research experiment. Rather, Jean's first day back at school is planned 
as a whole with special consideration for her recent illness. On that 
day, at least, other children are selected as subjects for any special 
activities and Jean's day is kept as free from extra demands as pos- 
sible. The good school, then, focuses first upon the children and their 
needs and then integrates all of its functions with this primary one. 


What is meant by practices and resources in early childhood edu- 
cation? Are practices merely specific methods used when the occa- 
sions arise, or is there a general philosophy underlying all practices? 
Are resources merely the furniture and toys which are provided chil- 
dren, or do some general principles emerge which apply to resources 
in general? Literature on educational practices and resources for 
young children seems to suffer somewhat from overspecificity and 
piecemeal presentation. It is not difficult to find out in a purely me- 
chanical way what to do when this happens or that happens, but it is 
very h^rd to learn what sort of generalizations one might make which 
would help to analyze all situations and make decisions as to practices 
which would be consistent with a general over-all philosophy of early 
childhood education. It is not difficult to find out what furniture, toys, 

* This section contributed by Elizabeth Mechem Fuller. 


or books are recommended for children of certain ages, but it is very 
hard to learn what principles operate to insure wise choices. 

The observer, in evaluating a school environment, must learn to 
take his cues from the specific samples of practices which he sees and 
then base his judgments upon careful comparison of these practices 
with general principles. Therefore, in order to examine a whole en- 
vironment in which modern practices and resources function, let us 
first see what kind of a day the young child has in a modern school. 
To compare activities directly, diary accounts of the program for one 
morning session in a nursery school, a kindergarten, and a first grade 
are offered. Due to space limitations, afternoon sessions are omitted. 
Updegraff (45) describes the nursery school activities of a group of 

A Half-Day in Nursery School 

The children begin to arrive about 8:45. It is a snowy morning and 
Margaret comes laughing and calling for someone to see how her Daddy 
pulled her to school on her sled. Billy solemnly offers a sticky "snowball" 
to the teacher who has welcomed him. Because of the snow and cold, the 
children, do not stop outside for the usual half-hour or forty-five minutes. 
Instead, they go into the cloakroom where Miss K. is ready to help with 
removal of wraps. Margaret, Billy, and John are able to pull off their own 
mittens and caps and hang up their snowsuits on large-pronged hooks. 
Edward, who is just two, needs Miss K.'s help with Ms clothing but cheer- 
fully points to his own hook as his contribution to the process. Mary and 
Julia remark, "I can do it myself," and proudly complete their own un- 

One by one, the children go into the playroom where they are free to 
choose whatever they wish to do. Miss F. has arranged long, flexible boards 
as two inclines. Henry and Billy run up and down these or spring gently, 
watching the others. Margaret chooses one of the rubber baby dolls which 
she bundles up in "covers'' from the chest of doll clothes, tucks into a baby 
carriage, and wheels around the room, stopping now and then to pat the 
covers or to murmur to the baby. 

There are now two teachers in the room. Miss L. stays beside the in- 
clines, quietly reminding children of the danger of pushing and helping them 
to make sure the boards are in place securely after a particularly vigorous 
run or bounce. Miss F. watches the play of the other children, moving oc- 
casionally to offer help or a friendly word and smile where needed. 

Billy climbs the steps up to the balcony, leans his chin against the rail- 
ing, and looks down on the others. Then he goes down the stairs, finds some 
buckets and spoons in a box, and climbs into a long, shallow table beside the 
window where he plays alone, looking out of the window or watching other 


children. Once he says softly, "Snowing snowing snowing," smiling to him- 
self. Some children are still attracted by the inclined boards laughing and 
shouting, singing and chanting as they run, or roll, or bounce on them. 

Julia takes an armful of doll clothes into the bathroom to a low basin 
where she becomes absorbed in the joy of getting hands and arms deep in 
soapsuds. She talks to herself importantly while she rinses and hangs the 
clothes, returns to the soapy water with a set of tin dishes and, finally, with 
one of the rubber dolls which "needs a bath." Jack fastens a train of five 
interlocking cars together and pushes it out into the hallway, singing, "ding- 
dong, ding-dong/' 

Catherine and Henry, who have grown tired of the inclined boards and 
have started chasing each other excitedly, and Jean, who has been content 
to be a watcher, are attracted by a large zinc tub of water which has just 
been placed on an oilcloth on the floor of the playroom. There are a number 
of water toys afloat in the tub a steamboat, houseboat, tugboat and barge, 
lighthouse, and buoy. They kneel down beside it with squeals of delight and 
push the boats about in the water. Miss F, rolls up their sleeves and pro- 
vides them with oilcloth aprons. Occasionally she reminds a child not to 
splash himself or other children and sees that each has a toy. To others 
who corne clamoring for turns she says, "You may have a turn soon. Would 
you like to watch now?" Henry begins to chant and Barbara soon takes it 
up "Water! Water! I want some water! Water! Water!" Miss L. brings 
out some books with pictures of boats and a lighthouse for several of the 
children to see. Ann leaves the group at water play to climb up on the piano 
stool. She presses the keys softly, using four fingers on each hand and listen- 
ing attentively to the sounds she makes. 

Meanwhile, some of the children have gone to the tables where they 
have seen crayons and clay. Those who choose crayons have half sheets of 
unprinted newspaper and a box of crayons. Catherine uses the crayon pencil- 
fashion, "writing" in one small section of her paper, while Henry covers his 
whole sheet with dots, changing crayons frequently with much deliberation. 
Some children handle the crayon as a brush, making large, free movements 
back and forth. Jane works intently to cover the whole page with one color 
yellow then holds it up for appreciation from any one who will look. 

The children who are going to play with clay are given oilcloth aprons 
and balls of clay about four inches in diameter. Mary pats her ball, pinches 
it, rolls it out, and says, "I made a birthday cake." Immediately other chil- 
dren say, "Mine's a birthday cake, too." Later Mary says she made a pie 
and some pancakes; at once three or four other children are pounding and 
patting "pies" and "pancakes." Billy molds clay into a ball and makes holes 
in it with his finger. Beverly carefully pats into shape four thin oblong 
pieces, then piles them on top of each other, saying to Billy, "See my house!" 
The children working with clay remain absorbed, some for as long as half 
an hour, but those who were using crayons lose interest more quickly. 

Meanwhile, Margaret, Julia, and John are making a house of blocks. 


They carefully fit four quarter-rounds together, then stack cylinders on top. 
When it is finished, Julia puts some small rubber dolls inside while Margaret 
and John watch, smiling with satisfaction, 

Billy and Edward have stopped to look at the guinea pigs in their cage. 
Seeing the children's interest, Miss F. brings milk and bread to feed them, 
and they kneel for several minutes by the cage to watch the animals eat. 
Miss K. goes to three children who are not busy and says, "Would you like 
to come for stories now?" The children run immediately into the little room 
and settle themselves on three small chairs. 

As each group comes from stories, they are taken to the toilet and to 
wash hands before lunch. Several Ixelp Miss F. arrange cups and paper 
napkins on the tables. At ten o'clock they sit down to their mid-morning 
lunch. One teacher gives each child a teaspoon of cod-liver oil. A second 
passes tomato juice in a small green pitcher. Henry, Mary, and Julia are 
able to pour their own juice; Bill watches them, then wants to try it, too, 
and, although he spills a little, is delighted with his achievement. The other 
children are encouraged to pour theirs, with the teacher helping by steadying 
the pitcher. 

While lunch is being served, a teacher sets up small canvas cots and 
covers each with a child's individual rug. Having finished his juice and put 
his cup on a side table, each child goes over to his own bed and lies down 
and pulls up his light blanket. Although a few whisper to themselves as they 
play with their hands or the edging of the blanket, most rest quietly. When 
Billy waves his legs and kicks his heels, Miss F. goes to tuck the cover about 
him and sits beside him for a short time. Toward the end of the rest period, 
quiet, sustained music is played on the victrola. After fifteen minutes, the 
teachers fold the blankets and give each child his own to put on a bench. 
Then beds are put away and tables pushed back, with a number of children 
eager to help. 

Miss L. sits down at the piano and several of the children gather around. 
She plays and sings "Snowflakes Falling." When she has finished, Barbara 
says, "Again." This time Jane and Billy sing also. "Now let's sing the 'Nut 
Tree/ " suggests Beatrice. Miss L. and some of the children sing this, Mary 
and Edward merely listen with interest. Other songs are sung. "Now 'Jingle 
Bells/ " begs Jane. The children take wrist bells and prance about, keeping 
fairly good time to the music. Miss L. plays two other rhythmic pieces, one 
a march. The children respond by walking, running, hopping, galloping, 
and sometimes just standing still and swinging their arms or clapping hands. 
The singing and rhythmic activity lasts for twenty minutes, but during this 
time some of the children leave and others, who have been looking at pictures 
and playing with trains, join the group. 

After music, John, Barbara, Jane, and Margaret play in the doll corner. 
Margaret lies down in the doll bed, her feet and legs sticking far out over 
the end, and the others cover her up. From the doll chest they bring arm- 
fuls of "covers" and pile them on her. Edward fills a baby carriage with 


blocks, covers it with a large square of cloth, and pushes it about the room, 
When it tips over accidentally, he laughs and sits down to spin the wheels 

Billy and Mary spread out doll dishes on the floor for an imaginary tea. 
Jack runs over, grabs the teapot and a cup, and pours tea for himself. The 
other two say, "No ! " and push at hm? angrily, but Miss F. remarks that there 
are cups enough for all. The three sit down and silently pour and drink one 
imaginary cup of tea after another as fast as each can get hold of the teapot. 

The children go in small groups to have their wraps put on and then play 
outdoors for the last twenty minutes or half-hour of the morning. Although 
the snow is deep, the large wooden platform at the back has been shoveled 
clear. Henry and Jack start riding tricycles around it, while Julia finds a 
kiddie car which fits her short legs and tries to keep up with them. Other 
children are soon playing on the rocking boat, pulling the wagon, or making 
shelters for themselves with large blocks and boxes. 

Margaret shovels snow from one spot to another with a short-handled 
shovel. Billy pulls John on the sled and Edward slides down the runway 
from the platform. Jane walks in snow up to her ankles, exploring remote 
corners of the yard, then she climbs into the garden swing and, as she 
watches the other children, sways the creaking swing slowly back and forth. 

Four children help clear more snow and ice from the platform. Mary and 
Edward, on the rocking boat, sing and hum to themselves. Ann runs across 
the play yard and makes footprints where telephone wires cast shadows on 
the snow. Then she laughingly tumbles into the snow, and several other 
children fall and roll in the snow. 

Edward tries to take Margaret's shovel away from her. Margaret shouts, 
"No/* and pushes Edward into a snowdrift. Edward begins to cry and the 
teacher comes over to say, "Be more careful, Margaret. You hurt Edward 
when you push him down. Tell him you are using the shovel." She helps 
Edward up and brushes him off, saying, "That was Margaret's shovel, Edward. 
She had it first* Come with me and we will find a shovel for you," 

The parents begin to call for the children at eleven-thirty. Jack's mother 
unbolts the gate from the outside, and after he passes through Jack rebolts 
it himself. Margaret shouts, "No! No! Don't want to go," when the taxi 
arrives for her. The teacher says, quietly, "Goodbye, Margaret. Why don't 
you put your broom over by the steps as you go?" Margaret cheerfully car- 
ries her broom over to the bottom step before she calls goodbye, Henry runs 
to the gate when he sees his mother, calling back to the teachers, '"Bye! 
See you tomorrow!" 

As children grow older, their characteristic school day changes in 
a rather systematic fashion, becoming more structured and organized, 
more focused and purposeful, Foster and Headley 4 describe a half- 
day with five-year-olds in a modern kindergarten: 

* Diary taken from the unpublished manuscript for the revision of Education 
in the Kindergarten by Foster and Headley, American Book Co. 


A Half-Day in Kindergarten 

8:SO: The kindergarten teacher is mixing paint and putting fresh paper 
on the easel. Jimmy pulls open the door and says, "Good morning, Miss B. 
Can I paint?" "Good morning, Jimmy. Things are all ready. You know 
where paint smocks are kept, don't you?" Jimmy smiles, puts his sweater 
and cap in his locker and comes back to the easel pulling on a smock. 

Four more children appear in the doorway, wave to Miss B., and go 
to play in the sandbox. Peter comes in with his older sister who explains 
that "Peter didn't get to sleep last night until eleven o'clock." Miss B. says, 
"Thank you for telling me. If you feel tired or cross today well know that 
you need some extra rest, won't we?" Peter takes off his things and joins 
Jimmy at the easel. He watches Jimmy outline a blue house with windows and 
doors and struggle to make a gabled roof. Beside the house he paints what 
might be a robin. The robin is fully half the size of the house. 

Miss B. props open the outside door to supervise both inside and outside 
activities. Betsy, Joan, and Perry have come in and are playing in the doll 
corner. Perry is sent to the store for some Pablum for the baby. "No, daddy, 
you won't need any points for Pablum." Jeffrey and four cohorts have ar- 
rived and are building an airplane with outside blocks and planks. Barbara 
and Jean are sitting at a small table coloring. Barbara is making a picture 
of a blue bird, and Jean is trying to copy her idea. 

Gretchen and Peggy go directly from the lockers to the cupboard for 
puzzles. "Oh, look!" says Gretchen. "Mine is a new one. It looks like a 
hard one." Miss B. says, "It is a hard one. I put it on the shelf just this 
morning. I wondered if there would be anyone in this group who could work 
it." "Bet I could," says John swaggering over. "All right," says Miss B. 
"After Gretchen finishes, why don't you take a turn?" John goes over to the 
jungle gym, hangs upside down, swings back and forth, then climbs to the 
top, pretends he has a telephone. "Bombardier to pilot. Bombardier to 
pilot." Archer joins him. They both rush to their lockers to get their helmets, 
and the play continues. Miss B. reminds them that their voices are getting 
a bit loud for inside play. 

9:00: Miss B. stands near the door, offering a suggestion here and a word 
of approbation there. Jeffrey and Billy both have ideas about the wingsp&n 
of their plane. Jeffrey tries to explain his ideas to Billy, but Billy picks up 
the board and runs off with it. Billy is forced to give up the board but first 
takes a good right swing at Jeffrey. "Miss B.," says Don, looking at Jeffrey 
as he rubs his chin, "Don't you think Billy had better go inside ?" "Maybe 
so," says Miss B. "At least until he gets control of himself and can make it 
pleasant for others." Billy plods heavily toward the door. He hangs up 
his jacket and stands by his locker looking sulky. Miss B., "Better get 
washed up and maybe you'll feel more like yourself. It wasn't a very pleasant 
experience you had, was it?" The airplane play outside had transferred to 
acrobatics on the outdoor jungle gym. 


9:30: AH toys and materials are back in place. All of the children ex- 
cept two are seated on the floor by the piano in front of the teacher's low 
chair. While they wait for the last two children they enjoy a few finger plays 
together. Miss B., "Jeffrey, you forgot to wash your hands and don't forget 
your chin. That was a dirty hit you got. You certainly handled the situation 
well. Congratulations!" 

The children take turns before the group to tell of interesting findings 
they have made in regard to the arrival of spring and of preparations for 
the kindergarten garden. 

9:50: As they leave the discussion group, each goes off with a purpose. 
Jim and Bill go to the workbench to make markers for the garden rows. 
Ten go to get plasticine to make models of the things needed to get the 
ground ready for gardening. Three choose to draw pictures of how they would 
like the garden to look. Barbara asks if she may paint her idea of the garden. 
Jean also wishes to paint but Miss B. suggests that in her locker she has a 
doilie with spring flowers on it which she hasn't finished. Jeffrey volunteers 
to print signs which "you can read so you'll know what you planted." He 
gets his paper and crayons then asks Miss B. how "peas" would look. She 
prints it in manuscript and he copies it. Then he takes it to the boys at the 
work-bench and consults them as to how they can best fasten his paper onto 
their sticks. They decide to tack it on. Three children have produced un- 
finished work from their lockers. 

10:80 to 10:40: As the children finish their work they clean up, go to 
the toilet, wash, and go to the library corner. About half of the children are 
still at work. The teacher plays a slow, quiet signal on the piano, and every- 
body stands at attention. The teacher asks those who have not finished to 
put their unfinished work in their lockers and to join the others in the library. 

10:60: All are in the library. Individual books have been put back into 
the bookcase with "the bindings pointing out," and the group is seated on 
the floor in front of Miss B. who is holding up a copy of The Little Gardeners. 
They look at the pictures together, and then Jean says, "Read it." First they 
observe that in two places it says The Little Gardeners Miss B. runs her 
finger under both captions. "Now if everybody is comfortable I can begin." 
There is much settling back and some fussing about not being able to see. 
Miss B. waits quietly; everyone is settled, and she begins to read, holding 
the book so that all can see the pictures. After the story, they stretch up tall 
and go over to the piano. 

11:10: The children ask for a skipping turn. Miss B. plays with dear 
accent but light tone. As the music stops they stand where they are and 
listen to the next music which they have never heard before. They look 
puzzled and then begin to swing into many varieties of responses. Some show 
much feeling for the music, and others indicate that they merely feel they 
should be doing something. Those who do not have the feeling for the music 
begin to act silly, crowding together and bumping into one another. Miss B. 
stops the music and says, "Will you all sit down just where you are?" Then 


Miss B. says, "Archer, John, Betsy, Nancy, and Jean would you show us the 
dances which you made up to that music? I think the rest of the group would 
enjoy seeing them." The five children dance freely, seemingly oblivious of 
anything but the music. All the children try again, many of them reflecting 
the patterns of the five. Betsy asks for "The Brownies/' She is asked to 
choose five children for the dance. After much counting and recounting the 
dance proceeds the observing audience chuckles with delight. 

11:80: They are all seated by the piano. As request numbers they have 
sung "Tirra, Lirra, Lirra," "Now at Last Winter's Past," "He Dug His 
Garden," "Swinging," "Roller Skates/' and "It's Raining." Then Miss B. 
plays some music which she had played for them yesterday. The children 
recognize it as the new music and ask her what the song is about. She tells 
them it is about a Maypole. They chat about a Maypole, many confusing 
the word with "maple." Miss B. clarifies the meaning and then sings the song 
for them. They listen and join in. Some have difficulty with the whole, so 
Miss B. sings a single phrase and then they sing it with her. Now she sings 
a single phrase and they sing it back to her. Now they put the whole to- 
gether. Barbara says, "Maybe we could have a Maypole dance in our 
kindergarten?" With that thought for future planning the children go in 
small groups to get their wraps. First Miss B. asks all those who wore coats 
to go, then all those who wore jackets, then all those who wore sweaters, and 
last of all those who wore no wraps. As they slip into their wraps, they say 
casual goodbyes and disappear through the playground door. 

When the child becomes six he then enters public school where 
practices from one school to another are slightly more standardized. 
He is now definitely pointing toward the subject matter and citizen- 
ship demands of his later schooling. 

For the six-year-old's day at school one sample is offered, and the 
reader is referred also to Hubbard (31), who describes a first day in 
her first grade. She presents a truly transitional schoolroom, one in 
which the teacher shows great respect for what has gone before and 
what is to come in the children's lives. 

The following diary account of a half-day in a first grade in a 
public school 5 late in May illustrates the continuous nature of the 
educational process and shows how individual needs may be accom- 
modated even as the group progresses far toward an organized, struc- 
tured existence within one school year: 

A Half-Day in First Grade in May 

8:30: Barbara walks to the front of the room and announces the morn- 
ing meeting. "We will now have the flag salute." She walks over to the flag 

* Bancroft School, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Miss Lucile McCauley, teacher. 
Diary contributed by Mary Evelyn Miller. 


stand, removes a small flag, and holds it as the children stand and pledge al- 
legiance. Miss M. and Miss E., her student assistant, stand at the back of 
the room. 

"Now we'll sing 'America/ " announces the president. Miss M. gives the 
pitch on her pitch pipe, and the children sing "America." Miss M. suggests 
that they now try their "Good Morning" song. Barbara announces it and 
the children enjoy bowing to each other and acting out the song. 

The morning meeting lasts until 9:10, with Barbara announcing each 
part in a clear voice in complete sentences. Committee chairmen are in charge 
of each duty and come to the front quickly when duties are announced. 
"Showing" time is fun for the "showers" as well as for the watchers. Each 
showing receives an enthusiastic comment from Miss M., such as "That's 
nice that you have a sweater to wear on a chilly day. Is it wool?" or, "Tell 
us about your car. Is it a coupe?" Then Miss M. brings out a wooden 
candleholder to show and asks for suggestions for colors to use for decora- 
tions. "You could use blue." "Yes, I could use blue, Charlotte. That is a 
good idea. Blue would match the flowers that are already painted on it." 
Each idea receives a favorable comment from Miss M. 

The calendar chairman brings out the calendar to have the day marked 
for the weather. Miss M. suggests that several children go to the board to 
write stories about what they did the night before when it rained. They 
take chalk from their desks and begin printing their stories as soon as they 
reach the board. 

Delores looks as if she were unsure of how to mark the thermometer. 
Miss M. suggests that Evelyn can stand with her to help in the hard places. 

Barbara says, "Does anyone have any money for the Red Cross?" The 
children look around but no one has his hand up. 

Miss M.: "Monkey (bank) needs some breakfast, doesn't he? Ill put 
some pennies in today, since no one has brought any. Frances and Georgia, 
will you put them in for me?" The two girls take the pennies, remove two 
flags from the flag stand, and march to the monkey bank. Miss M. gives the 
pitch and all the children say, "Soldier boy, soldier boy, where are you going?" 
while the girls march with the two flags. 

Miss M. chooses a boy and an assistant to write in the Red Cross total. 
"How much money do we have in the Red Cross bank now?" she asks. 

"What did we have yesterday?" "That's right, $6.60. Now let's counl^- 

sixty-one, sixty-two. How much do we have? That's right, $6.62." And she 
writes the number on the board where the boys can see it for recording the 
sum on the Red Cross poster. 

Barbara asks, "Does anyone have any news?" 

One boy tells about the woman who jumped off the Hennepin Avenue 
bridge; one tells about his company last night; one tells about finding his 
roller skates down in the basement and asks, "Could we Toller skate to 

"Well, we're not allowed to roller skafte to school, Jimmy/' and die ex- 


plains that the principal and teachers had talked it over and decided that 
children should not bring them to school. Crossing streets would be difficult. 

Finally the president herself has some news to tell and then says, "Our 
morning meeting is over." 

That is the end of the meeting but not the end of the news! ""My grand- 
mother is here and she's going to stay for a while." 

"She has to stay now, because of the railroad strike, doesn't she," replies 
Miss M., and there follows a little discussion of how we get food from other 
parts of the country. "What about foods? How will we get foods from 
California where Bobby came from last week?" 

A boy says, "Oranges and grapefruit and that stuff. Trucks could bring 

"But it takes a long time with trucks," Miss M. answers. "I noticed in 
the paper that they might use Army trucks and perhaps planes." 

The president says, "Now our meeting is over." 

Miss M. says, "The writing is nice today readable and spaced well. 
Will you choose someone to read your story?" 

Each story is printed on about half of a blackboard with the printing 
starting at about the height of the children's heads. Complete sentences are 
used and the spelling is correct, even for what would seem too difficult words. 
Each story is quite individual. Polliwogs, birthdays, the rain, gardening 
each topic brings something to Miss M.'s mind and she tries to fit it into the 
work they are doing. "You see those plants in the fish bowl give off some- 
thing the polliwogs need to live. What do you suppose it is?" A child 
answered, "Oxygen." 

9:15: "Let's stand for awhile and stretch." They stretch around and 
around, and then Miss M. tells John's row that they may start the skipping. 
The children in that row follow John skipping around the room and back to 
their seats. Then the next row skips, and so on, until all have a turn. While 
the last row is skipping, Miss M. looks through a book and, by the time they 
are through, she is ready for a short story period. 

She asks the children to come and sit down on the floor. One boy has 
difficulty sitting down quietly. Miss M. says, "Stand up and try it again." 
He does so quietly. 

The children sit watching and listening while Miss M. reads poems about 
"Goldilocks and the Bears," "Animal Crackers," and "Jonathon Bing." The 
children laugh at "Pajamas, You Know," and Miss M. laughs too. Next a 
story from the book, Betty June and Her Friends. Miss M. says, "Fm going 
to read part of it and you can read the other parts. When you want to take 
it home, just come and tell me so I will know who has it. Who has Cinder 
the Catt" There was a little discussion about where library books were and 
who could have them next. 

Miss M. then reads an announcement about a picnic for next week, and 
gives directions for bringing money. 


"And when do you bring your money?" "Monday" is the answer. 

9:20: "All right, let's go back to our seats." The children get up and 
walk back, but, before they sit down, Miss M. suggests that they dramatize 
"Jack Be Nimble/' 

''What was the matter with it?" Miss M. asks. "Noisy!" is the reply, 
and they do it over. ''Hickory, Dickory, Dock" and "Little Miss Muffet" 
follow. Miss M. then asks the children to put their heads down on their desks 
and rest a little while. 

9:30: Miss M.: "A good rester doesn't wiggle. Here's a good rester 
right here. She's a fine rester." While the children are resting, Miss M. takes 
a book from her desk, glances through page numbers, and prints the reading 
assignments on the board with some questions about the story. Miss F., at 
the same time, is putting on the assignment and questions for her group of 
readers. There are four reading groups, each called by the name of one of 
the children in the group. 

"Heads up." Before starting the reading lesson, Miss M. asks individual 
children each to read one of the questions she has printed. "Now take out 
your books and start reading." 

"Joseph, what are your pages?" (Joseph sits on the other side of the 
room). "You may have to go over nearer the board to read it, and Keith 
may go along to help." They walk over and read the pages and questions 
for Joseph's reading. In turn, other assignments are read for each group. 
Another child or the teacher helps each time there is difficulty. (Bobby, 
who came from California just two days ago, is reading from a preprimer. 
Formal reading is not begun there until second grade, evidently) . 

9:40: "Nice straight backs," Miss M. says. The children straighten up 
in their chairs and continue reading silently. 

9:45: "All right, put your books on the corner of your desks. If you 
didn't finish you can read more after we finish the little test I'm going to 
give you." The children close their books and wait for Miss M. to pass 
them the mimeographed pages. 

The telephone buzzes. Miss F. answers it and gives the message to 
Miss M. 

Miss M. gives directions for the test and asks John to read the first test 
item to show how it was done. (It is a test of recognition of double consonant 
sounds.) He reads it, and the children give the answer. She asks them to 
read the next one to themselves. They begin reading and after a while they 
begin laughing. The teacher laughs, too, and asks Joyce to read it aloud. 
It is about a clown, 

9:60: "How many understand how the game is played?" All but one 
girl hold up their hands. Jane says, "There's one I can't get." Miss M. helps 
her. The children want to give her the answer, but Miss M. asks them not to. 

"Let's get in line for drinks now." The boys and girls line up separately. 
Miss F. goes with them to the drinking fountain. They return a few minutes 
later and immediately start work on their tests* 


Bobby sits looking at his Rides and Slides preprimer. Miss M. asks him 
to come up to get his work and gives him two pages from a workbook. She 
explains the work to him and he returns to his seat. 

One boy turns around to talk. Miss M. calls his name, and he goes back 
to work. "No help, Barbara/' she says to another, "This is a little test to 
see what you can do by yourself." The children work for a few minutes 
until Miss M. asks one of the reading groups to bring their books up. At 
this time, Miss F. takes her reading group out of the room. 

The children sit in neatly arranged chairs in the front of the room. The 
reading lesson proceeds in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they read to answer 
a question Miss M. has asked, sometimes they read whole pages, just to 
enjoy reading aloud or listening. Even the teacher has a turn reading. All 
read expressively; Mary's imitation of "peep-peep-peep" is especially realistic. 

Miss M.: "My, that was good. That answered the question exactly. 
Now, 104. Why is this a page we know so well?" The children answer, "The 
number of our room." 

10:05 : "Let's hold our books up now. Be sure this time; last time there 
was guessing. Try it a little louder. Let's see if we can get four things we 
learned about the farm." And Miss M. turns to write the sentences on the 
board as they are dictated by the children. 

10:16: "All right, you may take your seats/' says Miss M. 
"Now I'll take Joseph and Keith with their morning readers." Joseph 
and Keith go to the reading circle. The children at their desks continue 
to work with the test. 

"Nicely done, sir," says Miss M. to Keith who had written his reading 
page on the board. In their reading Miss M. gives more help with words, 
asks them to find words or phrases that answer a question, and puts dif- 
ferent words or phrases on the board for a short drill when they have finished 
the lesson. 

A number of the children have gone to the cloakroom, one by one, and 
have come out with workbooks under their arms. 

10:30: The bell rings, but the children go on working. In a few minutes 
Keith and Joseph have finished and go to their seats. "Girls may pass/' 
and then "Boys." The children go to the cloakroom and come out putting on 
wraps. A few of the girls have jumping ropes. They go out of the room 
informally for recess. 

10:40: The children come in, putting their things in the cloakroom, and 
return to their desks to work on their tests. Some have already finished 
them, while the others are only about two-thirds of the way through. 

10:45: "Boys and girls, if there are some things you can't get, just go 
on and leave them, but finish your pictures on the other side." Miss M. asks 
Miss F. to take Ralph for reading. Ralph is being accelerated and has ad- 
vanced reading. Ralph and Miss F, sit in the reading circle while she con- 
ducts the lesson much as Miss M. did with the large group. 


10:50: This is a period for free selection of activities for those whose 
work is all done. 

Nancy walks over to Miss M. who says, "You may go up to the nurse's 
office, Nancy. She will help you wash out your mouth and your tooth. When 
you come back, I'll give you an envelope to put it hi to take home and put 
under your pillow." 

10:55: Miss M. gives Bobby directions for his next reading lesson and 
goes to the front of the room. 

"Now will the people at the board take their seats? Will the people at 
the library table straighten it up? Will you put your first and last names 
on the test and date it May 24? Put your test on the corner of my desk. 
Clear off your desk and get in line to go upstairs/' 

11:00: Miss M. leads the children upstairs to the film room where they 
watch the moving pictures taken of them on their trip to Cloverleaf Dairy 
Farm. They had seen the movie twice before but were to see it this time to 
get social science facts from it, such as what kind of buildings are on the 
farm, what kind of machinery, etc. 

11:20: The children return to their room for their wraps and go home 
for lunch. 

Such accounts illustrate in an oversimplified manner how practices 
are translated into modes of living with young children. As one 
watches the school day unfold, there seems to be so little preplanning 
involved, so much dependence upon one activity forming the point 
of departure for the next. To the more careful observer, 'however, each 
incident in the classroom tells its part of the very long complicated 
story of child development and childhood education. Each method 
used, each book chosen, each chair purchased, each musical instru- 
ment used, each amount of time allotted, each word spoken all have 
resulted from the careful study of children and the learning process. 

What, then, makes us do the things we do in the schoolroom? What 
considerations have gone into the establishment of practices? 

For the most part, practices have resulted from needs evidenced 
by children. For the purposes of this discussion specific practices will 
be discussed in relation to ten general needs of children as formulated 
by the chapter committee. The young child and his school will be 
considered together under these ten broad categories to illustrate the 
mutual relationships of child and environment and the continuous 
nature of the educative process. There will be no sharp distinctions 
between age levels either for child or for school practice because of 
the wide range of individual differences to be found when children 
are taught together regardless of the grouping method used. There 


will be an attempt to present similarly the materials in each of the 
broad categories so that the reader may readily adjust to the style 
and refer directly to portions of the chapter needed or to make cross 
comparisons of practices used at different age levels. 

Children Need Physical Surroundings Which Are Wholesome and 
Adapted to Their Maturity Levels 6 

Neither newness of the building nor type of architecture determine 
whether physical surroundings contribute to the best growth and ex- 
periences for children. Many a square, high-ceilinged room in an old 
ivy-clad building has been transformed into one of charm and balance 
through a teacher's ingenuity. Without such ingenuity even the best 
laid architectural plans may create a place of imprisonment or servi- 
tude for both children and teacher. 

It falls to the teacher to plan for and to provide the kind of 
physical environment and practices that are going to foster creative 
experiences and that will be directed toward individual learning and 
group relationships in living, thinking, and working together. 

To carry out a program planned for growth of the whole child, 
space becomes the teacher's first consideration: (1) space for chil- 
dren to learn through doing things, to manipulate and experiment at 
their maturity level; (2) space to practice making adjustments to 
others and to learn necessary restrictions imposed by group living; (3) 
space where tensions of living with others are relieved because it is 
planned for children where they can indulge in quiet activity or un- 
disturbed thinking. 

Two-year-olds need long and frequent rest periods, so the space 
allotted for rest or sleep is markedly greater than that for five-year- 
olds who rest on rugs for a short period or, in an all-day program, as- 
sume most of the responsibility for getting out and putting back their 
cots. For the five- and six-year-olds, discussion periods and group 
planning play an important part in the day's activities; therefore, the 
space allotments differ from those for the two-year-olds where organ- 
ized group periods are short in duration and informally attended. 
Almost any part of the room is apt to be used by the two-year-old 
to make his train of two chairs. In less than five minutes the train 
may become chairs again as another child sits in one to examine the 
eyes of a cuddly doll, and the trainmaker, unperturbed, promptly gets 
a red oilcloth horse and sits on the other chair himself. Two three- 
year-olds may be making their train of large floor blocks, usually 

* This flection contributed by Amy D. Peterson. 


working close to where the floor blocks are kept. Four-year-olds, in 
larger groups, make a functional, if not very realistic, train; that is, 
they go from Minneapolis to Chicago and need a large open space for 
imaginary tracks. The more complicated engine of the five-year-old 
needs space where it can stay up until the last detail (verification of 
the number of stacks) has been completed. The building area in the 
six-year-old's room is clearly defined both to teacher and child at the 
beginning of the year and boundaries are usually respected. At all 
age levels several activities will be going on at the same time. 

Children in elementary school have special rooms, such as the 
gymnasium or library, whereas younger children usually are con- 
fined to one room for all of their activities. Teachers find it chal- 
lenging to change the environment by merely moving partitions, real 
or imaginary. The library corner or science table may temporarily 
house a pet or a special collection of leaves. The doll corner may 
become a dressing room for four-year-old boys and girls for "dress-up 
play" with all of the fun of assembling a costume. Units will be 
planned so that availability of materials will stimulate their use and 
so that responsibility for returning materials to their proper places 
with little supervision will be facilitated. Activities requiring com- 
mon equipment are organized so the materials are available to all the 
pupils and may encourage creativeness and a higher level of construc- 
tion. Thoughtless juxtaposition of materials leads to distraction, 
shortened attention span, need for extra supervision, confusion of pre- 
liminary plans, and poor work habits. Therefore, doll dishes which 
may not be used in sand will be found far removed from the sand box. 

Ample storage space, including open shelves and closed cupboards, 
is a necessity for smooth functioning and ease of housekeeping in any 
room. A room with too many things around, no matter how frequently 
used or how decorative the materials may be, takes on a cluttered 

Recommendations for nursery schools place adequate indoor space 
at thirty-five to fifty square feet per child, exclusive of halls, locker 
rooms, and bathrooms; adequate outdoor space is placed at sixty to 
one hundred square feet per child. In this respect, nursery schools 
in general have a decided advantage over kindergarten and primary 
grades. Enrolment in each group in the nursery school can be kept at 
comparatively small numbers to permit the required space for physical 
activity and for a wide variety of experiences with materials and with 
other children* 

The playground is not to be thought of as just "outside play 


space" where an attitude of laissez faire prevails but as a functional 
part of the school program. For purposes of safety and supervision, 
the classroom ideally opens directly onto the outside area. This ac- 
cessibility permits supervision during the frequent trips to the toilet, 
enables the playground to be used more freely, and eliminates the 
nagging and restrictions imposed by the adult world against so-called 
"noise and confusion" in halls and stairways. In climates where 
weather permits, much of the daily program is carried on out of doors. 
Every school has its own problems connected with the uses, equipment, 
and supervision of playgrounds. Many kindergartens and first grades 
share outside areas, and practices must include planning for various 
concurrent activities of large organized groups. 

Work and play space to be healthful and to foster good working 
conditions must be adequately heated, ventilated, and lighted. With 
children of two years who rest and play on the floor, the teacher's 
concern will be for adequate ventilation without danger of drafts, 
and the teacher with a group of six-year-olds sitting at tables reading 
will be attentive to the best natural and artificial lighting. Where 
lighting is better in one part of the room than another, the area with 
best lighting will be reserved for activities requiring fine eye-hand 
co-ordinations. Appropriate colors for walls, ceilings, and window 
shades and the proper ratio of window area to floor area all contribute 
to better lighting. If mechanical controls are lacking, hand-operated 
devices, such as thermometers placed at the height of the children's 
heads, draft guards to deflect direct air upward, and humidifiers placed 
on radiators become necessary. 

It is not the number of toys available but the care in their selection 
that determines their adequacy and gives direction to the child's play. 
There are countless sources in literature for specific suggestions and 
criteria in selecting toys that reach the child at his own level of 

As we go from the two-year-olds' room on up to the first grade, 
we notice fewer toys, with changing uses and interests. The play of 
the two-year-olds is, for the most part, of an individual nature 
active, but seldom boisterous. Their interest is in manipulating and 
exploring, and frequent change of activity necessitates a variety of 
equipment for feeling, pulling, pounding, lifting, throwing, climbing, 
and even tasting. The three-year-olds begin to dramatize and imitate 
and to become more interested in the activities of the adult world. 
Transportation toys to push or pull and ride take precedence over 
others. They are co-ordinated and balanced enough to use most, 
standard big-muscle equipment. 


The four-year-old's social and physical environment takes a defi- 
nite part in his play, and small groups are necessary to carry out his 
dramatic play. The toy telephone he manipulated at two is now used 
to invite other children to the doll qorner for a party. Pounding sets 
for ages two and three are replaced gradually by soft wood and simple 

The five-year-old responds to a greater variety of stimuli in a 
more controlled manner. His activity is more purposeful and his 
interest turns toward the finished product. Dramatic interests are 
strong and he makes full use of stories, music, Current events and the 
latest hero of the comics as subjects for his play. A jungle gym be- 
comes a perfect place for the skills of "Superman" who uses a doll 
blanket for his cape later the jungle gym is probably a B-29. 

The play of the six-year-old becomes more an expression of his 
natural desires in strengthening, refining, and extending his skills with 
plans and rules for the organized games. Although the six-year-old 
engages in the greatest number of activities, the actual number of toys 
decreases. The sidewalk and a piece of chalk serve for a game of 
hopscotch. Indians, teachers, soldiers, parents, and cowboys become 
real characters with few "props. 17 

Clothing must also be considered as a part of the physical en- 
vironment of the young child. The sensible "T-shirt" and overalls 
worn by both boys and girls in these early years, besides protecting 
legs from cold and knees from abrasions, tend to forestall undue boy- 
girl consciousness during these years when activities and toys are com- 
mon to both. During the second, third, and fourth years, children are 
learning to dress themselves. To learn most easily they need time, 
encouragement, and the kind of clothing that makes it possible for 
them to help themselves. When the girl reaches five years she begins 
to want to wear dresses and proudly appears at school in swirling 
skirts. The six-year-old is appropriately dressed only when she wears 
dresses. Clothing for all ages must be well-fitted to be comfortable 
and must have openings that are easy to get in and out of. Simple 
fastenings are placed where the child can get at them. Well-chosen 
clothes are adapted to the temperature and allow for freedom of move- 
ment in active play. Comfortable clothes are made of soft, light- 
weight fabrics that are durable and easily washed. Proper footwear 
will be long enough and broad enough to allow the toes to move easily. 
The younger the child the more supervision is necessary to see that 
laces are tied, that clothes meet at the waistline, that buckles and 
buttons are fastened, and that mittens, caps, and rain apparel are 
worn when needed. 


The extent of the school health program is determined by the 
needs and the age of the children concerned; the success of the health 
program is dependent upon the co-operation of the entire staff. Gen- 
erally speaking, the younger the children, the more extensive the pro- 
gram and the larger the staff of the health unit. Health-program em- 
phasis is on prevention and on the normal development of children. 
Thus, the nurse or doctor has need of understanding the well child; 
the teacher, of recognizing symptoms of the sick child. The health 
program ideally is concerned with protection from both the medical 
viewpoint and the health-education viewpoint. A good program of 
health instruction, through experience and imitation, fosters safe- 
guards for group living, sanitary and safe use of materials, safety pre- 
cautions, and general cleanliness and order. Understanding and whole- 
some attitudes toward body needs and functions become a part of 
everyday activities rather than a goal to be sought through stereotyped 
posters that line the walls for visual consumption only. Health atti- 
tudes and mental hygiene assume an important position in a school 
health program. Good health education results in the child taking 
courage and becoming more interested in the treatment than in the 
injury. Two-and-a-half-year-old Marcia, who had two splinters in 
her hand, was heard to remark, "Look, I got spinters from dat slide! 
I better go see the Dokker," and she was off to the Health Unit. 
After pointing out the splinters, she climbed onto a chair and asked 
one question after another, "Is dat a tweezer? Is dat soap? Why do 
you put de needle in dere (alcohol) ?" After the antiseptic was ap- 
plied, she left with a final remark, "Well, dat 'tings, but not very 
much." Marcia was learning every step of the way, and here health 
instruction was at its best. 

In any health program of the school it is also necessary tb protect 
the health of all staff and maintenance members as well as to safeguard 
the health of the children. 

In oil-day schools where food i$ served, the noon lunch becomes a 
part of the environment which calls for careful teacher planning. The 
supervised lunch motivates good food habits, giving factual informa- 
tion and training about food, nutrition, and health. Meals are planned 
with the entire day's food intake in mind. The same foods are served 
to children of different ages, but the amount and sometimes the 
method of preparation differs according to the individual child's needs. 
A general nile-of-thumb is that the noon meal supplies up to half of 
the average child's daily food requirement. 

Guidance practices will be directed toward 'children, the teacher 


understanding the importance, of their environment to every-day living 
a$ well as her responsibilities for it. The teacher exercises watchful 
supervision and assumes final responsibility for the child's use of his 
environment, while working constantly toward getting the child to 
assume this responsibility himself. In short, she relates the physical 
world to every-day living by guidance, supervision, and experiences 
within the scope of the child's understanding. 

Children Need an Environment Which Provides for, Permits, and 
Encourages Bodily Activity and Motor Opportunities 7 

Since motor co-ordination constitutes one of the most important 
phases of the development of the child from age two to six, it is given 
separate treatment in an attempt to synchronize and integrate what 
the teacher does in all phases of the educational process toward foster- 
ing opportunities for motor experience. 

The first thing the teacher looks at is the available space. Has she 
utilized the size and shape of room or playground to provide for all 
the motor developments she needs to encourage at the particular age 
level? Free open spaces permit pulling a wagon, hauling movable 
equipment, just leisurely walking about to feel the grass, or looking 
over opportunities afforded. Unobstructed areas permit running pell- 
mell to see a train or truck going by the playground, encourage the 
joy of feeling the added momentum derived from running down a 
sloping playground, and suggest games of tag, or races. Rolling, 
tumbling, somersaulting, standing on hands, or doing cartwheels de- 
mand precaution against injury to self or others. Climbing and jump- 
ing require space allowance for large apparatus. For wheel toys, a 
runway is needed which will provide for the thrill of turning corners, 
of steering to avoid animate or inanimate obstacles, or of coasting 

The teacher's next consideration is what equipment to provide. 
Many pieces of equipment are used by all children from two to six, 
but the same thing is used differently with increased age and skill. 
For example, the two- or three-year-old pulls a wagon with or with- 
out passenger or baggage, the four-year-old uses it to move equipment, 
and the five- or six-year-old scoots along, one knee in the box, steer- 
ing accurately or stopping short at the defined boundary. Thus, in 
choosing equipment for early motor development, the factor of adapta- 
bility is always an important one.- As children gain in motor skill, 

* This section contributed by Amy D. Peterson, 


additional equipment is added. Climbing a knotted rope, chinning a 
pole, playing football, striking the punching bag, tossing jacks and 
ball, and many such activities require fine muscular control. The 
five-year-old engages in and enjoys more sedentary types of enter- 
tainment that require fine eye-hand co-ordinations, such as the use of 
scissors, paste, or small beads, simple sewing, and table games of 
Lotto, jigsaw puzzles, and the like. Competition in activities and games 
sharpens the enjoyment of them for the six-year-old but is wasted on 
the younger child. 

Important, olso t for the teacher is the matter of time allowance. 
The program is so planned and is flexible enough to allow for long 
uninterrupted periods of motor exercise. Adequate time and oppor- 
tunity during basic habit routines for manipulation, practice, and 
early success in motor controls, such as buttoning, tying bows, and 
handling table service, will permit more time for later group partici- 
pation in other activities. Feelings of self-confidence arise from suc- 
cesses in motor activities more often than from any other source. An 
awkward, slow-moving boy, almost four years old, stood by the 
swings for several days while other children were standing up pump- 
ing. One day he tried unsuccessfully for twenty minutes to stand on 
the swing. As soon as he stood, a teacher moved close and with a 
smile encouraged him to get the correct rhythm by repeating, 'Tor- 
ward, back; knees ahead, knees back; arms in front, arms back." 
When it was time to go indoors, he had not quite mastered the rhythm, 
but the teacher told him he could stay until the last child was leaving 
the playground. When he came in, he said, "Gosh, I almost got it." 
After nap he went straight to the swing. In about ten more minutes 
there came a gleeful shout. "Now I got it! See? I can do it all myself." 

The teacher will provide guidance and supervision so that activities 
are enjoyable; so that the children respect standards of safety in the 
V&& of the equipment; so that they extend and vary their interests and 
skills. The teacher may interest the inactive child by taking his hand 
and trying out various motor activities until he finds something he 
likes or may get other children to invite the inactive one into their 
play. For the child who wants to be pushed, she will give him one 
push and then encourage him to pump for himself; or to the child 
who confines his motor activity to swinging, she will suggest activities 
like the sand box or the rocking boat, "where Mary needs someone 
on the other side." In setting up an inclined plane or see-saw, she 
will, through her activity, suggest the versatility of the materials. 

By calling attention to rhythm and movement in the various motor 


activities, she will help the child acquire and control his own bodily 
movement for greater appreciation of music dramatizations and those 
activities requiring muscular control. Children delight in the up-down 
of the swing; the pull-pull in climbing the knotted rope; the swish of 
the slide, or the dig-dig of digging. 

Thus, the teacher's presence is felt in the child's motor develop- 
ment, while at the same time the child experiences as much freedom 
as possible in developing his own motor skills in an environment geared 
to his needs and interests. 

Children Need a Daily Program Which Is Planned with Respect 

for Levels of Maturity, and Pointed toward Realization of the 

Educational Aims of the School 8 

Daily programs for children from two to six should reflect the 
comparative values of different activities and the length of time it 
takes to complete activities with "doing" and "achieving" as the 
objectives. We need to recognize, however, that existing conditions, 
both permanent and temporary, will affect the program and the prac- 
tices for carrying out the aims. The smaller the staff, the more formal 
and arbitrary will be the scheduling and the fewer the activities in 
progress at the same time. Time allotted to routines will be related 
to the facilities available; more time is required to go from one floor 
to another than to an adjoining room. Where definite arrangements 
for activity rooms or special teachers are made on a school plan, they 
must be adhered to rigidly. Climatic and seasonal variations, trips 
and excursions, will affect programming. Nevertheless, organization 
of the daily schedule should have an ordered sequence of activities 
to insure a well-balanced distribution of time that is regular enough 
to foster good development of basic habits, respecting the maturity 
level of the group and each individual's ability to perform and adjust 
and that is consistent enough to give children a sense of security in 
knowing what comes next. The younger the child, the more time he 
needs to complete the routines. Adult direction should be limited to 
seeing that the necessary simple rules are inforced, to offering sug- 
gestions and assistance to individual children, and to redirecting 
activity of a child who constantly chooses equipment beyond or be* 
neath his level of ability. Rules made should be common sense rules 
for the welfare, safety, and comfort of the group, and reasons, why 
things are or are not done should be well known to the child* Because 
nursery-school children are too inexperienced to carry on their own 

* This section contributed by Amy D. Peterson 


organization, the teacher assumes control and directs the activity of 
the so-called "organized group periods." The degree of organization 
will depend upon the age of the children. For the two-year-olds it 
is the simplest kind of group singing, finger plays, and stories. Partici- 
pation in the social situation which lasts for only a few minutes is 
voluntary. By four years of age the child is expected to feel that he 
is part of a social group in story telling, singing, rhythms, and games. 
They take turns in discussion, sit quietly listening to one another, and 
assume some responsibility in directing group activity. The four-year- 
olds' interests keep them together in organized groups for longer 
periods at a time (usually about fifteen minutes). In some four-year- 
old groups, like kindergarten groups, there is a flexible but directed 
period early in the morning for assigning room responsibilities. Some- 
times the period is used to introduce new materials or for more di- 
rected individual work. 

Programs for the five- and six-year-olds still reflect the continuity 
of activity and effort in relatively large blocks of time to allow the 
child time for leisurely enjoyment and achievement. There is more 
focusing of interests and more relatedness of one activity to another. 
For example, in the period for self-chosen activity, the construction, 
drawing, and modeling will be on the subject discussed or studied by 
the group. Five- and six-year-olds participate in the discussion con- 
ference where they give and receive suggestions relative to present 
interests, make plans, set up standards, learn to evaluate their own 
efforts, and use the best judgment possible in solutions to problems. 
More time is set aside for informational learning (nature, science, and 
reading), appreciation of literature, and music. 

These general considerations in programming respect the rapid 
physical growth of early childhood and the need for the development 
of large muscles, the gradual increase in attention span and the focus 
of interests with increasing age and maturity, and the orderly se- 
quence of development from gross muscular co-ordination to fine eye- 
hand co-ordination. 

Activities should be spaced to provide alternation of strenuous 
physical activities and comparative relaxation, such as stories and 
listening to music or, for the older ages, conversation periods and 
nature studies. Regular periods of rest will be used to best advantage. 
For the two-year-old it may come as an interlude in the play period 
to break the excitement and tension usual with the very young in 
group play. For the older child it may serve as a "break" between 
vigorous activity and routine to prevent carry-over of stimulation and 


fatigued muscles to an activity where fine co-ordinations and a busi- 
nesslike attitude is expected; or, before lunch, it may prepare the 
child for a quieter, more leisurely atmosphere to aid eating habite. 

The time for rest periods and the noon meal at school will be de- 
termined by the needs of the group as a whole to prevent tension and 
fatigue and by what is known from research and observation in regard 
to the relationship of hunger and fatigue to temper outbursts, ir- 
ritability, excessive crying, and negativism. In extremes of weather 
the adult will vary the time out of doors for the group as well as for 
individuals, for some children can endure more heat or cold than 
others. Shifts in routines will be staggered to prevent overstimulation 
and confusion to the younger children which result from mass group 

Practical considerations, such as length of day, number of chil- 
dren enrolled, sharing school facilities for parent groups and clinics, 
will be based upon the needs of the community and the family and on 
available facilities and services. Some nursery schools might operate 
ten hours or more a day, which would necessitate staggering of staff 
schedules. Where the equipment and other facilities are limited, an 
afternoon session of kindergarten should be established to care for 
an increased enrolment. Large enrolments in first grade may call for 
dividing the group for special activities, organized work, or reading. 

School Practices for the Young Child Should Facilitate Optimal 
Development of Sound Basic Habits 9 

Sound basic habits are habits that are developed to satisfy physio- 
logical needs in conformity with prevailing restrictions imposed by the 
social culture. They are adapted to the particular needs of the par- 
ticular child and to his level of maturity. They are sufficiently flexible 
to permit of adjustment to changing maturational and environmental 

Motivation toward optimal basic habit training is usually facili- 
tated when young children are together in groups during the period 
when they are establishing their patterns of eating, sleeping, toileting, 
washing, and dressing. The social factors which cause the child to 
behave somewhat as others do because he wants to "be like" and "be 
liked by" them operate as expediters in determining responses to these 
basic functions. In addition, the sequence of events in the school day 
soon becomes known to the individual child, and he knows that eat- 
ing, sleeping, etc., take place between other interesting activities and 

*Thia section contributed by Catherine Landxeth. 


are to be accepted as incidental in relation to the daily schedule. No 
emphasis is placed upon them, and the child is considered to be re- 
sponding poorly in school if undue feeling is associated with them. On 
the other hand, the teacher recognizes the relationship between the way 
a child responds to basic habit training and his general personality 
development. Therefore, while she may seem to minimize their im- 
portance, what she is doing is guiding children into a wholesome 
attitude toward these functions without exaggerating their importance 
in their total experience. 

School practices which facilitate the development of such habits 
are based on an understanding of the level of development of the 
individual child and of the laws of learning. By the time a child enters 
nursery school or kindergarten he has already developed responses 
which he uses more or less habitually. It then becomes his teacher's 
first responsibility to determine his current level of accomplishment, 
to inquire about his past experience and difficulties in normal situ- 
ations, and to ascertain his parents' attitudes and standards of per- 
formance for the child. 

Practical application of the laws of learning in so far as they af- 
fect a learning process for young children may be reduced to: (1) clear 
formulation in the teacher's mind of what she wants the child to learn 
and why this learning seems desirable; (2) physical conditions and 
teaching methods which make what is to be learned simple and satis- 
factory for the child. Physical conditions and teaching methods are 
essentially inseparable. Their adaptation to teaching goals is best 
illustrated by reference to specific situations. 

Eating habits. Nutritionally, it is desirable that the child learn to 
eat and to enjoy the wide range of foodstuffs that make up an adequate 
diet. It is also desirable that he learn to eat at regular meal hours. 
Socially, it is necessary that the child learn to feed himself as part 
of his progress in becoming an independent member of society. As 
most eating is done in groups, it is also necessary for the child to learn 
that dining involves social participation as well as mastication and 
alimentation. Psychologically, satisfying so basic a need as hunger 
should be enjoyed. 

There are numerous specific techniques that are helpful in eating 
situations. Table seating arrangements should have educational in- 
tent. Finicky eaters are helped by the example of children who enjoy 
their food. Food should be served in amounts each child customarily 
e^ts. Heaping servings have the same effect on a child's appetite as on 
an adult's. Arrangement should be such that children help themselves 


to second servings. Pouring liquid is irresistible to a young child. Con- 
fronted with a pitcher of milk and a small glass the only way to keep 
pouring is to keep drinking. Teachers should develop a gradual 
process of accustoming children to new or disliked foods. Serving new 
or disliked foods in small amounts and emphasizing tasting rather than 
eating the entire amount encourages progressive acceptance. Guidance 
should be unobtrusive and should not impair the social function of the 
meal. A gentle hand on a child 's arm or a plate pushed a little nearer 
directs a child's attention to his food without disturbing the group. 
Table service should be adapted to each child's skill in self-feeding. 
Graduation from bib to napkin is indicated when the child eats with- 
out spilling food on his chest. 

Sleeping habits. At birth the infant manifests, in common with all 
other living organisms, definite alternations of activity and rest. Be- 
cause it is born into a society where activity and rest are definitely 
organized, the child must learn to rest and sleep at definite and regular 
times. The age of the children and the nature of the school program, 
rather than an arbitrary schedule, should determine the number and 
duration of rest periods. 

Creating an atmosphere of rest and quiet preceding and during the 
nap period aids in developing sound sleep habits. A familiar and 
orderly sequence of events including a quiet period before resting, a 
still, darkened room, and a soft-voiced, quiet-moving teacher have 
considerable suggestive value. 

Children need help in learning to relax. A teacher can show a 
child how to let his arms, legs, body, and head lie limp and slack like 
a worn rag doll. 

Toilet habits. For social and sanitary reasons the young child has 
to learn to urinate and defecate only in places appropriately equipped 
for this purpose. He has also to learn to bring his urinating and 
defecating under conscious voluntary control. 

Progress through nursery school and kindergarten is marked by a 
gradual change from teacher control to child control, by a gradually 
lengthening period between urination, and by a change from group 
to private use of toilet facilities. This is accomplished by fitting toilet 
schedules to the needs of individual children rather than fitting chil- 
dren to an arbitrary schedule. A matter-of-fact treatment of acci- 
dents and consistent friendly help from the same teacher each day 
are logical essentials in working with the younger children. 

Washing habits. For hygienic and aesthetic reasons a young child 
has to learn to wash his hands before eating and after any activity 


which leaves his hands sticky or dirty or exposes him to harmful 

Learning is encouraged by washing facilities which can be used 
without adult help and with a minimum of prohibition and by a school 
program which leaves a comfortable margin for an activity which is 
naturally interesting to very young children. In an all-day program 
necessitating group washing before and after lunch, some systematiza- 
tion of the washing process is necessary to avoid confusion. The 
child's level of performance at all ages is improved by demonstration, 
suggestions, and encouragement. 

Dressing habits. In the matter of dressing and undressing and 
keeping himself suitably clothed, the young child has much to learn. 
Specifically he has to master the skills involved in dressing and un- 
dressing. He has, also, for health and economic reasons, to learn some- 
thing of the hygiene of clothing, its care, and its selective suitability 
for different activities. 

The child is helped in these processes by clothes that are suited to 
his activities and easy to get on and off, by an accessible and convenient 
storage place for his clothes, and by having sweaters, rubbers, and a 
raincoat available for weather changes. Adult movements and language 
in helping children dress and undress should be simple and consistent. 
Imitation is facilitated when tLe adult sits alongside rather than op- 
posite the child. 

The School Environment Should Stimulate Children To Inquire and 
Help Them To Integrate Their Thinking with Past Experience 10 

Some years ago Susan Isaacs wrote, "The school, the teacher, and 
the teaching alike are simply a clarifying medium through which the 
facts of human life and the physical world are brought within the 
measure of the child's mind at successive stages of growth and under- 
standing." Creating such an environment calls for physical resources 
adequate for the variety of firsthand experiences through which young 
children learn and fdr teachers who have a good general education, 
some breadth of intellectual interests, and some understanding of the 
development of mental processes in young children. 

Teaching methods are aimed at stimulating curiosity, at adapting 
experiences to each child's level ,of understanding, at relating new ele- 
ments in each experience to past experiences, and at helping the chil- 
dren to see relationships between circumstances and events so that 
they may develop judgment and reasoning. 

10 This section contributed by Catherine Landretiu 


Thinking at any age is dependent on the ability to use symbols, 
By the time a child reaches nursery school he uses and understands 
many verbal symbols. His progress in the development of language is 
fostered by: (1) Some appraisal of his present level of development. 
Such an appraisal may be made through an analysis of mental-test 
performance and through general observation. An inquiry into home 
attitudes and practices may reveal such contributing environmental 
factors as lack of language stimulation or overevaluation of verbalism 
(the child uses words he does not understand with resultant confusion 
rather than clear thinking). (2) Providing experiences which help 
children develop new concepts and enlarged vocabularies. A trip to 
the fire station adds such words to the vocabulary as fire engine, 
clang, hydrant, alarm, firemen, fire station and siren as well as the 
experience which makes these words have meaning. (3) Teacher's 
use of exact terminology. She calls a gill a gill, a pupa a pupa, and a 
kid a kid. To a child who says the goats are talking to each other, 
the teacher says, "Yes, they're bleating to each other," (4) Encour- 
aging the child's use of language. The teacher listens to conversation 
addressed to her and gives evidence of having at least registered the 
remarks, if only by a smile or a nod. When a child struggles for a 
word the teacher says, "Did you mean ....?" and says the word the 
child seems to be seeking for. 

Memory is essential in the development of concepts. Without it, 
sensory stimuli have little meaning, and it is impossible to unify ex- 
perience. The memory of the young child seems extremely short and 
is then accurate only for the simplest and most obvious details. 

Teacher narrations of field trips and familiar experiences give 
children an opportunity to exercise the function of recall. The teach- 
er's pause and "What happened then?" stimulate memory for specific 
events and for details of a happening. 

An orderly and familiar sequence of events throughout the child's 
day and consistency in adults' methods of handling the various situ- 
ations that arise give the young child a familiar framework within 
which he can remember and relate specific happenings and predict 
many outcomes, 

A wealth of sensory experiences facilitates associative and memory 
processes, A child who has felt the coarse hair of a goat, who has 
listened to it bleating, fed it by hand, seen it milked, and tasted, some 
of the milk retains a better memory of goats than a child who has seen 
one through a fence or in a bopk. 

In any field of inquiry it is not a final answer but the right ques- 


tion that is important in furthering understanding and suggesting new 
possibilities for investigation and consideration. The young child is 
an insatiable questioner. He does not, however, always know how to 
ask for the information he seems to want. The teacher helps children 
to formulate the right question. A young child asked if babies had 
teeth and was greeted by conflicting reports from children with younger 
and older babies in their homes. His teacher might have asked, "What 
sort of babies do you mean new babies like Mary's sister who has 
just come home from the hospital or babies who can creep and roll 
like John's brother?" 

In answering a question the teacher gives only the information 
asked and phrases it in terms the children can understand- For in- 
stance, had the child mentioned above asked the teacher, "Do babies 
have teeth?" she could have said, "Well, some babies do," and waited 
for further inquiry before offering further explanation. 

The teacher encourages children to learn all they can from their 
own observation and inquiry. In a new situation or experience, whether 
on a field trip or a project, the teacher gives the children ample op- 
portunity to comment and question before she volunteers any informa- 
tion or questions of her own. 

The teacher uses questions to stimulate and focus observation. 
When a child cries for help in a situation that he cannot handle, the 
teacher says, "What seems to be the matter?" Understanding depends 
not only on past experience and factual information but also on the 
ability to see relationships, to make comparisons, and to arrive at 

The teacher gives the children many opportunities to make choices. 
A free play situation leaves a child free to choose his activity, his 
equipment, his companions, and, within the limits of their welf are, his 
behavior to these companions. The teacher's use of suggestions and 
requests rather than commands or directions leaves children free, to 
some extent, to accept or reject a suggestion on its own merits rather 
than on adult authority. 

The reasons which a teacher gives for requests, suggestions, com- 
mands, or procedures are logical ones. To the child who has ex- 
perimentally removed the goldfish from the bowl to the table, the 
teacher explains, in having it put back, "Fish can't breathe out of 
water, they die," not "We don't take the fish out of water. Any fisher- 
man knows better than this/ 1 

. The teacher acknowledges children's developing ability to make 
distincticms by modification of general rules. For the youngest chil- 


dren there may be a general rule that the teacher, not the children, 
handles the victrola records. For the older children there may be an 
understanding that under certain conditions, such as having a teacher 
present and when there is a small group, the children may assist with 
the handling. 

Within limits dictated by his own and his companions' welfare a 
child is given some opportunity to experience the outcome of some 
of his actions. Seedlings which the child neglects to water are left to 
die. Time lost in getting together for a story group means a shorter 
time for stories. 

Successful pursuit of any objective, such as understanding the 
world in which one lives, requires a measure of perseverance. This in 
turn is affected by one's feeling of adequacy for the task in hand. The 
teacher fosters the child's sense of adequacy by insuring him some 
measure of control over his environment and some measure of success 
in his undertakings. 

The child's physical environment is such that he is largely inde- 
pendent in taking care of his own needs. Though aware of the chal- 
lenge presented by a moderate number of difficulties, the teacher offers 
sufficient help in children's undertakings to prevent unproductive 

The teacher acquaints the child with some of the sources of knowl- 
edge and the most .effective means of using them. She encourages the 
youngest children in their sensory experiences with a variety of ma- 
terials. As their facility with language increases, she helps them learn 
to ask the right questions. She gives them experience in gaining in- 
formation firsthand from the most authoritative source by arranging 
field trips to the fire station, post office, or farm. She fosters progres- 
sive exactitude in observation by adding such tools as simple measur- 
ing devices and magnifying glasses. The children learn that it is im- 
portant to know not only the "how" and the "what" of happenings 
but also how often and how much or with what frequency and to what 
degree. By the time children leave kindergarten they have at least 
an introduction to experimental methods. 

The use of simple reference sources, such as books, candid camera 
pictures, and stereoscopic photographs in technicolor of objects and of 
activities children are interested in, is encouraged through having such 
material available and through referring children to it. Indeed, the 
foresighted teacher has the makings of a juvenile museum in her stor- 
age cupboard. 


Children Should Live in an Environment Which Makes Them Sen- 
sitive to the Rights and Privileges of Being Members of a 
Social Group and Which Provides Guidance in 
Becoming Members of a Social Group " 

The social values of nursery-school and kindergarten attendance 
are widely recognized. The reason parents most frequently give for 
wanting to enrol their child in a nursery school is that they want him 
to learn to play with other children. What does the nursery school 
or kindergarten offer to justify such expectations and what are these 

No one, child or adult, is likely to put forth much effort in try- 
ing to understand and conform to the wishes and interests of a group 
of people he does not enjoy being with. The child's first need is to 
enjoy his experiences with others. The child who eagerly seeks com- 
panionship is ready to develop the social techniques necessary in get- 
ting along happily with other people. 

The nursery school helps the child in this development by offering 
him the companionship of children of his own age, by providing ma- 
terials which foster group play and self-expression, and by giving him 
the guidance of teachers who understand child behavior. 

If the teacher is to help the child effectively in his social develop- 
ment, she needs to know something of his present level of develop- 
ment and of the various experiences which have contributed to it. 
It is not enough to know that a child has or has not played with other 
children. What is important is the kind of experience which he had 
with these children. Witli older children, the child may have been 
teased, bossed, or rejected. With younger children he may have 
learned to dominate. Even with children his own age, a very protective 
mother may have encouraged him to seek her help in every difficulty. 
It is important also to know what sort of experience and relationship 
the child has had with adults. This information may be obtained in 
different ways: by home visits, by interview with the mother before 
the child enters school, or, in the case of kindergarten children, by 
referral to nursery-school teacher^ and records. 

The teacher endeavors to make the child's first experience in the 
group a pleasant one. Making any first experience for a young child 
pleasant is largely a matter of insuring that it is not too strange or 
too suddenly introduced. A child who has had no experience at all 
with other children needs some opportunities to play with one or two 
children in his home before he enters a group of twenty or thirty 

11 This section contributed by Catherine Landreth. 


children. A visit to the nursery school at a time when it is not in 
session gives a child a chance to become familiar with the physical 
facilities of the school and with the teacher. The child is helped in 
adjusting to a new environment and new experiences by the security 
which his mother's presence gives him. In general, it would seem 
advisable that no child should part with his mother until he can accept 
having her leave. The younger the child, the greater the need for 
shortening the first days in the school and for providing individual 
attention from a particular teacher. Such attention involves redirect- 
ing the advances of older and more aggressive children and drawing 
the new child into activities which provide some association with other 
children without making too much demand upon him* 

The teacher does not hurry the child's first steps in social adjust- 
ment. Investigation shows that young children progress through such 
stages as watching each other and engaging in similar play activities 
alongside each other before they develop much interactive play. The 
child who talks freely at home of the other children in the school 
and who looks with interest at what they are doing and follows them 
around has taken the first steps in social participation. 

The teacher encourages constructive social play through the phys- 
ical facilities and opportunities she provides. There is experimental 
proof that the social behavior of children in a nursery school is related 
to the adequacy of its play equipment. One tricycle) one wagon, one 
swing, or one painting easel tends to produce conflicts over the use of 
each and to lead to solitary play. Several tricycles lead to traffic 
games and turns for everyone. A house-play corner that has simple 
equipment for several household activities can bring together an entire 

The duration of any particular play activity may also be a factor 
in the type of social interaction encouraged. When children give evi- 
dence of having temporarily exhausted both their interest and their 
constructive activities in clay modeling, gardening, or building with 
blocks, a wise teacher directs their attention to another activity. 

Socially the teacher remains in the background as much' as is con- 
sistent with the child's welfare. From firsthand experience with their 
peers, children learn what responses different behavior evokes. They 
learn that some approaches lead to pleasant social relationships and 
some to unpleasant, frustrating ones. Unless a child is befog ex- 
ploited OJT continuously frustrated, the teacher allows children to settle 
most of their differences themselves. The guidance the teacher does 
give is largely indirect and takes the form of suggestions and unob- 
trusive manipulation of the play situation. 


The teacher helps children to understand the behavior of others. 
In giving help of this sort, it is the teacher's purpose to make clear 
that other people have some motive or basis for their behavior just as 
the child himself does. 

In attempting to define constructive social behavior, the teacher 
commends the action rather than the child who performed it. To the 
boy who steers his wagon or tricycle out of the way of another child, 
the teacher says, "nice driving" rather than "good boy." 

The teacher suggests effective social techniques to the child who 
does not know what to do. To the child who is rebuffed when he asks, 
"Can't I play with you?" of two boys building with the hollow blocks, 
the teacher offers "Maybe you could bring them some blocks in a 
wagon." Gradually a child learns that a social approach which offers 
some contribution is likely to be more effective than one which de- 
mands a favor. He also learns that speech is better understood and 
received than bawls and blows. 

The teacher forestalls or redirects undesirable social behavior by 
suggesting constructive action, To a child who is annoying a house- 
play group by rushing in and disrupting their activity, the teacher 
says, "Maybe you could be the milkman." 

The teacher seta an example by her own social techniques. Young 
children learn a great deal by imitation. The teacher's supporting 
friendliness, her interest in others' activities, her positive approach, 
and her use of suggestions and simple information rather than com- 
mands and negations are reflected in child behavior. 

The teacher strives for a sensitive balance between the welfare 
of group and individual. She helps children accept such simple rules 
and routine procedure as are necessary for the welfare of the entire 
group. Membership in any group involves some loss of freedom. The 
teacher sees that rules are limited to essentials concerning health, 
safety, and comfort of the group, that they are simple and easily 
understood. Releasing procedures involving aggression and destruc- 
tion, though appropriate as part of the therapy of a behavior clinic, 
have to be considered in terms of their effect on the entire group as 
well as on the child immediately concerned. 

The teacher plans some organized group experiences, such as field 
trips to give children direct experience in sharing interests and activi- 
ties. The older the children, the larger the group that may participate 

The teacher fosters each child's development of skills and interests. 
Being an accepted member of any social group is largely a matter of 


having something to contribute to the group. A child who has re- 
sources of his own to draw upon is both more acceptable to his com- 
panions and more independent of them. 

Children Should Live in a World Where They Can Express Their 

Feelings and Leam To Understand, Accept, and Control Their 

Feelings, They also Need Wide Experience and Guidance in 

Learning To Live with Themselves and Their Feelings 12 

All experiences have some emotional coloring. They are felt as 
well as understood. Feeling and understanding are essentially inter- 
active. In their behavior, young children show great differences in 
their general effect and in their specific emotional response to specific 
situations. Some are generally merry, some apprehensive, some over- 
aggressive, some oversubmissive, some overactive, and some phleg- 
matic. One child goes to pieces in a situation in which another behaves 

What do the nursery school, kindergarten, and primary grades 
offer to help children of different personality types in their emotional 

The physical environment of the school for young children is free 
from unproductive frustration. In nursery school and kindergarten 
the child is, in large measure, master of his physical world. He can 
reach the hooks and shelves on which his coat and hat are kept. 
Tables, chairs, and toilet are the right size for his comfortable use. 
Any environment adapted to the physical needs of the child frees him 
from unnecessary frustration and promotes his sense of adequacy 
and his confidence in dealing with at least the physical properties of 
the school. 

The school program, rules, and procedures are simple and easily 
understood. Ability to predict outcomes and a sure knowledge of what 
is going to happen in most situations fosters a sense of security. 

Experience with children his own age gives a child a truer picture 
of himself. From companionship with his age peers, a child learns that 
he is as able in many ways as they are. He also shares his activities, 
his fun, his interests, and his feelings with individuals with a similar 
outlook and background of experience. This is a supporting as well 
as a satisfying experience. 

The school environment offers a progressively widening range of 
experiences, manipulative, creative, and apperceptive, that enrich the 

M This section contributed by Catherine Landreth. 


child's emotional life. The child's capacity for enjoying and savoring 
experiences is in direct relation to his sensitization to them. 

Giving a child effective help requires some understanding of his 
behavior and the various circumstances that may affect it. Knowledge 
of the child's state of health, his daily home routine and relationships, 
and of any traumatising experiences he may have had in infancy or 
early childhood aids the teacher in determining the kind of help he 

The teacher helps the child in his adjustment to new situations. 
Gradual introduction and some explanation beforehand helps to 
eliminate strangeness and suddenness in new experiences. Before the 
first medical examination the child visits the examining room and 
becomes acquainted with the doctor. 

The teacher helps children to respond constructively to emotionally 
disturbing situations. To the child who kicks the tricycle he has just 
fallen off, the teacher says, "The ground is uneven here. Try riding 
on the path." 

The teacher helps children accept the reality of their feelings by 
her acknowledgment of them. To the child who has had a bump or 
fall and seems upset the teacher says, "Let's sit down a while. It will 
help you to feel better." She does not say, "You're all right," or 
"You're fine." Because teachers are free from conflicting ties in rela- 
tion to the children in their care, they can accept expressions of anger, 
aggressiveness, and quarrelsomeness as a normal part of the child's 
development. In this way they can offer a kind of help that is given 
with more difficulty by parents. 

The teacher heightens children's pleasure in their undertakings by 
her interest and understanding, A quiet "careful driving" or a genuine 
"that's fine," to a child who has finished a carpentry product assures 
the child of supporting adult interest. 

The teacher furnishes legitimate outlets for aggression. Boxing 
gloves, punching bag, ball to be kicked, and packing boxes that can 
be knocked to pieces for kindling give children legitimate opportunity 
for aggressive activity. 

The teacher provides play materials which offer children a chance 
to express in play the feelings that are allowed only limited expression 
in real life. A captain's cap gives a boy a chance to be a bold, bossy 
chief-of-staff. Dolls give a submissive little girl a chance to be the 
dominating x>r deeply maternal feminine head of the household. Fear 
can be pantomined without shame when a child's companion takes the 
part of a lion. Bold strokes of the brush, vivid massings of color may 


put on paper feelings which would be less acceptable if expressed in 
another form. 

The Young Child Needs an Atmosphere of ^Reasonable Security in 

Which He Knows That He Is Wanted, Needed, Valued, and 

Appreciated by Adults and That the Adults in His Life Will 

Try To Arrive at Mutual Understandings in Dealing 

with Him 13 

The child is the product of the home, school, and community. He 
is just one little person who goes to and from home, school, and com- 
munity in a continuous path which needs guideposts at every turn to 
show him how to make the transition from one to the other without 
losing his way, or getting confused, or having to change his person- 
ality with every new person he meets. Adults must provide such guide- 
posts not in prescription f orm to neglect the child's spirit of adventure 
or his ingenuity in problem-solving but rather as suggestions to clarify, 
inform, organize, or integrate. His circuitous path can be charted 
into a reasonably smooth and consistent one by all three home, 
school, and community getting together to guide him. This getting 
together to devise a co-operative plan for children represents the very 
crux of the democratic way of life. In its ideal form, the person who 
knows most about a particular phase of child development or child- 
hood education will share his knowledge with all others; this informa- 
tion will be accepted with the professional respect of the recipient, 
who in turn will share what he knows. Thus, the child receives the 
combined benefits from the ideas and skills of all with whom he comes 
into contact, either directly or indirectly. 

In order to assure ready exchange of information concerning 
children, all methods of transmission are utilized. Every local news- 
paper carries several features dealing with child guidance by phy- 
sicians, teachers, social workers, parents, and cartoonists. Books and 
magazines popular, semiprofessional, and professional offer a wealth 
of information about children. The radio, the theater, the lecture plat- 
forms all do their part. Schools and colleges offer correspondence or 
extension courses about children. Universities are offering more com- 
bined curriculums so that students may receive training in more than 
one specialty (i,e., home economics and childhood education, or nurs- 
ing and childhood education) to broaden viewpoints and increase co- 
operation between workers in different fields. Pediatricians are ob- 
serving well children in groups under the supervision of teachers and 

" This section contributed by Elizabeth Mechem Fuller. , 


psychologists to gain a broader understanding of children. Teachers 
visit settlements houses, playgrounds, juvenile courts, libraries, camps, 
hospitals, and homes to learn how children live outside of school. 
There is unlimited information available in a world better equipped 
than ever to disseminate it. It is the responsibility of every citizen 
to learn as much as he can about children, to develop methods of dis- 
criminating good from bad sources of material, and to learn what his 
part in the broad and continuous educational process is. 

Since this chapter is built upon children's needs, the first considera- 
tions related to harmonizing adult relationships in the child's world 
are those directly related to the child. However, it is inconceivable 
that any semblance of harmony can be achieved without also con- 
sidering the needs of parents, teachers, and community in general 
Therefore, this immediate section will try to recognize objectively 
the needs of everyone and discuss school and home as having both 
rights and obligations. 

So far as the school is concerned, the attempt to lend consistency 
to the young child's world usually resolves itself into two phases: the 
records which are kept and used, and the type of home and community 
relationships which are adopted. 

School records and reports are discussed in detail in chapter x. 
Their significance in endowing children's lives with security and con- 
sistency is understood when one examines the contents of a child's 
individual cumulative folder in a modern school. There will be dated 
entries, photographs, charts, clippings, and reports relating to absences, 
first aid, height-weight, mentality, physical condition, personality, 
social and developmental history, dentition, medical and family his- 
tory, food intake, toileting, anecdotal behavior journals, parent inter- 
views and letters, classroom diaries, drawings, subject matter readi- 
ness, and various other data. 

Obviously such schools concern themselves with the "whole" child 
and family. Teachers are expected to examine cumulative folder ma- 
terials for each child before the opening of each school year and to con- 
sult them regularly. In fact, records are considered a tool of instruc- 
tion which contributes to the teacher's growth. The specific nature 
of records kept in any school will depend upon their general purposes, 
whether they are to aid in wise guidance of children, in improving 
educational methods, or in research. In any event, good record-keep- 
ing proves an indispensable link between home and school and con- 
tributes to the improvement of both. 

The second phase of school practices intended to relate all phases 


of the child's existence has to do with the personal relationships which 
the school establishes with home and community. The task of estab- 
lishing and maintaining desirable home-school-community relations 
Usually falls upon the school because of its extreme need for such 
relations, because its staff members are usually looked upon as special- 
ists, and because most people leave it up to the school to interpret itself 
to the community. Therefore, the teacher typically determines the 
nature of school contacts with the rest of the world. It is in some 
ways unfortunate that this role falls upon the teacher because the 
parents are in a much more strategic position to provide the child 
with the security that comes from a complete and balanced interpreta- 
tion of the various aspects of his life. Parents see the child from birth 
and remain as continuing influences throughout his life. When parents 
see and understand this integrative and interpretative function, their 
children profit immeasurably from the resultant guidance. Then the 
school serves its ideal function that of strengthening and comple- 
menting the work already begun in the home. 

School practices designed to aid in giving the child a logical place 
in the broader community picture include all sorts of activities. 
Chiefly, parents and teachers work together, sometimes one way, some- 
times another. Often parents use the school building as a meeting 
place for their organizations; they observe their own and other chil- 
dren at school; they repair toys or mend school linens; they build 
bookshelves or make toys; they assist the teacher on days when she 
is short of help ; they attend parent-teacher association meetings ; they 
report unusual events at home which aid the teacher in guiding their 
children; they ask for advice on some behavior problem; they donate 
books or toys to the school. 

School demands upon parents, particularly at early levels, stress 
the part parents can play in preparing children for school by thorough 
physical and dental examinations, friendly home discussions about 
what the school has to offer, interesting excursions to give children 
common information, purchase of suitable clothing, complimentary 
remarks about teachers and school personnel, establishment of sched- 
ules in the home which approximate later school routines so that no 
abrupt change makes unreasonable demands upon the child. After 
the child has entered school, he feels very keenly the absence of his 
parents from parent-teacher functions or school programs; therefore, 
the school urges parents to attend for the child's sake as well as for 
the benefit to both parent and teacher. Parents frequently have to 
compromise or change standards which they have set for their chil- 


dren as to privileges, weekly money allowances, homecoming time, or 
clothing. Boys and girls desperately need to be "like" others at these 
early ages; the teacher sees many children of the same age so that 
her "norms" are usually somewhat more reliable, and she often exerts 
effort to get parents to see and conform to standards for their children 
which are compatible with their age and with community customs. 
Some of these changes do not come easily for parents. 

Teachers likewise co-operate. Often teachers visit in the home to 
observe family relationships. If the school does not provide a library 
and reading room, they give parents suggested lists of books or toys 
suitable for children; they add to parents' security with encourage- 
ment in their efforts with their children and praise for their gains; 
they send home suggestions as to family excursions which might be 
taken to enrich children's lives and give them common experiences 
to talk over with their friends (i.e., railroad station, farm, park, zoo, 
post office, filling station) ; they teach Sunday School classes; they 
plan parent meetings; they try to make parents feel really welcome 
at school; they give parents advanced information concerning local 
events (circuses, speakers, exhibits, etc.). 

The good teacher recognizes certain additional obligations to par- 
ents. She realizes that parents want and need objective information 
about their children presented understandably and accompanied by 
helpful suggestions; therefore, she is never too busy to give this help 
or to make a later appointment to give it, or to refer parents to some- 
one else in the school who can give it. She is intellectually and pro- 
fessionally honest in that she recognizes her limitations and confines 
her diagnosis and suggested treatment to areas in which her training 
qualifies her to function. She realizes also that many acts of children 
are behavioral symptoms of interparental tensions or special home 
anxieties and conflicts which she, as teacher, is in no position to do 
anything about; at least, in which it is not strategic for her to act. 
Therefore, she develops a sensitivity both to needs for action and 
needs for restraint; it is hard to say which sensitivity is easier to ac- 
quire. In cases where restraint in parental relations seems indicated, 
the teacher still has recourse to extra sympathetic guidance of the 
child ^vithin the school guidance which is cued toward the total situ- 
ation and yet may give the child just' that added "lift" he needs to 
facilitate his making his own adjustment. 

A word of warning perhaps should be added in consideration of 
these more intangible obligations of teachers toward parents. So much 
has been $aid and written recently urging teachers into more elaborate 


parent relationships that some teachers feel positively apologetic 
when they have no "problems" to discuss. Good practice does not 
mean discussing all of the child's so-called problems with parents; 
it certainly does not mean creating some where none are present. The 
very fact that a teacher judges a point sufficiently important to dis- 
cuss it with a parent automatically exaggerates its position in the 
child's life at that time. Consequently, teachers need to discriminate 
both as to what is too important and what is too trivial to present to 
parents. The "too important" may well wait for a more opportune 
time; and the "too trivial" may well be overlooked altogether. A good 
example of a teacher's diplomatic failure took place recently in a 
nursery school. A father had just returned from two years' overseas 
duty to rejoin his "grandmother- aunt-mother-raised" four-year-old 
son. The father was a husky athlete of the all-American football 
variety. On his first visit to the nursery school, the teacher remarked, 
"My goodness, Blake doesn't resemble you much, does he? Ill bet he 
will never choose a football career." It was not until she sensed the 
father's immediate hostility that she realized that she had probably 
alienated him. Blake was a slender, sensitive boy with large blue eyes 
and curly hair and effeminate both in appearance and behavior. This 
new threat to the father, that of having a "sissy" son, was almost more 
than he could bear. The teacher had groped for one of the obvious 
things to say and had, as a result, added to his tensions concerning 
his son. To be sure, it had to be recognized that Blake needed the 
better balanced family life which his father's return would provide, 
but the point was "too important" at the moment, and, therefore, it 
was psychologically unwise (and served no real purpose) for the 
teacher to mention it directly. 

The good teacher also realizes that parents have lives of their own 
to live. The same teacher who complains whenever she has night 
homework to do may criticize parents for lapses, oblivious of the fact 
that parenthood is a twenty- four-hour-a-day job. A button which has 
not been sewed on Billy's clothes may have been sacrificed to sister 
Mary's tonsillitis or Father's extra work at the office. Teachers have 
to make such choices in time and attention many times daily, yet they 
fail to see needs of the "whole home." Recreational needs of parents 
often elicit criticisms from teachers. How often one hears teachers 
remark sarcastically about Mrs. Peterson's or Mrs. Morgan's after- 
noon bridge sessions! The superior teacher is more charitable and as- 
sumes that perhaps the only time these mothers can take any rec- 
reation is during the afternoon, and they may be playing bridge be- 


cause .that is the least expensive activity open to them where they 
can be with friends they enjoy. 

Many of the home-school contacts relate to health matters. The 
good school never overlooks its opportunities to give health education 
or to make specific suggestions to parents concerning a child's health 
when occasions arise. Yet, even such laudable motives must be 
tempered with real interest in and understanding of the whole family 
if home and school co-operation is to be at its best. For example, re- 
cently a school pediatrician called a teacher's attention to the run- 
down condition of a five-year-old boy's shoes. She wanted a note sent 
home at once recommending a new pair. The teacher offered these 
supplementary facts: David's father was killed in action overseas; 
there were two other children in the family; the widow had worked 
her way through her last year of college and had just begun her first 
month of employment (her first pay check would be due in two weeks) ; 
the widow had just financed an older brother's appendectomy and paid 
a large dental bill for her sister; they were buying a home. The 
teacher maintained that David's new shoes might well be left to the 
mother's discretion at least for the time being, any such suggestion 
coming very casually later on in a general conversation if the mother 
had not already attended to it as only one of many family problems. 
The suggestion emerges, then, that within the school itself the teacher 
and other staff members must often compromise to insure superior 
relationships with the home. Nothing undermines parents' confidence 
in the school more than failure of the school personnel to present a 
solid front which has been arrived at mutually by staff members con- 
cerned. Parents have been known to receive conflicting communica- 
tions on the same subject from two or more offices in the same school; 
such poor administration and organization would not be acceptable 

Home-school co-operation of the variety suited to giving children, 
parents, and teachers reasonable security and satisfaction is, there- 
fore, more than merely organizing a parent-teacher association. It 
resolves itself into two phases each for parents and teachers, the 
things which they each do and the attitudes and understanding which 
they each harbor toward the job the other is performing. Ideal home- 
school relationships are of the "every-day type of informal exchange," 
perhaps embellished by, but never limited to, formal group meetings 
and conferences. In nature they are co-operative, compromising, ob- 
jective and, if possible, always enjoyable. Parents and teachers in 
a good modern school knqw each other, like each other, are honest and 


direct with each other, and share their information and skills wher- 
ever possible to their mutual benefits and to untold benefits for chil- 

Broader community relationships are more difficult to plan. Again, 
it usually falls upon the school personnel to go out and establish these 
relationships and maintain them in a reciprocal way. Many methods 
have proved useful. 

Perhaps the most important community contact for the school is 
that of the local board of education. Board members usually represent 
a respected cross section of the town's citizenry and can do much to 
interpret and endear the school to the rest of the community if the 
school staff presents its needs and services understandably. Once a 
general "atmosphere" pf congeniality and reciprocity is established in 
a community, whole new fields of educational opportunity appear. 
For example, once the owner of the local dairy understands the school 
and knows and respects the school staff, the excursion of forty first- 
grade children to his plant loses most of its nuisance aspects and be- 
comes his own educational venture of value both to him and to the 

An example of the type of excellent community relationships which 
are encouraged in a good modern school was reported recently at a 
teacher's meeting: 

A few mornings previously when one of the teachers arrived at school, 
a man in overalls was sitting on the front steps of the school. He approached 
lier with, "Say lady, aren't you the one that teaches those kids about this 
big (gesturing at a level about 54 inches high) ?" 

"Yes, I am. Is there something I can do for you?" (She stiffened a bit 
at the thought that perhaps her children had again been up to some neigh- 
borhood mischief and that here was another adult to complain rather than to 

"Well, I just thought you might want to know that in about a half hour 
I'm going to start to run a big bulldozer and steam shovel about two blocks 
from here. I just loved to watch those things when I was a kid. Would you 
like to bring them all down after awhile?" 

The amazed and delighted teacher managed to regain her composure fax 
time to thank him and ask him if he would come inside and tell her group 
about his job and what kind of rules the children would have to follow if 
they were to be permitted to watch the construction work. He went in with 
her and spent a most interesting ten minutes with the children, who later 
visited him at his work. 

Such an incident invites a striking contrast seen at a street corner 
a few days after the above story was heard: 


Excavating for the foundation of a house, a workman was operating a 
bulldozer and was being followed in his oval path by four children between 
three and six years of age. Every time he wanted to make a turn he had 
to stop for safety's sake to check on the whereabouts of the children. He 
swore, gestured, threatened, and tried to find out where they lived so he could 
complain to their parents. The children would retreat to the sidewalk when 
he got off his tractor, then would laugh and chase him as soon as he started 
the engine again. 

One, of course, wonders where parents are under such circum- 
stances, because responsibility for the above incident lies with them. 
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the incident illustrates how poor 
relationships between the child and the community originate poor 
relationships which eventually become the problem of child, parent, 
teacher, and community. 

Another phase of the child's existence which frequently operates to 
cause him confusion and insecurity is the failure of the many agencies 
which concern themselves with children to get together to evolve con- 
sistent attitudes and methods of dealing with them. One case comes 
to mind in which a six-year-old child had been in repeated contact 
with workers from ten different agencies: the truant officer, the visiting 
teacher, the public health nurse, the case worker responsible for 
neglected children, the pediatrician at the charity clinic, the juvenile 
court referee, the Big Sister's organization, the Red Cross, the settle- 
ment-house teacher, and the psychologist at the child guidance clinic. 
Admittedly, such a case is unusual, but it serves to show the extreme 
to which our society goes in compartmentalizing its work with chil- 
dren. No concern need be felt for the fact that so many specialists 
interested in children exist, but concern must be felt if and when these 
agencies fail to co-ordinate their functions, attitudes, and methods. 
It is becoming increasingly customary for different organizations and 
institutions interested in children's welfare to share conventions, con- 
ferences, committees, literature and even office space in an effort to 
arrive at mutual understandings in dealing with children. 

Relationships of home, school, and community start early, then, 
and continue throughout the child's life. Every teacher, principal, 
school nurse, superintendent, school board member, parent, police- 
man, fireman, doctor, postman, minister, and shopkeeper takes part 
in determining what these relationships are to be. 


Young Children Need Some Experiences That Will Encourage and 

Preserve Their Sensitivity to the Wonders of Life and the 

Universe the Basis of Spiritual Development 14 

Curiosity and the sense of wonder is inherent in all children and is 
akin to that which ^animates scientists and inventors when exploring 
and challenging the realm of the unknown. Young children need an 
environment in which there are suitable materials, activities, and guid- 
ance to generate and maintain interest and experimentation. 

In the schoolroom, seed planting, with growth evident from day 
to day, with the need for sunshine, water, good earth, and careful 
tending, links the child with growth everywhere. The goldfish in the 
bowl, the snails, the turtle, twigs budding in water, bulbs in glass 
containers, blossoming plants with color and fragrance all provide 
interest and stimulus. 

The changing angle of rays of sunlight, the different position of 
the sun as it sets each evening, the shortening or lengthening of the 
days, when considered with the guidance of an enlightened adult, may 
give a child the beginnings of a comprehension of the laws which 
govern the universe. 

Excursions to see a mother hen with her brood of chickens, a dog 
and puppies, a cow and calf, a mare and colt, a cat and kittens, birds 
in their nest or in pictures present the picture of child and parent 
relationship which has universal appeal. 

Kindergarten children crouched on the ground to watch the activi- 
ties around an anthill may get a glimpse of the organization of an ant 
colony. At any rate, it is very interesting to see each ant carry away 
the grain of sugar he found waiting. To see a bumblebee hanging on 
the lip of a snapdragon to extract the nectar with a technique all his 
own should be thrilling to a nature-loving adult as well as to children* 

Even the weighing and measuring of children has its universal 
implications, for the body itself suggests growth and developmental 
laws. Food, rest, fresh air, play, creative experiences, laughter, loving 
care, all contribute to the marvel of growth mental, physical, social, 
spiritual. Wholeness is the goal always to be kept before us, par- 
ticularly with children in the most formative period of life. 

Pictures of children of all races should be a part of the environ- 
ment of every child if we are to have "One World" which is also a 
peaceful world. Including children of other nationalities and races in 
the young school group helps, to insure future solidarity and mutual 

**This section contributed by Stella Louise Wood 


appreciations among peoples as nothing else can do. Songs of other 
nations, costumes, dolls, folk dances, stories, visitors, all contribute 
interest and knowledge toward these ends. 

If the adult responds to the child's enthusiasm, he stimulates and 
keeps that wonder which provides motivation for learning, activity, 
and growth. Even if the adult does not know answers, he can always 
say, "I don't know, but I want to. Let's go and find out." But if he 
shows little interest, the dulling process begins. If the adult is fortunate 
enough to realize the importance of this eager wonder, he will do all 
in his power to prove that he knows that learning is an endless process 
that the world holds marvels which provide for a lifetime of seek- 
ing and finding. 

The Child Should Be Encouraged toward Expression of His Creative 

Powers in Ways Meaningful to Him, Free from Undue 

Imposition of Adult Standards 15 

Appreciation, creativity, and self-expression will thrive best in 
an environment which is challenging. To be challenging, a school 
environment must have that which is best adapted to the develop- 
mental interests of the group to be challenged. The environment which 
is most conducive to the six-year-old's appreciation and self-expres- 
sion would scarcely be that which would be most stimulating to the 
two-year-old. The young child needs to find something tangible in 
his environment which will help him to find new meanings and new 
modes of expression. As he develops he needs new tools and new ex- 
periences to help him interpret his ever-widening world to himself 
and himself to this ever greater world. 

Now it may be that, by inventory, everything in the way of de- 
sirable physical properties can be accounted for in an environment 
and the environment still will not be one conducive to self-expression 
and creativity. Over and beyond, and pervading the physical en- 
vironment, there must be a social climate which induces creativity and 
self-expression. Social climate, although difficult to describe, is some- 
thing which the observer senses the moment he steps into a room in 
which human beings are functioning. Most often, if the social climate 
is wholesome, the observer is immediately aware of the fact that ideas 
seem to be flowing freely. He is aware also that the media through 
which they flow and the outward shapes which they take are as varied 
as are the personalities and the interests of the individuals composing 
the group. 

"This section contributed by Neith E. Headley. 


For a few moments let us look in on a few five-year-olds who ap- 
pear to be living in an environment which is physically and climatic- 
ally challenging: 

As John marches around and around the block boat which has just been 
loaded, h6 waves his new crayoned flag and sings, to the tune of "The Fanner 
in the Dell," "The cargo's in the hold. The cargo's in the hold. Eigh-ho the 
deri-o. The cargo's in the hold." 

Sally, apron-covered, draws her brush across the paper on the easel, 
leaving behind a trail of vivid red. She bisects this line with a perpendicular 
band of the same red. Then she picks up a second brush and blocks out 
each corner with blue. Now she outlines the two sides of the blue blocks 
with yellow, red, and green. She continues this blue, yellow, red, and green 
until the whole page is filled. Then she steps back and says with no end of 
satisfaction, "There, I'm through. Look, everyone, look. It's beautiful. Here, 
Jean, here's the apron. You can paint now." 

Lois and Michael are measuring and sawing. "There," says Lois, "that 
should be enough! We had four and we only needed eight. Let's count. One, 
two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. That's just right. Maybe, if we hurry 
we can put the fence out today." 

Doris seems to be overlooking a space on the purple flowered crown 
which she is making for the Maypole dance. She walks over and stands for 
a few seconds in front of the cage in which two white mice are running on 
a wheel. The teacher is about to remind her of her unfinished work when 
Doris turns about, skips to the supply table, selects some green materials 
and returns to her work. As Doris walks by the teacher she says, "See, this 
will be the front. The back and sides are purple but the front is going to 
be green." 

"Look," says Peter, rolling out his plastecine, "Look, I'm making whisk- 
ers. All mouses have whiskers. Wasn't that funny the man in the book for- 
got to put whiskers on?" Now the plastecine mouse is complete. Peter 
scrutinizes him, picks him up, and walks over to put him on the table beside 
the live mice, quoting sketchily from Rose Fyleman, ". . , . caught a tiny 

mouse Messages to and fro Kissed it and let go." He smiles 

and runs to put away Ms remaining plastecine and his work board. 

Guidance which encourages appreciation, creativity, and self-ex- 
pression. To the untrained observer it may seem that the teacher plays 
but a minor part in the room just described. But this is far from the 
truth! The physical environment has been so set up by the teacher that 
everything in it, in one way or another, serves as a stimulus to 
creativity, self-expression, and appreciation. While the room itself 
is, entirely functional, yet it satisfies the eye and everything serves a 
purpose. The supply cupboards are well stocked and within easy reach 
of the children. On the science table, in addition to the cage in which 


the two white mice are kept, there are cocoons, moths, beetles, turtles, 
seeds in a germination box, a sprouted acorn, and a foliage-bearing 
sweet potato. Blocks and space for block building are available. The 
easel, books, piano, pictures all invite further experimentation and 
enjoyment. Wherever possible, pictures made by the children have 
been used to lend gaiety and color to the room, Patricia's cut flowers 
have been attractively arranged in a low bowl and small growing 
plants are scattered about the room where bits of life and color are 

Now turning to that in the environment which tends to create a 
wholesome social climate conducive to self-expression and appreci- 
ation, we find the teacher moving about making contacts with chil- 
dren, appreciating efforts, admiring achievements, and raising or 
holding the children up to standards as the need arises. For John and 
the boat builders she gave two new words, "hold" and "cargo," which 
were so satisfying to John that he immediately incorporated them into 
a song. Sally was so enthralled in her painting that the teacher did 
not interrupt her at all. She noted Peter's satisfaction as he told in 
plastecine and words the experiences which had recently come to him 
through story, poetry, and observation. She was aware of Lois and 
Michael's achievement and the extreme satisfaction which they were 
getting from meeting the challenge of a job which needed doing. She 
stood ready to see that Doris finished her task and expressed ap- 
preciation of her plans for her flowered crown. 

It is only the artist teacher who can appear to be but an interested 
onlooker. In reality, at every turn, she is guiding children so that 
they may grow in their ability to gain meaning and understanding 
from their experiences. She is keenly aware of those values which are 
of significance to children and she is able to judge just when and 
under what circumstances portions of her vast fund of information can 
be most profitably shared with them. Always she is aware of the 
individual child's strivings, and yet she never seems to sacrifice the 
good of the group to the good of the individual. Somehow, through 
her own artistry, she is able to grasp the total group situation with- 
out losing sight of the many individual problems and strivings within 
the group. Tinder this kind of guidance, ideas and expression flow 

The two-year-olds can be most creative when set down in an en- 
vironment which is relatively simple. For practical purposesmoa* 
things in the two-year-old's environment need to be thosenprbicn can 


be touched, tasted, smelled, listened to, and manipulated. He needs 
paper to tear, puzzles to take apart and sometimes put together, and 
dolls and other toys to lug and pull about. Even the blocks with 
which he is supplied will be used in the main as materials to tote about 
and manipulate. When under supervision, the two-year-old could oc- 
casionally profit by using large crayons to mark with or soap suds 
and a brush to paint on a surface such as a blackboard. A single verb 
or phrase sometimes summarizes a whole thought and a single idea 
summarizes a whole experience. 

The three-year-old still gets satisfaction out of pure manipulation, 
but beyond that he is beginning to weave his experiences into his play 
and to change his environment. One moment he piles his blocks into 
a big tower, and the next moment he delights in knocking it down. 
He uses crayons with equal directness. He makes a few boldly 
scribbled marks on the paper and says, "There." One child leaves his 
sand to play with the clay. He squeezes it, pulls it apart, pats it, rolls 
it, and sticks bits of it together again. When a grownup asks him 
what he has made, he answers, "It's an angleworm with a candle on 
his back/' Ideas are still very concrete and disjointed. A small boy, 
in a smock, stands before an easel, covering his whole 12 by 18 sheet 
with blue paint. Two children are looking at books. "Read it," says 
one small boy as he pushes it into the teacher's lap ; but, before she 
can start, a train goes by on the track outside and he climbs onto some 
large floor blocks to see it, 

The four-year-old is inspired by his environment and his asso- 
ciates to do great things. When he builds with blocks he often plans 
with others as he works. He relives, through block play, many of his 
experiences. Often his building is elaborate in detail and amazingly 
well-balanced in design. When he sits down to draw he usually does 
so. with friends. His drawing is usually accompanied by a running 
comment, and, to listen in, one might expect that a masterpiece was 
being created; but to look is to be disillusioned! In his drawing he is 
still pretty much in the manipulative stage. In working with clay the 
four-year-old starts out talking about what he is going to make, but 
he is strongly influenced by the form which evolves from the manipu- 
lation. In painting, he applies one color after the other and sometimes 
ventures to make a human figure or some other object. He likes to 
hammer and saw and pound nails but, save for crossed pieces which 
he calls an airplane, he is most often satisfied with the process. 

The five-year-old uses all the materials used by the four-year-old 
but uses them with considered purposefulness. Because the dogs are 


getting in his garden he uses hammers and nails to make a fence. Be- 
cause he wants a flag on his ship he makes a flag. He delights in setting 
down his thoughts pictorially, so this is sometimes called the age of 
picture-writing. Frequently the five-year-old's pictures will bear letter 
or number symbols, and toward the end of the school year the child's 
whole name will often be printed on his pictures. When the five-year- 
old paints at the easel, he experiments with form and design and fig- 
ures, such as houses, birds, animals, or airplanes. Blocks are still 
satisfying and are used either by individuals or by groups of two, 
three, or even more. Occasionally workable gadgets, such as an ele- 
vator or derrick may take shape. Scissors and paste are frequently 
new media of self-expression for the five-year-old. 

The six-year-old has acquired sufficient skill so that his products 
often bear extreme likeness to that which he aims to represent. In 
his drawing and painting, however, such features as perspective and 
shadings are still of no great concern. Frequently he supplements his 
pictorial creations with printed notes. Upon going into a room in 
which six-year-olds are working, it is usually possible to tell at a 
glance just what the interest of the group has been and what the im- 
mediate interest of the group is. In addition to the pictorial repre- 
sentation of interests, there will usually be in evidence collections of 
objects and books on current and recent interests. Builder Boards and 
wood, hammer and nails, or other sets of large trade blocks provide 
materials from which room equipment or stage properties are often 
built. The six-year-old delights in dramatizations. Usually the char- 
acters are patterned after story-book characters, although any simple 
experience taken directly from life will serve. Plastecine, clay, and 
finger paints give him great satisfaction. The products do not vary 
grossly from age level to age level but the verbalizing which takes 
place and the freedom of expression which its use affords the child 
are an excellent catharsis for feelings and emotions. 

Throughout this discussion there has been little emphasis placed 
upon the perfection of the products. Materials are thought of not in 
terms of end products but in terms of media through which ideas are 
expressed. We are interested not so much in what the child does to 
the material as in what the material does for the child. 

Summary 16 

Thus, we arrive at a set of generalisations concerning practices 
and resources in early childhood education. These generalizations are 

"This summary of the foregoing sections dealing with children's needs was 
prepared by Elizabeth Mechem Fuller. 


based upon the needs of children, which have been discussed in the 
previous section. They may serve as a guide for those interested in 
establishing a wholesome educational environment for young chil- 
dren. They are expressed in terms general enough to lend themselves 
readily to almost any situation where young children are to be edu- 
cated in groups. 

a) Children need physical surroundings which are wholesome and 
adapted to their maturity levels. A good school provides ample space 
for both indoor and outdoor activities. Rooms are well ventilated, 
heated, and lighted. Toys and equipment are challenging, attractive, 
durable, safe, hygienic, useful, and suited to the age level concerned. 
Suggested clothing to be worn by the children is simply designed, 
washable, comfortable, and durable. Children are given optimal 
health education, supervision, and protection by a well-trained staff. 
The food served is nutritious, well balanced, and attractive and repre- 
sents variety in choice and preparation. The teacher acts as a stabiliz- 
ing but not a dominating guide who aids the children in interpreting 
and using their physical surroundings so that they may secure its 
maximum benefits. 

b) Children need an environment which provides for, permits, and 
encourages bodily activity and motor opportunities. The good school 
not only offers a physical plant which provides for motor develop- 
ment but also schedules its time so that children have frequent op- 
portunities to exercise their motor skills in a leisurely way. Teachers 
not only permit much moving about but encourage it and, occasion- 
ally, even aid children in new activities which have been suggested. 
As children gain skill in motor areas, they are given additional equip- 
ment and guidance so that they may progress in accordance with their 
developmental levels. Likewise, as their maturity levels increase they 
are taught to understand and adjust gradually to necessary restric- 
tions upon bodily activity relevant to learning subject matter and 
appreciating other aspects of the environment, such as music and 

c) Children need a daily program which is planned with respect 
for levels of maturity and geared toward educational aims. Though 
it is impossible to devise an ideal program which will meet the needs 
of all schools, or every season, it is desirable for each school to have 
some planned sequence for the day. The younger the child the longer 
should be the periods of unhampered experimentation with materials, 
equipment, and other children, as free from teacher direction as pos- 
sible, and the shorter should be the periods of organized, controlled; 


and directed activities where all children are expected to do the same 
thing at the same time. Such a trend in programming reflects recog- 
nition of the nature of the child's growth: his gradually increasing 
attention span, his sequence of developing, first, gross and, later, fine 
muscular co-ordinations; his early diffuse and later focused inter- 
ests; his rapid rate of physical growth in early childhood and slower 
rate in later childhood; his need for alternation of activity and rest. 
The school will adapt to relationships between time of day and in- 
cidence of fatigue, emotional outbursts, or hunger; will respect sea- 
sonal and climatic variations; will stagger all major shifts from one 
activity to another; will permit sharing of school facilities to meet 
varying needs of families, to insure inclusion of experiences with a 
wide variety of materials, or to permit a judicious use of staff mem- 

d) Children need an environment which will facilitate optimal 
development of sound basic habits. Provision for basic habit training 
in good modem schools represents a compromise between complete 
individualization on the basis of the wisdom of the body theory (in 
which the child is permitted to eat, sleep, or toilet when he chooses 
to do so) and a group method which sets a definite time for these 
functions in the belief that such a plan is more economical of child 
and teacher time and less confusing and disrupting to group living. 

Thus, the school program provides certain relatively flexible 
periods during the day when all children dress, eat, sleep, wash, and 
toilet, and then individual children are permitted other times for 
them between the regularly scheduled times, if needed. Allotments of 
time are sufficient for the slowest child, and guidance and equipment 
are adapted to maturity levels and aimed always at development of 
positive attitudes and gradual increase in independence on the part 
of the child. The amount of guidance needed decreases gradually 
from age two to six so that approximately half the school day is de- 
voted to it for two-year-olds as contrasted with perhaps slightly over 
an hour per day for the six-year-olds. 

e) Children need stimulation to inquire and to help them integrate 
their thinking with experience. The good school does not solve a child's 
problems for him, does not merely "feed" him allegedly indispensable 
facts, or give him prescribed amounts of information to memorize. 
Rather, he is trained to think in an orderly fashion, to acquire sound 
study habits, to read widely, to find out and compare facts before 
coming to conclusions, to plan, carry out, and evaluate individual or 
group projects, to be curious, and to know how to find answers in the 


world about him. The school gives special attention to the laws of 
teaching and learning which expedite such training. The teacher pro- 
vides equipment and materials adapted to the levels of the children 
she teaches. She makes the environment attractive, stimulating, and 
challenging at the children's level. She relates new materials to old 
experiences so that meaning is there and so that association patterns 
are facilitated. She sees that every child gets the satisfaction of ex- 
periencing success and the feeling of a job well done. She under- 
stands the advantage of priority of learning and gives young children 
a wide variety of experiences. She adapts her teaching to their grad- 
ually increasing attention and memory spans and to their changing 

/) Children should live in an environment which makes them sen- 
sitive to the rights and privileges of being members of a social group 
and which provides guidance in becoming members of a social group. 
The nursery-school, kindergarten, and primary years carry a heavy 
responsibility in establishing social patterns in children which persist 
throughout life. The good school for the young child, then, emphasizes 
social relationships in all its planning. The nursery school and kinder- 
garten represent the earliest segment of group living, wherein children 
are still reasonably free from the pressures of learning to read and 
write and can, therefore, give more attention to the problem of learn- 
ing to live with other people. In a good school, children have com- 
radeship both with their peers and with older and younger children; 
all may realize a sense of belonging; co-operative effort rather than 
"might is right" holds sway;' fairness and kindness exist; children 
share, take turns, stand up for each other's rights and opinions, fight 
their own battles, sympathize when indicated, assume responsibilities 
for making individual and group decisions, appreciate and enjoy con- 
tacts with persons of other races and creeds; both aggressive and shy 
children eventually find a constructive place in group activities. 

The teacher places premiums upon desirable behavior and de- 
valuates undesirable social behavior. She sets a good example, antici- 
pates and, occasionally, forestalls difficult situations, and remains in 
the social background as long as children are not being abused, ex- 
ploited, or continually frustrated in their dealings with others. The 
social atmosphere for the immature child should be one which is more 
facilitating than frustrating, one in which there are a few simple rules 
necessary for group welfare, and one where children are permitted to 
live together with as much as possible of the resultant social pattern 
set by themselves. 


g) Children should live in a world where they can express their 
feelings and learn to understand, accept, and control their feelings. 
They also need wide experience and guidance in learning to live with 
themselves and their feelings. The superior school does not repress 
feelings; rather, it recognizes feelings and emotions as natural forms 
of expression and utilizes them in positive guidance toward desirable 
personality and social patterns. Young children in modern schools are 
taught to distinguish which situations are w6rthy of emotions and 
how to express them in amounts and ways consistent with desirable 
social standards. It is assumed that when an emotional outburst oc- 
curs the child does not have a more adequate response ready and that 
he needs guidance in finding one. 

The environment, then, is relatively secure and consistent ; it tries 
to aid the child to understand cause-and-effect relationships, both 
those which he can and those which he cannot alter; it satisfies his 
appetites related to food, shelter, clothing, alternation of rest and 
activity, new experiences, prestige, and affection; it gives him asso- 
ciation with contemporaries; it fosters positive emotions and redirects 
or substitutes for negative ones; it teaches appropriate gradations of 
emotional response as he grows older. In general, the child's emotions 
are regarded as a dynamic force which can either seriously hinder or 
effectively expedite growth and learning. 

h) The young child needs an atmosphere of reasonable security 
in which he knows that he is wanted, needed, valued, and appreciated 
by adults and that the adults in his life will try to arrive at mutual 
understandings in dealing with him. In order to provide some con- 
sistency, the horizon of the school must be extended to include family, 
doctor, minister, postman, policeman, butcher, and everyone who 
forms part of the child's world. Thus, the good school works with the 
families and the communities to learn the nature of the child's whole 
existence rather than to consider him as solely a school organism. In 
the school the attempt to co-ordinate the child's world usually takes 
two forms: that of record-keeping and that of the home and com- 
munity relationships adopted by the school. One can learn a lot about 
a school by a look into the files to see what information on the child 
is recorded and how it is used. The good school explores community 
resources and utilizes them; attempts to understand and interpret the 
policies and viewpoints of all individuals and groups and to syn- 
chronize them into a practical and understandable "cause-and-effect" 
philosophy; contributes the fruits of its research and experiences to 
society; and, in turn, keeps informed as to knowledge gained by 


other groups so that the children's experiences both inside and out- 
side of school may be as logical and consistent as possible. The form 
that parent-school-community contacts take is of less importance 
than the fact that there are such contacts and that they are geared 
smoothly and constructively. 

i) Young children need some experiences that will encourage and 
preserve their sensitivities to the wonders of life and the universe 
the basis of spiritual development. Primary responsibility for spiritual 
development lies, of course, with parents, but the good school will 
offer supplementary or complementary experiences. The school fosters 
intellectual curiosity by means of its repertoire of materials and skilled 
guidance. It should go still further, though, and train children within 
the limits of their understanding to see beyond the obvious, to see 
themselves in relation to the universe, to see the orderliness and 
logic of nature's laws, to sense and enjoy the wonders of life. The 
school hopes, by such means, to educate children to be relatively free 
from cynicism, superficial sophistication, and intolerance. 

;) The child should be encouraged toward expression of his 
creative powers in ways meaningful to him, free from undue impo- 
sition of adult standards. The school for little children encourages 
feeling by doing and even encourages many experiences in which there 
is more feeling than doing, in the traditional sense. It is difficult to 
think of creativity without doing, but little children need first to learn 
to do by just looking, listening, feeling, tasting, smelling! Then they 
need time, a place, and a little guidance in putting experiences to- 
gether and making something new in creating. It is such impressions 
as these for which individuals are known and remembered. Modern 
practices stress aiding the child to first sense his environment, then to 
appreciate it, to manipulate it in ways original with himself, and then 
to share his products with others. Guidance consists of inspirational 
techniques, introduction of a wide variety of materials with adequate 
instructional techniques, provision of experiences, such as excursions, 
to motivate creative effort and to provide accurate models, and a 
friendly, sympathetic respect for the maturity and ability levels of 
the children. Products are judged more in terms of what they have 
meant to the children who have produced them and whether they 
represent real gains in skill in whatever medium they have chosen 
for self-expression rather than upon strict adult standards of excel- 

The task of presenting the practices of early childhood education 
in a fashion general enough to apply to all educators and specific 


enough to aid individual interpretation has been a formidable one. 
This chapter suffers both from oversimplification and overcomplica- 
tion, due to the ambition of saying at least something which might 
aid in every teaching and learning circumstance. Readers are urged 
to refer to more complete treatments of each theme in sources listed 
at the end of the chapter in order to avoid recipe-type teaching and 
to broaden their understanding of the scientific bases for practices 
merely cited in this chapter. To the administrator, the supervisor, the 
teacher, and the student falls the responsibility for interpreting into 
actual classroom practice the principles offered. The challenge is 
definite, but the outlook not at all discouraging. 

Science and Nature 17 

Resources which aid the child in his understanding of the nature 
of the physical world and of animal and plant life are ones that 
offer him a wealth of sensory experience and opportunities for inter- 
esting activity. 


a) Materials which help the child develop basic concepts of matter. 
Examples: Materials which he can hammer, pound, stretch, squeeze, 
press, and twist, such as soft wood, saw, hammer, blocks of different 
shapes (cylinders, spheres, discs, triangles, pyramids, rectangles, squares), 
light and heavy objects, clay, absorbent paper and cloth, sand, rubber 
balls,- metal springs. Use: Free play. 

b) Materials winch acquaint the child with units of measurement and in- 
struments for making such measurement. 

Examples: Ruler, yardstick, simple balance, regular scales, measuring 
cup, gallon cans, clock, hour glass, calendar, wall thermometer, clinical 
thermometer, light meter. Use: Daily experience with teacher's use of 
measurements. Use by children on simple projects, e.g,, measuring 
wood lengths for building projects. 

c) Materials which offer experience with physical forces and with simple 

Examples: Hammer, ball, swing, pendulum, teeter-totter, scissors, planks, 
dover beaters, screws, wheel toys. Use: Free play. Simple explanations 
from teacher. 

d) Materials which offer experiences with Uqidds and gases. 
Examples: Liquids and solids of different density, straws for drinking, 
balloons, siphon. Use: Simple projects, such as emptying fish bowl or 
wading-pool with siphon. 

"This section contributed by Catherine Landreth. 


) Materials which offer experiences with sound: Its pitch, intensity, tone 
quality, production, reflection, transmission, absorption, and amplifica- 

Examples: Tuned water glasses, tuned metal bars, percussion instru- 
ments, Jew's-harps, megaphone, recordings of different musical instru- 
ments. Use: Part of daily experience. 

/) Materials which acquaint the child with the phenomena of heat: 
Transference, changes of state, expansion, and contraction. 
Examples: Ice cream freezer, dry ice, thermos bottle, electric unit, and 
saucepan. Use: Simple projects, such as making ice cream. 

flf) Materials which offer experience with light, with reflection, and with 
Examples: Magnifying glass, prisms. Use: Daily use and observation. 

h) Materials which offer experience with electricity and magnetism. 

Examples: Magnet, iron filings, flashlight, dry cells, wire, and bell. Use: 
Pree play, magnet. Project: Teacher helps children in connecting elec- 
tric bell for house project. 

i) Materials which offer experience with physics of the weather. 

Examples: Weather vane, simple hygrometer. Use: Daily observation. 

;) Materials which offer experience with chemical changes. 
Examples: Cooking equipment. Use: Simple cooking. 

k) Materials which acquaint children with the structure of the earth's crust. 
Examples: Pumice and rock samples from immediate locality. Use: 


Resources which help the children to develop some awareness of 
continuity in the animal kingdom in terms of similar needs for food, 
rest, movement, reproduction, and adaptation to the environment: 

a) A school environment in which some animal species can be seen in thdr 
native state. 

Examples: Trees and a feeding station to attract birds, flowering shrube 
to attract insects and humming birds, a water garden stocked with tad- 
poles and gold fish to attract dragon flies. 

6) Temporary housing facilities for representatives of many different aitimal 

Examples: Sponges, corals, spiny airing, worms, anthropoids, T^higkg ; 
fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammala; agar plates for growing 

c) Samples of animal products. 

Examples: Skins, leather, honey comb, raw wool, raw silk, cheese from 
v goat's and cow's milk. 

d) Field trips. 

e) Picture*, books, and films to supplement firsthand experience. 


/) Resources which make possible a wide experience with different types of 

Examples: Window boxes, tubs and flower pots; decorative arrange- 
ments using plant forms, such as drift wood, moss, fir conee, corn husks, 
gourds, willow cations, and sprays of blossoms; materials for observa- 
tion of germination, such as a sponge, glass jars, filter paper, sawdust, 
and seeds; samples of plant products, such as cotton pods, tappa cloth, 
cinnamon bark, sugar cane. 


Basic Science Education Series. New York: Row, Peterson & Co., 1941. 

CROOTON, W. C. Science in the Elementary School. New York: McGraw-Hill 
Book Co., Inc., 1937. 

HURT, EDWARD G. Child's Story of the Animal World. New York: Reynal <& 
Hitchcock, 1935. 

HUXLEY, JULIAN, and ANDRADB, E. N. DA C. Simple Science. New York: Harper 
& Bros., 1935. 

ISAACS, SUSAN S. Intellectual Growth in Young Children. London: G. Rout- 
ledge & Sons, Ltd., 1930. 

REED, W. MAXWELL. The Sea jor Sam. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1935. 

STEVENS, BERTHA. Child and the Universe. New York: John Day Co., 194L 

. How Miracles Abound. New York: John Day Co., 1941. 

. Nature: The Child Goes Forth, Vol. in, Childhood: The Beginning 

Years and Beyond. Association for Childhood Education. Boston : Hough- 
ton Mifflin Co., 1936. 

YOUNG, CLARENCE, and OTHERS. The Human Organism and the World of Life: A 
Survey of Biological Science. New York: Harper <fc Bros., 1938. 

Books and Literature 1S 

Just as there is a field of literature for older students, so there 
is a field of literature for the child from two to six or seven years. 
As adults we should see that the young child has opportunities to 
become familiar with the best of both the old and the new which is 
published for him. In our eagerness to test what seems to be the 
child's ability to comprehend more advanced books, we should guard 
against skipping too quickly over that which is best adapted to his 
present level of development. Sometimes the young child seems so 
entranced by the spoken word that he will sit spellbound while the 
narrator, with pleasing intonations, recites even alphabet or nonsense 
syllables. Let us not be misled by this apparent absorption in the 
material. Rather, let us consider those interests which should be met 
by literature. Every child is going to, and should, sample widely in 
the field of books and stories (comic books included), but it is the 

** This section contributed by Neith B. Headley. 


responsibility of the adult to see that the child has opportunities to 
become familiar with the best books under circumstances which afford 
him much pleasure. If the adults take this responsibility, the taste 
for good literature will be established early and may be expected to 
continue through the reading years. 

The illustrations in books for young children should portray a central 
theme, should be clear cut, and accented with strong blocks of color. They 
should, of course, be in complete accord with the text. 

The text, even though it is not set up to be read by young children, 
should be printed in such a type that the child is not disturbed by it and 
can, if he wishes, meet the challenge which printed words offer to the grow- 
ing mind. The print should not be larger than 18-point nor smaller than 
14-point type. For the four-year-old it would be desirable to have approxi- 
mately twenty to thirty words of text on the page opposite each illustration. 

Collections of stories included in a single volume; e.g., Stones to Begin On 
(Bacmeister), Here and Now Story Book (Mitchell), and The - Umbrella 
Stones (Association for Childhood Education) must not be overlooked as 
source material for the storyteller. These stories, usually accompanied by 
few illustrations, should be reserved for storytelling and not used for read- 
ing. Storytelling is an art which, when used wisely, can do much to inculcate 
in the child the appreciation for good literature,. 

Poetry is something which adults and children can and should share from 
earliest childhood on. It should not be something pigeonholed and taken 
out at special times only. It should be ready for use at all times. Sometimes 
a bit of poetry will epitomize, as nothing else can, an experience or an 
emotion; sometimes it is enjoyed for its sheer beauty of sound. Whatever 
its function, let's have it available for use. In our poetry list for young chil- 
dren we must be sure to include the rhyming jingles from Mother Goose and 
samplings of poems from Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rose 
Fyleman, Walter De la Mare, A. A. Mxlne, and Dorothy Aldis, 

The two-year-old should be supplied with books which he can carry about 
and handle. The first books might well be made of linen, lininette, or heavy 
cardboard. The subject matter will deal with his daily experiences, such as 
getting dressed or playing with pets. Books by Dorothy Aldis, Ethel Wright, 
Mary Steichen Martin, and Lena Towsley give us good books for the two- 

The three-year-old identifies himself so completely with the story char- 
acters that he will like to hear about the simple adventures of animals 
especially if the text incorporates animal sounds into the story. Family and 
nursery-school experiences and the somewhat imaginative adventures of 
common, toys and pets will also appeal to his growing interests. For bctoks 
to meet the needs of the three-year-olds we turn to such people as Lois 
Lenski, Romney Gay, Dorothy Sherrill, and Margaret Brown. 

The four-year-old feels that he is ready to go boldly out into the great 


world. He loves to hear about the adventures of The Little Engine That 
CouLd by Watty Piper, The Little Toy Airplane by Inez Hogan, or The Pirate 
Twins by William Nicholson; but somehow he finds security and honest 
pleasure in such simple stories as The Unlike Twins by Esther Brann, The 
Twins and Tabiffa by Constance Howard, and Copy Kitten by Helen and 
Alf Evers. Such nonsense tales as Johnny Crow's Garden by Leslie Brook 
will prove highly entertaining. 

The five-year-olds as a group are ready for some of the simpler folk 
tales, e g., The Three Bitty Goats Gruff and The Little Rabbit That Wished 
jor Red Wings. It must be recalled that an individual child may be ready 
to enjoy the fanciful tale at a much earlier age than the group may be ex- 
pected to enjoy it. The purely fanciful tale, such as Many Moons Ago by 
Thurber or Peter Pea by Grishina may well be reserved for the seven- and 
eight-year-olds. The five-year-olds also enjoy stories about children not too 
unlike themselves as well as stories about birds, animal life, and tales of 
mechanical things. We look to the books of Marjorie Flack, the Petershams, 
the Haders, Emma Brock, Elsa Beskow, Robert McCloskey, and Virginia 
Burton to supply us with splendid books for the five-year-olds. 

The six-year-olds want some books which they can read for themselves 
but, because of their limited reading ability, most of the books which these 
children could read cannot be classed as literature. The six-year-old will enjoy 
hearing about the adventures of animals, community interdependence, factual 
and fanciful tales about mechanical things, informational stories about nature, 
and he will also enjoy pure nonsense and folk tales. The library for the six- 
year-olds would include such titles as Wcd&e the Walrus (Weise); Little 
Stone House (Haders) ; The Story Book of Things We Use (Petershams) ; 
The Wonderful Locomotive (Neigs) ; The Restless Robin (Mack) ; The Five 
Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Suess); and Gone is Gone (Gag). 
Sometime in the child's sixth or seventh year he should enjoy with his group 
the inimitable stories of A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh and The House at 
Pooh Corner. 


BECKER, MAT LAMBERTON. Choosing Books far Children. New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1937. 

BBTZNER, JEAN, and MOORE, ANNIE E. Every CMd and Books. New York: 
Bobba-Merrill Co., 1940. 

BMiography o/ Books for ChMdr&n. Washington, D. C.t Association for Child- 
hood Education, 1945. 

DALGUESH, ALICE. First Experiences with Literature. New York: Chas. Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1932. 

DUFF, AHIS. Bequest oj Wings. New York: Viking Press, 1945. 

DURANT, RUTH SAWYER. The Way of the Story Tetter. New York: Viking Press, 

BATON, ANNE T. Beading with Children. New York: Viking Press 1940. 

FRANK, JOSETTB. What books for Chftfrenf New York: Doubleday, Doran <fe 
Co., 1941. 


HAZAED, PAUL. Books, Children, and Men. Boston: Horn Book Inc., 1944. 
MITCHELL, LTTCT SPKAGTTE. Another Here and Now Story Book. New York: E. P. 

Dutton & Co., 1937. 
SHBDLOCK, MAKE. The Art of the Story Teller. New York : D. Appleton & Co., 


Music w 

The elements of music, sound, movement, rhythm, speech, and 
tonal play, are implicit in a large portion of every young child's activi- 
ties. The contribution which music makes in enriching the child's 
daily living and as a medium of expression depends upon the teacher 
her spontaneity and resourcefulness, her enjoyment of rhythm, and 
the songs at the tip of her tongue. 

a) Music in the form of rhythmic accompaniment adds to spontaneous 
bodily movement. 

Example: The teacher notes situations, such as walking, running, jutnp- 
'ing, pushing, pulling, and sliding, where she may contribute musically. 

b) Simple songs descriptive of activities of the moment intensify a child's 
satisfaction in familiar enterprises and lead to new ventures. 
Example: The graceful sweep of a swing suggests singing; climbing high 
and looking down is an exciting experience reflected in heightened voices 
that chant: "I'm way up high!" "See if you can touch me!" 

c) To heighten children's interests, the teacher sings , as occasion arises, ap- 
propriate songs which hold for the moment the essence of a vivid ex- 

Examples: Imaginative play with dolls, trains, boats, and cars; possi- 
bilities which develop from meaningful acquaintance with plant and 
animal life; play with earth, water, and sand; changes of weather and 

d) When music is used in informal situations, children find satisfying ex- 
pression for mood or emotion in bodily rhythm and increasing enjoyment 
in shared experiences of beauty. 

Examples: Astride a stationary sawhorse, Jerry rides up and down 
vigorously, singing his own galloping song. Eric's satisfaction is en- 
hanced by an adult's nod and smile when, he calls to her from his block 
play, "Mmm-m-m! I'm an airplane! Mmm-m-m-m!" 

e) Materials which invite experimentation with sound and rhythm should 

be accessible to the young child. 

Examples: A box of gaily colored rattle blocks, gourd rattles, mellow- 
toned Balinese bells, a basket of small bells strung on colored cords or 
elastic bands to wear and jingle, homemade drums for rhythmic play (a 
skin head with a wooden bucket for a base, a head cut from old inner 
tubing stretched taut over a nail keg or metal container), tonal bars, 
simple instruments for percussion and melody. 

10 This section contributed by Helen Christiansen, 


/) The signal, "Time for Music," is appropriate when there are rich op- 
portunities for rhythmic, dramatic play, for singing and dancing, and for 
quiet enjoyment through listening. Music should not be limited to special 
times, but there should be certain "music times" to supplement the music 
which is part of the school activities. 

Examples: Sometimes the teacher follows a child's rhythm and tempo 
at the piano; sometimes recordings are used for new listening experi- 
ences. Occasionally a musical visitor is invited to play or sing. Some 
of the melodies will be sung for listening enjoyment; others are asso- 
ciated with children's activities, to be absorbed and used by them in 
dramatic play or in experimentation with instruments. The songs young 
children are most apt to sing freely and spontaneously should include a 
here-and-now interest in toys, animals, people, and transportation suit- 
able in words, rhythm, and tempo to accompany spontaneous dancing 
and rhythmic-dramatic play; story interest, fun, and nonsense; lyric 
beauty, folk and composed melodies that "sing themselves" and give 
lasting delight. 

Plastic Materials 20 

By the term "plastic materials" we refer to any substance 
through which the individual can give outward form and expression 
to his ideas, feelings, and emotions. The little girl who stops briefly 
to sketch a figur'e with a stick in the new-fallen snow, the housewife 
who arranges bread and triskets in a satisfying design on a pottery 
plate, the small boy who builds bridges and tunnels in his sand box 
each of these is using a material to give form to something within 
himself which is ripe for expression. 

As adults working with children, we should be alert to the chal- 
lenge which the environment offers in the way of materials through 
which the child can express himself. Too often we limit our media 
to the conventional paper, crayons, paints, clay, blocks, cloth, sand, 
and wood. We could do well to let down the bars of conventionality 
and include any materials which could satisfy the criteria set up by 
Margaret Mathias, author of The Beginnings of Art in the Public 
School, for evaluating materials adapted to the creative needs of 

Is the material oixe which the child can safely use at his present level of 

Is the material such that its use provides desirable social situations? 

Is the material something which is challenging? Will it lead the child 
on to further development? 

Does the material afford opportunity for reasonably quick work? 

* This section, contributed by Neith E. Headley. 


Does the material encourage free bodily activity, and does it on the 
other hand discourage little intricate co-ordinations? 

Does the material provide a condition of satisfaction? 

Can the child get satisfaction from the use of the material without tech- 
nique being supplied by the adult? 

It is the function of the teacher to see that the child at succeed- 
ing age levels has meaningful experiences. These experiences may 
come to the school group through music, books, stories, discussions, 
free play, firsthand observations in the immediate environment, or 
through excursions into the neighborhood. As the child becomes 
saturated with experience he will seek out materials for self-expression. 

In most instances we would do well to see that the child's products 
are put into immediate use in the school environment. The practice 
of carrying home a product each day can be pernicious from at least 
three points of view. First, the child may fall into the habit of turn- 
ing out a product routinely without putting anything of himself into 
his work; second, the parents may give praise and commendation 
when the child has definitely not put his best self into his work ; and 
third, and most to merit concern, the parents looking at the crude 
product may not realize how much thought, feeling, and effort has 
actually gone into the creation. We cannot emphasize too strongly 
that the perfection of the product is not a valid measure of achieve- 

As we observe the child working with materials we should always 
be more concerned with the effect which the use of the material is 
having upon the child than with the product which is being evolved 
from the material. If we could but keep this one point in mind, then 
the "crying evil," as John Dewey puts it, "the evil of making tech- 
nique an end in itself" would be obviated. 

. References 

BIBBR, BARBARA, Children's Drawings from Line to Picture. Co-operating School 
Pamphlet No. 6. New York: Bureau of Educational Experiments, 1934. 

HARTMAN, GERTRTTDE, and SHTTMAKBE, ANN (editors). Creative Expression. Mil- 
waukee: E. M. Hale & Co., 1939. 

MATHIAS, MARGARET. The Beginning of Art in the Public Schools. New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924. 

MBARNS, HTTGH. Creative Youth. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran <fe 
Co., Inc., 1928. 

Portfolio on Materials for Work and Play. Washington: Association for Child- 
hood Education, 1945. 


HUGO, HAROLD, and SHUMAKEE, ANN. The Child-centered School Yonkers-on- 

Hudson, New York: World Book Co., 1928. 
The Arts and Children's Living* Washington: Association for Childhood Educa- 

tion, 1945. 
Use* for Waste Materials. Washington: Association for Childhood Education, 

Play Materials and Play Equipment 21 

Wisely chosen materials perform specific functions in children's 
mastery of certain fundamental skills. 

Although it is important to consider the age of children for whom 
the materials are intended, it is well to remember that age serves 
only a general guide. Studies reveal that there is no rapid change 
either in the choice of material or the types of games played from 
age to age. Some types of materials are limited in use and the func- 
tions they serve while others provide within themselves for several 
types of development physical, sensory, intellectual, and social ad- 
justment. Some materials encourage continuous development through 
the whole age range from two through six years. 

Any classification of materials becomes purely arbitrary whether 
it be considered from the point of view of function, age, or develop- 
ment. The following classification has been made on the basis of age 
in the hope that it will be readily usable: 

a) The two-year-old. The two-year-old engages chiefly in individual play. 
He delights in physical activity, exploration, and manipulation of ma- 
terials. Greater development is made in balance, and the motor co- 
ordination of infancy is used in throwing, taking things apart, putting 
together, and climbing. Suggested materials: push-pull toys, doll car- 
riages, wagons, cuddly dolls, peg boards, color cones, simple puzzles (about 
six pieces), pounding sets, simple trains, trucks, boats, blocks, Kiddie 
Kar, baby gym, swings, sawhorses, boards, packing boxes, clay, sand (or 
cornmeal) and spoons, large crayons, paint brushes. 

6) The three-year-old. Transportation toys, peg boards, and pounding sets 
are put to new uses and combinations. Beginnings of group play, dra- 
matic and imitative, together with simple construction mark this period. 
Suggested materials to be added: construction blocks, wooden animals, 
tricycle, transportation toys, doll and bed, table, chairs, dishes, hammer 
and nail sets, beads, puzzles (8 to 10 pieces), additional sand toys, jungle 
gyin, slide, trapeze bars. 

c) The /o-ur-year-oW, He names his structures and people and uses them 
in his marked interest in imitative and dramatic social play. Manipulative 
materials of previous levels are used as accessory materials. Vigorous, 

* This section contributed by Amy D. Peterson. 


boisterous activity characterizes the four-to-five age period. Suggested 
materials to be added: cylinders and curves added to the construction 
blocks, ring-toss, bean bag, telephones, ironing board, bureaus, stove and 
pans, more complicated puzzles and matching lotto games, soft wood 
and simple tools,- more colors in paint, parallel bars, and ladders, 

d) The five-year-old. The basic motor skills are well developed and sense 
perceptions are almost mature by five years. The five-year-old's activity 
is devoted to more intricate and specific play. He engages in play which 
is sedentary in character about as much as in active play. Dramatic, 
imitative, and constructive play show organization, definite form, and 
completeness. Suggested materials to be added: scissors, paste, work 
bench and tools, balls, throwing games, scooter, smaller beads, sewing 
materials, doll clothes, iron that heats, Patty Hill or Builder Board 
blocks, rope ladders, shinning poles, jump ropes. 

e) The si&year-old. This marks the beginning of the period of relatively 
slow physical growth. Boys and girls still enjoy many of the same ma- 
terials but separate interests begin. Attention is centered on refining 
motor activities and in learning specific skills and techniques. Skills and 
competition become a part of organized games. Suggested materials to 
be added: hoops, tops, jacks and ball, complicated puzzles, magnet sets, 
play stores, costumes, tiddledywinks, marbles, counting games, dominoes, 
collector's items. 


ALSCHULER, ROSE EL, and EEINIG, CHBISTINH. Childhood. Vol. n. Play; The 
Child's Response to Lije. Edited by the Association for Childhood Edu* 
cation. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1936. 

FBEEMAN, RUTH and LABRY. Cavdcade of Toys. New York: Century House, 

GABBISON, CHARLOTTE. Permanent Play Materials for Young Children. New 
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926. 

JOHNSON, HABRDST M. The Art of Block Building. New York: John Day Co., 
Inc., 1933. 

KAWIN, ETHEL, The Wi*e Choice of Toys. Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1938 (revised). 

LEHMAN, H. C., and Wrmr, P. A. The Psychology of Play Activities. New 
York: A. B. Barnes & Co., 1927. 

VAN ALSTYNEJ, DOEOTHT. Play Behavior and Choice of Play Material* of Pre- 
school Children. Chicago: University of Chicago Frees, 1932. 



Emergency Nursery School: Housing and Equipment. Bulletin No. 2, United 
States Office of Education. Washington: Government Printing Office. 

Equipment and Supplies jar Nursery Schools, Kindergartens, Primary Schools: A 
List of Recommended Materials. Washington: Association for Childhood 
Education, 1940 (revised). 

Home Play and Play Equipment for the Preschool Child. Bulletin No. 238. 
Children's Bureau, United States Department of Labor. Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1941. 

Make It for the Children. Washington: Association for Childhood Education. 

Playthings: Better Buymanship, Use, and Care. Bulletin No. 15. Chicago: De- 
partment of Research, Household Finance Corporation (919 North Michi- 
gan Ave.), 1945. (Revised). 

Toys You Can Make. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska, Agricultural 
College, Extension Service, 1935. 

Uses for Waste Materials. Washington, D. C.: Association for Childhood Educa- 
tion, 1939. 


1. ALSCHULER, ROSE H. Children's Centers. New York: William Morrow & 
Co., 1942. 

2. (ed). Two to Six. New York: William Morrow & Co., Inc., 1937. 

3. AUTOBUS, RUTH, and ASSOCIATES. Curriculum Guides for Teachers of Chil- 
dren from Two to Six Years of Age. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1936. 

4. ASSOCIATION FOE CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. Current List of Publications. Wash- 
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5. BAIN, WINITRED E. An Analytical Study of Teaching in Nursery School and 
Kindergarten and First Grade. Teachers College Contributions to Educa- 
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6. . Parents Look at Modern Education. New York: D. Appleton- 

Century Co., Inc., 1935. 

7. BALDWIN, RUTH M., and BALDWIN, HABRY. Psychological Care during Infancy 
and Childhood. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc., 1942. 

8. BAKUCH, DOROTHY. Parents and Children Go to School. New York: Scott, 
Foreeman & Co., 1939. 

9. BLATO, W. E. Understanding the Young Child. New York: William Morrow 
<fe Co., 1944. 

10. BLATZ, W. E.; MILLICHAMP, D.; and FLETCHER, M. Nur9ery Education: 
Theory and Practice. New York: William Morrow <fc Co., 1935. 

11. BRIDGES, KATHARINE M. B. Social and Emotional Development of the Pre- 
school Child. London: Kegan Paul, 1931. 

12. BEUECKNEB, L. J. The Changing Elementary School New York: Inor Pub- 
lishing Co., 1939. 

* This section contributed by Elizabeth Macham Fuller. 


13. CASWELL, HOLLIS L. Education in the Elementary School. New York: 
American Book Co., 1942. 

14. Child Development and the Curriculum. Thirty-eighth Yearbook of the Na- 
tional Society for the Study of Education, Part I. Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1939. 

15. CHILDREN'S BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OP LABOE. Current List of Publications* 
Washington: Government Printing Office. 

16.' COLE, LTTELLA. Teaching in the Elementary School. New York: Farrar & 
Rinehart, Inc., 1939. 

17. DAVIS, MART D., and HANSBN, ROWNA. Nursery Schools: Their Develop- 
ment and Current Practices in the United States. Office of Education, Bui* 
letin No. 9, 1932. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932. 

18. DE LISSA, LILLIAN. Life in the Nursery School. New York: Longmans, 
Green & Co., 1939. 

19. Encyclopedia of Child Guidance. Edited by Ralph B. Winn. Sections on 
Child Development, Preschool and Primary Education. New York: Philo- 
sophical Library, Inc., 1943, 

20. Encyclopedia of Educational Research. Edited by Walter S. Monroe. Sec- 
tions on Child Development, Education, and Primary Education. American 
Educational Research Association. New York: Macmillan Co., 1941. 

21. Encyclopedia of Modern Education. Edited by Harry N. Rivlin and Herbert 
Schueler. Sections on Child Development, Preschool and Primary Educa- 
tion : New York : Philosophical Library, Inc., 1943. 

22. FOREST, ILSE. Preschool Education. New York : Macmillan Co., 1927. 

23. . School for the Child from Two to Eight. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1935. 

24. FOSTER, JOSEPHINE, and HEADLEY, NEITH E. Education in the Kindergarten. 
New York: American Book Co., 1936. 

25. FOSTER, JOSEPHINE, and MATTSON, MARION. Nursery-School Education. New 
York: D. Appleton-Century Co.; Inc., 1939. 

Mann Kindergarten for Five-year-old Children. New York: Teachers Col- 
lege, Columbia University, 1937. 

27. GESELL, ARNOLD; ILQ, FRANCES; and OTHERS. Infant and Child in the Cul- 
ture of Today. New York: Harper <fe Bros., 1943. 

28. GOLDEN, EMMA B. The Kindergarten Curriculum. Chicago: Morgan-Dillon 
& Co,, 1940. 

29. HAXTON, JENNIE, and WILCOX, EDITH. Step by Step in the Nursery School 
New York: Doubleday, Doran <fe Co., 1936. 

30. HEADLET, NEBTH E., and FOSTER, JOSEPHINE C. Observations in the Kinder- 
garten. New York: American Book Co., 1942. 

31. HUBBARD, ELIZABETH V. Your Children at School. New York: John Day 
Co., 1942. 

32' ISAACS, SUSAN. Nursery Years. New York: Vanguard Press, Inc., 1937* 

33. JOHNSON, HAKBJEE M, School Begins at Two. New York: New Republic, 
Inc., 1936. ... 


34. LANDRETH, CATHERINE Education of the Young Child. New York: John 
Wiley & Sons, 1942. 

35. LANGDON, GRACE. Similarities and Differences in Teaching in, Nursery School, 
Kindergarten, and First Grade. New York : John Day Co., 1933, 

The Child at Home and at School. New York: American Book Co., 1942. 

37. MACOMBER, FREEMAN G. Guiding Child Development in the Elementary 
School. New York: American Book Co., 1941. 

38. Manual of Nursery-School Practice. Iowa Child Welfare Research Station. 
Iowa City: State University of Iowa, 1934. 

Distribution Center, State Universitj'- of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. 

40. Nursery Education. White House Conference on Child Health and Pro- 
tection. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc., 1931. 

41. Nursery School Manual. Vassar College, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards 
Bros., 1935. 

42. Preschool and Parental Education. Twenty-eight Yearbook of the National 
Society for the Study of Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 

Development of the Young Child. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1941. 

44. REINOEHL, C. H., and AYER, FRED. Classroom Administration and Pupil Ad- 
justment. New York : D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc., 1940. 

45. UPDEGRAFF, RUTH, and OTHERS. Practice in Preschool Education. New York : 
McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1938. 

46. . Studies in Preschool Education. University of Iowa Studies, Studies 

in Child Welfare, 1937, Vol. XIV. Pp. 283. 

47. Current List of Publications. Office of Education, Federal Security Agency. 
Washington: Government Printing Office. 

48. WAGONER, LOVISA C. The Development o} Learning in Young Children* New 
York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1933. 

49. WANDI/ING, ARILITA ROBERTS. Ten Behavior Problems Common with Pre- 
school Children. New York: House of Field, 1939. 

50. WAKING, ETHEL B., and WILKEB, MARGUERITE. Helping Children Learn. 
Ithaca, New York: Ithaca Press, 1939. 

51. Working with the CUld from Two to Six. Ohio Curriculum Bulletin No. 5. 
Columbus, Ohio : State Department of Education, 1944. 




Associate Professor of Preschool Education 

State University of Iowa 

Iowa City, Iowa 


Head, Department of Child Development 

Iowa State College 

Ames, Iowa 


Associate Professor of Home Economics 

University of Wisconsin 

Madison, Wisconsin 


Head, Department of Early Childhood Education 

Merrill-Palmer School 

Detroit, Michigan 




Research promotes vitality in any field. It stimulates analysis, 
suggests evaluation, purposes improvement. To the extent that its 
working hypotheses are sound, its proven tools appropriate, its ques- 
tions pertinent, its problems directly posited, research should con- 
tribute to education; good teaching is partly an art, but science can, 
by analyzing it, help to make good teaching more universal. The above 
provisos are significant for their implication that the educator has 
the responsibility of formulating problems and evaluating the answers. 
The teacher and the research worker have a joint contribution to 


make. To illustrate by drawing from another discipline, it would be 
desirable, in aiming at the target of achieving and interpreting sig- 
nificant research, to bring to bear both sights educational objectives 
and the scientific approach. 

The recognition that research is potentially valuable in the develop- 
ment of early childhood education has been, to some degree, a gener- 
ality. In other words, its value has been actually and repeatedly 
acknowledged but without too much direct application of research 
results in the curriculum itself. This undoubtedly reflects, first, a 
familiarity with the research point of view; second, an empirical 
attitude in the teaching situation itself due to the comparative new- 
ness of this educational area; and, third and most important, a scarcity 
of research findings to apply. It seems high time that this situation 
be regarded realistically. Both the educator and the research worker 
need to make vigorous, purposeful efforts to utilize available research 
in planning the educational environment and to pursue more actively 
research programs which will contribute to the curriculum. 

For the most part the curriculum in early childhood education had 
at first to be developed without benefit of specific research suggestions 
(it is not unique in this respect) for, even though preschools and 
kindergartens are comparatively new aspects of education, their be- 
ginnings antedate the period in which much of the research regarding 
children has taken place. Much of the improvement in the educa- 
tional program has been accomplished in the school situation itself 
by sensitive, thoughtful, creative teachers. This trial-and-error ap- 
proach has had and always will have its contributions. At best, how- 
ever, the results are apt to spread slowly; there are probably many 
interesting educational contributions existing in comparative pro- 
fessional isolation. It is true that as far as nursery schools are con- 
cerned their major development and expansion have been concomitant 
with the growth of research in child development. Possibly due to this 
fact as well as to the objective viewpoint of its supporters, nursery 
education has frequently met challenges to defend, by research find- 
ings, its place in the educational picture. Almost as soon as nursery 
education commenced in this country, studies were begun to evaluate 
its outcomes. This indicates a wholesome attitude among the investi- 
gators, many of whom were participants in early childhood educa- 
tional programs. The fact that it would be appropriate in obtaining 
comparative evaluations to turn the same impartial eye upon educa- 
tional programs at a higher level has, surprisingly enough, been 
less frequently discussed. 


It would be interesting to know in what manner and to what 
extent the nursery school and kindergarten curriculums of today are 
different from those of fifteen or twenty years ago. Untenable as would 
be the position that, because equipment now is so similar to that 
of the past, the curriculum itself must also be very similar, to refute 
such a contention would, nevertheless, be a stimulating exercise. Like- 
wise wholesome would be an attempt to trace the source of differences 
to discover how they were initiated. Nursery schools and, to a lesser 
extent, kindergartens have been real parts of many of the institutions 
carrying on and interpreting research in child development. Many 
studies have been made with these young children as subjects. Yet 
there is a real question as to how much of the resulting information 
has actually filtered into the educational programs. Granted that 
practice in most fields lags behind the research, it would be construc- 
tive to examine the extent and direction of lag as well as the specific 
circumstances in which it occurs. 

If it is true that progress has been slow in constructive thinking 
regarding the curriculum, and that is the point of view taken in this 
discussion, several reasons are immediately apparent. First of all, 
there is the nature of accomplished research itself which doubtless 
reflects with some fidelity the degree of interest or lack of it. The 
volume of studies readily applicable, except in a very general way, by 
the e.ducator have been small There have been relatively few studies 
of school environment. Studies representing evaluations of new and 
different methods and techniques are almost nonexistent; in other 
words, the creative attitude in research should be more prevalent. 
Even in many related studies in which the investigator might have 
considered educational implications, either in designing or in con- 
cluding his work, this orientation is too often missing. Nor, secondly, 
have research workers in general, until quite recently, been concerned 
with making their findings more usable by teachers. This should be 
laid at the door not of the research worker but rather of the educator, 
in terms of his demand. The teachers themselves, thanks to their train- 
ing, have some respect for research, although often this attitude has 
by far too great an admixture of awe 'and a feeling of remoteness. 
This may be due to the limited interpretational material, to too little 
co-ordination between research workers and teachers, or to the high 
turnover of school staffs. Teachers need more time and opportunity 
than they frequently have while they are in the teaching profession in 
order to understand, to feel secure in, and to apply research* Finally, 
there is the matter of scope of scientific material. It is to the credit 


of educators concerned with early childhood that to them the nature 
of the child himself is crucial. To base the curriculum on the nature 
of the developing child has been a cardinal tenet, and, for aid, there 
has been recourse to the emerging field of child development. In fact, 
were it not for the body of research regarding the child himself, there 
would be little, indeed, to cite relative to early childhood education. 

The field of child development itself has its own problems of 
integration in that its materials are drawn from the work of specialists 
who study the child from the standpoint of their own disciplines. Its 
members have an outstandingly good record for attempting co-ordina- 
tion within a variety of subject matters. Equally, or perhaps more 
greatly, challenged is the educator who must synthesize and interpret 
without dilution or distortion. As a matter of fact, it seems likely that 
up until now the curriculum in early childhood education has had 
more contact with psychological and educational findings than with 
those of medicine and sociology, for example. 

To summarize, then, the following needs relative to research and 
the curriculum in early childhood education are apparent: (1) More 
responsibility should be taken by the educator in providing the struc- 
ture for research programs, in formulating questions, in evaluating 
answers, in actively playing a critical role regarding scientific in- 
quiry. (2) There should be more conscious and extensive attempts 
on the part of educators to be articulate and definite regarding sys- 
tematic educational philosophies pertaining to this age level. (3) More 
working interrelationships between the research worker and the edu- 
cator should be established. (4) More effective, thoroughgoing, and 
sensitive evaluation and interpretation of research data should be 
undertaken. This should be done by persons who are both thoroughly 
familiar with education and creatively minded regarding its potentiali- 
ties, by persons who are at home in research literature, imbued with 
the scientific point of view, and possessed of contemporary knowl- 
edge regarding the nature of the young and developing child. The 
idea of this suggested approach to interpretation might be compared 
to binocular vision in which the simultaneous reception of two images 
from different viewpoints results in a single experience of greater 
clarity, definiteness, and depth than would follow from either image 
alone. (5) Greater use should be made of research data wherever it 
is available. Effort should be made to draw from all scientific areas 
contributing information regarding the child and his world. (6) More 
research shoultf be planned and carried out in the light of knowledge 
gained by such procedures as those suggested above. 



To many readers this volume will seem to fall short of desired 
accomplishment if it does not summarize research now available which 
bears upon early childhood education. Nevertheless, it will take no 
more than a second thought to realize how impossible it is to achieve 
within the confines of these pages such an exhaustive treatment of 
the material which would need to be covered. The alternative plan 
selected, designed to be suggestive to the imaginative reader, is that 
of projecting a method of integrating research and the curriculum and 
of illustrating by applying it in a few areas. Therefore, the contri- 
bution, if successful, should be in method and, to some extent, in 


The starting point is the child and his experiencing. This is as 
important for a functional interpretation of research as for the cur- 
riculum itself. Such a starting point appears obvious and almost a 
truism. At the verbal level it may be that this approach is observable 
all too infrequently in publication as well as in the halls of the train- 
ing school. Possibly the most familiar signposts are such chapter 
headings and discussion points as physical development, motor de- 
velopment, social development, and their contemporaries. True, these 
are child centered, thus meeting the first criterion. Devised to function 
as convenient handles or abstractions in the field of child development, 
they are under no compulsion to serve equally well for another pur- 
pose. Yet, educators utilizing them may have fallen too easily into a 
pattern of thought directed toward different goals. To the extent that 
these categories may be a check on the curriculum or of help in the 
study of the individual child, they may serve a purpose for the 
teacher, but the danger lies in their not being a spur to creative think- 
ing. True, both education and psychology have come a long way 
since the time when a child's development was conceived of as cleanly 
segmented into its departments; the plea for a "whole child" is still 
to be heard in the land, but now it is more often heeded. 

Actually, in the field of early childhood education more systemat- 
ically developed philosophies based on the child's life and his ex- 
periencing are needed. Whereas, some who discuss early childhood 
education utilize a nonemulsified mixture of activities and develop- 
mental categories, others demonstrate good teaching without a sys- 
tematic body of thought. Yet a thoroughgoing analysis of research in 


relation to any aspect of the curriculum must have a systematic back- 
ground. Otherwise, the procedure will deteriorate into an organiza- 
tion and analysis of whatever research exists, too treacherously un- 
mindful of gaps, of relative degrees of importance, and of interrela- 

In order to make this discussion more concrete-, something of its 
lines of thought may be applied to the area commonly designated as 
"motor development." Actual classifications of research studies sum- 
marized in texts or reviewing channels for bibliographical and analytic 
purposes contain such categories as locomotion, neuromuscular de- 
velopment in infants, later age changes and sex differences, measure- 
ment of motor ability, and handedness in relation to other abilities. 
These classifications are logical and usable by the scientist in child 
development but are of doubtful value for any specific purposes of an 
applied nature. The physical educator or the management engineer 
interested in motion studies would have to approach their examina- 
tion of research from two additional angles. The most immediate 
shift in focal point needed in early childhood education, as well as 
the most obvious screening of material, would be relative to age. That 
is only the beginning, however, and reference to the studies them- 
selves would be necessary. In all likelihood many studies would be 
found to relate to movements a young child makes and would even 
involve young children making them. But the conditions of scientific 
experiment and the limiting of variables may provide demonstration 
that in our present status good science has made application difficult. 
In other words, the burden of this paragraph is that (a.) most re- 
search summaries are difficult to apply unless summarized for that 
field of application, and (b), even upon examination of the original 
material, interpretation is a ticklish matter unless the necessarily con- 
trolled and narrow boundaries of a study fall, through design or 
chance, within a setting of educational significance. The problem is 
even more complex when synthesis of information is attempted. 

If, instead of turning to child development summaries of "motor 
development/' attention is directed to texts on childhood education, 
the organization of subject matter is more commonly encountered 
under such headings as the following: equipment to stimulate activity 
involving large and small muscle groups; teacher guidance of de- 
veloping motor skills; the acquisition of motor skills; the enjoyment 
of activity; the relation between activity and eating, resting, and 

In what a dilemma, therefore, is the educator who would correlate 


his practice with research ! One must wonder whether ever the twain 
shall meet and evolve a dynamic educational program for the child. 
More constructive would be a positive effort pointed toward sys- 
tematic presentations or philosophies of what is desirable in the de- 
veloping child and what kind of experiences may aid in this process. 
Such an achievement can but be the result of long and careful think- 
ing and research, but even the process and the attitudes of working in 
that direction should vitalize the curriculum. To pursue the present 
illustration in "motor development" further, and without implying a 
ready-to-order systematization, questions such as these might be 
asked: What, actually, is important for the child in this area 
which, so far, has only the vaguest outlines but which is in common 
parlance? Is this an area in which the child's participation seems 
important? Has this importance meaning for the curriculum? If not 
as stated at present, can a more effective and systematic statement be 
attempted? How do activities of this nature occur in the child's ex- 
periencing? Far from being isolated happenings, they occur in a set- 
ting and have varieties of resulting effects upon the child. But what 
effects? Do these experiences contribute to other aspects of his de- 
velopment? Obviously, the answer is in the affirmative, but so uni- 
versal is the phenomenon that no one science can encompass its study. 
All the more reason, therefore, for a coherent, articulate philosophy 
into which research can integrate through purpose and through as- 
similation from such fields as medicine, nutrition, psychiatry, sociology, 
anthropology, and the like. Were some logical organization of this 
material possible, the educator might now be more certain in directing 
the environment and, later, as research cognizant of this philosophy 
is contributed, he should more surely achieve the desired develop- 
mental goals. 

If, for the moment, we accept the hypothesis that categorizing the 
curriculum in terms of the child's experiencing is one possible point 
of departure, regardless of whether it is the best, the next point to 
consider is how to formulate the categories. In so doing, there are at 
least two necessary assumptions: (a) There is no way of producing 
mutually exclusive categories. A single experience radiates in effect. 
The point is not to avoid overlapping but to be exhaustive from each 
focal center, (fa) Producing workable categories will be the constant 
problem of a progressively improving education. 

This chapter cannot hope to achieve the ideal classification, but 
ia choosing parts of the educational picture for children of this age 
it does attempt to select fundamental and universally accepted areas. 


It is hoped that this selection will not only stimulate the application 
of known research and the initiation of new research studies but will 
also induce more dynamic and vital thinking about the curriculum. 

These categories for discussion are stated as follows: (1) The 
child's experiences in sharing, (2) The child's experiences in communi- 
cating with others. (3) The child's experiences in bodily activity. The 
method followed in developing the discussion in each area involves 
(1) defining the area, (2) giving commonly stated and accepted rea- 
sons for including it in the program of early childhood education, and 
(3) examining such reasons as that they may or may not be justified 
in the research literature. 





The welfare of any social group depends largely upon the willing- 
ness and ability of its members to share. To the extent that the mem- 
bers of the group have not learned to share, to be concerned about 
the welfare of others, to that extent is the group welfare endangered. 
That sharing is a learned process and one which is acquired slowly 
and by means of much experimentation is apparent to the keen ob- 
server of human behavior. Is it not, then, of the utmost importance 
that such learning begin early that it be a vital part of the curriculum 
of early childhood education? 

Kinds of Sharing. In general there are two kinds of sharing: (1) 
that involving the division among individuals of material or non- 
material things; and (2) that involving mutual participation in activi- 
ties or mutual use of things. 

Sharing of material things may range from the simplest, most 
concrete process of division of objects among several individuals 
present in a situation to the abstract process of self-denial by one 
person to the end that other individals not present in the immediate 
situation may have enough of whatever is being shared to live with 
some degree of comfort and enjoyment. The concrete, simple process 


is seen in the home or school where two or more children divide toys 
among themselves; the more complex, abstract process may be il- 
lustrated by an individual's limitation of his own consumption of 
bread so that other, distantly located, hungry people may have enough 
bread to maintain life. The same range in abstractness may be shown 
in the sharing of nomnaterial things. A relatively simple, concrete 
process takes place when an individual limits the length and number 
of his contributions to a conversation group so that others may be 
heard. This is a kind of sharing of time. More abstract is the sharing 
of responsibility for certain kinds of group behavior, which might 
be illustrated by the sharing of blame by American citizens for such 
social disintegration as war, race prejudice, or juvenile delinquency. 

In a somewhat different category are other sharing processes which, 
instead of involving a division of material or nonmaterial things, con- 
sist of mutual participation in activities or mutual use of things. Thus, 
we speak of sharing a house or of sharing in the work and play of 
the family and school groups. These experiences are as truly examples 
of sharing as are those of dividing things among individuals. How- 
ever, sharing is more than division, mutual use, and mutual participa- 
tion. There are certain common characteristics of such processes that, 
for the purposes of this discussion, define them as "sharing." 

Characteristics of Expediences in Sharing. First, they are initiated 
by an individual or individuals who are concerned with the welfare of 
the group. Second, all the individuals involved in the experience are 
interested in the welfare of each other and are sharing because they 
are convinced that the greatest happiness of each group member comes 
through sharing with others. These two characteristics of sharing ex- 
clude from this category experiences in which individuals are com- 
pelled by higher authority to divide, participate, or use mutually, 
whether or not they wish to do so. The wanting to share that is, 
the attitude of concern about the other individual's welfare is im- 
portant in true sharing. 

Third, in a sharing experience each individual feels satisfaction 
with the end result. True, his share may not be as large as he would 
like, but he derives satisfaction from the knowledge that, by making 
it smaller through sharing, he has been instrumental in increasing the 
happiness and satisfaction of others. "Giving up everything" in a 
show of generosity is not sharing if the person who has made the sac- 
rifice is left with a feeling of great deprivation. On the other hand, 
such sacrifice may be sharing if the individual feels real satisfaction 
because he has made others happy. In true sharing each person sees 


his share in the possession or use of materials or his degree of partici- 
pation as satisfactory in light of the whole-group situation. 

In summary, sharing may be defined as a process in which there 
is division of material or nonmaterial things, or mutual use of things, 
or mutual participation in group activities by persons interested in the 
welfare of each member of the group and willing to sacrifice personal 
gain to achieve that welfare. 


The Demands of the Social Group. Some of the earliest experiences 
of an individual require that he adjust his needs and wants to the 
needs and wants of other people. The infant, intent on satisfaction of 
his physiological needs, discovers rather early that his mother's time 
and attention must be shared with other family members. The pre- 
school child finds that he must confine his play activities and ma- 
terials to certain areas of the house l designated for his use if he is to 
live happily in a group where other members assert their rights for 
space and privacy. 

As the child grows older he is asked to share family finances, 
equipment, work, play, and planning. To the degree that the family 
is democratic in its structure and depends upon group decisions and 
plans, the child living within it experiences these many kinds of 

Further opportunities for sharing are present in the child's own 
social group. Here, in his contacts with others of the same age, he is 
called upon to share play materials. While in the family he learned 
property rights in regard to his possessions versus other family mem- 
bers' possessions, probably he had little experience in sharing with 
others the things he learned to call his own. As his place in the group 
becomes established, he shares in planning activities, in use of group- 
owned equipment, in organized games, and in other forms of group 

In the school group each child may be called upon to share the 
time and attention of an adult, school equipment, space, and planning 
for group activities. An individual child's school may give him many 
or few chances to share, depending upon the amount and kind of group 
activities carried on there. 

More and more the world community places upon individual citi- 
zens the responsibility of sharing. Today, with the great emphasis 
that is being put upon a unified world and the democratic way of 
life, the people of the world are being asked to do some of the ab- 


stract sharing described earlier. They are asked to share in the govern- 
ing of the world community; to share food with hungry peoples; to 
share scientific ideas and discoveries with the world of nations. So it 
becomes evident that in our culture today it is important that indi- 
viduals learn and practice sharing if they are to be successful group 

Failure To Learn May Result in Frustration to the Individual. 
The child enters his social group unequipped with the repertoire of re- 
sponses he needs to enable him to engage in successful social inter- 
change. His first attempts to make social contacts, and at the same 
time to meet his own needs and defend his own rights, are crude. He 
must learn, largely by trial and error and with more or less incidental 
help from experienced persons, which of his responses are likely to 
result in his acceptance by his associates and which will meet with 
their disapproval. If such a learning period is marked with many 
failures and only chance successes, it may result in frustration. The 
child may lose interest in initiating social contacts and become sub- 
missive to others; he may make more frequent use of force to gain 
his own ends with the probable result of ostracism by the social group 
and an increase in his own frustration. Neither of these results, if 
extreme, contributes to his integration with his social group. Conse- 
quently, the sooner he can build up a fund of usable social knowledge 
and develop attitudes which indicate his increasing awareness of other 
individuals and their needs, the sooner will he feel comfortable and 
secure in his relations with those individuals. 


Factors Basic to Learning To Share. Before the educator can 
proceed intelligently in planning a program in which young children 
may learn the sharing process, he must make some assumptions re- 
garding the factors basic to it. It has been pointed out earlier that one 
important characteristic of sharing is a sensitiveness to the needs and 
desires of others and a willingness to adjust one's own needs and. de- 
sires to them. Although there is almost no research to show how this 
consideration for others develops, there is some evidence of it in the 
observed behavior of young children. 

In her study of sympathetic responses of three- and four-year-old 
children, Murphy (19) found great individual differences in the 
amount of sympathy shown. One individual's responses varied in 
quality and quantity from one situation to another. Sympathetic re- 


sponses occurred much less frequently than expressions of aggression, 
but the investigator was able to say that children of the ages used in 
her study did show sympathy, did seem to have some ability to see 
another individual's point of view, and did respond in light of it. 

Further, if somewhat indirect, evidence of the existence and in- 
crease with age of consideration for others is noted in studies such as 
those of Green (7, 8) and Jersild and Markey (14), which show that 
social conflicts are less frequent and less violent in four-year-olds than 
in three-year-olds, while friendly responses are more frequent. 

It seems apparent that in our present culture children are develop- 
ing some of the social sensitiveness basic to learning to share. One 
might question, in light of the response of our present adult generation 
to the needs of other less fortunate peoples of the world, whether more 
emphasis might not be placed upon developing social sensitiveness 
than has been done in the past. Perhaps there is a real challenge for 
early childhood education in this area. 

In attempting to account for the great variation in an individual 
child's sympathetic responses Murphy states: 

The relation between the child's ego-status in the situation at the moment 
and his long-time drives appears to be the most important factor influencing 
variations in the child's behavior from one situation to another. Jn this re- 
spect the young child's behavior is like that of people at any age level; in- 
security makes either for egocentric, defensive behavior or for a specious 
solicitude which is no more desirable than the defensiveness. "Training" in 
social behavior at any age level is not likely to be sound when it is imposed 
upon the foundation of an insecure personality (19 : 188) . 

Further evidence in support of this hypothesis may be found in 
Lippitt's study (18) of the influence of democratic and authoritarian 
group atmospheres on the behavior of eleven-year-old boys organized 
into clubs of five members each. Resistance, expressions of hostility, 
demands for attention, competition, and hostile criticism were twice 
as frequent in the "autocratic" as in the "democratic" group. The 
chief difference between the group atmospheres was in the attempts 
of the leaders to create feelings of belonging to the group. The auto- 
cratic leader made all the decisions and rules and treated the boys in 
a somewhat impersonal manner, while the democratic leader estab- 
lished man-to-man relationships with the club members. Similar re- 
sults were obtained in another experiment with autocratic, demo- 
cratic, and laissez-faire leaders (17). 

Studies of the relation of parent-child and parent-parent relation- 
ships to child behavior indicate that, in general, the child who comes 


from a home atmosphere where such relationships are happy and 
wholesome is more likely to be co-operative and socially well ad* 
justed in his own age group than the child whose home life is fraught 
with tensions between him and his parents and between his parents 

From such research it is possible to conclude that an environment 
which provides affection, a sense of adequacy, and happy relationships 
between the people who live in it is conducive to a young child's suc- 
cessful adjustment to his own group. 

The Provision of Environment Conducive to Learning To Share. 
It would seem that the first responsibility of early childhood edu- 
cation is to create an environment where young children can feel se- 
cure and happy. After such an "emotional environment" is produced, 
the child is ready to learn the more specific social technique of shar- 
ing. The second responsibility of early childhood education is to intro- 
duce into the school environment physical and social factors con- 
ducive to the child's learning to share. In the nursery school, where 
the child enters his first social group made up of children with needs 
and desires identical with his own, there are innumerable opportuni- 
ties for "manipulating" the environment in such ways that sharing 
is easy to learn. Given the child's own emotional readiness to learn, 
and the environment conducive to learning, the further responsibility 
of early childhood education consists of helping him learn when to 
share and how to share. 

As the young child emerges from his home into the nursery school 
or kindergarten his sense of security may be threatened unless steps 
are taken to make the change from home to school as easy as pos- 
sible. Slater (21) found that twenty of a group of forty new entrants 
to a nursery school showed postural tensions, such as hunched shoul- 
ders and tense methods of locomotion, during the first weeks of school. 
Thirty-one exhibited tics, like nail-biting, twitching, and handling of 
various parts of the body; twenty-seven showed anxious expressions; 
twenty-three "watched dreamily." All of these evidences of tension 
and of insecurity decreased markedly within the first few weeks as 
the school situation became more familiar. The rapidity with which 
calm and security replaces fear and uneasiness probably depends rather 
heavily upon variable personality factors. 

Although research evidence is lacking, it seems safe to say that a 
sincerely friendly relationship between teacher and parents contributes 
markedly to a young child's feeling of security in the school situation. 
If he is convinced that his teacher is admired, sincerely liked, and is 


thought of as a friend by his parents and that these attitudes are re- 
ciprocated toward his parents by the teacher, he is helped to feel that 
home and school are co-operating agencies and that going to school 
is a comfortable and enjoyable experience. 

Studies of children's fears (9, 13) show that one cause of fear is 
strangeness of a situation or of a person. It appears logical to assume 
that a school with a "homelike atmosphere 7 ' will be more likely to 
contribute to a child's feeling of belonging there than one which is 
greatly different from the home. 

One of the most potent factors in the school situation is the 
teacher. The warm, responsive, sincerely sympathetic teacher is likely 
to produce in the children a sense of security which makes possible 
warm, responsive, sympathetic behavior within the group. Murphy 
(19) observed that in a preschool group where the teacher was notice- 
ably spontaneous, warm, and responsive to the children, there were 
many more sympathetic responses than there were in a group where 
the teacher tended to be "hard boiled" and unsympathetic toward 
children in distress. 

Thompson (22), in comparing the relative effectiveness of two 
types- of nursery-school educational programs upon the social and 
emotional development of children, found that children taught by a 
teacher who deliberately put forth an effort to develop warm friend- 
ship with them and who responded freely to their needs for informa- 
tion and help gave evidence of being more secure emotionally than 
children taught by a teacher who made little or no effort to work 
closely with individuals within the group and who participated as 
little as possible in the activities of the group. Children in the first 
group were more constructive when faced with failure, were more 
ascendant, participated more freely in group activities, had higher 
leadership scores, and showed fewer nervous habits than those in the 
second group. Administrators responsible for employing teachers of 
young children would do well to look for the warm, friendly, re- 
sponsive person who has the ability to make young children feel "at 
home" in her presence. 

A study by Jack (11) throws some light upon possible techniques 
to use in helping children develop a sense of adequacy and self-con- 
fidence in a nursery-school group. Briefly, her method consisted of 
training a group of nonascendant nursery-school children to be pro- 
ficient in certain activities which they might perform in the group. 
Along with their increase in skill seemed to come an increase in social 
poise and self-confidence as evidenced in increased ascendance. Later, 
Page (20) confirmed these results with even younger children. 


Further evidence that increased skill in certain activities may help 
to develop feelings of security was furnished by Holmes (10), who 
found that improved skill in meeting feared situations, such as going 
into a dark room and walking across high boards, resulted in loss of 
fear. Also, Keister (16) has shown that training in skills designed to 
increase a child's competence and his persistence in working at a diffi- 
cult task result in his overcoming "immature" types of behavior, such 
as asking for help, destructiveness, rationalizing, and emotional out- 

It is possible to find in studies of the social behavior of young 
children data which point out the relationship of specific environ- 
mental factors to that behavior. Although no studies known to this 
author deal directly with environmental factors related to sharing, 
there are some which deal with similar behavior. 

Several investigations indicate that the amount and kind of play 
space and equipment may be of importance in determining a child's 
behavior. Investigations of children's quarrels (5, 14, 15) and ag- 
gressive behavior (1) show that struggle for possessions is by far the 
most frequent cause of quarreling. These investigators, as well as 
Updegraff and Herbst (24), discovered that some kinds of play equip- 
ment and activity seem to contribute to quarreling while others do 
not. Murphy (19) and Jersild and Fite (12) noticed that children 
confined in a small play space equipped with relatively few play ma- 
terials did more quarreling and showed more unsympathetic behavior 
than children in a larger, better-equipped play space. Whether the 
greater number of conflicts in the small play space was due to the 
greater likelihood of physical contact, thus offering more opportunities 
for conflicts, or whether it was due to tension created in children who 
felt "closed in" was not determined. 

Green (7, 8) found differences in amounts of quarreling in various 
play activities within a nursery school. Sand play was the activity in 
which the most quarrels occurred, while bodily activity without ap- 
paratus was the least quarrelsome activity. One might ask whether the 
restricted space and the possible limited number of sand utensils and 
equipment were not the factors contributing to the greater amount of 
quarreling in the sandbox. If so, perhaps sand play should take place 
in a larger space than in the sandbox of the usual size, or perhaps 
there should be more than one sandbox. Also, there should be suf- 
ficient equipment to make sharing not too difficult for the young child. 

As a group, these studies imply that a spacious physical environ- 
ment, well equipped with play materials, is probably more conducive 


to sharing and positive social behavior than the small , meagerly 
equipped space. 

Most schools for children between the ages of two and six provide 
opportunities for the sharing of play materials, space, and adult at- 
tention. However, in few schools are such opportunities actually 
planned by the teacher; they simply exist as a result of a situation 
in which there are more individuals wanting things than there are 
things to be divided. It may be possible, through more careful plan- 
ning, to multiply and improve opportunities for sharing. 

Studies and incidental observations of teachers of young children 
impress the reader and observer with the number of times teachers 
interfere in situations where there is conflict over possessions and, 
instead of interpreting the situation in terms of the possibility and de- 
sirability of working out a way of sharing those possessions, simply 
apply the rule: "First come, first have." One might ask, "Is not the 
application of this rule an obstacle in the way of learning to share?" 
The present writer believes that it is, that an interpretation such as 
the following might help children learn the meaning of sharing, "Yes, 
you did have it first but Tom wants it too. And he is unhappy be- 
cause he doesn't have it. Now isn't there something we can do so that 
both of you can have fun?" 

Just as the rule, "First come, first have," which was applied in 
relation to play materials, may stand in the way of learning to share, 
so may the much-inforced rule, "Put away the materials you have 
used when you have finished." Perhaps this highly individualistic at- 
titude might well be replaced with this philosophy, "This room ifr 
which we play (or work) is our responsibility. All of us in the group 
can work together to put away things." This attitude, carried over 
into the family and other social groups, should result in increased co- 
operativeness in our society. 

There are many opportunities for sharing work in the young child's 
school. Is there any reason why he should not have chances to help 
such workers as the janitor, the cook, the housekeeper, or the teacher? 
Such helping experiences can be educational as well as emotionally 
satisfying. In a few short periods of observation in a four-year-old 
group the writer observed the following examples of shared work ex- 
periences: (1) Three boys painting a new sandbox just constructed 
by the carpenters; (2) on the following day, a group of four children 
shoveling sand from a wagon into the new sandbox; (3) three children 
cleaning and replenishing the birds' feeding shelf; (4) two girls scrub- 
bing the easels and washing the paint brushes; (5) five boys helping 


a student teacher carry cots upstairs; (6) a group of ten children 
preparing the soil and planting a garden; and (7) all the children who 
had eaten dinner carrying their soiled dishes to the kitchen to save 
the housekeeper some steps. Doubtless there are many other possi- 
bilities for shared work in every school group. Such sharing of work 
cannot help but be effective in developing a feeling of responsibility 
for the welfare of the group. 

One method that should be effective in teaching children to share 
is that of the teacher's sharing of experiences with them. Within the 
informal atmosphere of the young child's school there are countless 
activities which teachers and children can perform together. Litera- 
ture and music experiences are more enjoyable to both teachers and 
children when they are participated in by both. Probably there could 
be much more sharing of vigorous outdoor play activities than there 
is in the usual school. Why shouldn't a teacher feel free to swing, 
walk the balance board, or play tag? Rest-time can be shared to the 
benefit of both adult and children. Excursions, and group conversa- 
tion following them, are most enjoyed when everyone participates. 

Probably children could and should be given more opportunities 
to share in planning their own activities. Lippitt (18) found that 
when club leaders and club members planned their activities together 
the members were much more constructive than they were when lead- 
ers simply dictated directions to them. For the young preschool child 
this type of sharing may consist only of "planning" his play in rela- 
tion to what other children are doing; for the six-year-old it may con- 
sist of real group planning for projects which may last over a period 
of weeks* 


There is some possibility that schools for young children may de- 
pend too largely upon the child's own social group to do the teaching 
necessary in the area of social skills. When the common practice is 
that of grouping young children by chronological age, thus creating a 
group situation in which no one may have sufficient social maturity to 
be an example for others, one wozjders how much dependence can be 
placed upon the social group as a teacher. Is it possible that such 
grouping by chronological age is a deterrent to the learning of social 
skills? It is true that the group is a powerful influence on behavior, 
but probably much more direct help could be given by teachers than 
is given now. If one accepts the hypothesis that the earlier a young 
child can build up a fund of usable social techniques the sooner he will 


be a successful group member, the teacher has an important role in 
helping him to acquire these techniques. 

Such direct help given the two-year-old must be given with his 
needs and abilities in mind. His just-emerging concept of self, his 
just -developing sense of property rights, his short attention span are 
factors which the teacher must consider. Her interpretation of con- 
flict over possessions might well be this: "Yes, you did have it first, 
but Tom wants it too. Here is another one for him." Here the teacher 
has pointed out the important fact that Tom has needs and desires 
too. But she has made it possible for the first child to "share 7 * on his 
own level. A suggestion for taking turns or for dividing the material 
would have resulted in frustration to the two-year-old. His school 
environment should have within it sufficient space and equipment so 
that he finds sharing easy. His learning consists of finding that the 
materials, space, teacher attention, etc., within the nursery school are 
not all his. There are other children who want them too. The teacher 
can help him make this discovery by acting as an interpreter of social 

' The older nursery-school child, who has had group experience in 
which he has learned that other children have needs and desires similar 
to his own, can share on a "higher level" than the two-year-old. He 
is ready to accept adult interpretations which call upon him to take 
an active part in sharing. But still the teacher assumes much of the 
responsibility for the actual sharing process. For example, in a con- 
flict over possession of property, the teacher might make this interpre- 
tation: "There are ways to use a tricycle together. You could take 
turns one of you could ride on the seat and the other could stand 
up." Here the teacher is calling upon the child to make a decision as 
to how he will share material. However, she will not expect him to 
abide by the choice he makes without additional help from her. For 
example, she may have to help determine the length of a "turn." 

In general, the kindergarten child probably can initiate sharing 
if he has had a previous chance to learn in a group situation. That the 
five-year-old is still inclined to behave egoistically was indicated in 
a study by Wright (26) who compared the generosity of five-, eight-, 
eleven-year-olds, and adults. When given a choice between a desir- 
able and a nondesirable toy, the five-year-olds chose the good toy for 
themselves and gave the other child the less favored. Eight-year-olds 
were more generous than any of the other groups, adults included. 
They gave the better toy to the other child tod, in a situation where 
a number of play materials were used, they gave away most of them 


and kept few, if any, for themselves. The eleven-year-olds usually 
divided the toys equally between themselves and the other children 
but almost never gave away more than they kept. The investigator 
interpreted this apparent lessening of generosity with increase in age 
to mean that the eleven-year-old had learned the idea of fairness as 
well as of generosity, while the eight-year-old had learned much about 
generosity and little about fairness. 

This study indicates how generosity develops in our society when 
no specially directed teaching of sharing is done. Perhaps, with more 
direct teaching, the five-year-old could be as "generous" as the eight- 

A study by Chittenden (4) dealt with teaching four- and five-year- 
olds to use nonforceful techniques in settling their conflicts over 
possessions. Sharing was one of the nonforceful techniques. In a 
series of "doll play" situations where the dolls represented preschool 
children in conflict over the possession of toys the investigator and 
the child worked out nonforceful solutions resulting in satisfaction 
to both dolls. The "trained" children increased their use of non- 
forceful techniques in their own social group. However, the increase 
was not statistically significant. Boet (3) , in a later study, increased 
the length of the training period and effected a greater increase in the 
use of nonforceful techniques. 

These investigations show that it is possible to teach young children 
to interpret social situations and to behave in light of their interpreta- 
tions. The techniques used may have some value for teachers who 
wish to teach social techniques in a group situation. 


It is evident that before early childhood education can enrich the 
curriculum with opportunities for learning to share, further research 
is needed. At the present time there is a dearth of information about 
the development of the social technique of sharing, about the emotional 
and intellectual bases essential to the learning of sharing, and about 
the influence of curriculum content and teacher behavior upon such 
learning. Practically all of the research evidence cited by the present 
writer has been gleaned from investigations in which the chief con- 
cern was not the stage of the development of a sensitiveness to the 
needs and desires of others and the learning to respect those needs 
and desires but the observation of various categories of social be- 
havior, in some cases under rather well-controlled conditions but in 
most cases under conditions in which there was little or no control of 


environmental factors which might influence social behavior. There 
are many more unanswered than answered questions facing the edu- 
cator. Following are some of those unanswered questions which he 
has every right to ask of the research person before he can intelligently 
set up a learning environment: 

How important is the learning of sharing? Where is there evidence 
that there is more concern for group welfare, more social sensitive- 
ness, more sharing among adults who were exposed to a school cur- 
riculum designed to teach these things early in life than those who 
had no such planned learning experiences? 

What is the relationship between emotional and intellectual factors 
and learning to share? What feelings, what attitudes, what informa- 
tion are basic to a development of sensitiveness to the needs and de- 
sires of others? Again, can we produce evidence, convincing evidence, 
to show the relationship between this concern for others and the indi- 
vidual's own personal adjustment? 

What insights to the needs and desires of others can be expected 
of children at different stages of maturity? Can effective teaching 
produce these insights earlier than they might appear without such 

Since there is some evidence that teacher personality influences 
child behavior, just what are the personal qualifications that should 
be considered in choosing a teacher who will be effective in helping 
young children learn to share? 

What influence does the "grouping" of children have upon their 
learning to share? Can we produce evidence to show the differences 
between the sharing behavior of children in a homogeneous chrono- 
logical age group and those in a heterogeneous group? 

What kind of a physical environment will be most conducive to 
learning to share? How much space, what kinds and what amounts 
of equipment should be supplied? How should the physical environ- 
ment differ for children of various ages? 

Are the present "classic" techniques used by teachers of young 
children effective in teaching sensitiveness to the needs of others? 
Are we examining these techniques critically? Are we giving teachers 
concrete help in regard to techniques which are effective in teaching 
children to share? 

With these challenging questions needing to be answered, there 
cannot help but be motivation for the interested research worker. 
Likewise, his finding of some of the answers can be a real spur to 
the educator who is planning a rich curriculum for young children. 



1. APPBL, MADELEINE H. "Aggressive Behavior of Nursery-School Children and 
Adult Procedures in Dealing with Such Behavior," Journal of Experimental 
Education, XI (1942), 185-99. 

2. BARUCH, DOROTHY W. "A Study of Reported Tensions in Interparental Re- 
lationships as Coexistent with Behavior Adjustment in Young Children," 
Journal of Experimental Education, VI (1937), 187-204. 

3. BOET, JOHANNA. "A Further Study in the Modification of Assertive Behavior 
in Young Children." Unpublished Master's thesis, University of Iowa, 1943. 

4. CHETTENDEN, GERTRUDE E. An Experimental Study in Measuring and Modi- 
fying Assertive Behavior in Young Children. Monographs of the Society for 
Research in Child Development, Vol. VEE, No. 1. Washington: Society for 
Research in Child Development, 1942. 

5. DAWB, HELEN C, "An Analysis of Two Hundred Quarrels of Preschool Chil- 
dren," Child Development, V (1939), 139-57. 

6. GRANT, EVA I. "The Effect of Certain Factors in the Home Environment 
upon Child Behavior," Studies in Parent Education, University of Iowa 
Studies, Studies in Child Welfare, XV, (1939), 61-94. 

7. GREEN, EUSB H. "Friendships and Quarrels among Preschool Children," 
Child Development, W (1933), 237-52. 

& . "Group Play and Quarreling among Preschool Children," Child JDe- 

velopment, IV (1933), 302-7. 
9. HAOMAN, R. R. "A Study of Fears of Children of Preschool Age," Journal 

of Experimental Education, I (1932), 110-30. 

10. HOLMES, FRANCES B. "An Experimental Investigation of a Method of Over- 
coming Children's Fears," Child Development, VII (193d), 6-30. 

11. JACK, Lois M. "An Experimental Study of Ascendant Behavior in Preschool 
Children," (in) Jack, Lois M.; Manwell, Elizabeth M.; Mengert, Ida G.; 
and Others. Behavior of the Preschool Child, University of Iowa Studies, 
Studies in Child Welfare, XE[, No. 2, 1936. 

12. JEHSILD, ARTHUR T., and FTTB, MABT D. "Children's Social Adjustments in 
Nursery School," Journal of Experimental Education, VI (1937), 161-66. 

13. JEHSILD, AETHUE T., and HOLMES, FRANCES B., Children's Fears, Child De- 
velopment Monographs, No. 20. New York: Teachers College, Columbia 
University, 1936. 

14. JBBSILD, ARTHUR T., and MARKET, FRANCES B., Conflict* between Preschool 
Children. Child Development Monographs, No. 21. New York: Teachers 
College, Columbia University, 1935. 

15. JERSTLI>, ABTHTTR T., and MEMS, MARGARET F. r "Nursery School and Social 
Behavior," Childhood Education, XVH (1941), 354-59. 

16. KEISTER, MART E. "The Behavior of Young Children in Failure," (in) Upde* 
graft, Ruth; Keister, Mary E.; Heiliger, Louise; and Others, Stud*** tn Pro- 
school Education, University of Iowa Studies, Studies in Child Welfare, XIV, 


17. LBWIN, KUBT; LIPPITT, RONALD; and WHITE, RALPH. "Patterns of Aggressive 
Behavior in Experimentally Created 'Social Climates,' " Journal of Social 
Psychology, X (1939), 271-99. 

18. LIPPITT, HONAI-D. An Experimental Study of the Effect of Democratic and 
Authoritarian Group Atmospheres. University of Iowa Studies, Studies in 
Child Welfare, XVI t No. 3, 1940. 

19. MTJHPHT, Lois B. Social Behavior and Personality. New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1937. 

20. PAGE, MABJORIE L. The Modification of Ascendant Behavior in Preschool 
Children. University of Iowa Studies, Studies in Child Welfare, XII, No. 2, 

21. SLATER, E, H. Types, Levels , and Irregularities of Response to a Nursery- 
School Situation of Forty Children Observed with Special Reference to the 
Home Environment. Studies from the Center for Research in Child Health 
and Development, Harvard University, IX, No. 2, 1939. 

22. THOMPSON, GEORGE G. "Social and Emotional Development of Preschool 
Children under Two Types of Education Program," Psychological Mono- 
graphs, LVI (1944), 29. 

23. TRUMBO, CHAELENE. "Relation of Parent Behavior to Assertive Behavior of 
Children." Unpublished Master's thesis, Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, 

24. UPDEGBAFF, RUTH, and HERBST, EDITH K. "An Experimental Study of the 
Social Behavior Stimulated in Young Children by Certain Play Materials/ 1 
Journal of Genetic Psychology, XLH (1933), 372-91. 

25. WITMER, HELEN. "The Influence of Parental Attitudes on the Social Ad- 
justment of the Individual," American Sociological Review, II (1937), 756-63. 

26. WEIGHT, B. A. "Altruism in Children and the Perceived Conduct of Others," 
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, XXXVH (1942), 218-33, 



The child's experiences in communication involve learning to under- 
stand what is said to him and learning to express his own ideas and 
feelings verbally in a manner that is understood, that produces ef- 
fects in the behavior of others, and that is culturally approved. The 
teacher bases many decisions affecting the curriculum and the guid- 
ance of individual children upon her observation of their skill and 
progress in communication. Four major reasons for providing and 


directing experiences in communication as part of the curriculum 
seem obvious: (1) Language, as the most common medium of com- 
munication, is necessary for adapting one's self to and for con- 
trolling one's environment. (2) Language is one of the most important 
mediums of learning. (3) There is emotional value in being able to ex- 
press one's self clearly and effectively ; and conversely, there is frustra- 
tion if one is deficient in this ability. (4) Language habits and per- 
sonal adjustment seem interrelated. 

Research findings from a number of areas in child development 
are of interest to those desirous of enhancing the child's experiences 
in communication. The material is so extensive that it would be im- 
possible to include here a comprehensive summary of the literature. 
Hence, in the following discussion the references cited are illustrative 
rather than all-inclusive. The four major reasons for including ex- 
periences in communication in the curriculum will serve as focal points 
for the organization of this section. 


Since we assume that greater facility in communication will re- 
sult in better adaptation to and control of the environment, one of 
the teacher's responsibilities is to see that children progress toward 
better use of communicative skills. In order to fulfil that responsi- 
bility one must be able to judge a child's status. It is impossible to 
work closely with young children and not guide them with reference 
to some standard of expectancy. If that standard is erroneous, ob- 
viously the guidance resulting therefrom will be inexpert, even harm- 
ful. In such manner, one might judge as deviant, and treat accord- 
ingly, a child who is well within the normal range. 

How can one judge a child's skill in communication adequately cwd 
accurately f There seems to be no single measure of communicative 
skill that compares, in ease of administration, with the measures of 
intellectual ability that are available. However, there is extensive re- 
search evidence of developmental progress in such indices as size and 
difficulty level of vocabulary, sentence length and complexity, gram- 
matical errors, pronunciation, enunciation, number and type of ques- 
tions, and fluency (13, 19, 23, 26, 34, 47, 48, 49, 53) . Texts in child 
psychology (36) provide excellent summaries of the voluminous litera- 
ture on the development of language. 

How can deficiencies be overcome and desirable skills cdt&inedf 
If a child seems deficient in communicative skills, the teacher will 


need not only to understand the possible causes so that unfavorable 
conditions can be corrected in so far as possible but also to provide 
conditions and experiences that will be helpful in overcoming the 
child's difficulties. There is some danger that the child who lacks 
facility in communication may be judged as mentally dull without 
sufficient investigation of other factors that might be responsible for 
his inadequacies. While it is true that superior mental ability is gen- 
erally accompanied by superior language development, inferiority in 
language may or may not be a sign of inferior mental ability (13 7 19, 

It seems possible, although there is no direct evidence, that boys 
and girls may differ in the encouragement and stimulation they re- 
ceive in the area of communication. We do know from the evidence on 
developmental progress that boys are frequently found inferior to 
girls in language skills, particularly at the younger ages, Perhaps we 
subtly encourage the girls' interest because of their greater facility. 
Perhaps boys are more often criticized and become discouraged be- 
cause of their inadequacies. Even if we do not know what proportion 
of this sex difference in skill can be ascribed to inherent or to environ- 
mental factors, it would seem appropriate to try to encourage the boys' 
interest, to adjust our standards of expectancy adequately, and to pro- 
vide them with the best possible stimulation. 

It is well known that poor hearing may cause difficulties in under- 
standing and in speaking, yet it is not uncommon to find children 
whose hearing difficulties have not been diagnosed after several years 
of attending school. Twins, children with a history of frequent or 
severe illness, and those who are bilingual or who come from homes 
in which a foreign language is spoken are frequently retarded in 
language skills. Children from homes of inferior background and 
those who live or have lived in institutions also tend to be below 
average in language development. Such children as these will be in 
need of sympathetic consideration; special efforts must be made to 
insure their understanding and to provide them with experiences that 
will contribute to language facility (1, 13, 19, 23, 24, 27, 34, 46, 52, 55) . 

Research which reveals factors associated with superior language 
ability as well as studies which have actually applied such factors 
experimentally suggest ways to raise the level of performance in com- 
munication (10, 12, 18, 20, 40, 42). 

Since lack of association with adults may be in part responsible 
for language deficiencies, it seems desirable for teachers to spend 
considerable time chatting with children and encouraging them to ex- 


press themselves. The older philosophy that the teacher should re- 
main aloof and speak only when spoken to or when necessary is, hap- 
pily, giving way to an awareness of the importance and benefit of 
friendly talks between teacher and child. In situations where there 
are many children with language inadequacies, it would be wise to in- 
crease the number of teachers so that there would be more, opportunity 
for teacher-child contact. 

One should consider whether the children have access to enough 
books and if there is a wide variety of subject matter in the books that 
are available. Do the children really have time to look at the books? 
Not infrequently one finds that looking at books is chiefly a stop-gap 
activity engaged in only when, for example, waiting for the rest of 
the group to finish putting toys away. The writer remembers a kinder- 
garten where children were made to look at books whenever they mis- 
behaved during some other activity. 

Increasing the variety of play materials, particularly constructive 
ones, may help the child to increase his vocabulary. Also it may be 
questioned that we are offering sufficient opportunity for the improve- 
ment of motor skills. Section iv of this chapter supports the point that 
there is a positive relation between motor facility and the amount of 
vocalization and physical activity. We might make more scrapbooks, 
selecting the pictures to insure wide variety of subject, and spend more 
time looking at and discussing those pictures. This would be of value 
not only for increasing the child's vocabulary and his knowledge but 
also for improving his ability to express himself. Similar benefits could 
result from enrichment of the child's experiences through trips and 
excursions. We need not limit ourselves to momentous visits to the 
fire station, the railroad depot, or the farm. The school building itself, 
the store on the corner, or the vacant lot in the next block may pro- 
vide interesting things to see and to talk about. 

The teacher might give thought to the level of stimulation she 
provides through her own conversation. In his study of family con- 
versations Bossard (7) found that some families used eight hundred 
times as many different words as others, although the total number 
of words recorded was almost the same. Perhaps similar differences 
may exist in school environments. Teachers should deliberately try 
to introduce new subjects of conversation. 

How much should children talk? We speak of encouraging the 
child to express himself as being a desirable objective, but we really 
have no evidence to determine how much children should talk. We 
they differ, an4 we depend upon common sense mainly to judge 


whether a child talks too little or too much. Some writers (e.g. 28) 
believe the first two years in public school may handicap language 
development by overemphasizing silence, by providing fewer oppor- 
tunities for children to talk freely, by developing fear of speaking 
before groups, by unduly stressing improvement in the quality of a 
child's remarks. The mechanics of reading may be emphasized at the 
expense of ease in oral expression. There is evidence that families 
differ in the amount of talking done by both adults and children. No 
doubt schools differ too, although there are no data on the degree of 
such differences or the effects such differences might have. 

If one feels that a child does not talk enough in a group situation, 
we have some evidence that being near the teacher in the front of any 
group, especially if the group is small, may stimulate him to talk more 
freely (16, 56) . It might be well to point out here that we should dis- 
tinguish between mere loquacity and real facility. Some of the best- 
informed children may talk the least in group situations (2, 33) . We 
cannot conclude that possession of information is a deterrent to talk- 
ing, but we should attend to the possibility that some children, for 
one reason or another, may be refraining from offering worth-while 
contributions to a discussion. It is known, too, that the less skilful 
child cannot be expected to succeed in reporting events no longer 
present to the senses. He can be helped by encouraging him to talk 
about the "here and now." Baruch (4) offers good suggestions for en- 
couraging children to express themselves spontaneously and creatively. 

There is a possibility that we may be hurrying children toward 
expressing ideas verbally before they are ready, at least in some 
situations. We know that children talk more during quarrels as they 
grow older and depend more upon argument and less on physical force 
(15, 31) . It is possible that teachers may overemphasize their disap- 
proval of physical force when spats occur among very young chil- 
dren. Perhaps they are depriving the child who is deficient in language 
of his only means of self-defense. 


Many of the experiences that seem of value in promoting greater 
skill in communication seem also to promote learning and the higher 
thought processes. That ignorance of the meaning of words would 
interfere with reasoning and would hamper comprehension is evident 
from research which points out that words implement thinking and 
aid in problem-solving (29, 43). 

How can experiences in coMrnvwimtion facilitate a child's learn- 


ngf Some experimental studies have demonstrated that language 
ibility and related mental skills can be improved by emphasizing 
ypes of materials and activities that give firsthand experiences with 
he concrete objects for which words are symbols (10, 12, 18, 20, 40, 
t2). The experimental programs described include excursions, pic- 
ures, stories, games, and various play materials. As an incentive to 
nterest and learning, the children were encouraged to notice similari- 
aes and differences, to make choices and decisions, to verbalize the 
solutions to problems, to draw conclusions, to ask questions, and to 
express themselves freely to an interested adult. Such training re- 
iulted in gratifying improvement in vocabulary, articulation, back- 
;round of information, reading readiness, problem-solving, amount 
>f talking and question-asking, and ability to make comments that 
ndicated generalizations, interpretations, and perception of relation- 
ships. Further studies of this nature with programs of longer duration 
night provide us with more evidence on ways to further a child's 

The wide variety of informational books now available for chil- 
Iren may also contribute to increasing their knowledge, although there 
seems no direct research evidence to evaluate the specific influence of 
iuch books. To rely upon them too extensively or to substitute them 
or direct experience would seem unwise since we know that children 
nay derive many hazy impressions from books (30). 

Perhaps we should make more definite and deliberate our attempts 
o teach concepts such as those of time, number, space, shape, etc. It 
s possible that words which lend themselves to demonstration by 
iction may be grasped better if the child participates in the action, 
or we have some evidence (39) that muscular activity is an aid to 
loncept formation. We need more evidence on how the younger chil- 
[ren can be taught these important concepts. 

Any experiences that clarify a child's understanding of words 
hould facilitate learning to read, for we know that the more vague 
L word is to a child the more difficult it is for him to remember it 
P 54) . The skilled teacher will try to see that the children are thor- 
ughly familiar with the meaning of the words and ideas that they are 
o meet in their reading. Harrison (28) offers practical suggestions 
or insuring reading readiness. 

It is worth while to furnish experiences which encourage the asking 
f questions. Since the majority of the questions of young children are 
timulated by the immediate environment (14) there is further argu- 
aent for enriching the curriculum and providing the child with new 


and different experiences. We have evidence that children remeniber 
better the aspects of an event about which they have asked the most 
questions (22). Their questions, then, may very well influence their 
learning. It is, therefore, desirable to direct observation and discus- 
sion and to choose books, stories, and games in line with the different 
kinds of questions that are asked as children grow older. Younger 
children ask "what" and "where" questions more frequently; "why," 
"how," and "when" questions seem to increase with age (48). This 
suggests changes in interests and carries implications for the kind of 
experiences that may be offered children. The fact that question- 
asking seems to decrease after the preschool years suggests, however, 
that the child's spontaneous questions may not present an entirely re- 
liable measure of his curiosity or interests (21, 48) , The decrease may 
result -not from increasing knowledge but from the child's impression 
that questions are regarded only as an indication of ignorance or that 
they are not welcomed by adults. There is evidence that some families 
tend to discourage questioning (7). It would be interesting to know 
just what kind of behavior is so discouraging, to what extent teachers 
differ in this respect, and the effects of such differences upon the 
child's curiosity and learning. 

It is generally agreed that it is wise to give reasons and explanations 
to children when making requests, giving directions, or disciplining 
them so that they may better understand why certain types of be- 
havior are desirable and others are undesirable. It is believed that the 
kind of discipline administered to a child, and the kind of explanation 
he is given, may have a bearing upon his ability to generalize, to draw 
conclusions, to weigh pros and cons; in short, upon his ability to 
reason, although there is no research evidence bearing directly upon 
such a relationship. It has been found that teachers differ in the kind 
of praise they use. Some tend to use rather vague and general terms 
(e.g., "That's nice"), whereas others more often mention specifically 
and clearly the aspect of the child's behavior which they consider good 
(17). It has been shown that some families indulge more frequently 
than others in evaluations and criticisms that are emotional rather 
than logical (7) . Surveys of the techniques used by teachers in guid- 
ing children, the differences in the level of difficulty of their vocabulary, 
the amount of reasons and explanatory phrases, the amount of rational, 
explicit, and logical explanation might reveal patterns that are re- 
flected in a child's growth of understanding or in his ability to reason 
and to think logically. 





One of the most important aspects of a child's experiences in com- 
munication may be the emotional satisfactions or dissatisfactions he 
receives as a result of his language abilities. 

How can the teacher help a child to derive emotional satisfaction 
from his experiences in communication? It may be that the example 
a child hears at home has more influence upon the way he speaks than 
the teaching he receives at school and that teachers are vainly hold- 
ing goals too high and being overly critical, particularly in the case 
of children from inferior homes (25, 36) . There is evidence that over- 
attention to correctness will stifle spontaneity (45). Disapproval of 
the child's way of talking may destroy his self-confidence. He may 
view the teacher's attitude as a criticism of his family and friends. 
The resulting breakdown of the child's security and of his relations 
with the teacher would more than offset any gain from improvement 
in nicety of expression. It may be helpful to praise children when their 
speech reveals such desirable characteristics as imagination, rhythm, 
or sensitivity to sounds. 

Those who work with bilingual children need to be aware of the 
fact that where one finds emotional maladjustment in connection with 
bilingualism much of the blame rests upon culture conflict (1) . It is 
important that there be no taboos attached to either language. The 
child should not be teased about his or his parents' accent, for this 
might cause him to be ashamed of his foreign background. The 
teacher should be sympathetic and understanding rather than in- 
tolerant and prejudiced toward minority nationalities. Arsenian (1) 
believes bilingualism will increase with greater world unity and with 
democratic philosophy, allowing minority nations to continue to use 
their own languages. Perhaps the teaching of more than one language 
may some day become a part of the curriculum in early childhood edu- 
cation. There is evidence that such teaching can take place effectively 
as early as in the kindergarten (11), and there is general agreement 
that languages can best be learned at an early age. 

Bossaxd (7) noted that families of the upper socioeconomic level 
tend to nag children about errors in grammar and pronunciation. He 
suggested that the noticeable tension over such errors might affect 
the child's feeling of personal security. The writer remembers a child 
from the South, new to nursery school, who commented, "Where I 
come from we say f tom-ahto," not 'tomato'." Her remark seems an 


obvious revelation of a feeling of unhappy strangeness in an environ- 
ment where even the common tomato was different. 

Perhaps teachers stress errors in grammar and enunciation unduly. 
It is well to realize that some common errors in grammar, for example, 
using "hitted" instead of "hit," result from the irregularities of our 
language. These will probably drop out as the child matures, provided 
he hears the correct form regularly. Many errors in enunciation, too, 
may be the result of immaturity since correctness is more closely re- 
lated to chronological than to mental age. One study (53) found that 
in children at the age of five years most of the sounds were given cor- 
rectly, although some were still difficult; at three years of age almost 
half of the consonant blends and approximately one-third of the con- 
sonant elements were incorrect. It would seem likely that many 
adults are expecting the child to make certain sounds correctly before 
he is mature enough to do so. No doubt educators could secure from 
speech clinicians suggestions for helping a child improve in articula- 
tion. Pictures designed to elicit words containing difficult sounds might 
be collected, and teacher and child could spend time talking about the 
objects depicted. It seems agreed, however, that formal drill upon 
speech sounds has no place in the nursery-school program (26). Cer- 
tainly there is no place for direct correction at early ages if it is done 
so frequently or with such a manner of criticism that it makes the child 
overly conscious of his speech or makes him feel inferior. 

Those trained in child development are familiar with the fact that 
children will sometimes revert to "baby talk" when they are under- 
going emotionally-trying situations. Such speech should not be con- 
fused with inability to produce the proper sounds, and its correction 
depends upon removal of the circumstances producing the emotional 

It is well known that the individual who stutters experiences con- 
siderable emotional tension as a result of his handicap. Research of- 
fers some suggestions which may be helpful in avoiding the develop- 
ment of such speech defects. We need to realize the normalcy of re- 
petition in the speech of young children. Studies by Johnson and his 
students (32) reveal that 15 to 25 per cent of the words used by young 
children figure in some kind of repetition. Such hesitancy seems to 
occur more frequently when the child is talking about something con- 
cerning which he has insufficient knowledge, when his vocabulary lacks 
the necessary words, when the listener does not respond readily, when 
he is talking in the face of competition, and when he is experiencing 
shame and guilt, particularly if this be the result of disapproval of 


his speaking rights or ability. It certainly behooves adults to think 
of how often the young child experiences such situations and to take 
steps to reduce their frequency. That we have failed to do so is 
suggested by the report (6) that the most frequent age for onset of 
stuttering is two-and-a-half years, with the next peak in frequency 
of onset at six years when the child enters the primary grades. That 
we might succeed in reducing stuttering is suggested by Johnson's 
study (32) indicating that three out of four "stuttering" children re- 
gained normal speech after the clinician had succeeded in changing 
parental policy from that of overt disapproval of the child's speech 
habits and toward the fostering of friendly relations with the child. 
Further evidence in support of such a policy is derived from sociolog- 
ical studies of speech habits (8) which find that among nonliterate so- 
cieties stuttering is extremely rare; in fact, some languages do not even 
have a word for it. The investigators point out that in these nonliterate 
groups there is a minimum of penalty for inaccuracies and lack of 
facility in communication, that standards for child behavior are less 
strict than in our society where there are more authoritarian and 
punitive types of interaction between adults and children. 

It seems possible that language which adults regard as undesir- 
able or silly is more frustrating to them than to the children. The 
child's fondness for experimenting with combinations of sounds is a 
normal phase of development, and while it may be disturbing to adults 
at times, it may be unwise to squelch such behavior indiscriminately. 
It undoubtedly appeals to the child's sense of humor, and it may 
actually benefit him by increasing his ability to distinguish and to 
make various sound combinations. Such playing with words is re- 
lated to a developing interest in rhyme and rhythm in literature. 

If teachers are disturbed by children who express hostility toward 
them by calling names, they may well be reassured by the knowledge 
that this behavior is not uncommonly prompted by confusion rathei 
than by attitude. Attempts to suppress the language because it is 
"bad" usually fail to eliminate it and may even increase the child'* 
aggressive tendencies. On the other hand, treatment that allows mor< 
freedom to express hostility, if directed toward deeper understandinj 
of the whole problem of aggression, results in better child adjustmen 
and in better teacher adjustment as well (5) . 

Teachers may help children to derive emotional satisfaction froE 
their experiences in communication through increasing the attentio 
paid to desirable ways of expression. Mention has been made of th 
fact that children should be accorded more praise when their speec 


reveals imagination, rhythm, or sensitivity to sounds. A young child's 
expressions are often colorful and picturesque. The use of such 
creative language may be prolonged and fostered if adults will do 
more to show their appreciation and to expose children to examples 
of imaginative and original language. Bamch's (4) suggestions for 
encouraging creative expression, as well as research studies (10, 12, 
18, 20, 40, 42) which indicate that the quality of children's speech can 
be improved by direct stimulation, support this hypothesis. Teachers 
can make greater effort to enrich their own speech. All teachers are 
familiar with the facility with which a child will pick up and repeat 
a carelessly used bit of slang. Surely he can, with equal facility and 
enjoyment, emulate a model that is rich in imagery, fresh and original 
in expression. 


Discussion of emotional values resulting from the way in which 
one speaks has already indicated the close relation between skills in 
communication and personal adjustment. It seems obvious that the 
child who differs from his peers in language skills may have difficulty 
in getting along with other children. The child who is below average 
will probably need more teacher intervention in social situations, but 
he surely needs the kinds of experiences and teaching that will im- 
prove those very skills. The child who is advanced beyond his peers 
may also have difficulty. The writer thinks of the kindergarten chil- 
dren who walked off and left the schoolmate who had begun a conver- 
sation with "Isn't it interesting about no more O.PA. and all the prices 
going up?" Teachers are familiar with the fact that some children 
can talk easily to adults but cannot talk effectively with other chil- 
dren, but it is difficult to determine how one may help such children. 

Children's speech has been used as an index of social consciousness 
and of the type of thinking they do. The research stimulated by 
Piaget (41) is too extensive to be reviewed here, but it might well be 
pointed out that a high proportion of egocentric remarks in a child 
may be only a sign of immaturity or a lack of socializing experiences. 
Egocentricity should not be confused with egotism. 

A child's questions may indicate personal needs as well as intel- 
lectual curiosity. It has been noted that requests for approval in- 
crease with age (14). In the search for an explanation of this trend, 
analysis of language as a clue to personality traits and characteristics 
seems a worth-while approach, for it is certainly reasonable that a 
person's speech would reveal habitual ways of thinking, behaving, 


feeling, and reacting. That language and speech disorders may result 
in and, in turn, stem from personality maladjustment is suggested in 
writings on general semantics (32). Major aberrations of personality 
appear to be accompanied by certain speech patterns (3) , and San- 
ford (44) suggests that there is need for more diagnostic use of the 
normal individual's speech habits and characteristics. A number of 
possible inquiries are suggested. Are teachers who use many limiting 
and qualifying words less dogmatic? May the ratio between the total 
number of words and the number of different words spoken serve as a 
measure of degree of frustration or the stimulation value of a situation 
(32) ? Is the verb/adjective ratio related to emotional stability with 
an increase in the relative number of verbs accompanied by an in- 
crease in instability (9) ? 

In any analysis of communication there is difficulty in considering 
such accompaniments as psychomotor tensions, gestures, and facial 
expression as well as variation in tone of voice, in pitch, and in force. 
There is no question that such embellishments carry and affect mean- 
ing. Anyone who is interested in analysis of the techniques adults use 
in guiding children will find it difficult, if not impossible, to weigh 
such factors objectively and adequately. "Hand me that book" can 
be a harsh command, a pleasant and friendly request, or a whining 
complaint, depending upon emphasis, tone of voice, and facial ex- 

One finds agreement that teachers of young children should have 
pleasant voices. Perhaps there is an association between breathy, 
whiny voices and tendencies toward neuroticism and low dominance 
(38). Bossard (7) found family patterns of gesture and suggested that 
gestures might be a barometer of nervous output. He also pointed out 
that the general tonal quality varied from family to family. In some 
homes conversation resembled a continuous snarling, in others a quiet 
symphony. Schools, too, may vary in the relative number of "snarl" 
versus "purr" words. 

It would be interesting to know the effect upon the child of ex- 
posure to such different communicative patterns and to compare chil- 
dren and teachers upon bases such as those described in the previous 
paragraphs. The possibilities are intriguing, and there is need for 
more research on the consistency and the meaning of such speech 


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The human body, as it develops, becomes increasingly capable of 
making a great variety of movements, each important in carrying 
on life and life's functions. Some of them can be performed before 
birth, some at birth, and the rest only after the gradual maturation 
period of childhood and even of adolescence. Movements developing 
during childhood may be classified into the following groups: 

1. Movements which are universal and vital to the maintenance 
of life itself, most of which are automatic but which, even if they may 
be brought under conscious control, contribute best to bodily well- 
being if not restrained in any way. Under this heading would fall 
such movements as respiration, digestion, blinking, shivering and 
other reflex activity and, to some extent, such processes as swallow- 
ing and the elimination of waste matter. 

2. Movements which may be termed universal and essential to life 
but which can be and should be gradually brought under the voluntary 
control of the individual as he matures, such as the movements used 
in chewing, swallowing food, and feeding one's self; those which con- 
trol the elimination of solid and liquid waste material from the body ; 
those used in smiling, in making gestures and sounds, and in locating 
sounds; those used to focus the eyes; and the early movements of the 
body that finally make locomotion possible. 

3* Movements that, as the body matures, cause those changes in 


posture that make it possible for a child to use his environment. As 
sitting posture becomes stabilized he is able to lean back and forth 
and to move his hands freely. Attempts to grasp objects and to move 
the body toward more distant objects follow. Creeping and crawling 
lead to the complicated movements demanded by erect carriage in 
standing and walking. 

A child's body is so built that during his waking hours it is natural 
for him to move freely. His energy, released in response to a drive 
to adjust to his world, tends to try to make it also adjust to him. As his 
body develops, and if his environment favors his acts, he becomes 
more and more capable of performing bodily skills. The period be- 
tween babyhood and the usual school years is mainly occupied with 
the introduction and foundation practice of many of these skills, as 
may be discovered by observing the disparity in muscular achieve- 
ments of a two- and a six-year-old playing together. 

Since this discussion cannot consider all movements of which the 
child's body is capable, it confines itself to (a) movements primarily 
for the purpose of locomotion and for the utilization of energy, which 
are, for the most part, spontaneous and which express the child's 
desire for overt action in order to reach an objective or to manipulate 
his environment; (6) movements which have come to have social 
significance, because of their utility or because, whether instinctive 
or learned, they become expressive of a wish to carry out actions 
in harmony with the plans and purposes of others or in accordance 
with the rules of a common game; (c) movements dictated by the 
usages of the child's cultural milieu, the learning and practice of 
which brings the child into conformity with the customs of his family 
and his society. 


Parents and teachers of young children generally agree in their 
desire to include in their plans for children various experiences which 
encourage muscular activity. Most adults also agree that a child's 
skill in bodily activity has value to him as an individual for at least 
six reasons: (1) to insure present physical well-being, movement 
being necessary for muscle development and full utilization of body 
powers, and to continue development of such powers and to prevent 
their regression; (2) to complete the dynamic cycle of his physical 
needs, diet, rest, and exercise; (3) to satisfy his fundamental desire 
for movement and joy therein, and thus to contribute to mental 
health, since frustration may result in emotional tension within him; 


(4) to bring him success and to contribute to his feeling of personal 
worth and achievement as well as to give satisfaction to him as a 
person; (5) to place him among the group of his fellows at school, 
in his neighborhood, and with his brothers and sisters at home; (6) to 
win adult approval by exhibiting learned skills. 

To judge the merit of these six commonly accepted reasons for 
the inclusion of bodily activities among the educational opportunities 
provided for young children, one needs to know the existing conclu- 
sions of scientific research , not only in the fields of child develop- 
ment and education but also in medicine, biology, anthropology, and 
the social sciences. Those who have the responsibility for planning 
a child's environment should be aware of what is so far known about 
the factors that influence his growth in bodily skills as well as of the 
many areas in which factual information is lacking. 

Considering Body Growth as Foundation for Activity. Knowledge 
of the growth of the human body, for which biological research has 
already laid a foundation, provides a basis for judging whether a 
child's environment is contributing to his present well-being and is 
likely to further his future development. But such knowledge is diffi- 
cult to gain. While it is easy to measure growth in size, it is difficult 
to judge the inner changes that take place during maturation, which 
are the more important phenomena. Two-thirds of the children studied 
at the Fels Institute (42) showed variability in height, weight, and 
ossification curves for given ages. Reynolds (38) warned that the ex- 
ternal dimensions of a child's leg were deceptive since the distribution 
of fat and muscle varied from child to child. Radiographs of school chil- 
dren studied by House (19) disclosed that 37 per cent of the children 
had skeletal ages less than those expected from their chronological ages, 
and that 9 per cent of them had skeletal ages greater than expected. 
Children perform observable acts which Todd (47) called "maturity 
indicators," many of which are body movements, such as a child's 
first voluntary attempt to pull himself to a standing position or, when 
older, to skip on alternate feet. At first appearance, all such move- 
ments are indicative of inner readiness and are often heralded by a 
drive toward some new activity. Parents and teachers have unique 
opportunity to watch for such signs. 

Biological research would prescribe understanding the physical 
growth of a particular child as requisite knowledge for his teacher. 
It finds little evidence of a "group need" and, therefore, suggests that 
plans for children's activity to be truly educative must, provide for 
individual differences in initial capacities, rates of growth, attitudes, 


and achievements, Sontag and Newbery (41) found variation in 
fetal movements and suggested that these early individual differences 
might be expected to continue. Gesell (14), Shirley (40), and Bayley 
(1) found variation in rate of maturation of babies and that it had in- 
fluence on the child's motor ability. Todd (47) warned that growth de- 
pends also upon general physical fitness and that repeated or continued 
ill health, malnutrition, or unhygienic environmental conditions may 
cause profound disturbance of pattern. 

Balance of Activity with Diet and Rest. The problem of nu- 
trition is of concern to all persons responsible for the welfare of chil- 
dren. For guidance, they may refer to modern studies on the subject 
which offer important implications regarding the relation of food, 

meal hours, and the like, to a child's activity. "Optimum nutrition 

may be defined as the sum of those processes which together enable 
development to proceed along lines of one's inherited physique" (52). 
Children in periods of rapid growth suffer most from malnourishment. 
Listlessness, inactivity, chronic fatigue, and lack of muscular tone 
may, therefore, indicate lack of essential foods (28, 46). Attention 
should also be given to the effect of exercise upon respiration, upon 
chemical changes in the blood, and upon excretion of waste material. 
Mild exercise is found stimulating to these body processes; rapid, 
heavy, or prolonged activity is exhausting. At play a child utilizes 
his food rapidly, throws off waste material through perspiration, 
breathes deeply to obtain more oxygen, and, consequently, soon 
shows signs of fatigue, if added fuel in the form of food or rest or 
change of activity is not secured. A balanced program of diet, rest, 
and activity is strongly supported by physiological research. 

Steinhaus (45), studying the origin and effect of fatigue, found 
poorly co-ordinated movements to make heavy demands on the body 
and to lead to muscular tensions often made evident in emotional 
behavior, instability of response, irritability, and aggressiveness, 
Duffy (9) found evidence of fatigue, susceptibility to colds, and ex- 
treme sensitivity to all stimulation in children whose muscular ten- 
sion is high. Since children have little reserve of strength and slight 
resistance to fatigue, they tire quickly. They do not recognize their 
own symptoms of exhaustion, nor do they understand that usually 
they can relieve their distress by change of activity. The adults 
responsible for them have the duty to prevent overfatigue and to 
seek conditions which will remedy it if it arises. 

The Learning Experience in Bodily Activity. Teachers have long 
recognized the laws of learning, as applied to intellectual tasks and to 


the importance of conditions conducive to achievement. But they 
have not always considered these same principles in regard to such 
motor skills as sitting, standing, and walking. Much of a child's con- 
centrated effort during the early years is in perfecting his methods 
of locomotion. Heilebrandt and Franseen (17) , in reporting a study 
of the vertical stance of man, emphasize the fact that the change 
from quadrupedal to bipedal posture has imposed such difficulties that 
the human body is not yet completely adjusted to erect stance and 
that it must still make slight but frequent movements to keep erect 
against the force of gravitation. Early body patterns are relatively 
constant in life and, therefore, a child's habitual posture takes on im- 
portance. General good posture may be acquired through frequent 
and uninhibited change of position and effective learning of many 
modes of movement. Steindler (44) described walking as a rhythmic 
play of loss and recovery of equilibrium accomplished by muscular 
action over and above the force necessary for propulsion. When one 
fully understands body mechanics he is not surprised that it takes a 
child over three years from the time of his first step to perfect the 
art of walking. A child does not use mature methods of locomotion 
satisfactorily until, on the average, fifty months of age, and in this 
skill, as in other body activities, individual differences are marked 
(1, 40, 50). McGraw (31), who controlled the amount of exercise of 
a pair of twins in such activities as climbing, roller skating, tricycling, 
and jumping, concluded that it was possible to hasten progress when 
practice was offered at the outset of a behavior pattern. She found 
that an eager attitude and a confident approach to a skill hastened 
its mastery and lessened the tenseness and fatigue associated with 
learning. Forgetting followed a lapse in training, but renewed prac- 
tice re-established former standards* Dammann (8), in a study of 
babies' climbing, found support for these conclusions and those of 
Shirley (40) and Bayley (1) as regards definite stages in early learn- 
ing. Some studies (5, 16, 23) have used natural play situations to 
record spontaneous and unrestricted activities of children. 

Prom study of observational data, categories have been set up 
and children's achievement rated. There is essential agreement as to 
the stages in achieving mastery of an activity. They may be sum- 
marized thus: a child first withdraws from an opportunity; then 
hesitates, though he may be attentive; then attempts with help; 
uses diffuse and awkward movements; practises; co-ordinates move- 
ments into a definite pattern; practises more and more until poise 
and accuracy result. His joy in such activity persists, provided his 


environment offers free scope for inventiveness in its use. Onset of 
interest in an activity is often sudden and accompanied by a drive 
that is impelling. Such an attitude should be respected and every 
opportunity given to allow learning to proceed at its own rate (12). 

A number of authors (6, 7, 16, 21, 49, 50) have studied the bodily 
achievements of preschool and young children. Their results indicate 
that as a child grows older he can be expected to be more capable, 
show more precision, and be more daring and more inventive in use 
of equipment; that as his age increases, more and more abilities come 
within the range of his developing powers; that there is little sig- 
nificant sex difference in achievement at these ages. The more out- 
standing findings, upon which a new emphasis is based, are that there 
is a wide range of ability in any age group of young children, if re- 
sults be computed in such achievement scores as height of climb, 
length of jump, or other numerical measure and in quality of per- 
formance where differences range from tentative approach to masterly 
skill; but also, that attitude, mood, and personality traits influence 
achievement, a sturdy confidence predisposing a child to good learn- 
ing in a wide range of activities. In all studies there is emphasis on 
the need for body preparedness for learning a certain act before it is 
to be undertaken and for opportunity and incentive in providing 
means to capitalize on a stage of maturity when it appears. These 
findings have real significance for teachers. In general, one may 
expect greater achievement as children grow older, but there will 
be need to provide for a wide range of ability in every group. An 
environment, wide in opportunity for learning new movements and 
adequate in its material provision, with freedom for the child to 
experiment and with coaching and encouragement where needed, makes 
provision for results most satisfying to the child. 

Joy in his achievement signifies a child's satisfaction in over- 
coming the difficulties that impede his progress. His fundamental 
desire for movement leads him to attempt a new activity and, while 
he is in the process of learning to conquer its intricacies, he feels 
frustration. Achievement by resolving the conflict contributes to men- 
tal health, since prolonged frustration may result in emotional tension, 

Success in Bodily Activity, a Factor in Personality Development. 
Achievement is an individual matter; a little child works for himself 
alone, using his body to express his innermost drives and to develop 
his individual skills. Frank (12) urges adult acceptance of individual 
difference and of the fact that a child cannot do otherwise than follow 
his own pattern. So much is this true that a child will have a habitual 


way of carrying his body while running, climbing, or throwing a ball, 
A given child will vary in achievement in different activities and from 
time to time even in the same activity. One child may be versatile in 
choice of activity while another may attempt only a few movements 
and even entirely neglect to try others (16). The fleet of foot, the 
agile and successful climber, the jumper, and the ball player may be 
found in the same family and, with a fair degree of certainty, in the 
same group with those who seldom succeed in such acts even with 

The effect of bodily success on a child's personality is striking; 
his satisfaction is expressed in language and laughter and in his imme- 
diate ease in the situation. Failure is hard to bear, and repeated failure 
is crushing to a sensitive, developing personality. Plant (37) suggests 
that facility in motor expression is the surest way to develop a whole- 
some orientation to the world. Encouraging a child to accept or to 
overcome his individual physical limitations or difficulties is an im- 
portant, if not the chief, guidance duty of an interested adult. In the 
past, however, teachers have usually taken less notice of a child's 
choice of activities and of his physical abilities than of other types 
of his achievement, such as language, or of other intellectual and social 
development. Studies now in progress of individual children from 
birth to maturity should result in better understanding of the place of 
bodily activity in child development. 

Social Value of Success in Bodily Activity. Skill in bodily activity 
has deep social significance. It is to be ranked first among factors that 
lead to a child's acceptance among his peers (4). Approval raises for 
him the value of an activity and leads him to put forth effort to 
reach acceptable standards and to compete successfully with others 
3, 20, 35). The earliest play is often solitary, though by proximity 
with others it may already be social. Later a child may strive with 
another for a treasured piece of equipment or, for fleeting periods, he 
may seek him as a partner. Physical contacts, both hostile and 
friendly, are also likely responses (20). Still later, joy from move- 
ments made in unison leads to co-operative enterprise, culminating in 
the important notion that playmates enhance an activity and widen 
its range. Gestures, singing, laughter, and conversation then become 
an abundant accompaniment of bodily activity. It is when a child's 
energy is not entirely absorbed in overcoming difficulties and in ac- 
quiring skill that he begins to "overflow" into speech, first as a 
monologue and later as true conversation (3). No one overhearing 
and watching a group of children can doubt the social significance of 


their activity. Interplay of co-operation and conflict is, however, 
affected by such factors as the size of the group in relation to space 
and amount of equipment provided, age range of the children, per- 
sonality of dominant children, and the amount of teacher direction 

Cultural Value of Success in Bodily Activity. Race and family 
may influence a ehilH's preference for activities. Acceptance and en- 
couragement lead to practice in the chosen activity, resulting in 
mastery, while a child is even sometimes ostracized for failure to 
participate or to achieve. Frank (11) states that every society and 
every generation uses children for its own purposes; Mead (30) found 
sex taboos among primitive tribes and the behavior roles of boys and 
girls strictly worked out. In most countries boys are expected to be 
strong and assertive and to carry on large-muscle activities, while 
girls are commended for more sedate patterns of play. Differentiation 
of activity between boys and girls is still mainly a social discrimina- 
tion (27), but psychologists would recommend that, at home and 
school, boy and girl should have freedom and encouragement to carry 
on a large range of activities and so lay a wide foundation for a life 
of enjoyable activity (34). 

Not only have sex differences been found to be far less important 
than individual patterns but racial differences also are small. Young 
white and Negro children are closely alike in speed of manual move- 
ment (25), eye-hand co-ordination (33), and in various motor achieve- 
ments (39) . Authors of South African studies in physical fitness, motor 
performance, and mechanical aptitude of school children were im- 
pressed by the similarity of achievement, liking, and attitude of 
English, Chinese, Indian, Bantu, and Negro children {22, 32) . Teach- 
ers, therefore, need expect little, if any, racial difference in the bodily 
achievement of young children whose incentives and opportunities are 
fairly uniform. 

It will be seen from this short review of available research in the 
field that there have been formulated some principles that can guide 
teachers in making plans for the physical activity of young children. 
There are, however, some questions of vital interest to educators 
which, as yet, research has only partially answered. Could children 
learn skills earlier than it is customary to expect them? What 
amount of time at school should be devoted to active physical play? 
How much guidance and training are necessary in the best interests 
of children? Should a child be encouraged to use all of his body, 
or are certain types of movement more important than others? What 
of the age factor in the selection of suitable play equipment? 



Satisfaction of the Child's Desire JOT Activity. A child's delight 
in freedom of movement demands a safe environment and one so 
equipped that it is possible for him to try out his powers. He does not 
need to be taught to play. He seeks to understand his environment 
and the only way he can do that is to experiment with it. Difficulties 
that he meets are, to him, problems to be solved by his strength and 
intelligence. His interest in play seldom flags, for in spite of repeated 
failure he tends to continue until he wins his immediate goal. At 
home he actively investigates his familiar surroundings from baby- 
hood on. He meets frustrations, since brothers and sisters do not 
always conform to his wishes and parents have a way of checking 
his activities; such treatment he usually can endure because he feels 
secure and safe in the love of his family. However, when he first 
enters school, he comes into an environment where, while there is 
more to explore, he feels threatened by its strangeness and is apt to 
withdraw fan inherent caution which has protected the young of all 
species since time began). He suffers from the absence of familiar 
people. He is wary of new adults who make demands on him and 
of children who share his right to use equipment. Consequently, his 
natural playfulness is often checked, and he needs time and encourage- 
ment to explore for himself until he overcomes his sense of unfa- 
miliarity. When he accepts the presence of other children and is ac- 
cepted by them, and when his playfulness returns, the new experience 
may be for him a period of striking personality growth. It is im- 
portant that all educators be aware of this transition and that they 
give sympathetic support while it lasts. From this time on, he de- 
mands much from his school environment. The ingenuity and resource- 
fulness of teachers will be taxed to provide full scope for all his many 

It is evident that some children learn skills earlier than it is cus- 
tomary to expect. No definitely planned research on the question has 
yet been undertaken for young school children, although work with 
babies (8, 31) has led to results which encourage an attempt to provide 
an experimentally controlled program of intensified opportunity and 
training in unusual activities. Moreover, there is no specific informa- 
tion to aid a teacher in deciding how much of a child's day should be 
devoted to active physical play. A child needs to acquire skill, and 
in periods of practice it is important that he have ample opportunity 
to reach a satisfying goal. It is natural that he utilize energy in ac- 


tivities of his own choosing, and it is desirable that these activities 
should be based in large part on active physical play, preferably in 
the open air. The first requirement for any nursery school, kinder- 
garten, or first grade is to meet the needs for children's individual 
growth and physical activity. 

Play Interests for Which a Program Should Provide. A child's 
range of activities widens with age and maturation. At age two a 
child is all "set to go" and is already climbing steps, enjoying slides, 
and attempting to ride a tricycle, though he is still cautious and needs 
help to prevent accidents and to insure success. As he advances 
through ages three and four he shows increasing ability to take on 
new activities while he still practices the old. Many of these familiar 
ways of performing are utilized in newer methods of locomotion and 
in getting himself from one place to another by climbing, jumping, 
using vehicles, pushing, and pulling (16, 23). Later, boys and girls, 
alike, begin to add to their repertoire those activities that have a 
distinct relation to group life among their peers and those which 
tend to emulate children in older groups. They eagerly learn to hop 
and to skip and will attempt ball throwing, bouncing, and catching, 
though the wide age range noticeable in those choosing these activities 
indicates the intricate posture movements which these activities re- 
quire and, in the case of ball play, the advanced co-ordination of eye 
and hand. At six, children talk of baseball and boxing, they jump 
rope and practice roller skating. They select balls, ropes, and marbles 
as play materials. These choices coincide with intense interest in games 
of chasing, running, dodging, and the like (10) . They put much stress 
on keeping rules, which are often of their own making, and they 
imitate with great enjoyment gymnastic events witnessed in a parade 
or a circus. 

Left to themselves, some children choose a variety of activities in- 
volving a wide use of the body, while others emphasize one type of 
activity more than another (16) . 

For a child whose choice is limited, teachers of experience tend to 
favor direct guidance offered in the form of suggestion to encourage 
broadening the field of activity. So far, available educational -re- 
search has produced little, if any, data concerning the effectiveness of 
actual guidance or coaching. Biological research points to the fact that 
a child's body is built to enable him to carry on varied movements 
all of which are important in physical development and should be 
undertaken with , equal emphasis. Traditional teachers have favored 
children's "quiet" activities and have restricted the use of the larger 


muscles. During the school year many children are denied sufficient 
activity because of long hours indoors. Such restrictions are con- 
trary to research findings, as ample use of all muscle groups is held 
to be a foundation for a healthy life of varied activity. 

Choice oj Equipment To Meet Children's Requirements. Studies 
in the effectiveness of various sorts of equipment are much needed. 
A child's choice of activity is a teacher's sure guide, for as an interest 
develops he naturally seeks out equipment to satisfy it. The motor 
achievement of children of different ages in a variety of activities 
shows that as they master the equipment it may lose its appeal unless 
they can see in it the possibility of dramatic uses, in which case the 
addition of makeshift material is often more important than new 
equipment. A child's inventiveness may, however, encounter an un- 
stimulating environment, lack of space for activity, or dullness in 
standard equipment, indoors and out. His imagination may find little 
on which to feed, and his ability may not be challenged. He may early 
conquer the usual heights provided for climbing and outgrow the size 
of tricycles provided. Equipment may be defective, so poor in quality 
that it is unsatisfactory for his purpose, or so meager in quantity that 
he, as one of a group, may not get the practice he craves. 

Nursery schools and kindergartens which might have opportunity 
to experiment and to provide new facilities have, like other institu- 
tions, tended to become stereotyped ; in the first school grades meager- 
ness of equipment may be said to be the rule. A survey of the newer, 
nonresearch literature suggests the following criteria for choice of 
equipment: the interest and joy in activity it offers; the attention 
span any piece evokes; the versatility of its uses; the amount of 
"stunting" and dramatic play it permits, as well as its contribution 
to problem-solving and artistic pursuits. Emphasis for city children 
may well be put on more country-type, homelike, and natural play 
places and on equipment chosen or constructed to suit a particular 
family or school group, while for country children the reverse may be 
needed. Teachers in other countries will want to consider the particular 
needs arising from situations in their own lands and from the natural 
resources and opportunities at their disposal 

It is evident that, to improve the quality of provisions for bodily 
activity in early childhood, further recommendations stemming from 
research are needed. Studies in which children are given opportunity 
for accelerated training and practice in a wide range of activities 
would throw light on the possibility and advisability of acquiring 
these at earlier or later ages than are now accepted. Motion pictures 


as bases of a scale for scoring motor learning would provide more 
valid means of checking and comparing than is now possible. Studies 
of equipment are sorely needed to contribute information relative to 
effectiveness for various purposes; attention should be given to 
evaluating unusual, informal, and natural equipment rather than 
standard tj'pes. If skilled teachers with the acumen of social psy- 
chologists could study teacher guidance to learn its proper place and 
amount with individuals and in group activity, our guidance should 
be improved. Finally, the continuation of observations to further 
knowledge of the relation of bodily activity to a child's mental health 
and personality development would yield greatly needed specific 


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In conclusion, it should again be pointed out that three aspects of 
the child's experiencing discussed in this chapter tap only a limited 
part of the research literature which is available and significant to 
to the curriculum. On the other hand, these areas clearly illustrate 
how difficult it is to cite with assurance scientific justification for 
some of our common assumptions; this is due to the lack of investiga- 
tions having a curriculum orientation and to the scarcity of studies 
lending themselves to such interpretation. There are, however, nu- 
merous findings which are rich in suggestion for modification of the 
school environment. 

It is easy to state what should be done in integrating the curriculum 
and research; it is much more difficult to do it. In retrospect, the 
authors realistically acknowledge the pull of the traditional approach 
that of summarizing what research studies there are and ignoring 
what might be a detailed report of nonexisting studies. We are still 
far from the goal of one or more systematic educational philosophies 
evaluated by research. The experience of preparing this material 
has also emphasised how much more available for interpretation is 
"child development" literature than material not so collected and 
not so directly focussed upon the child.' 

Throughout these three areas there is considerable evidence that the 
child's success in his activities and the outcome of his efforts are 
directly related to 1 his developing personality. This is not simply a 
matter of the child's success or failure regardless of the nature of the 
experience but, instead, there is implied the additional factor of the 
extent of the child's emotional involvement. Knowing that young 
children respond wholeheartedly and with complete absorption to any 
part of the environment which interests them, the educat6r is chal- 


lenged, first, to be conscious of that environment and its construc- 
tive possibilities; second, to be aware of the degree of the child's 
motivation and participation; and third, to be alert to the nature of 
his performance and his fellows' reaction to it. 

Throughout this chapter there is threaded the evidence of inter- 
relationships of behavior and of total environmental effects. That these 
relationships greatly complicate the problems of the research worker 
is well recognized ; but neither he nor the educator is thereby relieved 
of the responsibility of formulating articulate and definite educational 
philosophies as a structure for study. 



Instructor, Teachers Collage, Columbia University 
New York, New York 


Education Consultant 
Bank Street Schools 
New York, New York 


The war years, opening up to many parents new possibilities for 
the education of young children, saw an increasing demand for the 
extension of school services downward to three-, four-, and five-year- 
old children. Evidence of the degree to which educational service for 
children under six years has become a definite issue throughout the 
United States can be seen in the report of an inquiry concerning the 
present status of child-care centers, nursery schools, and kindergartens 
in American cities. Educators in about half of the states represented 
were reported in favor of nursery schools as a part of the public school 
system; school boards in 77.9 per cent of the cities favored kinder- 
gartens; and school boards in 25.1 per cent of the cities favored 
nursery schools. 1 These figures are not overwhelmingly favorable, 
but they seem to indicate a growing concern for school services for 
very young children. 

What All Teachers Should Be 

In a single, compelling sentence, a bulletin of the National Edu- 
cation Association gives what might well be taken as the broad, in- 

1 "Status of Child-Care Centers, Nursery Schools, and Kindergartens in 33 
States and Territories and in 203 School Systems in Citiee over 30,000 in Popu- 
lation," Educational Research Service, Circular No. 8, 1946. Washington: Amer- 
ican Association of School Administrators and Research Division of the National 
Education Association. 



elusive goal toward which education would shape its procedures: 
"Education must continue to be synonymous with opportunity for 
the common man." 2 If this goal is accepted, then sensitivity to the 
needs of the common man, faith in his potentialities, and determination 
that he shall have opportunity for development are the first qualifi- 
cations we would seek in all teachers, regardless of the age level at 
which they are to teach. 

Such a teacher is world-minded. He is interested in the funda- 
mental problems that humanity is facing. He realizes that this is no 
time to immerse himself in his own personal affairs to the exclusion 
of his obligations as a citizen. He is not weakly neutral on important 
issues but informs himself as best he can and, in the light of his knowl- 
edge, takes his stand. 

Respect for personality, the essence of democracy, is his guiding 
principle in human relations. He recognizes the common bond of our 
humanity and knows that the likenesses far outweigh the differences 
among men. He assumes as a major responsibility, in whatever situ- 
ation he may be, that no child because of racial, social, or economic 
status shall be deprived of opportunity. 

Imbued with the scientific spirit, he approaches the problems of 
living with scientific techniques. He develops skill in defining prob- 
lems, in collecting and organizing data, and in drawing conclusions. 
Above all, he acts upon his findings. 

There is no teacher type. There is no list of traits which, added up, 
produce the good teacher. There is no particular personality type 
which is better than another as a teacher. A great variety of person- 
alities is needed in the teaching profession. For teachers are not born; 
they are made. They are made by experiences, by hard work, by the 
development of convictions, and through the guidance of others who 
are, themselves, true teachers. 

Additional Requirements for Teachers of Young Children 

It is usually assumed that teachers of young children will be 
women, probably in recognition of the mother-substitute role which 
teachers of young children have to assume, at least part of the time. 
Observation of the reaction of young children to the few men they 
do encounter in nursery school and kindergarten, be they principals, 
doctors, psychologists, workmen, or fathers, would indicate that many 

1 Proposals for Public Education in Postwar America. Research Bulletin of 
the National Education Association, Vol. "X"XTT, No. 2. Washington: Research 
Division of the National Education Association, 1941. 


men have highly desirable contributions to make to young children. 
It may well be that a thorough analysis of present-day male and 
female roles in American society will clearly establish the need for 
more men in early childhood education. In any event, custom, only 
slightly dented by the invasion of a few men, still demands that we 
refer to the teacher of young children as "she." There are, however, 
certain personal traits which are important in relation to teaching 
service at this level. 

Physical Stamina, and Poise. To teach young children requires a 
tremendous amount of purely physical stamina. Granted that no good 
program for children of any age now envisions the teacher as a sitter, 
it is obvious that with children under six years the teacher crosses 
the room dozens of times a day, constantly stoops and bends, moves 
furniture and equipment to suit changing activities, and, in addition, 
frequently works in rooms and buildings ill-adapted to the needs of 
the children. 

To teach young children also requires a tremendous amount of 
emotional stamina. This is something more than mere control or 
patience* It is that positive quality which enables a teacher to hold 
steady the boxes which the two-year-old has dumped out for the 
fourth time; to provide a lap for the three-year-old whose world has 
just been threatened by a new sister; to find other outlets for the 
aggressive four-year-old who knocks down the blocks of the most 
defenseless child in the group; to accept the decision of five-year-olds 
that, today, all of the housekeeping toys shall be transferred to the 
book corner to do all this and still be able to laugh and have fun 
with youngsters. It is this quality which helps her to maintain a per- 
spective on the home situations with which she is confronted. Be- 
cause she is dealing with the parents of young children, she has per- 
haps more hope of seeing changes in understanding than if she were 
working with parents of older children. On the other hand, the con- 
cern of parents for their young children places the teacher in a most 
vulnerable spot. The parent can accept a relationship between teacher 
and child which seems to complement the home, but anything which 
can be interpreted as supplantation will naturally be suspected. 

At the present time it seems generally agreed that the teacher 
under forty or forty-five is better able to stand the strain of working 
with young children. So far no one seems to have dealt very realis- 
tically with what significance this may have for the careers of teachers 
now being trained. 

World-mmdedness. The good teacher of young children, like all 


other good teachers, must be world-minded. She will recognize that 
her fundamental task is to develop the kind of human relationships 
in the classroom which will help children to grow into people who can 
deal adequately with world problems later. Surely she has no right 
to burden young children with problems which are beyond their ability 
to understand. Nevertheless, children under six will bring such prob- 
lems to school with them. The end of the war may bring to an end 
the "shooting" of "Nazis and Japs." Will we now see a revival of 
"cops and robbers/ 7 or will the ack-ack guns be turned on Negroes, 
Jews, and Italians? Is it enough for the teacher to see that there are 
pictures and stories of children, who, though they differ in color and 
nationality from those of her group, have essentially the same inter- 
ests? Or is she obligated to see to it that the school in which she 
works practices no discrimination against teachers, maintenance 
workers, or children? 

Understanding a/ Human Development. The teacher of young 
children must have a thorough understanding of growth and develop- 
ment. As Gesell and Ilg have indicated: "Our culture has arrived at 
that stage of sophistication and discernment that it can no longer 
carry on in the field of child care without the aids of modern science." 3 
Perhaps no other field in education has been as closely tied to research 
as has the nursery school which in this country originated as a 
laboratory for the study of normal children. 4 In this tradition it has 
become customary to expect the teacher of young children to be well 
informed in research on child growth and development. It is prob- 
ably fair to say that this has also had some limiting effects. The 
subjects of much of the research, particularly in the early days, were 
children from the more privileged homes. Teachers who worked with 
children from different circumstances could not always apply the 
findings. Concentration of much work with children in the years two 
through four, coupled with an emphasis on age-level differences, 
hampered some 'teachers in viewing the continuity of growth. Appli- 
cation of the findings of anthropology, sociology, and psychiatry to 
the understanding of young children has been much more recent. 

The tendency of research to stop short either at age five when the 
child entered kindergarten or at six when he entered first grade seems 
to be reflected in much of the teaching of five-year-olds now going on. 

* Arnold Gesell and Frances L. Hg, Infant and Chald in the Culture of Today, 
p. 289-90. New York: Harper & Bros,, 1943. 

4 Catherine Landieth, Education of the Young Child, p. 7. New York: John 
"Wiley & Sons, Inc., 19*2. 


Too frequently, teachers who have been trained with emphasis pri- 
marily on "nursery school" are prone to underemphasize the power 
and abilities of the five-year-old. His reaching out for new experience 
tends to upset the tranquillity of the nursery school. On the other 
hand, teachers whose preparation has been for elementary school, 
including kindergarten, too frequently tend to consider age five only 
as a reading-readiness period. Granted that the five-year-old may 
have a compelling interest in the direction of books, language, num- 
bers, and letters, there is surely no good reason why all of his school 
life should be made to revolve around it. Nor does there seem to be 
any good reason why he should be denied all opportunity to follow 
such an interest, along with the many others he has. 

With this in mind, one might well add to the requisites of a teacher 
of young children that, as part of her understanding of human develop- 
ment, she must be alert to the processes involved in the acquisition of 
the skills which are demanded of children in a reading culture such 
as ours. 


To ascertain the number of teachers in the United States now 
working with children under six years and to evaluate their training 
is difficult indeed. An examination of the varying situations in which 
teachers of young children are employed will give some indication of 
the present picture. 

Nursery-School Teachers 

Some of those who can be called "nursery -school teachers" work 
in research centers and demonstration schools connected with colleges. 
It can be assumed that these people will have at least the Bachelor's 
degree and a considerable amount of training in child development. 
Next- come the nursery-school teachers in private schools. According 
to the Educational Policies Commission, in 1936 there were 285 private 
nursery schools, operated largely for a wealthy clientele. 5 Unfortun- 
ately, except where registration of such schools is required (one state, 
as of December, 1945) ,* there is no guarantee that teachers are really 
qualified to work with young children. Some of the problems relating 

5 Educational Policies Commission, Educational Services for Young Children, 
p. 14. Washington : Educational Policies Commission of the National Education 
Association, 1945. 

'/few*., p. 46, 


to teacher personnel in the private institution can be gained from the 
experience of the day-care unit of New York City. 7 

Another group of teachers work in philanthropic institutions such 
as day nurseries, social settlements, orphanages, and hospitals. Some 
of these programs are almost entirely custodial, but others are staffed 
by teachers qualified to provide good educational services. 

Programs, such as the W.P.A. nursery schools which numbered 
1,650 in 1936 and the Lanham nursery schools which numbered 2,000 
in 1945, 8 must also be taken into consideration. Many teachers, 
originally trained in other areas, served in these schools, found the 
work most congenial, and may now identify themselves as "nursery- 
school teachers." Where the supervision was adequate and where 
sufficient in-service training was given, many of these people un- 
doubtedly may now be professionally able. 9 

Kindergarten Teachers 

Another group of teachers of young children are those who work 
in public school kindergartens. The Educational Policies Commission 
estimates that 25 per cent of the five-year-olds have the services of a 
kindergarten. 10 The backgrounds of these teachers may be estimated 
from a consideration of the certification requirements for kinder- 
garten teachers. Nine states provide certification for kindergarten 
teachers, usually including primary teachers of Grades I to III. In 
five states, three of which do not provide any special certification for 
kindergarten teachers, the requirements for professional courses em- 
phasize child growth or human development. 11 The amount of col- 
lege preparation required to teach in the elementary schools varies 
widely. Nineteen states require four years of training beyond high 
school; four states require three years of training of college grade; 
fourteen states require two years of training beyond high school; nine 

T Leona Baumgartner and Others, "The Day Care of Little Children in a 
Big City," p. 33. New York: Child Welfare League of America, May, 1946, 

'Educational Policies Commission, op. cit., p. 14. 

"For a description of such on-the-job training of teachers see, Eleanor Beach 
and Carl H. Kumpf, "Teacher Development in Nursery School," School Life 
XXVm (December, 1945), 24, 30. 

10 Educational Policies Commission, op. tit., p. 15. 

n R. C. Woellner and M. A. Wood, Requirements for Certification cf Teach- 
ers and Administrators for Elementary Schools, Secondary Schools, Junior Col- 
lege, 1946-Jff, pp. 2-25. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946 (Mimeo- 
graphed, eleventh edition). 


states require one year of training beyond high school; and two states 
require less than one year of training beyond high school. 12 

This picture of inadequate preparation of many of those who are 
already employed is further complicated by the present over-all 
teacher shortage and by the increasing demand for services for young 

Emergency Certificates 

While strides have been made during the present century in raising 
significantly the qualifications for teaching young children, so many 
emergency certificates have been issued during the war years that, 
in spite of high certification standards, schools have suffered from a 
very serious lowering, in actual practice, of teaching standards. In 
many areas it is a question not of choice of whom to employ but of 
ferreting out anyone who is willing to teach. In 1944-45 one in every 
ten teachers in the United States taught on a substandard emergency 
certificate as against one in two hundred in 1941-42. 13 

Enrolment in Teachers* Colleges 

Nor is the picture for the future encouraging. If there were a 
group of sturdy, young teachers to look forward to within the next 
few years after they have completed their preservice preparation in 
teachers' colleges, one could be more hopeful. But at the present 
moment there is no overcrowding of the teachers' colleges comparable 
to that of other professional and technical colleges, liberal-arts col- 
leges, and universities. While enrolment figures of teachers' colleges 
for 1945-46 are not available, common observation indicates no up- 
swing great enough to offset the steadily diminishing enrolment dur- 
ing the war years, an enrolment which in October, 1944, as based on 
returns from 141 teachers' colleges and normal schools, had shrunk 
to 53 per cent below the enrolment for 1941-42. 14 Lewis Ward 
Humphrey, secretary of the committee on appointments of teachers 
at the University of Illinois, predicts a period of five to ten years 
before the supply of properly prepared teachers for elementary and 
high schools equals the demand. He bases his prediction on three con- 
ditions: that two-thirds of the teachers who left the profession for 

*D. M. Blyler, "Certification of Elementary-School Teachers in the United 
States," Elementary School Journal, XLV (June, 1945), 578-89. 

** Leaders' Letter No. 30, January 11, 1945, National Education Association. 
** Leaders' Letters, op, efc. 


other work will not return to teaching; that the shortage that has 
been increasing for the past three years cannot be overcome quickly; 
that the number of teachers in training during the past three years is 
far below the prewar level and that it takes four to five years to train 
a teacher. 15 

Effects of Increasing Birthrate 

Had the downward trend in the birthrate which was characteristic 
of the present century continued, the imbalance between supply and 
demand in the teaching field might gradually have decreased. But it 
is predicted that the upward spurt of the birthrate in the late 1930's 
and in the 1940's will increase the number of children between five 
and fourteen years of age by about two and a half millions between 
1945 and 1955 and that the greater part of this increase will take 
place in the areas least able to finance adequate educational facili- 
ties. 16 Unless the situation changes, it looks as if we are facing a 
decade in which there will be more children of elementary-school age 
to be taught by fewer and less-qualified teachers. 

Demand for All-Day Care of Children 

The demand for teachers, particularly for children under six, has 
also been increased by the need for all-day care of children of work- 
ing mothers. In New York City alone and it was not designated as 
a defense area there were 18,325 children under six years of age who 
were enrolled in day-care centers during the calendar year 1945. The 
present tendency among women to combine remunerative work with 
homemaking, added to the growing realization of the benefits to 
children under six of being with companions of their own age, indi- 
cates a need in the immediate future for many more teachers who are 
prepared to work with nursery-school children. Recent state legis- 
lation reflects the trend between 1942-45: 

Seventeen states lowered admission age to public schools below six. 
Fourteen gave permissive legislation to establish nursery schools. 
Ten gave permission to use local school funds for nursery schools. 
Ten authorized state funds to be used for kindergartens. 
Ten authorized state funds for child-care programs. 17 

** "A Shortage of Teachers Predicted for the Next Five to Tea Years/' School 
and Society, LXHI (January 26, 1946), 00. 

* Newton Edwards, "Educational Implications of Population Change," Edu- 
cation Forum, X (March, 1946), 287, 

1T "State Legislative Action for Young Children/' School Life, 
(November 4, 1945; January, 194$) , 30. 


Inadequate Teacher-Training Facilities 

To date, the training of teachers for the nursery-school years is 
done largely in a few private teacher-training schools and in home- 
economics departments of state colleges and universities. Few state 
teachers' colleges have as yet directed their attention to the specific 
preparation of teachers for these years. The need is realized, and 
some programs are being planned; but the lowered enrolments during 
the war years have made differentiation of the curriculums very 

Both Emergency and Long-View Planning Needed 

We need more teachers more teachers for more preschool chil- 
dren for more hours of the day. Looking at the matter practically, 
in the light of the number of unqualified teachers in the field and the 
small likelihood that they can be replaced by better qualified teachers, 
common sense dictates a vigorous in-service program as a matter of 
first consideration. There is much, besides necessity, to justify it. 
Valuable teaching material can be salvaged through such training for 
there are potentially good teachers among those holding emergency 
certificates. Often they bring to the classroom a reality born of rich 
life experiences that is all to the good. 

But while this reconditioning job is on its way, long- view plans 
need to be laid for providing a continuous stream of new and highly 
qualified teachers of young children. Such plans include a clear and 
forceful interpretation of education and the role of the teacher. Edu- 
cators must make themselves responsible for the general acceptance 
of Henry Wallace's words that "Education is the most important 
single activity of civilized man." 1S Education will be properly sup- 
ported only when its significance is realized by the man on the street. 
The best young people will enlist in the ranks of education when they 
realize its import for the future of civilization. 


In order to meet increasing demands for teachers of young chil- 
dren, many young people now entering college must decide on this as 
their profession. We must bear in mind, however, that in all prob- 
ability we shall continue to draw heavily on other sources, such as 
teachers of older children and youth and liberal-arts graduates who 
had not anticipated education as their profession but who have been 

M Hemy A. Wallace, Sfcty Million Jobs, pp. 80, 81. New York: Simon & 
Schuster, 1945. 


drawn into it through a developing interest in young children. Con- 
sequently in-service education and education on the graduate level 
assume equal importance with preservice education. 

Selection of Candidates for Teacher-Training 

Teacher education must concern itself with an attempt to interest 
high-school people in the education of young children. Such edu- 
cation must be seen to have a continuity with education of older 
children and youth. Some possibilities for interesting high-school 
students are revealed in a study conducted at Mt. Lebanon, Pennsyl- 
vania. Increased understanding of the significance of education led 
bo a marked increase in the number of students wanting to teach. 19 

Teacher preparation certainly cannot afford to violate the con- 
tinuity of the educative process. An understanding of the college 
student will be greatly enchanced if relationships are established with 
the schools he has attended. There should be the closest articulation 
svith the high schools which send students to the college. Contact with 
vocational counselors in attempting to come to a common point of 
view as to the kind of student that should be guided toward teaching 
Is essential. 

What should be the intellectual ability of the candidate for teach- 
ing? The teachers' colleges have tried increasingly to be selective in 
admissions. The low enrolment, however, has made this practically 
impossible in recent years. A recent study indicates that students in 
teachers' colleges are significantly, but not greatly, inferior in ability 
to those in other colleges, the latter averaging four points higher in 
Dtis I.Q. The mean Otis LQ. among Freshmen in teachers' colleges 
luring the past ten years approximates 109, or 1 S.D. above the mean 
for the population in general. The average intelligence of the student 
in teachers' colleges is 75 per cent above the people in the United 
States as a whole. 20 Candidates with intelligence of this quality, who 
seem likely to emerge from adolescence with a good degree of personal 
stability and who appear to have a genuine concern for children, should 
)ffer teacher education a real challenge. As the Commission on Teacher 
Education has pointed out regarding present teachers: 

[Such candidates] come predominantly from families modest in circum- 
itances It cannot be assumed that they have had ready access to the great 

* Harry V. Herlinger, "And Gladly Teach," Occupations, AMil (December, 
944), 147-61. 

*A. E. Traxler, "Are Students in Teachers' Colleges Greatly Inferior in 
Ability?" School and Society, XLTTT (February 16, 1946), 105, 106. 


works of art or music or that they have been saturated in literature of the 

highest quality They are likely to come from hard-working, substantial 

stock and to share the strengths and weaknesses of the great bulk of our 
people. 21 

These factors can be assets or liabilities, depending on the direction 
teacher education takes. Teachers can see education leading all people 
toward better living, or they can see it as a privilege for the elite. 

Preservice Preparation for Teaching Young Children 
Any suggestions for the preservice education of teachers of young 
children must be viewed in the light of the present situation of teacher 
shortage and inadequate preparation of many teachers already em- 
ployed. Any college which approaches its task realistically will see 
itself obligated not only to equip new teachers for the field but, in 
that process, to share in the current struggle to improve the education 
of young children. Broadly speaking, the needs in teacher preparation 
are continued emphasis on the understanding of children and their 
growth but with a more profound social orientation and greater at- 
tention to ways and means of teaching children both the principles 
and techniques of democratic living. 

Teacher Education Tied to Other Social Fields. To meet these 
needs, teacher education must abandon its isolation. It must be tied 
as closely as possible to the education of all other students preparing 
to enter fields concerned with human development and social progress. 
Students preparing to become teachers, social welfare workers, special- 
ists in health, recreational directors, and political leaders should share 
in the same common background. The community should be their 
common laboratory. Here they would work mainly in their separate 
fields but with much interchange and participation in matters of com- 
mon interest. In joint seminars they would pool their experiences, set 
their goals, and recognize the necessity of co-operative action in the 
solution of human problems. 

Besides the practical work on the community and its related semi- 
nars there are certain broad-area courses cutting through subject- 
matter lines which all of the students would have in common. Such 
courses would include one in human growth and development, bring- 
ing together the major findings of biology, psychology, sociology, and 
anthropology; one in the social, political, and economic problems of 
today in which students would see these areas in their relationships 

"American Council on Education, Commission on Teacher Education, 
Teachers for Our Times, p. 9. Washington: American Council on Education, 


and would gain insight into the major problems of war and peace, 
labor and management, minority groups, population trends, rural and 
urban relationships, political ideologies, crime and delinquency, and 
social security; one in which the major findings of science are dis- 
cussed and their implications for civilization grasped; one in the arts 
in which students would become acquainted with the interpretations 
being made today by the artists in all fields; and one in philosophy 
in which living philosophies are analyzed and their effects as de- 
terminants of cultural patterns studied. The practical community 
field experiences would be closely related to all of these core courses 
and would reinforce each other in helping students arrive at their 
own system of values. 

Emphasis on Democratic Principles and Techniques. To meet the 
major need of developing ways and means of aiding children in ac- 
quiring the principles and techniques of democratic living, all aspects 
of the students' preparation would illustrate democratic principles 
and techniques. These would animate the administrative and the in- 
structional procedures of the college. The knotty problems of de- 
mocracy in action would be faced squarely. Where authority resides, 
the place of the expert, the best bases for shared responsibilities, rights 
versus privileges these are only a few of the problems that are in- 
evitably met when students and faculty work together for common 
goals. We have still a long way to go in the achievement of a truly 
democratic college organization. We cannot prepare teachers to in- 
culcate democratic principles and techniques in children unless they, 
themselves, through a vital experience, have known the true freedom, 
not of "rights, privileges, and immunities" but of shared responsibili- 
ties and rights in a group dedicated to the pursuit of "opportunity for 
the common man." 

To ascertain the possession of such social qualities as have been 
indicated in the preceding section as "firsts" among the qualifications 
of a teacher is not simple. Certainly they cannot be assumed to exist 
because a teacher has had certain academic or professional courses. 
What has been done to date by authorities in ascertaining the social 
orientation of teachers has been largely negative in character, aimed 
at uprooting subversive tendencies rather than at locating constructive 
social approaches and points of view. Hence, we have little more than 
observation and deduction to give an indication of the prevailing social 
point of view of the teacher of young children today. At least as much 
effort as is put into getting students of proved qualifications in educa- 
tion and intelligence should surely be put into finding those teachers 


with clear-cut social attitudes, strong character, and healthy person- 

Individualized Programs. In such a democratic college there would 
be a common framework, in this case the field experiences and the core 
courses, which all would share and through which values are evolved, 
goals set, and a common bond of interest and effort forged. But be- 
yond this common framework there would be wide latitude for meet- 
ing individual needs and interests. Respect for personality, inherent 
in the concept of democracy, demands that this should be. Every pro- 
gram would be individualized in terms of the status of the student with 
reference to the goals at which lie is aiming. Thus, a student who has 
had little or no experience with young children would be given more 
experience in recreational groups, camps, and care of children before 
being permitted to teach in the classroom. 

Student Teaching in Community Schools. Most significant in a 
student's preparation for teaching is her experience in student teach- 
ing. This should be no "ivory-tower," campus-school experience but, 
rather, experience in a school that is indigenous to the community. 
So long as preparation for teaching was confined within the walls of 
the classroom, so long as emphasis was placed upon techniques of 
teaching as the significant part of a teacher's preparation, then the 
main criterion for the selection of a laboratory school was the worth 
of the classroom teaching that went on within it. Hence, came the 
campus laboratory schools to which good teachers were brought to 
exemplify the latest methods, which were equipped with the newest 
things in ventilation systems, furniture, and teaching aids, and which 
were attended by children of faculty members and by other children 
in the community whose parents were intelligent and ambitious enough 
to see certain advantages in such a school. In the meantime, there was 
usually a town school on the other side of the wall, often poorly 
equipped and poorly furnished, which the rest of the children of the 
town attended. There have been those who have long seen the paradox 
of this situation, and there have been attempts at working out re- 
lationships between local school boards and teachers' colleges, whereby 
students are taught in the local schools under the supervision of local 
teachers. Those who have tried it have generally found it a difficult 
experience but not an impossible one. However, difficult though it 
may be, it is the only realistic approach to the preparation of teachers 
who will make their teaching of children contributory to the solution of 
the fundamental problems of today. 

Students need to have the experience, while teaching, of participat- 


ing in the development of a curriculum adapted to the needs of the 
children and of the community the school serves. This is the founda- 
tion of their preparation. All else is subsidiary to it. It is the ex- 
perience through which they will most directly come into the reali- 
zation of the deepest social implications of their work. 

The point in her total training program at which the student be- 
gins her teaching should depend on her readiness for it on what she 
has to offer to the situation. What she does when she begins her stu- 
dent teaching should depend on the same thing what she has to 
offer that is needed in the school. It should be clear, however, that 
the best way to find out whether one is going to be a success with 
young children is to work with them. Much wasted energy on the part 
of both the college and the student could be avoided if, fairly early 
in her college career, the student could begin to have opportunities 
of various kinds to be with children. 

Need for Better Understanding of the Work of the Teacher. A high 
proportion of the very best teachers is found among those who teach 
the youngest children. They approach their work scientifically; they 
realize how deeply their attitudes will influence children for life; 
they know how delicate the task of guiding young children is; they 
appreciate how vast a fund of knowledge in all the areas of subject 
matter they must have to be able to guide children in answer to their 
questions into paths of exploration and discovery; they understand 
that their own work must be creative if the creative impulses of young 
children are to be nurtured toward their continuous development and 
joy in their expression. 

There still prevails, however, the popular idea that teaching young 
children means little more than taking care of their physical needs. 
Young girls still are surprised when they enter teachers' college to 
find that they are expected to develop a broad background of general 
education, and very often they are disappointed when they find that 
more is expected of them than merely learning the practical details 
of caring for children. There is need for bringing about a deeper under- 
standing outside the profession of what it really means to teach young 

Need for Articulation between Nursery Schools and the Grades. 
Another need, somewhat analagous to the first, rises from the con- 
fusion that exists as to the processes appropriate in the nursery school 
and kindergarten and those that are appropriate in the grades. There 
is a popular idea that the process in the nursery school is primarily 
that of a permissive freedom to grow, while in the grades the process 


is one of directed learning. There seems to be plenty of time for 
natural growth in the former, but suddenly, when a child is called a 
first-grader, he must be taught and taught hard. A hiatus has resulted 
that needs to be closed. The teacher of the primary grades needs to 
develop more of the watchful waiting of the nursery-kindergarten 
teacher, to devote more time to the care of physical needs, and to 
give more attention to the use of things children say and do which may 
serve as leads to experiences. The nursery-kindergarten teacher needs 
to incorporate the greater definiteness as to goal and content of the 
primary grades. But it is most important in the preparation of all 
teachers of young children that the nature of the growth process be 
emphasized: that growth is continuous, that growth and learning are 
synonymous, and that self-activity is the foundation of basic principles 
which should guide the preparation of teachers for young children. 

Better Understanding of Individual-Group Relations Needed, 
Particularly acute amid the strains and stresses of today, particularly 
acute, too, in the thought and feeling of the young teacher, is the con- 
fusion resulting from lack of clarity as to the relationship of the indi- 
vidual to the group. So often we hear the conscientious young teacher 
stating his dilemma in some such terms as: "How far should I let the 
needs of a child interfere with the welfare of the whole group? To 
what extent shall I let aggression have free play? If I give an indi- 
vidual child what he needs, I lose my hold on the group 1" Again and 
again young teachers feel completely frustrated in their early years 
of teaching. So often they find themselves in situations in which they 
are compelled to avoid doing what they consider best for an individual 
in order to preserve the stability of the group. It is not uncommon to 
hear some young teachers say, when they reach this stage, that they 
are going to give up classroom teaching and go into clinical work. 
Some of them probably should, if they have uncommon gifts of under- 
standing of the individual human being. But, for many, this merely 
spells an escape from an unsolved problem. 

The problem of control is so general that it should be given a place 
of prominence in the preservice preparation of teachers for young chil- 
dren. Students will meet it almost immediately when they enter the 
classroom. They will tend to adopt the solutions used by the teacher 
in charge, for in this, as in all other problems, what happens during 
their student teaching has greater influence than any other part of 
their training. Hence, the great importance of the closest possible co- 
ordination between the theoretical and the practical aspects of their 
preparation. This problem in particular needs to be discussed both in 


student-teaching conferences and in courses in mental hygiene, child 
development, and philosophy. The impatience of the student for an 
immediate answer needs to be curbed, and he must be helped to see 
that only gradually through such discussions, his own solitary think- 
ing, and experience will he gain the insight and the wisdom to cope 
with it. 

Confusion as to Approaches to Child Development. One major 
source of difficulty in the preparation of teachers of young children is 
the difference in approach among students of child development. In 
the short time that has elapsed since a beginning was made in the 
scientific approach to the study of human growth and development, 
many schools of thought have arisen, and new and conflicting hypoth- 
eses have been established. There are those who would take the purely 
behavioristic approach, collect data of human behavior as objectively 
as though they were studying the action of water on rocks or the move- 
ments of an amoeba. To them the overt act is all that matters. It is 
what the child does that counts. Others are as meticulous in gather- 
ing data as are the behaviorists, but they are concerned not only with 
what the child does or what has been done to him but with what hap- 
pens to him in his inner feeling. To such observers it is not so much 
what happens in life that matters as what happens to the individual 
as a result of events the way he meets problems, his emotional re- 
actions to them. Others stress the drives behind behavior and would 
have us search put the inner springs of human behavior as the best 
means of understanding it. There are many modifications of these 
main approaches. In addition, there are wide variations in the degree 
to which emphasis is placed by students of child development on events 
of the past in their influence on the present; some students are con- 
cerned almost entirely with the immediate events; others probe deeper 
and deeper into the past and into the inner consciousness of the child, 

Confusion as to Approaches to Child Guidance. Just as there are 
different approaches to the study of child development, there are 
varying approaches to the guidance of child behavior. Some, imbued 
with the fear of future consequences of repression in childhood, adopt 
a "hands-off" policy, stressing the importance of having a child live 
naturally at each stage of maturation so that he may move untram- 
meled into the next. Others, attaching more significance to develop- 
ment as resulting from the interaction of organism and environment, 
would pay more attention to providing the kind of environment most 
conducive to desirable growth. Some would pay more attention to 
directing growth toward the next stage of development than would 


others. Some would give free rein to a child's aggressions and hostili- 
ties; others would anticipate and try to prevent their appearance; 
others would redirect them toward other objects; others would try to 
direct the child's energies into constructive channels so as to minimize 
destructive behavior. Some would do little and some much explaining 
to children of the meaning of their behavior. 

The college teacher, charged with the responsibility of preparing 
teachers for young children, faces here a difficult problem. The stu- 
dent meets many baffling situations in his study of teaching procedures, 
and there is inevitable confusion concerning conflicting psychological 
theories. Most certainly the beginning student should not have his 
enthusiasm dampened by long class discussions on conflicting theories 
of learning. What seems best in the beginning is to focus his at- 
tention on children. He should get thoroughly acquainted with chil- 
dren before he reads about them. His gradual interpretation of their 
behavior, along with his building up of basic concepts of development, 
is dependent on the background he acquires under the guidance of his 
instructors. The important outcome of his preservice preparation is 
an "at-homeness" with children and a fundamental understanding of 
their behavior and motivations. 

It is inevitable that the student will be influenced in the direction 
of the school of psychological thought represented by his instructors. 
The diversity is not to be regretted. If the student learns to approach 
the problems of child development scientifically, if he is given to 
understand that all aspects of scientific psychology are in an early 
stage of development, that we know very little positively as yet, and 
that as a true student of childhood he will participate in exciting dis- 
coveries as the years pass then we need not be afraid, at the begin- 
ning of his training, of a certain amount of assimilation of a particular 
approach. A college imbued with the scientific spirit will never de- 
velop satisfaction in a set pattern of psychological thinking. 

Need for Understandings in Science. A particular need in the 
preparation of teachers of young children is an understanding of the 
world of science. Too many students think of science in terms of the 
textbook units which they were taught. They need to observe, to 
experiment, and to explore in a way which will free them to ap- 
preciate and guide the curiosity of young children. The changing 
seasons, plants and animals, mechanical contrivances, streets and 
buildings, farms and factories are not only important interests of 
young children but out of them can grow understanding essential to 
effective living in a modern world. 


Need for Understanding of Children's Power. Somewhere in our 
efforts to understand young children as children and not as miniature 
adults we seem to have developed a protective attitude which goes 
beyond reasonable limits and tends rather to hamper children's growth. 
Students will need to see how far the interest of five-year-olds who 
have had group experience can carry them, how deeply they will ex- 
plore in science, how highly they can organize their play, what a 
variety of stunts they can perform with their bodies. These are not 
the activities of children in a sterile environment of scissors, paper, 
and crayons. Nor are they the activities of children whose teachers 
are frightened of their ideas; nor yet of children whose teachers would 
set no limits. They are the activities of youngsters who are given 
space, a variety of material, opportunity to explore their environment, 
and the guidance of teachers who feel as one who remarked, "The 
longer I live with children, the more I learn to trust them." 

Need for Expressive Activities. Experiencing and expressing the 
ideas and the feelings resulting from experience are the two inter- 
weaving processes of development. The expressive process, therefore, 
should be given equal scope with experience in the preparation of the 
teacher of young children. The student's own expressive powers, often 
deadened by the time he reaches college, need to be revived and exer- 
cised on his own maturity level. There should be opportunity for all 
mediums words, clay, paints, wood, metal, music, and the union of all 
these in the theater. Unless the student himself has known the excite- 
ment of creative work, he is not likely to release the creative power 
of children; but, having known it himself, he will not deny it to chil- 
dren. Then he will be ready to study expression at different maturity 
levels and the use of suitable techniques and materials. 

Techniques Needed. At the present moment the swing of the 
pendulum in the preparation of teachers of young children is well in 
the direction of a broad cultural base and fundamental understandings 
and away from specific techniques. Certainly the older atomistic em- 
phasis with its numbers of distinct special-methods courses was incon- 
sistent with the psychological facts of learning. But to leave a stu- 
dent, who is entering the teaching field, inspired with the significance 
of his job and the ideals of attainment but with little understanding 
of the way to realize his ambitions is often the real cause of those dif- 
ficulties in control to which he attributes his frustration and discour- 
agement. There is need at present to work out a combination of 
breadth of view and technical competence. The solution lies in de- 
finiteness in student teaching and in the co-ordination of the student's 


teaching experiences with college courses and seminars. Indeed, if 
there were a single concept representing the basic need in the prepara- 
tion of teachers of young children, it might well be co-ordination. 

Emphasis on Health. Since physical well-being and health of the 
young child are almost completely in the hands of the adult, special 
emphasis should be given in the preparation of teachers for young 
children both in the basic understandings of 'physical and mental 
health and in the mastery of the skills needed in properly caring for 
the health of children. Such emphasis would include the recognition 
of symptons of disease, first-aid, nutrition, and mental hygiene. 

Experience in All-Day Care of Children. The present increase in 
centers for the all-day care of children and the need for these centers 
to take over many responsibilities of the home mean that every stu- 
dent preparing to teach children should have some experience in the 
care of children throughout a twenty-four hour period. And this pre- 
supposes consideration by the teachers 7 college of a student-day of 
twenty-four hours. Ruth Andrus, in outlining next steps in the public 
schools, points to the need for such inclusive form of preparation: 

The selection and preparation of teachers in the field of nursery-kinder- 
garten education poses questions of fundamental significance in teacher 
preparation both in regard to the experience to be provided and the utiliza- 
tion of courses and specialists. Since the education of young children is con- 
cerned with providing the best possible twenty-four hour daily living for the 
children, the same consideration must be given to students preparing to be 
teachers. 22 

Experience at Older Age Levels. While there is always danger of 
too narrow specialization, it is of particular importance that the 
teacher of children under six know what happens after that. The 
hiatus between nursery-kindergarten and first grade will only be 
removed 'as the teachers in these groups come to understand each 
other's problems. The establishment of a certificate in early child- 
hood education in one state, requiring that students have experience 
in three levels nursery, kindergarten, and primary promises much 
for the improvement of the education of young children. 

As has been indicated previously, the problems of in-service edu- 
cation are closely allied with those of preservice education. All that 
has been said in the foregoing section is applicable here and, hence, 
will not be repeated. Differences that do exist are mainly in terms of 

B Ruth. Andrus, "Next Steps in the Public Schools," Progressive Education, 
XXHI (February, 1946), 135-38. 


procedure. The urgency of the situation, for example, demands short- 
outs, more immediate emphasis on skills and routines, and greater, 
individualization because of the greater variation in background of 
the teacher in service as compared with the college student. But the 
ends to be reached are the same, and the same insights are demanded. 

The teachers of young children in many public school systems are 
now facing several areas in which they may be asked to do either what 
they do not understand or do not believe in. No teacher can be ex- 
pected to do a good job for a young child unless she is convinced, first, 
that it is good for him to be in school and, second, that she is quali- 
fied to help him. There are many potentially fine teachers who would 
welcome an opportunity to find out more about younger children, if 
there were anyone qualified to help them with the problem. Un- 
fortunately, many elementary-school supervisors are completely lack- 
ing in actual experience with children under six. Some kindergarten 
supervisors have never worked with children under five, and, even 
then, such experience as many may have had with five-year-olds was 
twenty years ago. This is an area in which tremendous changes in 
understanding have come even as recently as five years ago. In ad- 
dition, many teachers are beset by administrators and supervisors 
who see education of young children always in terms of its future 
benefits. Thus, it becomes character education or a kind of early 
vocational preparation. Most devastating, because it is most con- 
crete, is the emphasis on "reading readiness." Faced with this, the 
kindergarten teacher may feel forced to revolve her program around 
whatever experience seems most likely to get her group over the 
hurdles of the reading-readiness test with the highest scores. At its 
best, her program loses some of the spontaneity and depth of interest 
of the children; at its worst, the children become, for all practical 
purposes, slaves to the reading-readiness workbooks. 

Whether the in-service training of the teacher of young children 
comes inside the school system or whether she seeks it outside in sum- 
mer session, evening courses, or workshops, there must be adequate 
recognition of the problems with which she is dealing. She must be 
able to find someone, whether supervisor or consultant, professor or 
workshop director, who either knows young children or can direct her 
to helpful sources of information. Her first concern will not be "What 
would be the ideal program for these children 1" but rather, "What 
can I do with what I have?" To learn that one teacher ought not 
handle more than twenty five-year-olds, that every room for young 
children should have an adjoining washroom, and that unit blocks 
are one of the best materials for creative play will not satisfy her 


if she has a group of fifty in a school building in which the toilets are 
in the basement or on the other side of the building and if the only 
blocks available could be carried in a market basket with ease. If 
she can get help in arranging that room so there can be several doll 
corners, in finding waste materials which kindergarten children can 
use for science and creative purposes, and in clearing space so that 
music and rhythms can be really expansive, then she will be in a 
mood to move ahead and, with the parents, to tackle the larger 
problem of too many children, ill-adapted buildings, and little equip- 

The nursery-school teacher in a child-care center or day nursery 
is in a similar spot, though her situation may be less glaringly wrong. 
She, too, needs a consultant or a supervisor who has had enough ex- 
perience to know how it feels to work long hours with today's children 
and who will respect the teacher's ability to work out many things 
for herself. 

We may expect to see the development of many services requiring 
staff members with varied backgrounds as more adequate provision 
is made for the care of young children. The unit for early childhood 
education which has been proposed for public school systems, in ad- 
dition to its corps of teachers, may have its own nurse and will cer- 
tainly have its own cook and custodial help. The nurse will have her 
own professional background, which may include some work with 
healthy young children, but she will benefit from and contribute to 
the in-service program for teachers. Experience with the W. P. A. and 
the Lanham Act suggests that cooks and custodial help may profitably 
share in an in-service program since, in a sense, everyone who works 
with young children teaches them. If there is to be a parent-education 
worker for such a unit, she also should be very close to the program 
of the children and should have had experience with them. 

In day nurseries or child-care centers much the same picture holds 
true. The social worker may or may not have had group experience 
with young children, but she will need to keep closely in touch with 
the program. 

There are various health and mental-hygiene centers which will 
require the services of trained nursery-school teachers. In addition 
to training in their own field, such teachers will need additional work 
in the special field in which they are engaged. The child development 
clinic which combines the services of nursery school, psychiatrist, and 
pediatrician is one example of this. A comprehensive community 
health plan such as that developed in Rochester, Minnesota, is an- 


other. Still different is the nursery school for physically handicapped 
children housed within a hospital or other institution. 

Nursery education may also be expected to offer service to other 
professions. For example, one graduate school requires those prepar- 
ing for psychological services to have had teaching experience with 
young children. Senn has proposed that pediatric education of the 
future include more work in health projects of the nursery, elementary, 
and secondary schools. 23 

What will be the degree requirements for positions in the various 
educational services for young children? So far as the teacher in 
charge of a group is concerned, the trend seems to be toward a mini- 
mum of a Bachelor's degree, with teaching certificate granted on the 
basis of course requirements in child development and curriculum, 
plus supervised student teaching. However, one must face the facts 
of the situation and acknowledge that, with the present teacher short- 
age and the many obstacles to making such training widespread, it 
will take years before classes of young children are, in general, taught 
by teachers of such competence. In the meantime, that large group 
of young people who want to work with children but have little interest 
in the more profound aspects of the work might, as an emergency 
measure, be trained as assistants. If this were done, their preparation 
would be entirely practical, any theory that they are taught being 
given in direct connection with the classroom work. Care would have 
to be taken that they be utilized only as assistants and that their 
preparation be clearly distinguished from that of regular teachers. 
If they proved particularly able, provision might be made for them 
to take more advanced work. 

Of teachers holding the Master's degree some will be graduates of 
liberal-arts colleges, receiving their professional training at the 
Master's level. Others will be experienced teachers. Still others may 
have had training but no experience. It would seem desirable that the 
content of work done for the degree should be varied according to 
the background, experience, and aspirations of the candidate. Cer- 
tainly no one who expects to work with young children should be per- 
mitted to hold a Master's degree indicating competence in that field 
unless she has had an opportunity to demonstrate successful work 
with children. This may necessitate an extension of the time ordinarily 
considered necessary to complete the degree, but it is an imperative 
need for those who are inexperienced. Experienced or trained teachers 
may also wish to participate in student-teaching programs. In any 

"Milton. E. Senn, "Bole of Psychiatry in a Children's Hospital Service," 
American Journal of Diseases of Children, LXXH (July, 1946), 95-110. 


event, work on this level should be so directly related to classroom 
problems as to help students to return to their schools as better 

Many teachers will want to take Master's degrees in fields which 
are related but not directly connected to classroom teaching. Such 
fields include guidance, psychological testing, parent education, and 
administration and supervision. Here, careful counseling and good 
planning between the fields involved are essential. Does the new field 
offer the teacher an opportunity for placement which will be more 
satisfactory than her present one? Does the new field offer an enrich- 
ment of understanding which will contribute to continued success in 
classroom teaching? Or does the new field offer a way of avoiding 
some of the thorny problems with which classroom teaching is beset? 
It is important that both the teacher and her counselors be aware of 
her underlying motives in selecting a field of specialization. We must 
also deal realistically with the fact that not only greater prestige but 
also greater remuneration frequently goes to those in other fields than 
classroom teaching. Small wonder that some of the most able teachers 
are lost to the classroom by the time they acquire the Master's degree. 

Problems surrounding the candidates for doctoral degrees are not 
too dissimilar. Any candidate who is going to contribute to the im- 
provement of educational services for young children must know and 
be able to deal with the problems confronting teachers. This would 
seem to point to the degree of Doctor of Education, with its broad 
background directed toward professional competence, as having par- 
ticular value for this field. On the other hand, the need for research 
is a continuous one, so that the Doctorate of Philosophy is also sig- 
nificant. However, it seems likely that here, too, the most important 
work will be done by those who are most acutely aware of the many 
complex factors involved in the education of young children. 


The present demand for extended educational services for young 
children offers a tremendous challenge to teacher education. Not only 
must new teachers be trained but a more vital program of in-service 
education is also essential. Teachers of young children must be more 
adequately oriented socially, must have a functional understanding 
of growth and development, and must be equipped to work not only 
with children but with parents and other members of the community. 
This places renewed emphasis on the need for greater co-operation 
between teacher-education institutions and other agencies and for 
closer co-ordination of theory and practice. 



JOHN E. NICHOLS, Chairman 

West Hartford, Connecticut 


Associate Professor of Education 

State Teachers College 

New Haven, Connecticut 


Editor, Child Development Two-to-Six Maganne 
New York, New York 

Assistant Professor of Psychology 

Mount Holyoke College 
South Hadley, Massachusetts 


Education Consultant, Bank Street Schools 
New York, New York 

A school building exists for but one purpose to serve as an instru- 
ment of the educational process. Its value is in direct proportion to 
the extent to which it makes a positive contribution to that process. 
Although it must be safe and healthful and comfortable for the habita- 
tion of children, these are attributes that belong to any building for 
public occupancy. They are attributes that should serve as only the 
basis for, and not the end of, planning. In the past we have been in- 
clined to regard them as ends in themselves, placing too little emphasis 
on those aspects of a school building that distinguish it from all other 

We have also been prone to rely on precedent. While there is 
much in the history of school planning that can help us with the future, 
we must not look backward as we face today's and tomorrow's edu- 
cational problems. 

In planning a school for young children, particularly for those 



below kindergarten age, we are fortunate in the comparative dearth 
of precedent at our disposal; fortunate because, by that circumstance, 
we are forced to face the problem squarely, constructively, analyti- 
cally. In this situation lies the greatest hope for imaginative and 
creative planning planning that searches out the needs, whatever 
they may be, and sets about to meet them. 

Accordingly, nothing in this chapter should be construed as being 
in the nature of a standard for future planning. The problems dealt 
with are set forth in other chapters of this yearbook. To plan a school 
for young children, the designer must have a knowledge of more than 
the materials of construction and their use. He must understand 
children how they grow, how they learn, how they react to various 
stimuli. He must know what the school attempts to do, why it does 
so, and how it accomplishes the task. Only with these understandings 
can the architect of a school building for young children hope to 
achieve success. 


The site upon which a school for young children is erected may be 
as important to the program as the building itself. Neither is com- 
'plete without the other. An otherwise excellent plant loses value if 
it is inconvenient or dangerous of access for those who are to use it. 
Its suitability for its purpose may be diminished immeasurably by 
unpleasant or hazardous surroundings. The absence of outdoor facili- 
ties to complement satisfactorily those indoors may curtail desirable 

From at least one standpoint, the site can be regarded as being of 
even greater importance than the building. Whereas the building may 
be altered, enlarged, modernized, or otherwise improved, its site often 
must remain a fixed quantity. An adjoining street that is dangerous 
or noisy cannot be closed off simply to suit the convenience of a 
school. The homes of potential pupils cannot be uprooted and re- 
grouped at will. Encroaching business and industrial areas cannot 
be dispersed. 

Even in the matter of size, the site often must remain unchanged. 
The acquisition of contiguous properties by right of eminent domain 
is both expensive and difficult in the face of opposition from owners. 
It is, moreover, a right that can be exercised only by public schools. 
As for acquisition by outright purchase, experience has revealed re- 
peatedly the amazing increase in value of originally inexpensive 
properties, once a school has been established near by. As a result, 
the enlarging of a site may become, prohibitively expensive. 


It is wiser to curtail plans for the building itself than to attempt 
to economize by selecting a site that is not essentially satisfactory. 
Whereas, time after time subsequent developments have revealed a 
site selection to have been penny-wise and pound-foolish, rare indeed 
is the case where one has proved in the long run to have been too 


The suitability of a site for a school, just as for a home, is very 
largely the product of conditions that exist about it rather than 
within it. The qualities of the surroundings to be sought are similar 
in most respects attractiveness, cleanliness, quiet, and safety. 

Attractiveness is an illusive quality and illusive, too, are ma- 
terialistic reasons for seeking it. In the absence of clinical evidence 
to the contrary, however, we are morally bound to assume that young 
children, like their elders, are sensitive to beauty and ugliness, to 
order and squalor, and that they react accordingly. If their first im- 
pressions of school and social life are to be reassuringly pleasant, the 
surroundings in which they are gained, likewise, should be pleasant. 
Such qualities are generally associated with residential areas marked 
by quiet streets, shaded sidewalks, and houses that, regardless of cost, 
exhibit a pride of ownership. 

The school that is to be a positive force for social betterment often 
must be situated in a low-economic neighborhood. Even under these 
conditions, however, care should be exercised to avoid the more 
squalid areas in favor of one that is more nearly suitable as an en- 
vironment for children. 

The school's surroundings should provide for the child the utmost 
in physical and moral safety. Measures can be taken partially to 
offset dangerous conditions, but only at the price of constant vigilance 
and anxiety. The possibility always remains that safety measures 
eventually may fail. Traffic is probably the most common source of 
danger. From all directions children come toward that street upon 
which the school is situated. At such a focus the chances for accident 
increase tremendously. Even while school is in session, complete re- 
liance cannot be placed in the security of protective fences, for there 
can be no wholly adequate assurance that the older children, par- 
ticularly, will not take dares, will not retrieve balls, will not explore. 

Streets are not the only potential hazards which may surround 
a school. The near by sand bank that invites the child to dig a tunnel 
may bury him under a cave-in. Deep ponds, swift streams, even 
normally tiny brooks swollen by spring freshets have taken their toll. 


Abandoned buildings bid for investigation by inquisitive young chil- 
dren who are not mindful of dangers there. Industrial plants, garages, 
and dumps are pitfalls for the inexperienced. It is never possible to 
avoid all sources of accident. They are everywhere. But certainly 
it is not well to court tragedy by ignoring the most obvious possi- 
bilities of danger. 

In this day and age it might not appear that environment could 
greatly affect conditions of health. Whereas, we need not be greatly 
concerned about "evil swamp vapors," nevertheless, it is well to re- 
member that near-by, low-lying land may give rise to a host of 
mosquitoes and other insects that are both annoying and dangerous. 
Such areas should be avoided if continued drainage and decontamina- 
tion cannot be assured. The same may be said for those dumps, barns, 
and sheds that are the breeding places of flies and rats or that emit 
smoke and obnoxious odors. 

Many school activities demand quiet. The mid-morning rest or 
the after-lunch nap of the younger children suffer if horns are tooting 
and truck engines are roaring outside the windows which remain open 
to admit fresh air. Activities that demand quiet cannot compete 
against disturbances, noise-breeding noise in an ever mounting spiral 
of confusion and tension. 

The school site should be situated, then, in a neighborhood that is 
removed from busy streets and highways, from railroads, from in- 
dustrial and business areas, from swamps, dumps, and barns. Near-by 
water should be safe or amply protected. There should be no tower- 
ing tanks or belching chimneys to mar the landscape and pollute 
the air. On the contrary, the school's surroundings should be as clean 
and quiet, as restful and attractive as those which one would choose 
for one's own home. 


The location of any school with respect to the homes of the chil- 
dren it serves is always of prime importance. This is especially true 
of the school which is intended to serve very young children. These 
cannot be expected to walk more than a block or so to school, even 
when conditions of safety and weather are ideal. For those of five and 
six, half a mile is generally the maximum practical radius of travel. 
Even these distances are out of the question for walking during rainy 
and cold weather. 

Unless a school for young children is to be served by a compre- 
hensive transportation system, it must of necessity be situated in 
the heart of a heavily populated area of small extent. Eveji so, 


many children will have to be accompanied to school by parents or 
older children and In inclement weather, conveyed there. This in- 
evitably means that some children who are most in need of nursery- 
school or kindergarten education will be deprived of its benefits simply 
because their families cannot accompany or convey them. 

Where the school is not situated in a heavily populated area, most 
of the children must rely upon some sort of vehicular transportation. 
Routes have to be especially extended to reduce to a minimum the 
need for walking to pick-up points and waiting in the cold and rain. 
Moreover, where very young children are involved, it generally has 
been found desirable to limit the number of children in a single load 
to seven or eight. Even though the groups are kept small, the presence 
of an adult other than the driver is necessary in order to maintain 
satisfactory conditions. Indeed, there are some authorities who be- 
lieve that the disadvantages to very young children of subjecting 
them to transportation away from home may outweigh the advantages 
they might derive from nursery-school education. 

For those children who walk, conditions of safety must be given 
the closest attention. A condition that involves little danger for a 
child of six or seven may possess grave hazards for younger ones. 
Routes to school should not lie along or across busy or speed-inviting 
thoroughfares. They should not lead across railroad tracks or bridges 
or street intersections that are not under close police supervision. 
They should not transverse industrial areas or business districts where 
young pupils may become involved in trouble. 

Obyiously, it is rarely possible to select a site that does not in- 
volve some hazards for some pupils. Every effort must be made, how- 
ever, to balance the gravity of those hazards against the numbers that 
will be exposed to them, and so arrive at a compromise that offers 
the greatest measure of safety. 

The school erected in a relatively heavily populated neighbor- 
hood of small area has one great functional advantage over the school 
whose children are scattered. It will be in a better position to achieve 
close working relationships with the children's homes. Where the 
school is near by an element of a compact and well-defined neigh- 
borhood there are far better opportunities for the parents to become 
acquainted with the teacher and the work of the school. The teacher 
has better opportunities to know the child's home environment and 
so to understand his needs and to enlist the active co-operation of 
his parents. 

In selecting the site for a school, the future is 'as important as the 


immediate present. Our cities everywhere are embarrassed by the 
existence of school buildings situated in what were once residential 
neighborhoods but now largely deserted. They are ghost schools, for- 
saken and half empty, while in newer neighborhoods the buildings 
fairly bulge- In selecting a school site, then, we must remember that 
during its useful life migration will be taking place. Trends in busi- 
ness and industrial expansion should be studied closely. Detectable 
changes in neighborhood characteristics should be weighed. If the 
school is not to be left behind, those changes must be anticipated in 
the location of the site, 

Physical Characteristics 

Without doubt the chief criticism of school sites is that they are, 
in general, much too small. School authorities have evidenced little 
conception of the amount of space required, not only for the proper 
design of the building but also for the outdoor facilities that go to 
make up a satisfactory school plant. Fortunately, however, the school 
for young children does not present as much of a problem as most 
others, for the demands of space- consuming play activities are not 
so great for children up to six years of age. 

In selecting the site it is well to have the advice of the architect 
who will be responsible for the design of the building and for the de- 
velopment of the grounds. Size cannot be thought of apart from a 
number of other characteristics, such as orientation, position and types 
of streets, kinds of surrounding buildings, exposures, directions of ap- 
proach, shape, slopes, etc. It will be possible for the architect to de- 
termine fairly rapidly the possibilities for development that are pos- 
sessed by any given site without going into exhaustive detail. In 
roughing out a plan he will allow for the following: 

a) Space for the building itself. Although this will vary with local con- 
ditions, it will usually be found that from four to six thousand square 
feet of ground area per group room will be needed. This will provide for 
the space required by such building elements as verandas, corridors, 
toilets, administrative and service areas, and courts. 

b) Sufficient space between the building and the streets and property lines. 
The amount of space necessary will be determined by such factors as the 
orientation of the classrooms, types of near-by structures, noisiness of 
streets, and possible points of access. 

c) Areas for automobile drives and turn-arounds and for the parking of 
parents' and teachers* cars. 

d) A service court for the delivery of supplies. 


e) A garden area. 
/) A clothes-drying yard. 

g) Correctly proportioned and located playgrounds of adequate size, dif- 
ferentiated in terms of the needs of children of various ages. 

It is doubtful if any standard can be developed that will hold good 
for the infinite combinations of conditions that are to be found. In 
general, however, for the school that does not go beyond Grade I, a 
total site area of about one-half acre of usable land per group room 
will be found to be a minimum. Under some conditions this area 
will need to be considerably enlarged. 

The site selected should be regular in outline with not too much 
difference between its length and breadth. An irregular site may re- 
sult in left-over corners and angles that cannot be effectively utilized. 
One that is too shallow or too narrow will not permit a satisfactory 
layout for either the building or the grounds. A site whose short di- 
mension is from two-thirds to three- fourths of the long one will gen- 
erally be found the most satisfactory. 

Turf is generally accepted as the most satisfactory fair-weather 
playing surface. Trees, shrubs, hedges, and grass are of practical as 
well as aesthetic value. The soil, then, should be fertile enough to 
assure healthy plant growth. Otherwise, a good deal of expense will 
be involved in providing loam and fertilizer to correct natural de- 
ficiencies. Care must be exercised, too, to avoid ledge rock that will 
require blasting, filled ground that fails to offer satisfactory bearing 
for the building, and swampy areas that are not only poor for founda- 
tions but which must be drained to be useful for play. Too often 
the money saved in the purchase price of a piece of ground has later 
been spent several-fold on grading, draining, blasting, and on piling 
or mat foundations. It is far better to put that money to more 
productive use. 

The site should be fairly level for the most part, but there should 
be enough slope to carry off the surface water. If the slope is to the 
east or south, the morning dew will dry more rapidly. Steeply sloping 
ground is not suitable for a building whose ground floor is near the 
outside grade at all points. Nor are steep slopes suitable for those 
outdoor play areas where children use blocks or wheel toys. If steep 
slopes do exist, they should be well away from the building and 
principal playground areas; otherwise, terracing to obtain level ground 
will increase the costs of development and result in a multiplicity of 
levels that are most inconvfcnient in use. 



In developing a school site it is necessary that the building and 
the out-of-doors be planned integrally. Each is an inseparable part 
of the other. 

First, the building must be so oriented with relation to the sun 
that its group rooms have the most satisfactory exposures. These 
vary with the different parts of the country. In the south where 
winters are mild and springs and autumns are warm or hot, north- 
easterly or even northerly exposures are better. In colder climates, 
easterly or southeasterly exposures are preferable. Moreover, the 
group rooms should face out on the playgrounds rather than on high- 
ways. Not only is there objection to the noise and dust and lack of 
privacy of a street but it is important that the play areas adjoin the 
classrooms to permit the close integration of indoor and outdoor activi- 
ties. The street exposure can best be reserved for other elements of 
the building that do not require large open windows and the maximum 
of quiet but which should possess the greatest degree of accessibility. 
These include the kitchen and storage areas, the main entrance, the 
health unit, staff rooms, and the parents' library. It will be seen, then, 
that the orientation of the group rooms, their relationship with the 
playgrounds, and provisions for access to the building very largely pre- 
determine the shape of the building and its location on the site and 
are controlling factors in other aspects of site development. 

Sufficient distance should be allowed between the building and 
property lines to minimize noise and dust. Necessary set-backs from 
streets will depend in large measure on the traffic conditions, but fifty 
feet should be the minimum, and greater distances will often be de- 
sirable, As for adjoining properties, desirable intervening distances 
will depend on the nature of their use. Whereas, a residence with a 
lawn around it will not be a source of concern unless its trees cast 
unwanted shade, the blank brick wall of a store or office building can 
be extremely unattractive and troublesome. Since a school cannot 
control the manner in which adjoining properties are used in future 
years, intervening space should be provided for the most unfavorable 

Space should be set aside for a drive and turn-around, with enough 
length so that several cars or station wagons may discharge or take 
on passengers at one time. In no case should drives be so arranged 
that cars have to back up in order to turn around. In some few in- 
stances it may be necessary to have children alight at the sidewalk 
of the street. Generally, this is an unsatisfactory arrangement be- 


cause of the hazard involved where cars swing toward and away from 
the curb in traffic. There should also be a parking area for the cars of 
teachers, of other staff members, and of parents who visit the school. 
A service court convenient to the kitchen, receiving room, and heat- 
ing plant should permit the delivery of food, supplies, fuel, and 
laundry as well as the removal of ashes and waste by trucks with a 
minimum of disturbance to school activities. 

As has been pointed out, the outdoor play areas should comprise 
a strip of ground immediately outside the group rooms. For two-to- 
five-year-olds, particularly, these play areas should be, in the main, 
simply extensions of the classrooms themselves. Since play yards 
should be available at all times, it is desirable that the area for each 
group be set aside for its use alone without the need for scheduling 
its use by other groups. 

Among young children play habits and abilities at the various age 
levels vary much more than those of older children. For this reason 
the areas designed to serve each of the age groups must be dif- 
ferentiated from the others and their respective limits defined. In the 
case of the two-year-olds who are inclined to play singly, or in very 
small groups at quiet activities in the sand box, pushing wheel toys, 
piling up blocks this definition of their play-area limits should 
amount to actual separation from the more strenuous games of the 
older children by means of a low fence, a hedge, or shrubbery. The 
play areas used by the three- and four-year-olds, respectively, need 
not be so separated but may be "zoned" by the placement and dupli- 
cation of play facilities. Again, the area used by five- and six-year- 
olds can be used jointly, although, in addition to the space set aside 
for quiet play and the use of apparatus, a larger open area should be 
provided for the space-consuming games of the older children circle 
games, ball games, running games, etc. 

As for the amount of playground to allow for the various age 
groups, one hundred square feet per child is probably sufficient for 
the less space-consuming activities of the two-year-olds. Moreover, 
the smaller area, which does not permit children to wander off by 
themselves, will assist teachers in their supervision. As the age of the 
child increases, however, so does the tendency to vigorous games. 
Thus, three- and four-year-olds may profitably use 125 to 150 square 
feet per child; and five- and six-year-olds, 175 to 200 square feet. 

In proportioning the play areas, it is better to limit their depths 
away from the building to one hundred feet or so. This will tend to 
keep children nearer the building itself, especially if the play apparatus 


(other than see-saws and swings) are grouped there and thus nearer 
to the toilets and to the teacher who may, on occasion, have to super- 
vise the activities of children within the group room and on the play- 
ground at the same time. 

The various play areas will have certain features in common. 
Whereas, turf close clipped to facilitate the drying of dew should 
make up the bulk of the playground surface, a part of the area should 
be provided with types of surfaces for wet-weather use and for special 
activities those that will not become soggy and that will dry rapidly. 
Whereas, concrete and asphalt paving is smooth and dries rapidly, it 
is hard and tough and increases the danger of injury. Certain ma- 
terials, such as cork or tanbark mixed with bituminous materials, re- 
sult in greater resiliency, but such surfaces must be laid by experienced 
workmen and are expensive. Tanbark alone or even wood shavings, 
well rolled or tamped is dry and springy (and should be used under 
climbing apparatus) but has the disadvantage of being rather "messy" 
where young children are inclined to play on "all fours." 

In addition to wet-weather surfaces there should be paved run- 
ways for larger wheel toys trucks and cycles. These runways should 
be meandering so as to discourage "scorching" with its resulting ac- 
cidents and to provide for the fun of steering a curving course. Such 
runways may well extend between the play terraces and the outdoor 
storage sheds, about which more will be said later. 

Each group will need a sand box, set well away from the tanbark 
area so that the sand may be kept clean* There should also be digging 
areas where children may grub in the soil. Wading pools also are use- 
ful for all groups. These should be very shallow and supplied with a 
continuous flow of water and provided with means for frequent drain- 
ing and cleaning. Where they are situated near the sand boxes, water 
and sand may be used together to make sturdier castles and tunneled 
highways. Except for the two-year-old children (all of whose facilities 
should be grouped fairly near their toilet entrance) the pools and sand 
boxes may be set at some little distance, twenty to twenty-five yards 
or so, from the building. 

As for equipment, about which more will be said later, the climb- 
ing areas need to be located first. For the three- and four-year-olds a 
fixed climbing frame may be centrally situated between their separate 
areas so that it can be used by both groups. The same arrangement 
may be used for the five- and six-year-olds. The climbing frame for 
two-year-olds is in miniature and should be portable so that it can be 
moved from spot to spot, in sunshine or shade, as needs dictate. Other 


fixed apparatus, such as see-saws and swings, should be segregated to 
prevent collision accidents. Small sheds for play and equipment stor- 
age should be situated at the extremes of the play areas, in such a way 
that children will not be able to hide behind them. 

With regard to planting, mention has already been made of the 
use of hedges to define the play areas of the various age groups. These 
hedges should be kept low so that visibility will not be impeded, and, 
in most eases, prickly shrubs should not be used. There should be de- 
ciduous trees to afford shade here and there, particularly for the sand 
box, but not so many that all sunshine is shut out, the number and 
arrangement being varied in accordance with the needs in the various 
parts of the country. The six-year-olds' area for group play should 
be free of trees which would interfere with their games. 

Trees (particularly evergreens), walls, and buildings, too, may 
be used to advantage to provide windbreaks that will aid tremendously 
in sheltering play areas from the prevailing cold winds of spring 
and fall and in reflecting the warm rays of the sun. Shrubbery can 
be used to screen the play areas from streets and adjoining proper- 
ties, reducing noise and affording privacy- Again, shrubbery can be 
used to form a simple labyrinth where children may play hide-and- 
seek among mysterious cul-de-sacs. 

Between the group rooms and the outdoor play areas there should 
be a paved and covered terrace. The floor of this terrace should be 
level or practically level with the floor of the group room, for in 
reality it is but an extension of the group room itself. Here certain 
activities such as block building, modeling, and painting, which are 
normally carried on indoors, can be transferred to the outdoors and 
protected from the direct glare of the sun. Such a covered terrace can 
serve also for free outdoor play on rainy days in warm weather. In 
addition to its primary purposes, a paved terrace helps considerably 
to keep the group-room floors relatively free of sand and mud. 

Several other facilities are worthy of brief mention. One is a 
hillock, situated to one side of the site, perhaps, where children may 
enjoy the energy release of climbing and running down again. Another 
is a garden patch where the older children may dig in the soil and gain 
an introduction to the miracle of germination and growth. Finally, it 
would be well .to set aside at each school, especially at those in the 
more congested' districts, a small park area, accessible from the street, 
where the mothers of the neighborhood may come with their sewing 
and their baby carriages -to visit and to watch the school's children 
at their 'play a friendly place of trees and shrubs, flowers and settees, 


that will give reality to that unity which should exist between the 
home and the school. 

General Characteristics 

The child of two years of age is entering upon a difficult period of 
his development He is called upon to adjust to a multitude of people, 
things, and situations that did not exist in the home which, until now, 
has been his world. Venturing from the security and intimacy of his 
immediate family, he is expected to learn to work and play with 
others, to share and co-operate, to subdue his selfish impulses. If the 
child is not to become emotionally engulfed, the adjustment he is 
called upon to make should be as smooth and as gradual as possible. 

The change should not be made the more abrupt by a school or 
a building that contrasts more sharply than necessary with the home. 
It should not be so large that he is confused and loses his self-identity 
among so many. He should not be spiritually dwarfed by the building's 
overawing dignity and austere formality. 

Certainly institutionalism in any of its manifestations is out of 
character with childhood. The school for young children is not a 
suitable vehicle for a display of civic ostentation. Of necessity it 
must overshadow the average home, but the discrepancy can be 
lessened by making it conform as closely as possible to residential 
scale by employing low wings and irregular outlines to break up for- 
midable massiveness, by avoiding forced bi-axial symmetry, conven- 
tionalized details, and useless ornamentation. The niceties of archi- 
tectural styles are probably of far less importance to a child than that 
the general character of the building be informal, friendly, and fa- 
miliar to him. 

We have no scientific evidence that in this direction lie buildings 
which the child will find more inviting. Perhaps we have not con- 
sidered that his preferences and reactions are important enough to 
seek them out. Until we do, we cannot intelligently contend that he 
possesses none. We can only base our course upon a reasonable prob- 
ability and use adult judgment of what is fitting. 

Turning from aesthetics to more material considerations, the very 
appearance of permanence can be and often has been a serious dis- 
advantage. The longevity of school plants has constituted an impedi- 
ment to the progress of educational development. All over our country, 
buildings that were inflexibly built and of too obvious structural sound- 
ness are thwarting improvement in educational programs. The very 


aspect of solidity which they possess acts as an insurmountable ob- 
stacle to their replacement. 

The education of very young children is, itself, in its infancy. 
Time will bring many developments and will bring them rapidly. It 
is foolhardy to repeat the mistake of assuming that we, in our infinite 
wisdom, are capable of fixing the pattern of education for the gener- 
ations to come. 

Construction, then, should be such as to permit the highest degree 
of adaptation to change. Heavy masonry walls that support im- 
posed loads should be reduced to a minimum or altogether avoided. 
Partitions should be readily movable. The plan should be so arranged 
that additions to the building can be made later to provide either 
more group rooms or such service facilities as were omitted initially. 
These provisions for expansion cannot be vague or left to chance. The 
form which such additions are to take should be specific and incor- 
porated in the plans when the building is first laid out so that all 
elements of the ultimate building will be satisfactorily co-ordi- 
nated, so that the exits and access points will be correctly placed for 
safety and convenience, and so that the lighting and ventilation of 
both the original units and the additions will be unimpaired. 

Facilities and Their Disposition 

A listing of the principal elements of a school for young children 
follows, together with a few notes on their disposition in the building. 
In subsequent sections, certain of these will be taken up and treated 
individually in greater detail. Space limitations have, in a number of 
cases, necessitated a positive recommendation without discussion of 

a) Group rooms are the largest and, of course, the most important elements 
of the school building. It is around them that the building is designed. 
There should be a separate room for each group of children, the groups 
being divided according to age and development. Each group room pro- 
vides its children with the facilities for work, play, rest, toileting, dress- 
ing, and, usually, for eating. Each should be individually accessible from 
the building's main entrance and should open directly to an outdoor ter- 
race and thence to its play yard. 

6) The dining unit consists of tlie main lunchroom, when provided, the 
kitchen, and the food-storage facilities. It should be centrally situated 
with respect to the group rooms. The kitchen, while maintaining its cen-r 
tral positon adjoining the dining room, should be segregated sufficiently 
so that cooking odors will not permeate the building. It should be so 


situated, moreover, that it is readily accessible for the receiving of sup- 
plies and the disposal of refuse. 

c) The administrative unit includes the office for the director of the school 
and his secretary, a conference room, where possible, a health suite, and 
a teachers 3 room. The office and the conference room should be situated 
just inside the public entrance to the building where those who enter will 
find it immediately. The health suite, too, should be near the entrance, 
for to it will come the parents for consultation on child-health problems, 
infants from outside the school, mothers to call for those children who 
show signs of illness and are isolated from the others. The location of the 
teachers' room is not particularly vital, except that it should be isolated 
from the playgrounds and group rooms and yet be conveniently central. 

d) A parents* library should also be situated conveniently to the public en- 
trance. Here will be the reference books and pamphlets used not only 
by the staff but by the parents as well. Where funds are limited, this room 
can well be combined with the conference room, since both are for the 
use of groups of parents and teachers under conditions that often in- 
volve the use of books and pamphlets. 

e) A laundry should be provided in each building. Even though principal 
items, such as table linen and blankets, are sent out for laundering, there 
remains a host of smaller articles for which the convenience of laundry 
facilities in the building is important. Here again, the location in the 
building is not particularly vital except that it must have convenient 
access to an outdoor drying yard and should be tied in with other service 

/) A caretaker's suite is a desirable adjunct for most schools. It consists 
of an apartment living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bath which may 
be occupied by a couple providing custodial services for the plant. It 
should have its own separate outside entrance. 

g) The custodial unit consists of the heating plant, a receiving and storage 
room for building supplies, storage for outdoor tools, and a workshop for 
small repairs. It should, moreover, be conveniently accessible from the 
caretaker's suite, if one exists. 

All of the foregoing units should be arranged on one floor level 
with the exception of the heating plant and the storage space for fuel. 
Stairways and steps are an impediment to the operation of a building. 
They are a source of danger to young children in their movement 
through a building. They are an inconvenience in the moving of equip- 
ment, supplies, and food through a building. Under no circumstances 
whatsoever should rooms for the use of pupils be placed below ground 
level or so high above it that opportunity for free and rapid egress 
of small children from the building with a minimum of assistance is 


not possible. Where changes in floor levels axe unavoidable, consider- 
ation should be given to the use of ramps in place of stairs. Where 
they are gently sloped and provided with nonslip surfaces, they are 
safer and make possible the movement of such things as food dollies 
and heavy equipment. 

The Group Rooms. It has been pointed out that the group rooms, 
in large measure, establish the design of the building. This is because 
of their size, the demands of orientation, their relationship with out- 
door facilities and with other elements of the building. 

The size of the individual group rooms is dependent in large 
measure upon the numbers to be accommodated by each. Ex- 
perience has shown that, as the age of each group increases, the 
numbers comprising the group can also be increased. Two-year-old 
children, for example, are more likely to be overstimulated or upset 
by the presence of too many children. Moreover, being less able to 
care for themselves, they require more individual attention from 
their teacher in their play, their dressing, and their toileting. As the 
age increases, self-reliance as well as the ability to mix with larger 
groups also increases. 

There is no unanimity of opinion regarding the numbers which 
should comprise a group of each age. The answer will depend, in 
large measure, upon the social background of the children, the num- 
ber, skill, and experience of the teachers, and other similar factors. 
In general, however, the number of children present in any group 
should not exceed the following: (These figures are for numbers of 
children in a group not the number of children per teacher. Two 
teachers or more per group, especially for the younger children, is 
common practice.) 

Age 2 14 to 17 attending 

Age 3 18 to 22 attending 

Age 4 22 to 24 attending 

Age 5 up to 25 attending 

The space allowance per child will depend somewhat upon his 
age or, in other words, upon his work and play needs. In any case, 
where the group rooms are used for resting, the space per child cannot 
fall below that required for the setting up of cots. This is generally 
accepted as thirty-five square feet roughly an area five by seven 
feet to allow space around each cot for separation and access. Some 
additonal space per child is desirable, however, particularly for the 
youngest groups where the number of pupils is small but where the 
facilities they require are not diminished thereby. As for the older 


pupils, their larger size, their larger furniture, and thejiature of their 
activities require more "elbow room." Thus, forty or more square feet 
per child would not be excessive and it should be borne in mind that 
it may not always be possible to maintain groups of minimum size. 
Thus, it will be seen that the group rooms, exclusive of toilet rooms, 
dressing rooms, sleeping or dining alcoves, observation booths, storage 
closets, and the Iike 3 should run from about seven hundred square feet 
for the youngest groups to about one thousand or more square feet 
for the five-year-olds. 

The next major factor to be considered in laying out group rooms 
is the matter of orientation. In this country climatic conditions vary 
so widely that no single solution would be everywhere acceptable. 
In general, morning sunshine before the day becomes hot is pleasant 
and desirable. In the north, a southern exposure will make the room 
more cheerful. In some warm sections, however, a northern exposure 
or one east of north will be preferable. In general, western exposures 
should be avoided since, in most sections of the country, they are too 
hot during the late afternoon and make the control of light during 
the midday nap more difficult. 

Much can be done through the design of the building to make pos- 
sible the enjoyment of a given exposure without suffering its disad- 
vantages. Even with a southern exposure, eaves or awning louvers 
can be constructed in such a way as to admit the sloping rays of morn- 
ing and winter noonday sunlight while excluding them in summer 
when the sun is high. Much has been written about this type of 
design in connection with "solar heating." It is advanced here not as 
a possibility for heating but simply as a means for the control of 
light and the reduction of overheating through solar radiation. 

The whole problem of school lighting is a knotty one. The need 
of the children as well as the aim of the designer is the admission of 
abundant light to all parts of each room without glare, with pos- 
sibilities for the control of direct sunshine and for the complete dim- 
ming of the room for nap periods. Obviously, low windows arranged 
under a porch roof along one side of a room twenty-five or thirty feet 
deep will not produce satisfactory conditions of light distribution. 
Glare, caused by the difference between the general brightness level 
of the room and that of the windows, can be diminished by (a) re- 
ducing the light transmission of the windows themselves and (6) in- 
creasing the window areas so that the total amount of light admitted 
and, thus, the general level of illumination in the room is increased. 
There is an increasing tendency on the part of school designers to plan 


buildings so that rooms have windows in two or more walls. The in- 
crease in outside wall surface tends to increase building costs, but 
the results are well worth the extra expenditure, if it can be afforded. 
An increasing use is being made of directional glass blocks that re- 
duce glare by deflecting incoming sun rays upward away from the 
line of vision toward the ceilings, whence it is reflected to provide 
better distribution of light through the room. Since glass blocks are 
translucent rather than transparent, they cannot displace sheet glass 
entirely. Window panels should be left at eye level so that the occu- 
pants will be able to see the out-of-doors. 

If small children are to see out while seated, window sills will 
need to be low very low by comparison with adult standards. Par- 
ticularly in milder climates, windows can be extended to the floors 
but protection should be provided the lower lights through the use 
of guards or wired or tempered glass. This arrangement permits the 
windows, either counterbalanced or rolling, to be used as doors which 
open wide so that the out-of-doors and the indoors become one. 

Light control can be accomplished by means of light-colored, 
washable, translucent draperies on traverse rods or by means of 
Venetian blinds or roll shades where it is necessary to diffuse the 
direct rays of the sun while at the same time admitting light. The 
control cords for Venetian blinds and draperies, however, must termi- 
nate above the reach of the children in order to reduce breakage. 

It is of fundamental importance that group rooms, including their 
alcoves, balconies, and adjoining toilet and dressing rooms, should 
be arranged so that all parts are visible from any point. The large, 
main area of the group room can be subdivided to provide play corners 
by the use of low movable cases, cupboards, and screens on castors, 
the tops of which are well below the eye level of the teacher. All chil- 
dren, and especially the two-year-olds who have yet to learn co- 
operative group play, at times prefer secluded nooks where they can 
get away from the incessant presence of others. Such nooks or tem- 
porary alcoves are useful, too, for the differentiation of activities 
block building in one, housekeeping in another, and perhaps picture- 
book reading in a third. 

Those walls of the rooms which are not used otherwise should 
be employed for shelves and cupboards in which may be stored the 
materials and toys used by the children. Many of these should be 
open so that children may select articles at will but shelves and 
cupboards with doors that latch, out of the reach of the children, are 
also necessary to accommodate books, not currently in use, and such 


other articles and materials which the children should not be free to 
use except under the supervision of the teacher. There should also be 
deep, tray-like shelves for the accommodation of large sheets of paper, 
shallow drawers for the storage of paper and pictures, and closets 
where may be kept bulky toys which will not fit into shelves and 

In one corner of each room, shelves should be designed for the 
accommodation of picture books. These should be low, so that chil- 
dren may choose those books that appeal to them. A well-lighted read- 
ing table with chairs should be placed conveniently near-by. There 
may be cubicles or box lockers in the group rooms one for each child. 
In these may be kept the toys and other personal belongings of the 
children. Each cubicle should be marked with the child's name and 
with a symbol he can recognize as his own. The same symbol a duck 
or a cat or a train should be used to identify all items of equip- 
ment which each child uses alone, such as his cot, clothes locker, and 
washroom hook. 

Each group room used by two-, three-, and four-year-olds and 
by five-year-olds as well, where possible should have a balcony set 
in an alcove. These are useful for a variety of purposes, such as for 
large muscle development of the two-year-olds who love to climb 
the steps and descend again on a slide provided for that purpose, for 
quiet activities away from the larger group, for spontaneous drama- 
tizations, for accommodating day-to-day projects that may be left there 
undisturbed. For the two- and three-year-old groups the floors of these 
alcoves should be raised four or five feet to make stair climbing and 
the use of the slide possible. The space under the balcony may be 
utilized for cot storage or for play corners. For four- and five-year-old 
children, the alcove floors may be raised only a foot or so, and the 
climbing steps and slides accordingly omitted. 

The ceilings of all group rooms and their accessory spaces should be 
finished with acoustical materials to effectively reduce noise and re- 
sulting confusion. The materials used should be highly efficient and 
should be capable of repeated redecoration without any appreciable 
lessening of efficiency. Perforated tiles are probably the most satis- 
factory from this standpoint, though many persons will prefer the 
appearance of acoustical plaster or smoother types of tiles. 

Walls may be of any of a variety of attractive and suitable ma- 
terials. Where plaster is used, it should be smooth and should be 
painted to improve its appearance and ease of cleaning or it may be 
covered, above the reach of the children, with washable wallpaf>ers or 


fabrics in interesting, colorful designs. The light-colored plywoods 
are very pleasing and clean-cut, though fir should be avoided because 
of its tendency to check. Some of the soft-finished, fiber wallboards 
have also been used successfully but they are best confined to upper 
walls, away from the danger of damage and soiling. 

Floors of linoleum are probably the most satisfactory provided 
the linoleum used is thick-cork, battleship linoleum. This material, 
however, as well as rubber and cork tiles, should not be laid on con- 
crete subfloors which are in contact with the earth. For this purpose, 
asphalt tile is probably the most satisfactory material, offering a resi- 
lient, easily cleaned, and water-resistant surface. Wood floors which 
are noisy and more difficult to maintain are generally less favorably 
regarded for nursery-school use, Where employed, however, generous 
provisions for expansion should be allowed. If swelling and cupping is 
to be avoided, it should never be laid above a space that is at all in- 
clined to dampness. Wherever composition floors are used, variegated 
patterns are advisable to do away with the annoyance of unsightly 
dust tracks. 

In general, decoration should be colorful but with strong hues con- 
fined to small areas. Ceilings should be near-white for better re- 
flection, and the walls should be in light tones. Only flat paints 
never glossy ones should be used on walls and ceilings. The wood- 
work of doors, trim, and cabinetwork may be finished with semigloss 
enamel, however, as an aid to cleanliness. Enameled woodwork is, 
as a rule, far more colorful, pleasing, and domestic in character than 
varnished woodwork, whether light or dark. Attractiveness of rooms 
will be greatly enhanced where care is taken to carry out well-con- 
ceived color schemes that include walls, woodwork, furniture, and 
floors. Permanent decorations, such as murals and floor designs, are 
usually more interesting to the adult visitor than to the child who 
sees them constantly. Simplicity should be the watchword if palling 
is to be avoided. Wall decorations can better take the form of pictures 
that may be changed often to provide variety. 

Consideration should also be given to supplementary facilities. 
Adjoining each group room for the two-, three-, and four-year-olds, 
and immediately accessible from it, should be a toilet room and a 
dressing room. These areas should be separated from the group room 
itself and from each other by partitions, the upper parts of which are 
glazed, starting at about the four-foot point, so that the teacher may 
have an unrestricted view of all areas at one time without visibility 
being permitted the children. In some cases an arrangement of lockers 


to screen the toilet area from the dressing area will be found satis- 
factory. The toilet areas should be convenient to and, preferably, di- 
rectly accessible from the playground or terrace. 

Opinions vary with regard to the number of toilet fixtures that 
should be provided. It appears probable, however, that there should 
be at least one water closet for each five or six pupils in the two- 
to-four-year-old groups. These should be "baby-sized" units for all 
three ages, with open-front seats, except that one fixture in each room 
should be junior size for use standing up. The provision of urinals 
should be avoided until the segregation of sexes in the older groups. 
For the two- and three-year-olds, the individual water closets should 
be shielded from one another by shallow wing partitions, standing clear 
of the floor to facilitate cleaning, and without doors. Each com- 
partment should be roomy enough so that the teachers may assist 
the children. The water closets for the four-year-old group and, of 
course, for the older groups should be not only partitioned but equipped 
with doors all partitions and doors being low enough so that the 
teacher may see over them. 

Lavatories, preferably in numbers equal to the waterclosets, should 
be arranged in the same area occupied by the waterclosets. They 
should be set very low, in proportion to the heights of the children 
who are to use them. They should be supplied with both warm and 
cold water, the temperature of the warm water being thermostatically 
controlled at its source to remove the danger of scalding. Spray heads 
on mixing faucets will facilitate washing under running water. Spring 
faucets should not be used, though the delayed action type of spring 
faucet is less objectionable than the ordinary kind. In any event, 
handles should be the lever type rather than the wheel type so that 
they may be more readily grasped and operated by young hands. 
Mirrors should be placed above the lavatories, care being taken to see 
that they are at a height suitable for the children who are to use 
them. To avoid congestion, however, additonal mirrors should be 
placed elsewhere either in the toilet or in the dressing area to allow 
plenty of time for the "hair combers" without delaying the "washers." 
Around the walls of the toilet area and, if need be, on screens between 
the lavatories, there should be hooks, set low and marked with identi- 
fying symbols, on which may be hung the children's wash cloths, 
towels, and even their combs. 

The toilet area should be finished in materials that promote cleanli- 
ness. Acoustical ceilings are desirable. Walls should be of glazed tile 
at least as high as a child can reach, if funds will not permit entire 


tiling. In this case, the space above should be painted plaster. Cement 
plaster walls below wainscoat level should be used only where meas- 
ures of extreme economy are called for ? and in these cases the plaster 
should be enameled so that it may be easily washed. The most im- 
pervious and otherwise suitable floor material is essential. With appro- 
priate materials, properly pitched to drains, the floor can be flushed 
down periodically with a hose to promote cleanliness that should 

In the dressing-room area there needs to be a locker for each child 
enrolled, with several extra ones to allow for heavier than normal en- 
rolments. These lockers should also be marked with the children's 
identif3~ing symbols. For the two-to-four-year-olds the lockers are 
usually open fronted with a lower section three and one-half to four 
feet high with hooks for the hanging of garments. Above the main 
section, but still within reach of the children, there should be a com- 
partment for their personal toilet articles and, above that, larger 
cubicles divided by shelves to accommodate extra bed clothing, under- 
clothing, and towels. Overshoes may be kept on the floor of the lower 
sections, which should be raised six to eight inches. This base should 
be extended for the two- and three-year-olds so that they may sit on 
it while they put on overshoes, Older children can sit on benches pro- 
vided for that purpose. The dressing area, in addition to being next to 
the toilet area and adjoining the main room, should be conveniently 
near the door leading from the corridor to the group room. Such an 
arrangement is a convenience when children arrive at school and dis- 
pose of their wraps. 

Wherever a school for young children is to be used for the training 
of teachers, or where it is expected that the program will include co- 
operative work with parents (and that should certainly be the rule), 
provision should be made for observation booths which overlook each 
group room for two-to-four-year-olds as well as the main dining room, 
where one is incorporated in the building. The observation booth should 
be so located that it commands an uninterrupted view of the entire 
group room and dressing area. If possible, the toilet area should also 
be visible. The floors of the booths need to be elevated above the group- 
room floors some three and one-half to four feet to provide the neces- 
sary lines of sight, the space beneath them being utilized for the 
ever-needed storage cupboards. The booths should be entered from the 
corridor only, with the door latches set high enough so that they are 
well out of the reach of the children who should not have access to 
them except under the supervision of a teacher. The interiors should 


be large enough to accommodate five or six adults, if possible, seated 
comfortably. The partitions separating the booths from the group 
rooms should contain glazed or screened sash extending from about 
three feet to six feet above the floor of the booths. Running beneath 
this window on the inside should be a shelf or counter for notebooks 
and purses. The glass used for glazing the sash should be the so- 
called "one-way" glass which permits vision from whichever is the 
darker side toward the lighter one. For this reason the interior of 
the booth must be dimly lighted and painted black. Where the fine- 
mesh wire is used (eighteen or twenty strands per inch) it needs to 
be painted a light color on the group-room side to prevent vision to 
the interior. Being small, the booth must be well ventilated if it is 
not to become unbearably stuffy. From this standpoint, screening has 
an advantage over glass. But a glazed booth, with ventilating and 
with sound-transmitting louvers which can be operated from the 
inside, makes it easier for observers to come in and take their places 
without being heard from the group room, In any case the booth's 
floor should be thickly carpeted to deaden sound. Children know, of 
course, that adults see them from the booth, but this is of little conse- 
quence so long as their presence can be kept below the children's levels 
of consciousness. 

Sleeping rooms, alcoves, or porches adjoining the individual group 
rooms are most desirable. Especially are they needed for the younger 
children who require more frequent and longer nap periods. Unless 
space is set aside specifically for sleeping, the task of repeatedly 
setting up cots in the main room and again folding and storing them 
is time-consuming and laborious. Moreover, where the main group 
room must be used for sleeping, there can be little allowance for the 
varying rest requirements of individual children. So important are 
separate sleeping areas for the younger children that they should be 
provided even at the expense of such other desirable building facilities 
as the dining room, the custodian's room, or the parents' library. 

Sleeping rooms or alcoves should adjoin the toilet areas. They 
should be located for quiet, without windows that face out on noisy 
streets or adjoining properties or upon service yards where truck de- 
liveries are made. The rooms should be designed in such a way that 
they may be cross-ventilated, even flooded with outdoor air, without 
diminishing the possibilities for keeping them shaded sufficiently to 
encourage sleep. Since it is here that bedding is used, there should 
be convenient and adequate storage within the area for blankets and 


Dining Facilities. Whereas, a separate dining room is desirable for 
the older children of perhaps four years or more and can be used for 
a variety of other school activities, such as meetings of a large number 
of parents or community entertainments, it is of questionable value 
for the younger children. Many authorities believe that it is preferable 
for the younger children to have their meals in small groups within 
their regular group rooms, with food being brought to them there on 
dollies or serving tables. 

As has already been noted, the dining room and kitchen adjoin- 
ing one another, should be centrally situated with respect to the several 
group rooms. Where possible, the dining room should be designed so 
that two or more of its walls are to the outside to furnish the utmost 
in light and ventilation. 

The dining room should be large enough to seat at least half of 
the school's enrolment in the older groups at one time. Since it is 
important to avoid crowding among young children, the number of 
square feet of floor space per seat should equal comfortable standards 
for adults nine or ten square feet. 

Floors should be of resilient and easily cleaned materials. If 
asphalt tile is used, it should be the grease-resistant type. In general, 
other finishes suitable for group rooms are suitable also for the dining 
room. The room should be attractively decorated and treated with 
acoustical materials. 

Although children should eat in comparatively small groups, the 
tables should be large enough so that they are not huddled together 
in tight little bunches with their heads together and prodding each 
other with their feet. A good arrangement is the use of tables at 
least four feet square, seating not more than eight, including a teacher. 
These larger tables can be made up by placing together two smaller 
tables which are more readily folded and stored when it is desired to 
clear the room for other activities. A storage closet or wall cupboards 
should be designed specifically for that purpose. A low platform at 
one end of the room will further adapt the dining room to alternative 

Serving arrangements in the dining room should provide for the 
picking up of trays at a serving window opening from the kitchen, as 
opposed to a serving line where a selection of displayed food may be 
had. The serving window, with a generous apron or counter on each 
side, should be long and wide enough so that several trays can be 
placed in it at one time and low enough so that children may serve 
themselves. A separate, soiled-dish window opening to a dish-washing 


unit is most advantageous. Where children eat in their group rooms 
it will be found desirable to move the food and dishes on wheeled 
serving tables. Under this arrangement provision should be made 
for the accommodation of the serving tables in the kitchen while they 
are being loaded and for their storage when not in use. And, as already 
noted, the floor between the group rooms and the kitchen should be 
level, uninterrupted by steps or ramps. 

The observation booth that overlooks the dining room should be 
larger than those used for the group rooms. If possible, it should be 
capable of seating a dozen or so people and should, of course, be entered 
from the corridor. 

Where the dining room is omitted from the building, those group 
rooms which do not have separate sleeping areas should be somewhat 
enlarged. This is desirable because usually the nap immediately fol- 
lows the lunch, and cots need to be set up while lunch is in progress. 
There should, therefore, be sufficient space in the group room to accom- 
modate the luncheon tables and the cots at the same time. Where 
group rooms are used for lunching, space should be provided for the 
storage of those extr& tables which are needed only for that purpose. 
If these tables have folding legs they may be stored on edge in grooved 
guides provided to receive them in cupboards built under the observa- 
tion booth or the balcony. 

Health Unit. The health unit, situated near the entrance, consists 
of a nurse's room, an isolation room, and, desirably, a waiting room. 
Of these, the principal room is that used by the nurse and, on occasion, 
by the doctor. It should be equipped with a desk, several chairs, files 
for records, a bookcase, instrument and medicine cabinets and tables, 
an examination table, a work counter with a sink, electric outlets, 
and, if possible, a dental chair. Where funds are available it is ad- 
visable to separate the room into two, using one for consultation and 
office work and the other for examinations and first aid. There should 
be a toilet and lavatory in connection with this room. The waiting 
room should be separated from the office to insure privacy for con- 
ferences and examinations, and it should be well ventilated and 
equipped with several chairs. In addition to this unit's ordinary 
school use, it should be assigned to serve as a community maternity 
and child-health center. 

Where a nurse is in constant attendance, the isolation room should 
adjoin the nurse's office and be separated from it by a glass partition 
equipped with a blind on the office side. Where the nurse is not always 
present, the isolation room can best adjoin the director's office so that 


the secretary will be able to keep an eye on the sick child. In either 
case, the isolation room should be arranged so that it can be entered 
directly from the corridor as well as from the adjoining room. It 
should be an attractive place with a pleasant view from its windows. 
While containing a cot, it should also be equipped with toys and 
books for the child that is not too sick to amuse himself while waiting 
to be taken home. Appointments and finishes should be such that 
they can be easily cleaned and even sterilized, but every precaution 
should be taken to avoid giving the room a hospital-like appearance. 

The Administration Unit. As has been previously noted, the office 
of the director should be situated immediately inside the principal 
entrance to the building. Where possible, it is advisable to subdivide 
the office so that there is a private room for the director, where inter- 
views may take place, and a general outer office for the clerical work 
and filing equipment. The common mistake of making the general 
office an inside room without windows for light and ventilation should 
be avoided. The director's private office should have an adjoining 

Every school building should have a teachers' room with an ad- 
joining toilet and, if possible, an alcove furnished with one or two 
cots. This room should be attractively decorated and provided with 
comfortable, relaxing furniture. It is advisable to include lockers 
one for each teacher to supplement teachers' closets in the group 
rooms. The toilet room, adjoining, should be equipped with dressing 
tables and mirrors. In addition, there should be a shower and dressing 
compartment. In additioh to the regular shower head at shoulder 
height, it is wise to add a second similar head at about a four-foot 
height for those occasions when it may be necessary or desirable to 
bathe a child. 

The parents' library, which may be combined with the conference 
room, should supplement the health unit as a community center for 
prenatal care and instruction in problems of parenthood. It needs to 
be large enough to accommodate the entire teaching staff or a group 
of a dozen or so parents. There should be a conference and work 
table, storage for folding chairs, shelves for books relating to child- 
hood development and education, and racks for magazines. This room 
also should be situated at a point convenient to the principal entrance. 

Outdoor Equipment 

The outdoor play equipment needed by young children is marked 
by its simplicity. For the most part it consists of boxes, boards, and 


trestles which can be carried about, piled on one another, and climbed 
upon. Much of it is equipment that can very readily be constructed 
in the custodian's workshop or in a local mill from simple drawings. 
It is not necessary that a plank laid between two boxes or trestles 
look to an adult like the George Washington Bridge, for the children's 
imaginations will take care of the discrepancies. Big, light-weight 
boxes piled on one another can become a towering skyscraper or a 
cabin in the woods depending on the child's play needs of the mo- 
ment. Laid end to end, they become a facinating streamlined train. 

Storage Sheds. It is essential that facilities be provided for the 
storage of outdoor play equipment at night and during the winter 
months when it is not in use. Convenience will be greatly in- 
creased if these facilities are distributed in such a way that they will 
be near the several points where needed. Perhaps the most satisfactory 
solution has been the construction of several small sheds that serve 
not only as storage houses but also as playhouses when they are 
empty of equipment. They may be quite small, when there are sev- 
eral to take the place of one large one, and may be thus hidden In 
among shrubbery and made to blend much better with the land- 
scaping. Generally, these sheds may be built about twelve to fourteen 
feet long by about four feet wide and four feet or so high, with a 
slightly sloping roof upon which children can climb. Ladders or steps 
should be provided so that this is possible. The ends and most of one 
side should be equipped with doors or removable panels so that they 
may be opened wide to facilitate the introduction and removal of 
equipment and so that they may be better adapted to play. The 
boxes, trestles, and wheeled toys can be placed in them in the after- 
noon when the children are through with their play, so that deteriora- 
tion due to exposure to the elements may be reduced. 

Climbing Unit Climbing frames can be bought from equipment- 
supply houses. Unfortunately, these are usually made of metal. Many 
authorities, however, prefer wooden climbing units. The wood does 
not become uncomfortably hot to the touch in the sun, as does metal, 
and the rungs, being larger than those of metal one and one-half 
inches or so in diameter and less slippery, are more easily gripped 
by the children. These rungs are let into wooden posts set securely 
into the ground. For the four- and five-year-olds a frame about seven 
by ten feet and about seven feet high is sufficient. Rungs should be 
set about eighteen or nineteen inches apart. For the two* and three- 
year-olds a smaller portable frame is better than a fixed one. This 
can be about a six-foot cube with rungs about one inch in diameter, . 


built upon sills that act as skids when the unit is moved. Care should 
be taken to keep the wooden units painted or rubbed with linseed oil 
occasionally so that they will not weather and raise splinters. 

Sand Boxes. Children of all ages up to six enjoy playing in sand. 
There should be at least one box for each group. The sand boxes 
should be of generous size approximately eight by ten feet and may 
be constructed of either wood or concrete. Wooden sand-boxes should 
be made of rot-resistant woods, such as cedar or cypress, and, during 
the winter in northern sections of the country, should be emptied and 
put under cover. Concrete boxes may be emptied and covered when 
not in use for long periods. Although covers for such large boxes are 
a nuisance to remove and put into place again each day, they are 
generally necessary in order to protect the sand from stray animals. 
Convenience will be increased by hinging the covers or by building 
them on tracks so that they may be slid back and forth. In their 
open position the covers should be designed to serve as seats and play 
surfaces. It will generally be found that concrete boxes are the 
cheaper. For proper placement of the boxes the ground should be 
excavated several feet and back-filled with gravel to assure good 
drainage, before the sand is put in. 

Wading Pools. As already noted, these should be quite shallow 
six to eight inches with a curb around the edges to reduce the chances 
of an accidental ducking. They should be equipped with an overflow 
pipe and a supply line so that a continuous small trickle of water 
through them can be maintained to prevent stagnation and to pre- 
serve cleanliness. In addition, they must be equipped with drains so 
that they may be completely emptied at intervals for cleaning. Pools 
should be of fairly generous size one hundred to two hundred square 
feet so that children may have sufficient room to sail their boats or 
to wade. Concrete construction is, of course, necessary. 

Miscellaneous. The miscellaneous equipment for outdoor play in- 
cludes the following: 

a) Boxes in a variety of sizes from six inches square up. They should be 
sturdily constructed with slightly rounded edges, smooth, and painted 
for protection against weathering and splintering. Some of the larger- 
sized boxes should be open on one side. 

b) Trestles, or sawhorses, in pairs and in a variety of sizes from one to four 
feet or so high and three or four feet long. Cleats or rungs should be 
secured to the sloping legs like ladder steps to support the ends of planks 
and boards at various heights. 


c) Planks of one and one-eighth inch stock, three or four feet long and a foot 
or so wide. Cleats should be attached near the ends to prevent them from 
sliding off supporting boxes and trestle rungs. 

d) Building boards of seven-eighths inch stock, three or four feet long and 
four to six inches wide, without the cleats which are attached to the 

e) Packing cases in a variety of sizes and shapes, finished free of sharp 
corners, splinters, and protruding nail heads. Slats should replace one 
of the solid sides in some of the packing cases. 

/) Wooden barrels, with one or both ends open. 

g) Storm pipe, twenty-four inches or so in diameter, for crawling games, 

h) Climbing ladders, two feet or so wide and in a variety of lengths up to 

eight feet. 
i) Walking planks, much like the other planks except that on one side 

blocks about seven inches long, and slanting away from the center, are 

attached in a "foot track" pattern. 

;) Lock box, placed near the sand box for the storage of sand toys, such as 
spoons, shovels, dishes, and pails. 

k) Work bench for outdoor activities. 

Swings of two kinds the ordinary type, suspended by two ropes for the 
older children, and the three-or-four-rope, self-propelling, enclosed-seat 
type for the younger children. The two-rope type should have a rubber- 
tubing or rubber-protected seat, and its rope should be made in two 
sections clipped together about six feet up, so that the seats may be de- 
tached to prevent their unsupervised use, 

m) See-saws, particularly the safer "rocking-horse" type. Children can 
make their own see-saws, however, with the planks and trestles listed 

n) Slides can be of the manufactured metal variety. Excellent results are 
obtained, however, with planks that have been painted, varnished, and 
waxed to a smooth surface, one end propped against a box or trestle. 
These slides have the advantage of being inexpensive, easily portable, 
nonrusting, and cool in the sun, 

o) Wheel toys, such as wheelbarrows, tricycles, wagons, push trucks, and 
boards equipped with large castors all in a variety of sizes. 

Pet Pens. Pens and runways for a variety of pets cats, dogs, 
fowl, sheep, and others may be provided as items 'of outdoor equip- 
ment in milder climates or, in colder ones, may be designed as a semi- 
attached annex to the building. All pens should be sturdily con- 
structed to protect the pets from marauding animals and should be 
weather-tight and readily accessible for cleaning. Provision should 


be made in connection with them for the storage of food, and water 
should be conveniently available. 

Baby-Carriage Shelters. These shelters are needed to accommodate 
the carriages when mothers bring their babies to the building. Al- 
though these can be built separately as items of equipment in the 
form of detached shelters, they may better be designed into the build- 
ing itself. They should be located at the main entrance to the build- 
ing, at grade level or approached by an easy ramp. Open porches 
generally are unsatisfactory since screens should be provided to pre- 
vent snow and rain from blowing in on the carriages. 

Built-in Equipment 

There are few items of equipment which should be built into a 
school, aside from those which are for purposes of storage. Equipment 
which is to be used is generally more satisfactory if it can be moved 
about where and when needed. 

Sinks have been mentioned in connection with the group rooms. 
Each such room should have a sink equipped with both warm and 
cold water. It should be emphasized that these should be kitchen- 
type sinks rather than lavatories, janitor's sinks, or laundry trays. 
They are best set into counter tops, as are those in a modern kitchen, 
and set low for the convenience of the children rather than the teach- 
ers, except in the room of the two-year-old group where they should 
be at a height suitable for the teacher. 

Display counters are needed for the accommodation of pictures, 
exhibits, plants, aquariums, growing boxes, etc. They should be built 
low, in proportion to the heights of the children, and covered with 
linoleum, slate, or some other material which is not harmed by sun 
and water, A generally satisfactory location is along an outside wall, 
beneath the window sills. 

Work benches should be constructed with hardwood tops, such as 
maple or ash, and left unvarnished but perhaps treated with a pene- 
trating seal. They may be built as counters, against a wall, or as 
tables which may be used from all sides. The tops should be heavy, 
the construction substantial, and provision should be made for at- 
taching vices and for clamping objects to the overhanging edges of 
the top surfaces. Shelves should be supplied beneath them for ma- 
terials and unfinished projects, and near-by cupboards should be de- 
signed for the accommodation of tools and supplies. 

Paper trays are needed in sufficient numbers for the storage of a 
variety of large sheets of paper. These trays may consist of a series 


of six or eight .sliding or adjustable plywood shelves spaced three 
inches or so apart in a cabinet with doors. Much of the paper com- 
monly used is twenty-four by thirty-six inches, and the tray or shelf 
surfaces should be large enough to accommodate sheets of this size 
in a flat position without curling. Additional shelves are desirable 
for storing the pictures the children have completed. 

Filing cases should be provided in each group room for the storing 
of charts, bulletins, papers, and pictures. The vertical file which is 
usually provided in a teacher's desk is not sufficient. Moreover, vertical 
files are less satisfactory than are shallow drawers in which material 
may be laid flat. Recesses should be built in to accommodate these 

Bookcases are needed not only for the large picture books, at 
heights that children can reach, but also for those books not immed- 
iately in use. Whereas, the active library shelves should be open so 
that their contents may be visible and accessible to the children, the 
shelves for book storage should be closed and accessible only to the 
teacher. It is desirable to build the shelves for large books like maga- 
zine racks so that the book fronts are visible to the children. 

Cupboards equipped with shelves in as great an abundance as pos- 
sible should be provided for the storage of the great variety and 
large amounts of teaching and play materials and supplies that are 
needed in schools for young children. Dependence should not be 
placed upon cases to be purchased and placed in the rooms after they 
are finished. Such a course is generaly more expensive, and the re- 
sults are less attractive and are generally poorly adapted to specific 
storage needs. 

Teachers 3 Lockers. Each group room should be provided with a 
closel or a locker for each teacher where her playground wraps, hand- 
bag, and other personal property will be conveniently accessible. The 
door latches should be above the reach of the children. 

Problems of Design and Construction 

In the opening sentences of this chapter it was pointed out that 
the whole problem of planning and equipping schools for young chil- 
dren is still very largely in an experimental stage. Improvements will 
follow naturally from the experience gained through trial and error. 
While it is doubtful that architects and engineers can ever hope to 
discover the one right answer to each of those problems that involve 
human judgment and preferences, there remains a real need for ob- 
jective research which will give direction to their efforts. 


Human beings cannot be subjected to the controls which may be 
placed upon laboratory animals. For that reason the results of certain 
experiments, such as those which have sought an "optimum" level 
of illumination, are often negative or of doubtful validity. Again, 
many of the most vexing problems the designer faces cannot be 
answered in terms of absolutes. One answer, quite satisfactory under 
one set of conditions, may be less satisfactory under another set. 

In his endeavor to anticipate the needs of young children, it would 
be helpful to the designer if systematic study could be made of cer- 
tain problems with a view to revealing what factors are important and 
how they are important. What number of children, for example, com- 
prises a group of the most satisfactory size when consideration is 
given to their ages, the number of teachers, and the program? Sim- 
ilarly, how much floor area should be allowed for groups of various 
sizes and ages? How many toilet fixtures should be provided? What 
are the relative values of dining rooms, sleeping alcoves, libraries, and 
observation booths under different sets of conditions? These and 
similar problems, which are primarily educational, need to be at- 
tacked by those within the educational profession in order that the 
designer of facilities may have guidance. 

Most of the problems which are clearly within the province of the 
architect or engineer are more substantial. One of the most pressing 
of them all has to do with the means of reducing construction costs to 
a point which will make schools for young children economically 
feasible in more communities and which will encourage their estab- 
lishment. As the educational program has expanded, all school build- 
ings have grown progressively more elaborate and costly. Those for 
young children are especially so in proportion to the numbers they ac- 
commodate. Of necessity, areas per child are large and facilities varied 
due to the nature of the activities involved active play, toileting, 
sleeping, eating, washing, manipulation, observation. Reductions in 
costs of construction should not be accomplished at the expense of 
these activities, nor should such economies result in lessened safety, 
healthfulness, and comfort or in increased maintenance and operation 
costs. There is a growing need for serious research into ways and 
means of eliminating costly nonessentials, of simplifying construction, 
of employing less expensive materials, of providing for change and 
replacement as obsolescence threatens. 

The heating of schools for young children leaves a great deal of 
room for improvement. Cold floors, drafts, stratification, fluctuating 
temperatures, and the unevenness of beating throughout buildings as 


the sun and winds shift all are problems that still are present to 
varying degrees. Radiant heating holds promise in connection with 
the first three but this system is, unfortunately, still so unperfected 
that the results to be obtained through it cannot yet be predicted with 
certainty. It is a system that can be safely employed, however, as 
an adjunct to more conventional forms of heating, in order to warm 
the floor surfaces upon which young children play and work. 

Allied with heating is the problem of ventilation. The amount of 
fresh air to be introduced into rooms occupied by pupils, the best 
method of introducing it, and correct velocities and temperatures 
are still matters of debate among engineers. We are in need of further 
objective data on these problems. We are in need, too, of ventilating 
systems which do not depend for their satisfactory performance upon 
either a multiplicity of complicated mechanical devices or upon 
manipulation by teachers whose minds are occupied with other duties. 

Finally, the whole problem of illumination, both natural and arti- 
ficial, is in need of further research. In this regard, architects and 
engineers are faced with inescapable compromises which leave much 
to be desired despite the methods finally adopted. There are still no 
wholly satisfactory means for enjoying the warmth and cheerfulness 
of direct sunshine in winter, while escaping its unwanted heat and 
brilliance in summer without, at the same time, curtailing illumina- 
tion. Whereas, many large windows are desirable to provide high 
levels of evenly distributed light, they tend to chill the air near them 
in winter and to multiply the difficulties arising from specular re- 
flection and glare. Surfaces, to be easily cleaned, must be dense and, 
therefore, highly reflective. As a result, specular reflection constitutes 
a problem in connection with artificial as well as natural illumination 
glare from floors, furniture, walls 3 blackboards which is now prac- 
tically impossible to overcome. The devices that have been used to 
overcome these difficulties visors over windows, double glazing, etc. 
have proven expensive and only partially effective. 


The foregoing treatment of the question of physical facilities for 
the education of young children of necessity has been brief almost 
to the point of superficiality. An attempt has been made to touch 
upon those aspects of planning that are peculiar to nursery schools, 
largely disregarding those common to all school buildings. Many 
controversial subjects have been dealt with in a manner that will 
undoubtedly arouse differences of opinion. In a field so new to the 


United States, this is to be expected and, in the main, desired. For 
the most part, those facilities which have been in use and are still in 
use are makeshift conversions. There is far more knowledge of what 
not to do than of what should be done of what is wrong rather than 
of how to make it right. 

As we develop experience in planning buildings intended from the 
beginning for nursery-school purposes, many of these differences may 
be resolved through the exchange of ideas and information. For an 
architect, in conjunction with a superintendent of schools or a lay 
building committee, to undertake this function alone is to ignore a 
most valuable source of constructive assistance. In most instances it 
is the teachers who have the most direct and intimate knowledge of 
building needs. Their work brings them face to face with those needs 
every day. They are in a position to give sound advice not only on 
the basic aspects of a plan but also on those innumerable details which, 
in the aggregate, are so important. When suggestions are invited, they 
should be followed through to the point where their authors may assist 
in their interpretation, and, if they must be modified for reasons of 
economy, as so often happens, the problem of modification should be 
referred to the source of the original recommendation. A teacher may 
make recommendations initially which, while most desirable, are too 
expensive. That teacher can often be of the greatest service in help- 
ing to work out the best solution within necessary limitations. Where 
the building will contain, or can be built to contain, facilities which 
may be adapted to the service of community interests, representatives 
of those interests should be called into the planning. These people 
often can make practical suggestions which will result in a building 
that is useful for youth and adult organizations, well-baby clinics, and 
other activities for the general good. By recognizing such worth-while 
activities in the design and availability of its building, the school 
multiplies its opportunities for service to the community and, in turn, 
profits through the added support it receives from the community. 


ALSCHTTLBE, ROSE EL, Editor. Children's Centers. New York: Wm. Morrow 
& Co., 1942. 

Though written especially as a guide for those establishing nursery schools in wartime, 
the chapters on buildings and equipment describe standards for all-time use. Contains 
lists of equipment and a bibliography. 

Education: Theory and Practice. New York: Wm, Morrow & Co., 1935. 
A frontispiece sketch shows the adaptation to nursery-school use of a house and back- 
yard in a city. An especially good feature is the very large combined cloakroom and 
bathroom which opens directly onto the playground. On the playground the designing of 
the cement walks and cement platforms for block-building should be noted. 


CLAPP, ELSIE E. Community Schools in Action. New York: Viking Press, 1939, 
The chapter on "The Nursery School" has a short description of a nursery-school build- 
ing aad some rood photographs. An interesting detail of this building is the sleeping 

CUMPSTOK, J. H. L., and Etana, CHBISTIKB M. Preschool Centers in Australia. 
Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth Department of Health, 1945. (Avail- 
able free.) 

A handbook on the building, grounds, and equipment of preschool centers complete with 
line drawings, photographs, and itemized lists. 

FAEGBE, MABION L., and ANDERSON, JOHN E. Child Care and Training. Minne- 
apolis; University of Minnesota Press, 1945 (sixth revision). 
Chapter xiv describes briefly the environment for play with special emphasis on equip- 

FOSTER, JOSEPHINE C., and MATTSON, MABION L. Nursery-School Education. 
New York: D Appleton-Century Co., Inc., 1939. 

The chapter on *The Nursery-School Plant" gives excellent practical suggestions not 
only for setting up an "ideal" nursery gchool hut also for remodeling or rearranging 
parts of an old building. The section on "The Playground'* is especially helpful in its 
consideration of all the details that must he kept in mind when planning for children 
of nursery-school age, 

HASKBLL, DOUGLAS. "The Modern Nursery School/' Architectural Record, 
LXXXHI (March, 1938), 84-100. 

An extremely good article by an architect. Illustrated by photographs of nursery schools 
in different countries. 

LANDRETH, CATHERINE. Education for the Young Child. New York: John Wiley 
& Sons, Inc., 1942. 
Contains an excellent chapter on housing and equipping the nursery school. 

UPDEGRAFF, RUTH, and OTHERS. Practice in Preschool Education. New York: 
McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1938. 

Provisions for safety and health in a nursery-school building are discussed under "Build- 
ing Provisions" (p. 52) and under "Buildings" (p. 57). Heat pipes under the floor and 
exposed radiators near the ceiling are interesting: ideas. 

WRIGHT, H. MYLES, and GARDNEB-MEDWYN, R. The Design of Nursery and Ele- 
mentary Schools. London: Architectural Press, 1938. 

This is written by and for architects and is the most comprehensive book in English on 
nursery-school design. Includes European, English, and a few American examples. 





Lecturer in Education, University of Chicago 

Guidance Consultant, Public Schools 

Glencoe, Illinois 

Observations, tests, and measurements and the forms in which 
they are recorded and reported are not ends in themselves; they are 
means to ends, instruments for the attainment of important purposes. 
The educational philosophy of the school or other institution caring 
for young children determines the role which these instruments play 
in its total program. In a "laboratory school" affiliated with a uni- 
versity, which exists for experimental and research purposes as well 
as for the education of the pupils enrolled in it, the program of tests 
and measurements and the records kept would be expected to differ 
from the testing, measuring, and recording carried on in an ordinary- 
public school. In short, the purposes and objectives of any institution 
determine the nature and use of its records and reports. 

Purposes of Observations, Tests, Measurements, Records, and Re- 
ports. Why do we observe, 'test, and measure children and record the 
results? These are very detailed and laborious procedures which would 
not have grown to their present importance in education had they not 
been considered very useful, perhaps essential, in attaining significant 
objectives. These purposes are of two types general and specific. 
There are two major, general purposes service objectives and re- 
search objectives. Under service objectives might be included all ef- 
forts to facilitate the understanding and wise handling of children 
through knowledge of the children and their environments and experi- 
ences. Under research objectives are included all efforts to make care- 
fully planned and controlled studies of young children in order to 
gather facts and data which may be used in various ways to increase 
scientific knowledge. 

Sometimes research and service objectives are combined so that in 
practical work with children experiments are carried on to find im- 
proved methods of dealing with children. Various methods of teach- 
ing or handling children are tried out, and efforts are made to evaluate 



these methods. Such projects carried on in the practice of education, 
combined with efforts to evaluate them through research techniques, 
have played an important part in the development of a science of 

Specific Purposes. Data gathered for research purposes may, of 
course, have no practical objectives. However, studies of individ- 
ual children or groups of children, whether made for service or re- 
search objectives, involve ascertaining and recording similarities and 
differences in the children studied. Such data are usually secured for 
the following specific, practical purposes: 

1. To secure knowledge about a group. 

a) To serve as a guide in planning appropriate programs for these children. 

b) To help evaluate and improve the curriculum and the extra-curriculum 
activities for these cMldren. 

c) To serve as a basis in using groups as an aid to adjustments of indi- 
vidual children. 

2. To secure information about an individual child. 

a) To help teachers, parents, and other adults in their understanding and 
wise guidance of the child, now and in the future. 

b) To be used in adjusting the child to the school and the school to the 
child through school programs, placements, curriculum adjustments, 
and so forth. 

c) To secure evidence of the pupil's growth and development as he 
progresses from one "level of development" to another, considering 
his growth and development in terms of four relationships: 

(1) In relation to his own capacity and previous growth, 

(2) In relation to the school group of which he is a member. 

(3) In relation to children in general in his own age group. 

(4) In relation to his own "probable" or "expected'* future growth 
and development. 


Since the purposes of records determine their form and content, the 
criteria for a satisfactory record may not be the same for all situations. 
The primary purpose of maintaining cumulative record forms for indi- 
vidual pupils is to help adults especially teachers in their guidance 
of each child. Wise guidance is based upon recognition of individual 
differences. Those who are responsible for the education and training 
of a child must gather facts about his physical, mental, social, and 
emotional development, must strive to discover his capacities and 
limitations, abilities, needs, desires, interests, attitudes, and other 
significant personality traits. 

KAW1N 283 

In discussing the general principles which justify the keeping of 
cumulative records, Wendell C. Allen (1) says: 

Complexity in education as well as in the lives of individuals points to 
the need of gathering together and maintaining in a form conducive to con- 
structive use those facts about each person in a school which will, when re- 
viewed, give a reasonably well-rounded and correct impression of his per- 
sonal development. For this purpose, a cumulative record is necessary. Its 
form and the nature and volume of its content may be different at each edu- 
cational level. The specific purposes for which it is used will vary from year 
to year and from school to school, but the basic purpose of the record, its 
use as a tool in promoting an individual's fullest development as a respon- 
sible member of society, remains constant. Thus viewed, the cumulative 
record is an expression of the educational philosophy of a school. Its content 
and use indicate the things which a school staff consider to be important. 

The facts gathered in regard to each child are recorded in order that 
such knowledge may be available to those adults who are responsible 
for the education and guidance of the child. Records should be cumu- 
lative to reveal the child's growth and developmental trends. Cumu- 
lative records are essential and basic to any sound guidance program. 

A secondary function of cumulative records is to make available 
data of various kinds for socially useful purposes. Illustrative of such 
usage are studies of health and growth, studies of behavior trends at 
various age levels, studies of characteristics of children of certain 
backgrounds, comparative studies of boys and girls, and studies of 
problems of school administration. 

When records are designed for research purposes, the specific prob- 
lems to be studied, of course, determine the nature and content of the 
records to be used. 1 

General Characteristics of a Good Record System. Although the 
criteria for satisfactory records may vary in different kinds of situ- 
ations and for different objectives, there are general characteristics 
which apply to most good record systems. These are: 

1. That an individual cumulative record (preferably a record folder) be 
started for every child upon his entrance to a school or child-care group. 

2. That such records be simple, accurate, and not too difficult to maintain. 

3. That most of them be readily available to teachers but that certain types 
of information be kept in special, confidential files available only to 
special personnel. 2 

Various methods of observing and recording for research purposes are dis- 
cussed by Margaret Mead (U:678-700), 

* One of the most important issues to be considered in the development of 
more adequate school records is the confidential nature of the information which 


4. That the record be cumulative, extending from preschool through high 
school or college, transferred (at least in a summary form) from school 
to school when the child transfers. 

5. That records should present as complete a picture as possible of the 
child and his environment. 

6* That records should show a broad picture of the child in relation to his 
own capacity and growth, in relation to the group of which he is a mem- 
ber, and in relation to children of his age in general. 

7. That jacts and opinions should be distinguished from each other in the 

8. That the records should be, on the whole, uniform through a school sys- 
tem, so that a comparable picture of the child is shown from year to year. 

9. That data gathered in individual records should constantly function in 
the guidance of the individual child. 

10. That records should be used to help parents as well as teachers and 
others who have the responsibility for the care and guidance of a child 
to understand the child. (That does not imply that records should act- 
ually be shown to parents.) 

Records for Public School Units. As Allen pointed out in the state- 
ment quoted earlier, a school's educational philosophy is expressed in 
its record system, the content and use of its cumulative record being 
indicative of what the school staff considers important. However, a 
number of factors enter into the determination of a school's record 

records are likely to include. Too much emphasis cannot be placed -upon this 
question in training teachers in. the preparation and use of records. Records should 
be readily available to teachers, but the records should always be kept in locked 
files not available to others except for special purposes. In the preparation and 
presentation of case studies, actual identity of children and their families should 
be carefully disguised, except for the few staff members actually dealing with the 
child or family under discussion. If these precautions are not taken, parents will 
be increasingly reluctant to reveal to the school matters of an intimate nature 
which may be important to the school to know in dealing with a child's problems. 
Some material in records may be of so highly confidential a nature that it 
should not be included in the regular school records used by teachers but should 
be in locked files available only to selected administrative and guidance per- 
sonnel. This applies especially to confidential materials about families of pupils 
and to reports of predelinquent or delinquent, prepsychotic or psychotic behavior 
of pupils. It is important that such facts be recorded, since it is the cumulative 
picture of a child's behavior rather than any single incident which is likely to give 
warning that a really serious personality problem is developing and that pre- 
ventive or corrective measures should be undertaken to forestall some episode 
which may prove tragic to the child himself and to the community. It is also 
important, however, that such information about a child should not leak out 
through school records, injuring his reputation in the community and making it 
more difficult to correct incipient tendencies in a neurotic or antisocial direction. 

KAWIN 285 

system, including finances and personnel, since the maintenance of 
good records requires time and effort. 

There is a tremendous range between the minimal and optimal 
records actually found in use in public schools. The first compre- 
hensive survey of cumulative records used in schools is reported in 
the Handbook of Cumulative Records issued by the U. S. Office of 
Education (17). The National Committee on Cumulative Records was 
appointed by the Office of Education, with Dr. David Segel as chair- 
man. Readers are advised to consult the committee report (17) for a 
full discussion of records. Inquiries were sent to all school systems in 
the United States in cities of 2,500 or more inhabitants and to all 
county superintendents of schools. As is usually the case in such sur- 
veys, most of the school systems not having cumulative records did not 
return a report. Of 3,028 cities to which the inquiry form was sent, 
1,230 responded; of 3,072 counties, 544 replied. 

The results of this survey indicated that 41 per cent of the cities 
and 18 per cent of rural school systems had cumulative records. From 
the data gathered it was, therefore, estimated that at least 30 per cent 
of the public elementary and secondary schools of the country (nearly 
69,000 schools) have cumulative records. 

It may be assumed that many kindergartens are included in these 
data; whether or not public school nursery units are included cannot 
be ascertained from the material available in the bulletin. In any 
event, none of the privately supported nursery schools would be repre- 
sented in these figures, and no comparable study of records used in 
nursery schools and preschool centers has been made. 

The tremendous range of differences in regard to the comprehensive- 
ness of these records is suggested by the following selected illustrations. 
The only items which were included in the records of more than 80 
per cent of the schools reporting were: residence of pupils, school 
marks, name of parent or guardian, and school attendance. Only 39 
per cent included a record of physical disabilities, only 29 per cent 
recorded the language spoken in the home, and only 1 per cent recorded 
contacts with social agencies. 

Items Recommended for School Record Forms. After making a 
careful study of cumulative records for schools and giving careful con- 
sideration to the data gathered in this survey, showing the items act- 
ually used in school records, the National Committee on Cumulative 
Records made a list of items which should be considered for inclusion 
on school record forms. Some of these items are obviously not ap- 
propriate to records of young children, but, if the record is cumulative, 

there should be some provision for ultimate inclusion of such items 
when the child reaches the school level at which these items become 
relevant. Also, it should be understood that the committee did not 
recommend that all of these items be used by all school systems. It 
recognized that the cumulative record is a tool which should be adapted 
to the needs and possibilities of the individual school system and that 
only those items which a school system believes it can maintain and 
use should be put into its cumulative records. 

The items recommended for consideration in planning a school 
record were classified into the following broad categories. Those 
marked with an asterisk (*) are not appropriate for records of young 


Name Sex 

Date of birth Color or race 

Evidence of birth date Residence of pupil and/or parents 

Place of birth 

Home and Community 

Names of parents or guardians With whom does pupil live 

Occupation of parents or guardians Birthplace of parents 

Are parents living or deceased Language spoken in home 

Ratings of home environment and/or Marital status 

economic status. Number of siblings, older and 



School marks by years and subject Record of reading 
Special reports on failures *Rank in graduating class 

(with number in class) 

Test Scores and Ratings 

General intelligence test scores Other test scores 

*Achievement test scores Personality ratings 

School Attendance 
Days present or absent each year 
Record of schools attended, with dates 


Complete health record, 3 to be filled in by physician or nurse 
Record of physical disabilities 
Vaccination record 
Disease census 

*For illustrations of health records, see (17: append.). These include height, 
weight, and long lists of specific items regarding physical condition which should 
be included in & thorough physical examination. 

KAWIN 287 

(If a physician or nurse is not available for examining school children, a 
rating of the health of pupils may be made by the teachers, the type of 
rating depending upon the extent of the education of teachers in health 

Anecdotal Records 

If anecdotal records are to be used, a special form should be developed. 
Anecdotal reports may be kept easily if filed in a folding type of cumula- 
tive record or in envelopes where records are kept in this manner. 


* Employment record during school years 

* Vocational plans 
Counselor's notes 

* Extra-curriculum activities 

* Follow-up record after leaving school 
Space for notations by teachers and others 

Records for Schook for Young Children. For optimal use in 
nursery schools and other centers for the care of children of preschool 
age, some modifications of and additions to this "standard" list of 
items would probably be necessary. During the wartime emergency 
program for the care of young children, various organizations pre- 
pared materials to aid local groups in their operation of child-care 
centers. The maintenance of at least some record form was recognized 
as an essential administrative procedure and forms of varying com- 
plexity were suggested. 

Examination of one such booklet prepared by a committee on 
child care of a state war council (6) furnishes a good illustration of 
the special type of records advocated for centers devoted to the care, 
development, and protection of young children. 

Examination of any good set of record forms used by a well- 
established nursery school will indicate some of the modifications of 
and additions to the "stanidard" list recommended by the National 
Committee on Records which a nursery school would want to consider 
in setting up its record system. They will vary from those advocated 
for W.P.A. Nursery Schools (16) to those suggested for "Preschool 
Laboratories 1 ' (24). 

A Cumulative Record. To make a child's record truly cumulative, 
some summary of what has. been recorded for him at each level of 
development must pass on with the child. In many ways the pre- 
school and kindergarten-primary years are the most important years 


of an individual's life. His experiences during this period are de- 
termining factors in the development of his life patterns. Records of 
these early years are of paramount importance in understanding a 
child's later development, but they are available for only an in- 
finitesimal proportion of children. Even in those instances in which 
a nursery school, infant welfare station, or other center for the care 
of young children does have some record of these early years, they 
are rarely passed on in any form to the kindergarten or first grade 
when the child enters elementary school. This is the first of a series 
of weak points in what should be a connected chain of school records. 

In order to provide a genuinely cumulative record, provision must 
be made for articulation between all school levels. Points for special 
consideration are: 
L Integration of nursery-school or other preschool records with those of 

kindergarten-primary grades. 

2. Integration of the total elementary-school record as the child progresses 
through school. 

3. Summary of significant data from elementarynschool record to pass on to 
high school. 

4. Summary of high-school record to pass on to college. 

5. Use of total school record for vocational and other guidance purposes at 
end of school life or at any time during school life when the use of such 
material may prove beneficial to the child. 

Sources o/ Cumulative Record Data. Data may be obtained in 
various ways and from different sources. Much of it the teacher of 
young children can obtain from their parents; some must be secured 
from the physician or school nurse. Tests and measurements of various 
kinds will yield certain types of information, and the extent of data 
of this kind will depend upon the psychological and other personnel 
services available for the study of children. The teacher's chief source 
of knowledge of the individual child is observation of the child him- 
self in different types of situations. Last but not least there is the 
information which the child himself may give to the teacher. Obser- 
vations, tests, and measurements will be discussed later in this chapter. 


As indicated earlier, there are various purposes for which records 
may be developed. These purposes determine the nature and use of 
records in any situation. There are many possible functions which 
records may serve. Nevertheless, it is a deplorable fact that in all 
too many situations they are scarcely used at all I Often reconjs are 
laboriously gathered, filed away, and left to grow dusty and yellow 

KAW1N 289 

with age a sad commentary on the fact that people mistake these 
instruments which are means to ends for ends in themselves. There 
are about a dozen major uses of records which can be briefly dis- 
cussed here. 

Helping Teacher Understand Child, Perhaps tlie primary purpose 
of records is to help each teacher to understand and to deal wisely 
with every child who comes under his or her guidance. The teacher 
will turn to the record for basic facts about the child's family back- 
ground because no child can be understood without some knowledge 
of the family background from which he emerges and the home 
environment in which he lives. The young child's teacher should be 
familiar with the youngster's developmental history. She should know 
whether his development has been "normal" or whether it has been 
unusual in any way. Knowledge of a child's physical history will 
help a teacher to maintain and protect the youngster's health. 4 

The parent's report of the progress of the child in mental develop- 
ment and in habit training, information regarding the range of the 
child's previous social experience and his reactions to other children, 
and knowledge of a child's play activities, including those with radio 
and movie programs, will help the teacher to understand the child's 
reactions and to make the transition from home to school comfortably 
and easily. The understanding teacher and the alert parent will want 
to exchange information regarding the behavior problems which the 
child presents at home and in school. 

It will help the teacher to know what previous school experiences 
a child may have had and to know what his earlier teachers have 
learned about him that will be helpful to a new teacher in gaining a 
quick understanding of him. 

Test data, anecdotal records, evidences of work the child has done 
all of these will help the teacher to understand the child. What the 
teacher herself puts into the record will be helpful; many a teacher is 
amazed to read in January her own recorded impressions of Johnny 
when he joined her group the preceding September! 

Helping Parents Understand the Child. Another important use of 
records is to help parents or other adults responsible for the care of 

4 In most schools the detailed health record is filed separately from the cumu- 
lative pupil record. It is usually kept in the office of the school doctor or nurse 
to make it convenient for them in periodic examinations of children or in routine 
check-ups on physical conditions after illnesses, etc. Information of significance 
to teachers should be abstracted and copied onto the individual emulative puptt 
record so that a child's teacher will, at all times, be aware of any physical con- 
dition that should be given consideration in dealing with the child. 


a child in their understanding and wise guidance of that child. While 
most of us are likely to think of the primary purpose of a school record 
as helping successive teachers to understand the child, perhaps the 
teacher's greatest contribution lies in using this knowledge ultimately 
to help parents understand the child and to help the child understand 

Records can be invaluable in home-school contacts if the school 
personnel know how to use its records wisely and constructively in 
dealing with parents. No school device is more effective when wisely 
used, but no material is more likely to antagonize parents if wrongly 
used. On the whole, no school record should just be handed to parents 
for them to look over. Selected parts of records should be shown to 
parents by a member of the school staff who is competent to interpret 
this material constructively. In its whole approach to the parent, the 
school must be guided by what is known of the parent and by the way 
he is likely to react to the information given him ; especially must the 
school consider the effects these parental reactions may have upon the 

Much of the objection to records on the part of the parents (and 
even on the part of some school people themselves) is based on the 
fear that an unfavorable impression, crystalized in a record form, 
may not only follow but even precede a child as he goes through school 
and all because he "got off on the wrong foot" with some particular 
teacher. A fear of these negative effects of records has no place in a 
school which understands these dangers and deliberately avoids them. 
Avoidance of them will lie largely in the spirit and philosophy of the 
school personnel, but certain techniques will also prove efficacious, 

For example, some positive, favorable comments should be made 
about a child in practically every instance before negative or un- 
favorable facts are recorded. Every child has "assets" as well as 
"liabilities." Especially in dealing with parents, the favorable items 
should always be presented first, thus making the undesirable items 
about their offspring more acceptable to fathers and mothers. 

It will also be helpful if parents can be assured that the child's 
new teacher will not be prejudiced against him by the negative com- 
ments of a preceding teacher. This point brings us to a question about 
which there are differences of opinion. Will a record which contains 
reports of personality and behavior problems help a child's new teacher 
to help that child or will it bias the teacher in his judgment of the 
pupil? The danger of this latter result is considered so serious that 
it is actually cited, occasionally, as an argument against using cumula- 

KAWIN 291 

tive records in schools. As teachers develop increasingly professional 
attitudes, the danger of such negative effects becomes less and less. 

Records which will help parents to see their child with reasonable 
objectivity should be used to help parents follow the child's school 
progress and his personality development. They should be used 
thoughtfully, with care and discretion, beginning at the nursery-school 
or kindergarten level and continuing throughout the school years. 

According to the modern view in child guidance, no child is likely 
to be achieving so nearly to capacity or adjusting so satisfactorily that 
greater achievement or better adjustment in some phases of his de- 
velopment may not be possible. Therefore, records should be kept for 
every child so that under wise guidance each one may develop to his 
highest potentialities. However minor the problem or the need for 
guidance, to a parent it will be important because it concerns the wel- 
fare and happiness of his own child. 

While parents are almost entirely dependent upon the school for 
information as to their child's development in scholastic achievement, 
that is not the only area in which the school should function as a major 
source of guidance to parents. 5 It is to the school that parents must 
look as their chief source of information concerning their child's re- 
actions as a member of a group other than the family. From the school 
they should get considerable information about his physical health, 
his mental health, his special interests and abilities, his handicaps or 
special disabilities. To the school also, they must look for much of 
their information on the child's developing character traits and habits 
of work. Few parents have any real knowledge of child development 
or child training; few parents have any agency other than the school 
to which they can naturally turn for help in these fields. The school, 
with its trained personnel, should make every effort to meet parental 
needs for guidance in the guidance of their children. Whether the 
problem be 'nail-biting, thumb-sucking, inability to get along with other 
children, or a special reading disability, the school which accumulates 
careful, objective records should be able to be helpful to parents in 
solving problems which are common among growing boys and girls. 

8 Parents as well as teachers may keep records which mil be very helpful in 
the guidance of a child. Despite the fact that studies of parent reports indicate 
that often they are subject to considerable unreliability, they have genuine values. 
Systematic observations of their own children are extremely revealing to parents. 
They often gain insight into their own and their children's behavior in a measure 
difficult to achieve by any other method. In addition, their reports can furnish 
reliable information which is very valuable to the school in understanding the 
child and which cannot be obtained by the school in any other way. The writer 
has found this technique very useful in many cases, 


It is IB this opportunity to learn about his child in relation to a 
group of children of similar age that a parent can be helped to see his 
child with reasonable objectivity, so that he does not hold unreason- 
able expectations for his child. Group records in which other children 
are not identifiable may be, in some instances, an effective technique 
for this purpose. 

For example, parents are often inclined to blame a first-grade 
teacher for their child's failure to make the progress in reading which 
is made by other children in her group. If a table or a chart showing 
the relative "readiness" of all members of the group for first-grade 
experiences is shown to such parents, they are likely to gain new 
understandings of the situation. If these parents see that their child 
was only in the tenth percentile on an objective readiness test given 
to his class shortly after the group entered the first grade, they will 
understand that he cannot be expected to progress as rapidly as most 
of the children in the group. 

It is obvious that the use of cumulative pupil records in dealing 
with parents is a matter of great importance. Records become highly 
effective instruments to aid schools in the guidance of both parents 
and children when data are wisely and constructively used; but they 
are not tools to be lightly or casually handled. Records are basic and 
essential to the newer type of parent-school co-operation. But the 
record must remain only an instrument to serve parent and school in 
their co-operative efforts to help the child. 

Discovering Needs, Abilities, and Interests. A third important use 
of records is to help discover the needs, abilities, and interests of each 
individual child and to aid in finding ways of meeting them. It is 
obvious that the individual characteristics and differences of children 
must be ascertained and recorded before they can be made to serve as 
a basis upon which meaningful and purposeful learning experiences of 
pupils may be planned. It is also obvious that these characteristics 
of children must be discovered by teachers and others who study chil- 
dren and that again the record is only an instrument or tool which 
can be used to facilitate this process. But the ways in which it can 
serve these ends are many and varied. 

In the first place, much of the information gathered about a child 
continues to be significant for many years. If it is in the record, it is 
at once available to every teacher to whom the child comes as a new 
pupil whom the teacher must learn before she can teach him success- 
fully. Some of these facts may keep teachers from making serious 
mistakes in regard to new pupils whom they do not yet know. The 

KAWIN 293 

discoveries and opinions of her predecessors and some knowledge of 
the ways in which they have been able best to meet the needs, inter- 
ests, and abilities of a particular child will be a great help to the 
teacher who comes in contact with a young child (usually as a mem- 
ber of a large group all of whom are "new" pupils to her) for the first 
time and starts to work with him in a new situation to which the child 
must also make a new adjustment. 

Furthermore, it is difficult, in working with children, to distinguish 
between traits and characteristics which are relatively stable and con- 
stant in a child and those which are of fleeting or of only very brief 
duration. The careful recording of those needs, abilities, and interests 
which discerning teachers have thought significant enough to preserve 
in some written form can provide the cumulative evidence through 
which the relatively constant traits and characteristics of an individual 
can be distinguished from transient ones. Either kind may have a dis- 
tinct importance, and a trait which would ordinarily be of brief dura- 
tion may become a quite constant and fixed characteristic because of 
the way it is understood and dealt with, but it is important to know 
what we can of the constancy of any need, ability or disability, and 
interest. A good cumulative record is essential to determining the 
persistency of such traits. 

Securing Evidence oj Growth and Development. Only a cumulative 
record can give evidence of whether a young child is developing 
normally. Data concerning physical growth, motor development, 
language development, emotional needs and behavior patterns, social 
adjustment in fact, data concerning all important aspects of a child's 
growth and development should be recorded periodically in order that 
growth may be carefully checked from time to time. To make the 
measurement of growth as accurate and reliable as possible, the records 
should include as much objective data as possible. Much of such data 
will be in the form of tests of various kinds. Since objective tests are 
not available for many aspects of physical, mental, social, and emo- 
tional development, subjective evidence will also have to be included 
in records. Teachers' judgments, children's own judgments and self- 
inventories, anecdotal and descriptive records, and questionnaires and 
ratings of various kinds will augment test records as evidence of yearly 
increments of development. 

Children's own judgments of themselves and of each other consti- 
tute sources of data which may be valuable if used with great care 
and discretion. As boys and girls reach the intermediate and tipper- 
grade levels of the elementary school they can participate in the 


recording and reporting of their own growth and progress (17:87-89; 
20:28-30), but it is usually not considered desirable to make young 
children very conscious of their school records. 

Behavior descriptions and anecdotal records, based upon direct ob- 
servation of behavior over a period of time, are found in many school 
records. The "time-sampling" method (4) has been used quite widely 
in studies of young children. In this procedure the child is observed 
for definite short periods of time; the child's behavior during each 
period is looked upon as a "sample" of his usual behavior, and a large 
number of such samples are taken on different occasions. 

"Anecdotal" records are of somewhat more recent development, 
having come into use in a number of schools during the past twelve or 
fifteen years. The anecdotal record is a specialized form of incidental 
observation, in which some aspect of pupil personality or behavior 
which seems significant to the observer is recorded. There is no 
standardized technique for writing anecdotal records, but they usually 
contain brief descriptions of pupil behavior or report some episode in 
the pupil's life which is regarded as significant by the teacher. They 
are usually recorded by teachers but may be written by any com- 
petent observer. Objectivity is the essence of a good anecdote, but 
the novice is likely to mix fact and opinion, and evaluation and in- 
terpretation are likely to be interspersed with specific, concrete de- 
scriptions of what a child said or did. An anecdotal record should con- 
tain a description of actual behavior in the situation observed. In this 
regard it may be contrasted with rating scales, which provide records 
only of the summary interpretation, usually made at stated intervals, 
of the behavior observed. The anecdotal method is essentially cumu- 
lative. Over a period of time many incidents are recorded; as the data 
are assembled and studied, they are eventually interpreted in the light 
of other information also gathered about a pupil. They usually are 
used in conjunction with other forms of records. Anecdotal records, 
if properly prepared, provide rather highly objective information which 
may he used as a- valuable supplement to personality rating scales or 
other behavior description forms or to any other established school 
record forms. 6 

* The nature and use of anecdotal records, including limitations and cautions 
to be considered in their preparation, the advantages and values to be derived 
from their use, and their feasibility as a technique in the public school, are dis- 
cussed in the following references : 

Ralph W. Tyler, "Techniques for Evaluating Behavior," Educational Research 
Bulletin, XIII, (January 17, 1934). 

Lawrence L. Jarvie, and Mark Ellingson, A Handbook on the Anecdotal Be- 
havior Journal, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1940. 

KAW1N 295 

It has already been noted earlier in this chapter that the school 
(and parents ultimately, in most instances) must try to view the 
child's growth and development in terms of three relationships: with 
his own capacity and previous growth, with the school group of which 
he is a member, and with children in general in his own age group. 
What are the reasons for considering these three relationships? 

The first the relationship with his own capacity and previous 
growth is the one which progressive-minded educators stress and it 
is, on the whole, the most important. What we strive for is that every 
child work at the level of his own best capacity and that he constantly 
grow and develop. The child's "own best capacity" does not refer 
only to his "IQ." Each child has well-rounded, varied potentialities 
in his make-up. He has physical, mental; social, and emotional capaci- 
ties, all awaiting opportunity for growth and development. If, in these 
varied aspects of development, the child shows progress in relation to 
his own earlier levels of performance and if he appears to be perform- 
ing at the highest level of which he is capable for the time being, his 
growth and development may be regarded as satisfactory. The child 
who is accomplishing this is a successful child, whether or not he 
achieves as much as other children of his age or members of his group. 

As Kate Wofford 7 has pointed out, the comparison of the child 
with himself is considered more important for child growth than his 
comparison with others. "In modern education evaluation is fair be- 
cause growth in children is measured (a) from a point of view of 
previous maturation and (b) as a point of departure toward the high- 
est possible future achievement of the individual." The child is, how- 
ever, a member of a group, and we cannot completely ignore the rela- 
tionship of his achievement to that of other members of the group. 
If, when working at his top capacity, a young child lags conspicuously 
behind his fellows in the amount of his accomplishment, he may, de- 
spite our best efforts to avoid it, develop feelings of inadequacy and 
inferiority which seriously interfere with his happiness and adjust- 
ments. Or, vice versa, a pupil's achievement may so conspicuously 

C. P. McCormick, "The Anecdotal Becord in the Appraisal of Personality," 
School and Society, LIU, (January 25, 1941), 126-27. 

Arthur E, Traxler, Techniques of Guidance, chap. vii. New York : Harper & 
Bros., 1945. 

Staff of the Division on Child Development and Teacher Personnel, Com- 
mission on Teacher Education, Helping Teachers Understand Children, especially 
chape, i, ii, iv, and xii. Washington: American Council on Education, 1945. 

T Kate Wofford, Modern Education in the Rural School, p, 184, New York: 
Macmillan Co., 1938. 


surpass that of his group that he becomes smug or bored and lacking 
in incentives to put forth his best efforts. 

The third relationship is important because the child ultimately 
must adjust to a larger world than that of his school situation. His 
later achievement will be evaluated in terms of the accomplishments 
of his fellows in general. In some instances it is especially important 
that this be borne in mind. For example, consider a child with the 
low-average scholastic aptitude of the sort reflected by an IQ of 90. 
In a favored community where the average IQ of pupils is 110, this 
child with an IQ of 90 is at a distinct disadvantage and may actually 
seem to be mentally dull. But when compared to children in general, 
that child has average intelligence. Viewing this question from the 
reverse angle, one sees that such a child may appear to be intellectually 
quite superior if he lives in an area in which the population tends to a 
mental level below the average. In a neighborhood in which the resi- 
dents have had meager educational, economic, and intellectual oppor- 
tunities, a boy or girl with just average mental ability may be very 
outstanding in accomplishments. To let such a pupil gain an exag- 
gerated notion of his abilities may mean disappointment and perhaps 
serious maladjustment when he gets into high school or out into the 
world of business and industry, if he finds that in that larger sphere 
he cannot fulfil what were unwarranted expectations. 

Discovering and Meeting Special Needs. One important use of 
records is as an aid in discovering the needs of gifted pupils, slow- 
learning pupils, and children with special abilities, disabilities, or 
needs of any kind; records can also be helpful in trying to meet these 
special needs. Education has particular responsibilities to children 
who deviate from their fellows physically, mentally, and emotionally, 
and who, therefore, cannot be expected to adjust to the learning situa- 
tions of their groups unless some special provisions are made for them. 
The existence and the needs of these exceptional children are best re- 
vealed through individual cumulative records. Whether the child be 
one with superior intellectual ability, a slow-learning child, or an indi- 
vidual with other types of special abilities or disabilities, no other 
school device is so likely to indicate the needs, potentialities, and 
progress of the exceptional child. Only a school with records which 
constantly reveal the special abilities and disabilities of children can 
hope to meet their special needs, and the effectiveness with which they 
are being met can be made evident, over a period of time, only through 
the adequacy of records which describe each such child's own re- 
actions, growth, and progress. 

KAW1N 297 

Discovering Personality and Behavior Difficulties and Their Under- 
lying Causes. Records are particularly useful for the child with special 
social and emotional needs. Anecdotal records, reporting significant 
behavior incidents and indicating the extent of his progress in adjust- 
ing to situations which challenge him, become a major source of guid- 
ance in teachers' efforts to meet such individual needs. This keen, 
directed observation of children which record-keeping stimulates 
makes teachers increasingly sensitive to children's needs and difficul- 
ties. It is a well-known fact that many of the most serious personality 
problems of children may pass almost unnoticed in a classroom because 
the symptoms of the child's problems are not in the form of behavior 
which is disturbing to the teacher or the other pupils. Only through 
careful records kept for every child are such difficulties revealed. Con- 
tinuous recording of shy, withdrawn, day-dreaming behavior builds 
evidence of personality trends which should be studied and treated 
and which, without records, might never get attention. Individual 
records of children in their early years should be used to detect any 
personality or behavior difficulty which may lead to serious problems 
later. Early treatment of minor difficulties may prevent the develop- 
ment of later major problems. 

Most school maladjustments result from a constellation or group 
of causes. Many of the items in cumulative records throw light upon 
such factors and frequently furnish clues for the discovery of under- 
lying causes. The most effective methods for modifying undesirable 
personality and behavior trends and for eliminating school failures 
of various kinds are those in which the causes of the difficulties are 
eliminated. Records not only help to reveal causes but also promote 
an understanding of the child so that the teacher may be able to help 
the child work out his own maladjustments and conflicts. To help a 
child become able to help himself is the essence of mental hygiene, 

Determining School Placement The possession of full, individual, 
cumulative records is very advantageous to a school in deciding ques- 
tions of group or grade placement. In present-day education careful 
consideration is given to such placements because of their important 
effects upon children. Adequate records are needed to furnish a sound 
basis for deciding such questions. Whether a child should remain with 
his group or whether he should be placed in another, 8 whether he 
should advance with his group or have some exceptional grade place- 

'Use of record data when parents seek a change of group is described by 
Willard Olson in "The Parents Request an Extra Promotion," Childhood Educa- 
tion, September, 1941. 


merit all such problems of promotion, nonpromotion, and acceleration 
constitute an area fraught with difficulties for almost all schools. 
Decisions regarding each child's school placement should be made in 
the light of the child's whole history and all the concrete facts which 
seem relevant to the questions involved. For this a cumulative record 
is essential. The principal objective of any school placement is the 
best adjustment possible for the child. When parents are made aware 
of the child's whole school history and the consideration being given 
to the child's own welfare, they are likely to be co-operative in what- 
ever placement the school recommends as a constructive plan for the 
child. Records are invaluable in helping parents as well as the school 
staff to get a sound perspective on the total picture. 

Serving as a Basis jor Confidential Reports to Outside Specialists 
or Clinics. Schools frequently seek the help of outside specialists or 
clinics in trying to solve the baffling problems sometimes encountered 
in children. A child with a serious personality or behavior difficulty 
may be referred to a private psychiatrist or to a child guidance clinic 
for examination and perhaps for treatment. A pupil with unusual 
reading difficulties may be referred to a specialist or a clinic dealing 
with special reading cases. Pediatricians may be consulted about 
undernourishment, possible glandular disorders, or other problems pri- 
marily physical. School records constitute very valuable and helpful 
material on which to base confidential reports in cases of such referrals 
to outside sources of help. 

Schools should also learn to utilize the information gathered by 
outside specialists, clinics, and other social agencies to increase the 
school's understandings of its pupils and the home backgrounds in 
which the children live. Social service exchanges may be utilized for 
this purpose when social agencies can depend upon the school to be 
trusted in its use of such confidential information. 

Reports to Other Schools. Much will be gained for children and for 
schools when all schools have individual, cumulative records and use 
them to send essential information to any other school to which a 
child transfers. Much time can be saved and many mistakes avoided 
in adjusting a child to a new school situation if the school has some 
knowledge and understanding of the new pupil and his history when 
he enters. 

Serving as a Guide in Curriculum Plarming. The modern school 
tries to plan its curriculum in terms of the needs, interests, and abili- 
ties of children. These programs are not rigid; they are flexible; and 
one of the most challenging problems for every teacher from nursery 

KAW1N 299 

school upward is how to adjust instruction to the wide range of abili- 
ties, needs, and interests found in any group of children. Individual 
records are a great help to teachers in making plans that will ade- 
quately meet these individual differences. 9 

Evaluating the School Program. Every school's program should be 
constantly evaluated for its effectiveness in achieving its educational 
objectives for all of its pupils. Is the curriculum what it should be? 
Are the pupils achieving the objectives set up by the curriculum? 
If not, why not? Are the instructional procedures adapted to the learn- 
ing abilities, needs, and interests of the children? Careful records for 
all children are essential if answers to such questions are to be found. 

In fact, records should be utilized to furnish the data upon which 
many basic administrative policies are built or upon which changes 
in such policies are instituted. 

Providing Data for Research Studies. The importance of carefully 
planned and meticulously kept records to yield data for research seems 
self-evident. Many records are designed primarily for research pur- 
poses, but most records used in schools and other centers for the care 
of young children are primarily service instruments, occasionally 
yielding research data as a by-product. There are in some public- 
school systems bureaus or departments of research which carry on 
research studies of the records gathered in the schools. 

Using Records for In-service Education of Teachers. Arduous tasks 
and responsibilities for keeping records should not be summarily im- 
posed upon teachers. Teachers should participate in developing the 
record system and the forms to be used. Since it is intended that they 
be the principal users of records, teachers should be consulted as to 
whether the proposed records contain the information they would like 
to have. Administrators should provide a program for in-service 
training of teachers in both the assembling and the use of records. 

* A large new area of record keeping has developed in recent years with the 
increasing flexibility of the curriculum. When stereotyped curriculums are 
abandoned, it becomes important to record the curriculum used for each group 
of children; this is known as "curriculum recording/' The limitations of space 
make it inadvisable to try to deal here with this large topic, but a considerable 
number of references dealing with this field are available. 

Closely related to curriculum recording is another large, relatively new area 
of record-keeping sometimes referred to as "group records.*' Limitations of space 
preclude any adequate discussion of this topic, also. Some references on it are 
available. A good reference will be found in (13: chaps, ix and x). However, as 
the authors of those chapters point out, records attempting to deal with the dy- 
namics of groups should he preceded by guided observation and critically evalu- 
ated anecdotal recording of the behavior of individual children. 


On the other hand, the use of records is in itself a potential source 
of in-service education of teachers. The responsibility for recording 
what he or she observes greatly sharpens the teacher's observations of 
children. Anyone who has served as a consultant to either parents or 
teachers has had ample evidence of this fact. If parent and teacher 
are asked to record carefully the behavior of the child whose problems 
baffle them, they often report that as a result of such careful obser- 
vation of the child they themselves have been able to solve the problem. 

Also, reports about children which have been written by other 
teachers stimulate the teacher who reads them to an appreciation of 
what a keen and discerning teacher may observe and understand in a 
child. In addition, from the reading of good records teachers become 
increasingly aware of sequences of growth and development, of rela- 
tionships between certain kinds of behavior and the causal factors 
which produce them. They also become more sensitive to facts of inter- 
personal relationships as illustrated in the different kinds of relation- 
ships which a child may establish with different teachers. These are 
only a few illustrations of the alertness and understanding which good 
record-keeping and keen record-reading promote as in-service educa- 
tion for teachers. 


One of the areas of greatest progress in the education of young 
children in recent years is found in methods of making reports to 
parents in regard to their children. As in the case of records, the 
purposes of reports will determine their nature and content. It was 
pointed out in the discussion of school records that one of their most 
important functions is to serve as a basis for reports that are made to 
parents concerning the school progress and adjustments of their chil- 
dren. The type of reports which a school can formulate will, there- 
fore, depend somewhat upon the kind of records which it keeps. A 
school's methods of reporting to parents reflects, perhaps even more 
than its record system, its underlying educational philosophy and the 
professional competence of its whole staff. The "traditional" type of 
school with its arbitrary, inflexible, uniform standards of achievement 
for all pupils and its disregard for almost all phases of development 
except scholastic achievement and "conduct" will have a type of re- 
port which expresses its values and objectives. The more progressive, 
"modern" type of school which recognizes individual differences and 
adjusts school programs and objectives to them and which strives to 
integrate the acquisition of fundamental skills and knowledge with the 
development of desirable personality and behavior patterns will natur- 

KAW1N 301 

ally strive to develop methods of 'reporting which reflect these newer 
objectives. However, since both records and reports represent practice, 
these forms tend to lag behind theory. It is a laborious task to develop 
reporting techniques that satisfactorily express recent educational 
theories and simultaneously serve the practical objective of telling 
parents what they want to know about their children. The transition 
from the old to the newer type of reporting has been very well ex- 
pressed by Ruth Strang: 

The records and reports of fifty years ago were made for the purpose of 
judging the child rather than guiding him. His achievement in school sub- 
jects was recorded in terms of standards set for his age or grade. His height 
and weight, if they were recorded at all, were compared with the so-called 
normal weight which, in many cases, was not the optimum weight for a par- 
ticular child. Falling below the standard represented failure; rising above it 
spelled success, regardless of whether the level achieved was appropriate to 
the individual child. 

Records made in terms of general standards of achievement obviously 
encourage competition. Children, and even their parents, were often more 
interested in knowing whether their marks were higher than those of play- 
mates than in finding out whether they had progressed since the last mark- 
ing period. It was difficult for children and parents brought up under this 
form of record-making to think of growth in any other terms than marks. 

Moreover, the marking system was limited to certain aspects of achieve- 
ment the school subjects. Although "effort" and "deportment" were items 
frequently included on the old-type report card, they tended to have a rather 
narrow reference to specific school behavior. In short, the early form of 
reports tended to be censorious in intent, to encourage competition, and to 
be limited to a few aspects of child development (20: 6-7). 

This description of what Strang called "records and reports of 
fifty years ago" is included here because it describes the reports which 
are still characteristic of a deplorably large proportion of schools 
today. However, much progress has been and is being made in both the 
form and the use of records and reports. Whatever type of report is 
used, the teacher who makes the report should review the child's school 
record as preparation for the report. Suggestions will be found in the 
Handbook of Cumulative Records (17:56). 

Recent Trends in Reporting. In a bulletin on Reporting to Parents 
the New York State Association of Elementary Principals (21) stated 
that during the five-year period from 1930 to 1935 more than half of 
the city and village superintendencies of New York State made some 
revision of their system of reporting to parents. They stated that the 
process of revision was being continued so that by 1938, when the 


bulletin was issued, "there is the widest possible variation in practice, 
from the use of the old-fashioned monthly report card with its per- 
centage marks to dependence almost exclusively upon the personal 
interview method of reporting" (21: foreword). 

Similar trends could probably be reported by most states, in vary- 
ing degrees and to different extents. The two outstanding trends in 
reports for young children are (1) the use of an informal or letter- 
type report to supplant the more formal type of reports, (2) the use of 
parent -teacher conferences as substitutes for written reports. It is not 
possible within the limited space available here to discuss these new 
forms of reporting in detail. Specific references (8; 20:16-17; 17:55-57; 
21:90-93) in which they are discussed will be found at the end of this 

There are, however, certain important problems which most schools 
encounter in using newer types of reporting which should be pointed 
out here: 

1. In the transition from old to newer types of reporting, both teachers and 
parents must be "educated" in the use of the newer forms. If a school 
moves too rapidly into new forms without adequate consideration of 
parental understandings and interests, a reaction against newer practices 
may develop. If teachers attempt informal letter-type or conference re- 
porting without adequate training and preparation, unsatisfactory or even 
antagonistic parent-teacher relationships may develop. The New York 
Principals' Bulletin referred to earlier stresses the necessity for "making 
haste slowly"; In chapter vii of their bulletin they suggest a specific series 
of steps by which a faculty should -undertake "continuous development" 
(a term preferred by their committee to "revision") of their reporting 

2. Should the methods of reporting used for young children differ from those 
used for older pupils? If so, in what ways should they differ and at what 
age or grade levels should transitions to different types of reports be made? 
In recent years there has been a growing tendency to report to parents of 
children in the kindergarten-primary grades on a different basis than to 
those of children at later grade levels. Obviously, nursery schools and 
child-care centers, would have to use a different basis of reporting than 
was represented by the traditional "marking" method of elementary 
schools. This different baas for reporting to parents of young children is 
to be expected, for differentiation is essential at different developmental 
levels and even for different children, if reporting is to be good. 

There is, however, a danger in this differentiation if it becomes a trend 
toward minimizing the information given to parents of young children. 
There are some schools in which "real" reporting begins at the end of the 
first grade; in others it begins as late as third grade. In many ways, ade- 

KAWIN 303 

quate reporting concerning his development and progress is more important 
for the young child than for the older pupil. Among the reasons for this are: 
(a) that the young child is still in that formative stage of development 
when his environment and experiences are strong; determining factors in 
the development of his life patterns of personality and behavior; and 
(6) that the foundations upon which basic skills are built even such 
academic skills as reading, number concepts, and the like are being laid 
in these early years. 

3. What are the relative values of written reports and the conference method 
of reporting? The principals who co-operated in the New York report 
were of the opinion that the personal interview is the most approved 
means of reporting to parents (21:46, 90). However, the report advocates 
that differentation in the methods of contact used in making reports should 
be encouraged. Reporting through conferences was especially favored 
when rather lengthy material is to be covered; conferences also offer the 
greatest opportunity for informing parents of the basis of comparison be- 
ing used in making reportssuch as the national grade standard, the 
achievement of the child's own class or group, or the child's own growth 
in achievement and adjustment. 

Obviously, both types of reporting have advantages and disadvantages. 
Some of them are discussed under "Types of Reports" in the bulletin of 
the Association for Childhood Education entitled Records and Reports 
(20). One important problem is that of providing an adequate record 
(for the individual, cumulative pupil record) when the conference method 
of reporting is used. It is important that some report of the interview be 
added to the cumulative pupil record. 

4. One of the most perplexing problems which arises in modern reporting 
trends has already been suggested at various points in this chapter 
namely, the question of what basis of comparison shall be used in re- 
porting a child's growth a&d development. Shall the comparison be with 
his own previous record, with the attainments of his own group or class, 
or with nation-wide standards for children of about his own age? In the 
opinion of the writer of this chapter, it seems clear that the teacher must 
bear in mind all three types of relationships in reporting to parents (the 
reasons for this were stated in discussion of records). However, the way 
in which these several relationships shall be presented to parents and what 
emphases will be given must depend upon the individual situation and, 
particularly, upon the parental understandings of and attitudes toward 
their child. Most schools which have ignored all but the child s own growth 
in reporting to parent* find that at some time the parents are , KWy J* 
return to reproach the school for sot having told them -the truth about 
their child's inadequacies, at a time when the parents^ might have seen 
that "something was done about it." Furthermore, it * tk e 8 
sponsibUity not only to accept those limitations m the child *J 

be overcome but to help the parents understand and accept them. 
can be done only by foctog them, not by denying them. 



In the discussion of records it was pointed out that records are 
forms for making facts about children available for various purposes 
and uses. The different sources from which the information that goes 
into records is obtained were indicated. The three major sources of 
record data supplied by the school itself are observations, tests, and 
measurements. There is a vast body of literature dealing with these 
three topics, even if one limits the material to that which deals with 
young children. Any attempt merely to list outstanding studies of 
investigators who have carried on extensive research in observing, 
testing, and measuring young children would provide material too 
lengthy for the space available in this yearbook. The only procedure 
which seems feasible is to indicate briefly some of the outstanding 
recent trends in these areas. 

Observations. Observation of the individual and his environment, 
in various kinds of situations, is the most common and obvious method 
of learning about children. It is both the method most commonly used 
by all teachers and also the basic method of science. Observations 
may be made in natural or in controlled, laboratory situations. For 
experimental studies of children, observations of their behavior are 
made in standardized situations. Earlier in this chapter the systematic 
recordings of time-samples in observations of behavior were differ- 
entiated from the anecdotal records in which observations of any be- 
havior incidents which seem significant to the observer are recorded. 
A third common form of observation is often referred to as situational 
analysis. In this method the child, or a group of children, is observed 
in various types of situations, and the reactions of different individuals 
in different types of situations are recorded. 

All observational methods present many problems. In the first 
place, it is difficult to compensate for their subjective nature; often 
several observers are used and their reports checked against each other 
in an effort to secure objective observations. Secondly, it is difficult 
to determine optimal methods of recording observations. A wicfe range 
of devices from simple check lists and diagrams to long, specific 
descriptions has been utilized. Problems of much greater complexity 
are presented in the tasks of classifying, analyzing, and interpreting 
what was observed and recorded. Even when mechanical devices 
record exactly what children do and say, it is often difficult to secure 
agreement of investigators in regard to interpretation of what they all 
see and hear when the moving picture or the record of conversation is 
repeated for them. 

KAWIN 305 

In spite of all these problems, observation is likely to remain the 
meet commonly used method of teachers in their efforts to study and 
understand young children. Many more opportunities for firsthand 
observations of children should be provided for student teachers dur- 
ing their training period. No amount of listening to lectures about chil- 
dren or reading in books about what other investigators have found out 
about them can be an adequate substitute for the student teacher's 
own observations of children in many varied situations. Every pros- 
pective teacher should be trained to be his own "investigator" of chil- 
dren, since every good teacher must be continuously alert to recognize 
likenesses and differences in children in all areas of development 
physical, intellectual, social, and emotional (15: part iv). Since no 
two children are ever exactly alike, the teacher must become aware 
of the individual personality pattern of each pupil. To understand 
and guide any child effectively, the adult who deals with him must 
first learn to see that child in all his uniqueness, recognizing him as 
a person who must be studied and understood both in terms of his own 
individual make-up and in his relationships to others. 

There is no substitute for direct observation as the foundation for 
such understanding of a child. Those who have worked with teachers 
in an in-service training program involving directed observation of 
pupils have found that the increased awareness, sensitivity, and under- 
standing developed even by experienced teachers through such special 
training in observation greatly enriches their professional competence. 
The rapidly growing use of the anecdotal type of record discussed 
earlier in this chapter indicates general recognition of the value of 
recorded observations. 

Tests and Measurements. Every school feels the need of some 
techniques for objective and quantitative testing and measurement. 
Whether the techniques represent the more traditional efforts to 
measure the capacities, abilities, and achievements of pupils or the 
more recent attempts to test their personalities and to evaluate various 
phases of the school's program, the value of a testing and measuring 
program is directly dependent upon the use which is made of test re- 
sults and measures obtained. If lists of test scores are merely filed 
away, little benefit can accrue from them. Tests are tools which, in 
the hands of wise educators, are basic to the understanding and wise 
guidance of children at any level of the educational process. If tests 
are unwisely used, however, they may actually prove detrimental 
instead of beneficial 

There are two general purposes for which test data may be used 


research and service. In order that test results may be adequate for 
research purposes, tests must be carefully selected, administered under 
well-controlled conditions by trained personnel, scored with great ac- 
curacy, and interpreted by psychologists who have special training 
and competency in this field. Tests which are given to improve the 
' 'service" of the school that is, to provide for better pupil growth 
and adjustment and to improve the school's curriculum and its teach- 
ing should of course be administered, scored, and interpreted as 
competently as possible, but a school may benefit by using the best 
facilities it has available even though these may not measure up to 
the standards necessary for a research testing program. 

The publications dealing with tests and measurements applicable 
to early childhood constitute a vast literature with which this chapter 
cannot attempt to deal in the space allotted to it. It is not possible 
even to list the many distinguished investigators who have made out- 
standing scientific contributions to our knowledge of child develop- 
ment. For such specific information and data readers are advised to 
consult various professional journals (notably Child Development 
Abstracts) , other yearbooks of this series which have dealt with child 
development and with tests and measurements, and the many pub- 
lished books dealing with these subjects. 

The basic tests most commonly used for young children 10 today 
are the so-called mental tests (which, for very young children, are 
developmental examinations that test motor behavior rather than what 
is later considered "intelligence") and readiness tests (2:10-13). There 
are other types of tests which are rather widely used for young chil- 
dren, including several which utilize projective techniques. 

The term, "projective techniques," was introduced in an article 
written by Lawrence K. Frank. 11 In projective techniques the person- 
ality is conceived as a dynamic process, expressed in the way an indi- 
vidual organizes his experiences and reacts affectively to them. One 
of the most widely used projective tests of personality at the present 

10 A comprehensive list of "Mental Tests and Rating Scales for Infants, 
Nursery-School and Kindergarten Children: Behavior and Development Inven- 
tories" is contained in A Bibliography of Mental Tests and Rating Scales, p. 6, 
by Gertrude EL Hildreth, published by the Psychological Corporation in 1939 
(second edition). 

11 Lawrence K Frank, "Projective Methods for the Study of Personality," 
Journal of Psychology, VHI (1939),, 389-413. For a rather comprehensive discus- 
sion of projective techniques, the reader is referred to the article by Helen 
Sargent, "Projective Methods: Their Origins, Theory, and Application in Per- 
sonality Research," Psychological Bulletin, XLII (May, 1945), 257-93. 

KAWIN 307 

time is the Rorschach Test. This test, however, is not yet ready for 
wide, general use with young children. As Hertz, an outstanding 
worker in the field of Rorschach testing, points out: 

The validity of the method has yet to win complete scientific acceptance. 
.... The validity of the patterns in terms of these younger age groups has 
never been established Certainly we have no right to assume that pat- 
terns validated on psychiatric material apply likewise to children. 12 

Similar warnings on unwarranted use of this test are given by 

In spite of all the experimentation done with children on the Rorschach, 
there are still many gaps in our knowledge about children and their perform- 
ance on that test. We are learning everyday that factors considered patho- 
logical with adults are normal with very young children Not enough 

clinically validated research has been done to differentiate between the per- 
formance on the Rorschach of preschool children, primary children, lower- 
grade children, preadolescents, and adolescents. 13 

Play techniques (15: parts i, ii, iii) are of the projective type and 
are naturally very applicable to young children. These more recently 
developed methods and techniques are all still largely in the realm 
of exploratory research, and, for the most part, they are more adapted 
to clinical than to educational or school use at the present time. Tests 
of Primary Mental Abilities 14 have been extended downward to the 
period of early childhood. Achievement tests, so widely used at later 
school levels, are not adapted to use with young children. If measures 
appropriate to the achievements of early childhood could be de- 
veloped, however, they might prove very useful in schools which enrol 
children at nursery-school, junior-, and senior-kindergarten levels. 

Mental tests. Without going into the nature-nurture controversy 
and the whole much-discussed question of "the constancy of the 
IQ/ j there are certain points that should be mentioned here. In the 
early days of preschool testing there were psychologists who main- 
tained that one could predict from the IQ of a two-year-old nursery- 
school child whether or not that pupil would have the intelligence to 
go through college, so stable was the IQ believed to be. There are 
few psychologists today who would attempt to predict a future IQ 
from a test given in infancy. Anderson has pointed out that: 

12 Marguerite R, Hertz, "Rorscliach : Twenty Years After," Psychological 
Bulletin, XXXIX (October, 1942), 529-72. 

w Morris Krugman, "The Rorschach. in Child Guidance/' Journal of Consult- 
ing Psychology, VIII (March-April, 1943), 80-88. 

** Tests of Primary Mental Abilities for Ages 6 and 6, by Thelma Qwinn 
Thurstone and L. L. Thurstone. Tests and Manual published by Science Research 
Associates, Inc., Chicago, 111. (Age equivalents for ages 3 to 9 are available.) 


Infant tests, as at present constituted, measure very little, if at all, the 
function which is called intelligence at later ages. Preschool intelligence tests, 
while they are instruments of some value and usefulness, measure only a 
portion of that function. Whether it would be possible to develop tests at 
these levels which measure more of that function, remains to be seen (3:377). 

It appears to be the opinion of most psychologists working at the 
preschool level that a mental test of an infant provides a fairly ac- 
curate appraisal of the child's developmental status at time of testing 
but does not afford a basis for predicting mental status after the 
period of infancy has passed. This may be due to the fact that test 
scales used for infants consist largely of relatively simple motor and 
perceptual tests that have never been found to correlate highly with 
intelligence at later ages (9: 375). 

Goodenough (11), in reviewing studies of the intellectual develop- 
ment of children published from 1931 to 1943, finds that there is rather 
a large number of infant and preschool scales for measuring intellectual 
growth which show reasonably high self -correlation when the testings 
are separated by short time -intervals but that, thus far, no tests have 
been devised that show a significant correlation with the measured 
intellectual status of the same children in later childhood and adoles- 
cence. By the age of six or seven years the developmental process has 
become fairly stabilized so that intelligence quotients obtained at 
these ages show almost as high a correlation with final status as they 
ever will. 

Elsewhere Goodenough (14: 468) points out that the findings based 
on empirical evidence clearly indicate that the younger the child at 
time of testing, the less accurate will be the prediction of later status 
from earlier status, with an absence of relationship between mental- 
test standing before the age of 18 months and later test performance. 
"After the appearance of speech, the tests begin to have predictive 
value, although the amount of confidence that can be placed in the 
results as indices to the child's ultimate level of development con- 
tinues to be small up to the age of four or five years." 

Some investigators seem to have found somewhat greater pre- 
dictability of later test intelligence from tests given in the early 
years. Hallowell (12: 285) reports a study in which 250 children were 
first tested at one, two, or three years and retested at from five to 
thirteen years. She reported that, with age increase, greater "validity 
correlations" were obtained and that the "validity correlations of 
a three-year group, secured from preschool tests and later Binet and 
performance tests, are very similar to correlations reported for older 
and school-age children." 

KAW1N 309 

Gesell (14: 326-27) followed the mental-growth careers of thirty 
children, first tested as infants and young children, into their teens 
or later. He reports that in no instance did the course of growth prove 
whimsical or erratic and that in only one case was there a marked 
alteration of trend. In all others the general trend ascertained by the 
early examinations was maintained. He states: 

When there is a fairly even balance between the endogenous and the sus- 
taining or exogenous factors, the trends of mental growth, whether subnormal, 
superior, or mediocre, are likely to be most consistent. 

The concensus of opinion among psychologists, however, is that 
all preschool scales which have thus far been standardized appear to 
have very limited predictive value; they measure primarily the intel- 
lectual development of the child at the time of testing. Therefore, 
intelligence tests for preschool children should be used very cautiously. 
Their value is largely dependent upon the skill of the examiner in 
getting the child's interest and co-operation. Since reliability and 
validity of the tests ordinarily increase with age, tests given toward 
the end of the preschool period form a better basis for predicting later 
intelligence than do tests given during infancy. 

Readiness Tests. A somewhat recent and very important emphasis 
in education is found in the concept of readiness (2; 10). Like many 
other principles which apply to all kinds of education at all levels, 
readiness received its first recognition in the area of early childhood 
education. It is most commonly thought of in connection with reading 
readiness, but it applies quite as properly to the toddler's readiness 
to walk, to being ready for a certain process in arithmetic which may 
be commonly taught at the sixth-grade level, or to making one's self 
ready to climb a mountain peak. Readiness means ability to learn. 
It is dependent upon all the factors which determine ability native 
capacity, maturation (of physical and psychological functions), ef- 
fects of environment and experience, dynamic factors of motivation, 
and social factors of need. 

Various tests of readiness have been developed, especially tests of 
reading readiness or of readiness for the first grade, which are begin- 
ning to be rather widely used in kindergartens and in first-grade 
classes. Many educators are finding such tests more predictive of suc- 
cess in learning to read than are such measures as physical develop- 
ment, chronological age, or mental age. However, readiness tests, like 
all tests, should be used cautiously and analytically. There is a great 
tendency for schools to sieze upon such a test as the complete and 
final answer to their problems. All too often such a test is given to 


children whose school placement is then determined solely on the basis 
of the test results. Those above a certain score are placed in regular 
first-grade groups; those with that certain score (or below) are placed 
in special groups, sometimes designated by such names as "pre- 
primary" or "nonreading first grades," on the assumption that since 
the test indicates that these children are not "ready" for reading they 
should not be exposed to reading experiences. 

Great injustices may be done to young children by such use of 
readiness tests, especially if nothing further is done to help them get 
ready to read, on the assumption that maturation will come with time 
and one need only await the passage of time for readiness to develop. 
Readiness and maturation 15 are not synonymous; yet it is difficult to 
make a clear-cut distinction between them. Some writers limit the 
term "maturation" to results of the interaction of genes and internal 
environmental conditions. They regard maturation as the process 
underlying development in which structural growth takes place inde- 
pendent of specific environmental influences, such as training, obser- 
vation of performance of others, or exercise of sensori-motor struc- 
tures. Behavior patterns produced by such structural changes are 
then said to be unlearned, in contrast to acquired or learned behavior 
which is produced by structural changes or by functions which depend 
upon specific environmental influences, 

It would simplify the readiness problem if we could regard all 
maturation as dependent upon biological processes over which we can 
have no direct control. We could await evidence of the physical and 
psychological maturity essential for development of a certain ability 
and then see that certain contributions from environment and ex- 
perience, dynamic factors of motivation, and social factors of need 
are added in order to achieve readiness. 

Whether or not one can accept such a narrowly defined concept 
of maturation in regard to more simple sensory and motor functions, 
it seems difficult, if not impossible, to hold such a concept in regard 
to such complex skills as reading readiness. Certain degrees of mental, 
emotional, and social as well as physiological maturity are recog- 
nized as essential factors in reading readiness, and in none of the first 
three can we separate inner maturation from the direct influences of 
external environment. We must, therefore, differentiate between those 
factors which appear to depend for the moat part upon inner matura- 

35 The intimate relationship between maturation and learning is discussed by 
Gesell (14: chap. vi). Definitions of maturation are given by McGraw (14: 
chap, vii) with special reference to the cumbersome "maturation-versus-leaniing" 

KAWIN 311 

tion and those which may be helped to mature largely by stimulation 
from outside. Examples of the former type are visual abilities, such 
as eye span, eye fixations, interpupillary distance, and binocular 
vision. Illustrative of the latter type are habits of a left-to-right di- 
rection in looking at a page of printed symbols, recognition of words 
and phrases as meaningful symbols, and the development of a desire 
to read. 

The real task, then, is to ascertain the causes of a pupil's lack of 
readiness. The implications of non-readiness will vary according to 
the underlying factors in each case. The child who is not ready to 
read because he is chronologically young and physically and psycho- 
logically immature may usually just be allowed to take his time in 
reaching the stage of maturity necessary for successful reading. But 
for any child who lacks the environmental and experiential back- 
grounds which are essential to readiness for reading or who must be 
helped to want to read, to feel the need to read, time alone will be in- 
adequate to make him ready. The implications of such non-readiness 
in any child challenge the home and the school to put into the child's 
environment and experience those things which have been lacking and 
which are essential backgrounds and foundations for readiness to read 
(19: 32-35). 

Measurement. There are, of course, many other types of measure- 
ment besides mental tests and tests of readiness. There is a very con- 
siderable body of research on physical growth and development of 
young children in which a variety of measures have been utilized. 
Measures of physical condition have been attempted in studies of the 
health of young children, but difficulty in agreeing upon objective 
criteria as adequate measures of health have limited the reliability 
and validity of such measurements. The most commonly used physical 
measurements of young children are, of course, height and weight, 
and it is standard practice in most good schools today to record these 
indices of child growth. 

There is very wide-spread interest today in a type of measurement 
for children of preschool age which consists of a brief description of 
what most children of a given age do. An outstanding exponent of 
and contributor to these measures of development is Arnold Gesell 
(10), who has established age norms and behavioral norms through 
years of careful investigation and research in the field of child de- 
velopment. Gesell stresses the importance of recognizing that the 
"norms" are not set up as standards but are designed only for orienta- 
tion and interpretive purposes. He emphasizes the fact that every 


human being is a unique individual and that when we study a child 
it is primarily to discover his uniqueness. In order to find out in what 
ways a child is unique, we must know what is usual for children of 
his age. We must know what most children of that age do; in short, 
we must know the norms for that age in that culture. That is why the 
ways in which children are alike and the ways in which they differ 
are both important. 

A "norm" when applied to child development is a specific char- 
acteristic or form of behavior which is used as a standard of compari- 
son when children's behavior is observed. In general, what is usual or 
expected is called "normal/' but children of any given age may vary 
greatly from the standard characteristics or patterns usually found 
in that age group and still be considered normal. Over and over Gesell 
urges the cautious use of all kinds of norms, whether they be physical 
norms of height and weight or "behavioral norms" (in which Gesell 
includes the four major fields of motor, adaptive, language, and per- 
sonal-social development) . Each child has his own growth pattern and 
his "personal norm" ; it is this that we seek to discover when we com- 
pare what he does with what other children do, because the wise guid- 
ance of a child is based upon his own maturity level. 

It is this type of measurement and this attitude toward measure- 
ment which seem to be increasingly characteristic of sound practice 
in the education of the young child in recent years. No longer are 
norms used as rather rigid standards to detect "the deviate," with 
some implication that deviation is undesirable. Those who are re- 
sponsible for the care and training of the young child today do not 
seek to make all children alike. They recognize that it is good for a 
child to be sufficiently like his fellows to be able to get on happily 
with them, but the uniqueness of his personality is regarded as some- 
thing to protect and cherish. If the differences found in any child 
are such that they will handicap the child himself in getting satisfac- 
tion from life or in making his contribution to society, home and school 
should do everything possible to overcome the effects of these differ- 
ences. If not, parents and teachers should accept the differences, recog- 
nizing that in a democracy differences have positive values. It is the 
task of homes and schools in a democracy to utilize individual differ- 
ences to nourish and enrich group experiences. 

Even individual differences which are undesirable in that they 
will handicap the child himself are all too often characteristics or traits 
which cannot be eliminated. Many physical and mental disabilities 
are handicaps that must be accepted because as yet science has found 

KAWIN 313 

no way to overcome them. Those who guide the child with such 
deviations must not only adapt home and school programs to the 
child's needs, they must also do everything possible to help the child 
accept his own handicap and make the best possible life adjustment 
within his own limitations. 

This constructive use of tests and measurements to further under- 
standing and wise guidance of every child is characteristic of present- 
day progressive education of young children. To quote Gesell and Ilg: 

The guidance of development must reckon judiciously with norms in one 
form or another. In final analysis, the child himself is the norm of last resort. 
We are interested in his growth. From time to time, that is, from age to age, 
we compare him with his former self; and this gives us an insight into his 
method of growth. This is supremely significant because that method is the 
most comprehensive expression of his individuality (10). 

The ultimate purpose of all tests and measurements is to help 
every child develop to his own highest potentialities. As pointed out at 
the beginning of this chapter, observations, tests, measurements, and 
the forms in which they are recorded and reported are not ends in 
themselves. Our ultimate goal is to enable every individual to make 
his maximum contribution to life and to get the greatest possible satis- 
faction from life. The methods and techniques discussed in this 
chapter are designed to serve as instruments for the attainment of 
these important purposes. 


1. ALLSN, WENDELL C. Cumulative Pupil Records. New York: Teachers Col- 
lege, Columbia University, 1943. 

2. ANDERSON, JOHN E. "Changing Emphases in Early Childhood Education," 
School and Society, XLIX (January 7, 1939), 1-9. 

3 t , "The Limitations of Infant and Preschool Tests in the Measurement 

of Intelligence," Journal of Psychology, VHI (1939), 351-79. 

4. ARHiNdTON, RUTH E. "Time Sampling in Studies of Social Behavior," Psy- 
chological Bulletin, XL (February, 1943), 81-124. 

5. EUROS, OSCAR K. (ed.) The 1940 Mental Measurements Yearbook. Arling- 
ton, Virginia: Oscar K Buros, 301 S. Courthouse Road, 1941. ' 

6. Committee on Child Care, Development, and Protection of the New York 
State War Council, Civilian Mobilization Division. Suggested Record Forma 
and Their Use. Pamphlet IV, Bulletin 8, 1942. Albany, New York: New 
York State War Council, 1942, 

7. DEARBORN, W. F., and ROTHNEY, J. W. M. Predicting the Child's Develop- 
ment, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sei-Art, 1941. 

8. D'EVBLYN, KATHEBINB E. Individual Parent-Teacher Conferences. New 
York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1945. 


9. GAEBETT, HENBY B. "A Developmental Theory of Intelligence/ 1 American 
Psychologist, I (September, 1946), 372-79. 

10. GEBBLL, ARNOLD and ILG, FRANCES L. Infant and Child t* the Culture of 
Today. New York: Harper & Bros., 1943. 

11. GOODENOUGH, PLORENCB L. "Bibliographies in Child Development: 1931-43," 
Psychological Bulletin, XLI, (November, 1944), 615-33. 

12. HALLOWELL, DOROTHY K. "Validity of Mental Tests for Young Children," 
Journal of Genetic Psychology, LVIII (1941), 265-88. 

13. Helping Teachers Understand Children. Prepared by the Staff of the Division 
on Child Development and Teacher Personnel, Commission on Teacher Edu- 
cation. (Especially Chapters I, II, IV, and XII re -.Records.) Washington: 
American Council on Education, 1945. 

14. Manual of Child Psychology. Edited by Leonard Carmichael, New York: 
John Wiley <fe Sons, Inc., 1946. 

15. Methods for the Study of Personality in Young Children. Edited by Eugene 
Lerner and Lois Barclay Murphy. Monographs of the Society for Research 
in Child Development, Vol. VI, No. 4. Washington: National Research 
Council, 1941. 

16. NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON WJP.A. Nursery Schools. Suggestions for 
Record Keeping in Nursery Schools. Bulletin No. 4. Washington: National 
Advisory Committee on W.P.A. Nursery Schools, 1936. 

Records. U. S. Office of Education, Bulletin 1944, No. 5. Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1945. 

18. Preschool and Parental Education. Twenty-eighth Yearbook of the National 
Society for the Study of Education, chap, xiii, "Records of Young Children: 
A Means to Education," pp. 765-88. Chicago: Distributed by University of 
Chicago Press, 1929. 

19. Readiness for Learning. Washington: Association for Childhood Education, 

20. Records and Reports. Washington: Association for Childhood Education, 

21. Reporting to Parents. Prepared by a Committee of the New York State 
Association of Elementary Principals, Bulletin VI, December, 1938. Utica, 
New York: Proctor High School, 1938. 

22. STODDABD, GBOBGE D. The Meaning of Intelligence. New York: Macmillan 
Co., 1943. 

23. TRAXLEB, ARTHUR E. Techniques of Guidance, chaps, vi, vii, xi, xii, and xiii. 
New York: Harper & Bros., 1945. 

24. UPDEGRAFF, RUTH, and OTHERS. "Record Blanks in the Preschool Labora- 
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Hill Book Co., Inc., 1938. 



Dean, Graduate School 

Wayne University 

Detroit, Michigan 


Dean., New York State College of Home Economics 
Cornell University 
Ithaca, New York 


This chapter deals with problems involved in the care, education, 
nurture, and development of exceptional children between the ages of 
three and six years. Considerable research has been carried on and 
extensive published materials are available pertaining to exceptional 
children of school age, but there is very little of either published ma- 
terials or research related specifically to exceptional children at 
nursery-school or kindergarten age. 

In preparing this chapter the writers have reviewed all materials 
recently published in educational and psychological journals. They 
have drawn upon their acquaintance with existing programs in the 
United States and upon their knowledge of individual differences, of 
the incidence of exceptionality in its many and varied forms, of the 
developmental character of the different deviational factors and the 
extent to which they can be remedied through early discovery, edu- 
cation, and treatment. 

Within the limitations of this chapter it is only possible to present 
evidence of the nature and extent of the problem, to describe some cur- 
rent practices, and to formulate recommendations for meeting the 
needs of these children more adequately in the future. 

1 Formerly Professor of Special Education, Wayne University. 
'Formerly Psychologist, Merrill-calmer School, Detroit, Michigan. 



"An exceptional child is one who differs from the average or so- 
called normal in physical, mental, emotional^ or social characteristics 
or abilities to the extent that he requires specialized care f treatment, 
or training in order to attain the maximum of his abilities or capaci- 
ties (14:7)." 

At the extremes in deviation with reference to any one character- 
istic or ability or with reference to any ^general or broad grouping of 
abilities, children are commonly classified as handicapped or gifted. 
These are the two major and general classifications of exceptional 
children. It is possible with present-day knowledge of child develop- 
ment to note certain extreme deviations, such as blindness or crippling, 
soon after birth. Tendencies toward exceptionality are apparent in 
many phases of development within the first year, and such tendencies 
can be established somewhat reliably with reference to many capacities 
by the time children reach the age of three. 

It is apparent that a child may be gifted with reference to certain 
abilities or capacities while at the same time he may be normal or 
handicapped in others. Frequently, physically handicapped children 
possess superior mental, emotional, and social characteristics. It is 
commonly known that a' child may be handicapped at a given time 
and that the disability may be removed or decreased through treat- 
ment, therapy, and favorable nurture. Conversely, the extent of a 
handicap may increase as a result of neglect, a progressive malady, 
or unfavorable nurture. The complexity of the problem of meeting 
the needs of exceptional children is further emphasized when it is 
pointed out that all the different handicaps and deviations to which 
the flesh is heir may be combined over all the varying ranges from 
very slight and temporary (or functional) in character to very extreme 
and permanent (organic) in character. 

On the basis of these principles, it is apparent that programs for 
exceptional children must place strong emphasis on: (1) finding and 
identifying all exceptional children at the very earliest possible age; 
(2) securing adequate and thorough diagnosis to determine their 
capacities, their limitations, and their needs; (3) following up im- 
mediately with competent treatment and intensive therapy to remove 
or minimize their disabilities; and (4) surrounding these children with 
wholesome nurture and appropriate stimulation throughout the entire 
growth period. Programs which serve these major purposes are es- 
sential to the well-being and development of all children. They are 
particularly essential for the handicapped and the highly gifted. 




Fairly reliable data are available from the White House Confer- 
ence Report (42) and from numerous surveys in cities, counties, and 
states throughout the country on the number and major types or classi- 
fications of exceptional children. In general, the more recent studies 
that have been made reaffirm the findings of the White House Confer- 
ence Report. 

From the research at hand we may expect to find ratios of excep- 
tional or atypical children as shown in Table I. These ratios are 






Mentally gifted 



Mentally retarded and slow-learning .... 



Crippled (including cardiacs) 






Partially seeing 



Deaf or deafened 






Behavior problem (maladjusted) ' . 



Epileptic and convulsive disorders 



Glandular deficient 



Defective in speech . . , . 



Lowered vitality 



conservative in that they include only those children who are markedly 
atypical, They do not include those who show minor deviations; nor 
do they include such minor deviations as left-handedness which occurs 
in the ratio of 1 to 8.9 who are right-handed (36: 140). These ratios 
probably represent more nearly the one-third or one-fourth of our 
children whose deviations are most marked and who later, when they 
enter school, cannot be educated "safely" or "profitably" in regular 
grades. The biennial reports of the U. S. Office of Education show that 
cities which have developed programs for educating exceptional chil- 
dren do not, in general, enrol more than 6 per cent of their children in 
special schools or classes, yet the White House Conference Report 
indicates that approximately 22 per cent of all children really need 
some kind of individualized opportunity or special service at some time 
during their school attendance. It should probably be indicated that 
the needs of the less seriously handicapped children may be met fairly 
adequately in regular gracles sines, in proportion as schools are well 


built and equipped, as pupil-teacher ratios are held down, as health 
services are provided, and as teachers are adequately prepared, larger 
numbers of exceptional children can be educated successfully in regular 
grades. Correspondingly, the number of children who need special 
class instruction and special remedial services can be reduced. 

It should be pointed out that, while the above ratios are the result 
of research with children of school age, it seems a fair assumption to 
state that they are essentially valid with preschool children on whom 
substantial research may not be specifically available, for it is com- 
mon knowledge that the deviations which constitute exceptionality are 
not known to occur or develop particularly after children enter school. 
In other words, it seems a fair assumption that there are essentially 
as many exceptional children among preschool children as have been 
found with children of school age. 

The above table also presents a marked oversimplification of the 
problem for it indicates the number of exceptional children on the 
basis of twelve major classifications. Exceptional children are or- 
dinarily classified on the basis of their major disability or deviation. 
Dr. Harry J. Baker states that in the Psychological Clinic of the De- 
troit Public Schools children are classified on the basis of twenty-six 
major deviations and that, if children were to have no more than three 
multiple handicaps, a total of 1,024 different combinations of dis- 
ability are mathematically possible. 

The above table is an oversimplification in another respect. 
"Crippled" children are classified in one group, yet medical science 
lists 256 different causes of crippling, each cause having a different 
pathology affecting the nature and extent of disability, each also hav- 
ing a different prognosis affecting the possibility of reconstruction and 
the possibility of education or rehabilitation. Similarly, there are many 
causes and types of deafness, of blindness and partial vision, and of 
speech defects. Psychologically the mentally gifted, the retarded, and 
the maladjusted constitute an equally involved and complicated prob- 


Earlier in this chapter it was indicated that many disabilities can 
be reduced or often removed through treatment, therapy, and nurture 
and that, on the other hand, disabilities may become more severe and 
more permanent through neglect or inadequate care and nurture. It 
was also indicated that programs, to be adequate, must provide for 


finding and identifying the disability at the earliest possible age, 
followed in succession by thorough and adequate diagnosis, competent 
treatment, intensive therapy, and wholesome nurture. 

Convincing evidence has been presented in earlier chapters to show 
that basic patterns in the development of personality begin to be 
formed in very early childhood, that behavior tends to be develop- 
mental, that normality in childhood tends to strengthen and perpetuate 
normality, and that overtness tends to become progressive in the di- 
rection of its earlier unfortunate beginnings. All of these principles 
emphasize strongly that remedial programs for exceptional children 
are needed and should be developed for children at nursery-school and 
kindergarten age, when the defects can be removed most successfully, 
thus freeing the child from the blight of his disability at the earliest 
possible age and reserving for him every possible year of normal 
development during the growth period. 


Programs and services which are essential to meet the needs of 
different types of exceptional children should, in general, make specific 
provision for: early identification, or finding them; prevention, in so 
far as it is possible, of accidents, diseases, and unfortunate experiences 
which may cause disability or affect negatively the strong emotions; 
early and complete diagnosis to determine each child's capacities, 
limitations, and needs; education and training which will challenge 
each child's capacities and interests and at the same time be adapted 
to his maturation level and to those factors which may retard or limit 
learning ability. Finally, all programs for exceptional children must 
provide for excellence in nurture in all the areas of the child's physical 
health, mental growth, and social experience. 

The physically handicapped require, in addition: medical treat- 
ment, convalescent care, prosthesis, and therapy to remove or minimize 
their disabilities. For the emotionally and socially maladjusted, 
mental health and psychiatric services should be provided. At adult 
levels, all types of the handicapped may need vocational rehabilitee 
tion and jollow-up adjustment services in order to help prepare and 
establish them as self-sufficient and working members of society. 

Physiologically, it is extremely important that all needed services 
of medical treatment, convalescent care, prosthetic appliances, and 
therapy be provided in very early childhood and immediately after 
the incidence of disease in order to prevent unnecessarily severe and 


permanent disabilities. By initiating these services promptly and by 
making them intensive, we provide for each child a maximum number 
of years during the growth period for most favorable development. 

Psychologically, it is of equal importance that programs for phys- 
ical restoration and special education be instituted at the very earliest 
possible age. Experience in the field furnishes strong evidence to indi- 
cate that if a disability can be removed or minimized and if, through 
education, a child can develop the competence that his abilities permit 
before he reaches the age at which social sensitivity develops, he tends 
to avoid the extreme emotional devastations of inferiority, frustration, 
rejection, withdrawing and maladjustment. 


From a general overview of present programs and trends, it is evi- 
dent that tremendous progress has been made during the last quarter 
century in developing programs for exceptional children of school age. 
The gains of this century are so marked in comparison with previous 
experience that this twentieth century has been characterized as "the 
first century of childhood." 

The gains that have been made, however, are not universal. The 
programs that have been developed have, in general, proved effective 
in accomplishing their purposes and in meeting the needs of children. 
But if we view the present tremendous body of knowledge at hand 
and the current varied needs of the large numbers of exceptional chil- 
dren in relation to present programs and facilities, it is apparent that 
vast extensions of existing programs are needed. It must be stated, 
however, that the rapid development of programs and services that 
have come in recent years points a trend which carries great promise 
for the future. 

Historically, we observe that the first institutions in the United 
States for educating blind and deaf children were established about 
1815. In the years that have followed, almost every state has, early 
in its statehood, established residential schools or made other pro- 
vision for blind and deaf children. Each state viewed the establish- 
ment of these schools as a state responsibility. Each state in turn 
viewed its school with pride after it had been established. Beginning 
about the middle of the last century the states, in succession, began 
establishing "reform" or "industrial" schools for juvenile offenders. 
Alifcost immediately afterward they began establishing "home and 
training schools" for the feeble-minded. At the turn of this century, 
and largely under the influence of Alexander Graham Bell, the states 


authorized city boards of education to establish special schools and 
classes to educate deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and in general 
the states have paid the excess cost of educating these children. 

Since 1900, special programs and services for exceptional children 
have been developed with increasing rapidity. During the first two 
decades compulsory school laws were passed; medical treatment was 
established through "Afflicted Children's Acts" for those children who 
were ill and whose parents could not afford to pay for appropriate 
treatment. Special classes were extended to provide for the blind and 
partially-seeing, the crippled, the deaf or hard-of-hearing, the defective 
in speech, the undernourished, the slow-learning, and the maladjusted. 
In 1920 the federal government, in co-operation with the states, estab- 
lished the rehabilitation service for disabled veterans and civilian 
adults. During the 1920's several states created commissions to carry on 
special clinics and to finance special treatment services for crippled chil- 
dren. In 1935, through the Social Security Act and with federal aid, 
these clinics and treatment services (again in co-operation with the 
states) were extended and made nation-wide. During the last decade 
some states have extended special classes to provide treatment and edu- 
cation for epileptic children and to furnish visiting teachers and child 
guidance centers for maladjusted children. 

Supplementing all the programs and services of governmental 
agencies, there are many private philanthropies which furnish excel- 
lent services for large numbers of exceptional children. In general the 
philanthropies center their resources and their efforts on rendering 
services that public agencies cannot provide under the financial and 
legal limitations which circumscribe their programs. The philanthropies 
also develop new programs and finance them through the initial stages 
of experimentation and evaluation which must precede governmental 
authorization and support. 

In attempting to survey and evaluate all of our present programs 
and the trends as they may be evident, it appears that: (1) Facilities 
and provisions are most adequately organized for providing medical 
treatment and physical restoration for children of preschool age. (2) 
There is need for parent education to help parents recognize exception- 
ality in their children in very early childhood, to provide more ade- 
quate home-care and nurture, and to secure the services of public and 
private agencies already established to aid their children, (3) There is 
urgent need for extending educational facilities for exceptional chil- 
dren at nursery-school 14 and kindergarten age levels. As presently 
organized our society assumes a great responsibility for child develop- 


ment after our children reach the traditional school age, but in general 
our society leaves the care and upbringing of children to their parents 
before they enter school. (4) There is need for more extensive and 
more comprehensive diagnosis of pupil capacities, limitations, and 
needs during the first year in school as well as for more prompt referral 
of handicapped children to special schools and classes after they enter 
school. (5) There is need for establishing educational facilities for 
exceptional children in localities where they are needed and have not 
yet been established. (6) There is need for extending and improving 
the mental health factors of the child's environment in his home, 
school, and community. To meet the needs of those children who are 
seriously disturbed emotionally or maladjusted socially, visiting- 
teacher services and child guidance centers need to be extended. (7) 
There is need for further professionalization in the preparation of 
teachers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, oc- 
cupational therapists, and of other persons who work in the areas in- 
volving child guidance. There is also need for a much larger supply 
of highly qualified persons in all these professions. (8) Our society 
is recognizing increasingly that the general welfare requires that our 
institutions and services must direct their programs so that they func* 
tion at the level of "prevention" -rather than permit human frailties 
and misfortunes to develop into permanent and serious disabilities 
which all too often cannot be remedied. This recognition affords 
promise that all our programs and services for exceptional children 
will be increasingly effective in the years to come. To really attain 
this end, all our programs and services must meet each child when 
his need can first be recognized. With present-day knowledge this 
need can be pretty clearly diagnosed and defined at the nursery- 
school level. 


The Mentally Gifted 

In general, gifted children have greater powers of insight and 
understanding and make adjustments more easily than do the normal 
or the handicapped. When they reach school age they should have 
enriched educational opportunities and experiences; but they seldom 
suffer disadvantages during the preschool period for, as a rule, they 
receive the attention, affection, security, and opportunity to learn 
from early infancy because of their powers of observation, their under- 
standing and insight into their environment, and their experiences. 
Their needs center in protection and recognition at their real ability 
levels in combination with both adequate and wholesome motivation. 


The Mentally Handicapped 

Among mentally handicapped children the range of abilities varies 
widely, and in consequence their problems and their needs differ pro- 
portionately. In general their powers of insight and understanding 
are limited. Therefore, they find it more difficult to develop under- 
standings and to make adjustments than do the normal or the gifted. 
These children often have fairly good visual imagery in seeing like- 
nesses and in dealing with situations within their ordinary experience, 
but they tend to encounter increasing difficulty in seeing opposites, in 
seeing relationships, and in dealing with symbols. They also have dif- 
ficulty in auditory imagery, in understanding ideas conveyed to them 
through words, especially if the ideas are outside their experience and 
the words are outside their usable vocabulary. Consequently, these 
children learn more slowly, especially in situations involving reason- 
ing and dealing with symbols, transfer of training, and auditory 

Usually exceptionality is observed in these children by their par- 
ents, and they are called to the attention of doctors by the time they 
are two or three years of age because of delayed development in 
walking and talking or because of unusual response. Yet, despite these 
early characteristics and observations, retarded children are believed 
to be most like the normal in their physical abilities and in their 
emotional reactions and least like the normal as learning situations 
become abstract or academic and involve symbols and auditory 

Adequate and accurate mental diagnosis of the extent and nature 
of mental retardation in very young children is difficult even when 
the best test procedures are administered by the most competent 
examiners, for often the child's apparent retardation or lack of re- 
sponse is due to some other handicap, such as hearing loss, cerebral 
palsy, or limited vision. Too frequently young children are suspected 
of being mentally retarded on the basis of brief or inadequate obser- 
vation, and they may be rated as retarded on mental-test performance 
when, in fact, their limited responses may be due to shyness, inse- 
curity, anxiety, or inability to adjust quickly or easily to a new 
situation or to the personality of new acquaintances. 

In diagnosing mental ability of exceptional children when they 
are very young, it is apparent that any person forming judgments, 
either as an observer or a tester, should reach conclusions and make 
decisions only after all causal factors that may be involved have been 
recognized and taken into account. The tester must be aware of the 


signs of normal development in gross and fine motor co-ordination as 
they relate to the cerebrally palsied; of the effects of language handi- 
caps resulting in, limited response and communication when hearing 
is impaired; of the limitations in understanding and the distorted con- 
cepts that grow out of limited vision; and of the inhibited responses 
that grow out of emotional and social blockings such as shyness, 
timidity, anxiety, frustration, or even real fear on the part of the 
child. All qualified persons working with exceptional children have a 
great concern that many handicapped children may be diagnosed 
mentally so inadequately or inaccurately that the child's real capaci- 
ties, his real limitations, and his real needs may not be discovered. 
In such an event, remedial programs are often delayed and may be 

Accurate mental diagnosis is extremely important because, with 
the truly retarded or feeble-minded, academic learning under tra- 
ditional school curriculums is progressively difficult as children move 
from grade to grade. As a result of the practice of "failing" children, 
many of them become so emotionally disturbed that they are never 
free from a continually developing pattern of anxiety, frustration, 
feeling of inferiority, and fear of failure. 

The need is obvious. Adequate physical and mental diagnosis at 
an early age is imperative. Referral to special classes should be made 
early. Educational programs should be adjusted and made function- 
ally useful at the child's ability level. In the light of present profes- 
sional knowledge and current social philosophy, it is questioned seri- 
ously by many educators that educational programs have the right 
or should be permitted to perpetuate traditional curriculum require- 
ments quite at variance with the needs and capacities of a consider- 
able number of our children and then follow up with the traditional 
procedure of "failing" them. There is a vast amount of experience in 
many cities throughout the United States which shows that, with 
properly developed educational programs, a large percentage of our 
slow-learning children can be educated successfully to the extent that 
they become entirely self-supporting, competent in their occupations, 
and accepted as socially adequate persons in their communities. 

Crippled Children 

Children are crippled when through accident, disease, or abnormal 
development they have suffered a defect in bone or muscle tissue. 
They are not usually classified as crippled, however, unless the extent 
of their 4is&bility interferes with their education and training or may 


later interfere with their choice or competence in a vocation. Judg- 
ments cannot always be made with certainty as to whether the cause 
of crippling or the extent of disability may handicap a child in later 
life. Early finding, diagnosis, and treatment are especially important 
in order to prevent, remove, or minimize disabilities. 

Crippled children are probably identified and, in general, prob- 
ably receive more adequate care, treatment, and education than any 
other type of handicapped child. Parents usually secure medical 
diagnosis and treatment early for their crippled children. Many of 
the less seriously crippled can be educated quite adequately in regular 
grades; but, for the more seriously crippled, instruction in special 
schools is needed in order to modify procedures and provide the special 
equipment and the therapeutic treatment which these children require. 
For these seriously crippled children, educational facilities are far 
less adequate than is medical treatment, which is available on a 
nation-wide scale, while special schools are available in approximately 
only three hundred city school systems in some thirty states. 

There is need for extending and improving existing services, par- 
ticularly for the cerebrally palsied and the seriously, permanently 
crippled; for providing more adequate educational opportunities in 
rural areas; and for bringing alt of the services of medical treatment, 
convalescent care, and therapy to these children at the earliest pos- 
sible age. These recommendations take on particular significance and 
are more urgent for children who have less obvious but often progres- 
sive disabilities, such as weakened hearts, osteomyelitis, fragile bones, 
or muscular dystrophy. 

Children with Weakened Hearts 

Often children with heart disabilities are not discovered during 
early childhood because their handicaps are not obvious. These chil- 
dren often escape serious damage because they restrict the tempo of 
their activity. But these children should be discovered early. They 
should have frequent physical diagnosis and careful supervision to 
protect them against overtaxing their lowered physical capacities. 
They should not participate in strenuous competitive athletics, gym- 
nasium exercises, or swimming. When the extent of heart disability 
is marked, these children should be educated in special classes along 
with crippled or lowered-vitality groups. These children are usually 
normal in learning ability. Their need for special class placement is 
chiefly for protection and supervision to reduce the work pressure and 
tempo of activity common in the ordinary classroom, on the play- 


ground, and while going to or from school. Parent education and 
parent co-operation are particularly important in safeguarding cardiac 
children, for in a few minutes of unsupervised activity these children 
could undo the gains in physical health that the school may have built 
up over a long period of time. Particular care needs to be given these 
children in an effort to prevent illness of any kind since their powers 
of recovery are reduced because of their heart conditions. 

Children Who Suffer Convulsions 

Children who suffer convulsions are usually referred by parents 
for medical diagnosis and treatment at a very early age. It should 
be emphasized that many convulsive disorders and so-called seizures 
are not real epilepsies. Nevertheless, if any convulsive disorder is ob- 
served, competent medical diagnosis and treatment should be sought 
at once. 

In general, public programs have probably been less well de- 
veloped for so-called epileptic children than for any of the other types 
of the handicapped. Until within the last two decades and in many 
places today children who suffer frequent or serious seizures are being 
excluded from school and are left to rehabilitate themselves. During 
the last twenty years intensive medical research has been centered 
on diagnosis and treatment. Within the last ten years approximately 
fifteen cities have established educational programs for epileptics. In 
Detroit approximately one hundred eighty such children are being 
educated in a special school under medical supervision and with 
teachers who have been carefully selected and especially trained. 

There is a great and an urgent need for developing and extending 
services and treatment facilities for epileptic children since, from the 
standpoint of mental health, epilepsy is one of the most devastating 
of all human afflictions. The writers believe that parent education is 
particularly imperative and that treatment should be initiated as soon 
as seizures are observed. New and special medicants have recently 
been developed which, if properly administered, will prevent seizures 
in many children and which will reduce the frequency and seriousness 
of seizures for many others. 

Blind Children 

Blind children, as a group, are probably the most seriously hancli- 
capped of any of the different types of exceptional children. Accord- 
ing to the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, normal 
children ordinarily receive approximately 87 per cent of their sensory 


oppressions through their eyes. Loss of vision constitutes a particularly 
ierious handicap for it cuts off so large a source of the stimulation 
lecessary to the development of mental maturation and capacity for 
social participation. Through the blocking out of such exceedingly 
mportant experiences, the child is seriously restricted in developing 
xatural assurance and ordinary understandings. He tends to be some- 
vhat handicapped in motor control and seriously handicapped in 
patial orientation and sensory perception. As a result of blocking out 
,hese natural and necessary avenues of experience he tends to become 
iocile, inhibited, and overcautious and to develop fears and emotional 
lisorders rooted in his lack of self-assurance. 

Distinction should be made between the child who is congenitally 
>lind and the child who had vision during his early years. Obviously 
,he child who has "never been able to see' 7 is much more seriously 
landicapped than one who has been able to see and visually compre- 
lend the world that surrounds him. On the other hand, the traumatic 
ihock or neurosis, which is often suffered when a seeing person sud- 
lenly loses his vision, is most devastating in its emotional effects. 
These neuroses tend to be much more serious if blindness occurs dur- 
ng adolescence or in adult life. 

Medical specialization in the areas of blindness and vision defects 
s well advanced among the different medical specialties, and facilities 
ire generally available for alleviating blindness and for restoring 
mrtial or full vision, if such restoration is physiologically possible, 
[t is believed that, in general, children who are born blind or who 
suffer blindness during their early years are referred for medical 
liagnosis and treatment almost immediately after loss of vision is 

There is urgent need for parents who have a child who is blind 
x) secure help in learning how to care for and educate their child. 
Parents need this help from the child's earliest infancy. Such help 
should be available and should be secured from medical specialists, the 
professional staff of residential schools, and teachers or supervisors of 
lay schools for the blind. Every effort should be made to provide 
lecessary protection and to educate the child to live as a blind per- 
son in order that he may have as many normal experiences as pos- 
jible. Overprotection and sentimental sympathy tend to dwarf the 
levelopment of personality. It seems appropriate as a principle of 
method in dealing with blind children, therefore, to suggest that, f We 
should never do anything for a child that he can do safely or success- 
fully for himself/' also to suggest that "Society is interested in what 


handicapped children can do, not in what they cannot do." The task 
of parents and teachers in working with blind children from their 
earliest infancy is to teach them to do all the things that seeing children 
of their age ordinarily do but, at the same time, to provide the added 
protections which blind children so obviously need. Expert and in- 
tensive use should be made of auditory and other sensory stimuli to 
compensate and substitute for the loss of vision. 

Laws in many states provide that blind children may begin their 
education in either residential or day schools at the age of three. Un- 
fortunately day schools have been established in relatively few cities 
and parents are often reluctant to permit their children to go away to 
residential institutions at so tender an age. The Michigan School for 
the Blind and, very probably, several other residential institutions 
conduct summer institutes for parents of blind children. The parents 
come and bring children ranging in age from infancy through early 
childhood. Such institutes are particularly advantageous for they 
help parents learn how to care for their children. They also arrange 
for diagnosis and treatment. 

It is believed that blind children, because of the severity of their 
handicap, will profit more through nursery-school training than any 
of the other types of physically handicapped children. 

Partially-Seeing Children 

Partially-seeing children are far less seriously handicapped than 
the blind. In proportion, however, to the extent of vision loss and 
the progressive nature of the eye defect, there is occasion for great 
concern for the partially-seeing child. There is a public challenge to 
discover these children early, to secure all possible benefits through 
medical treatment, to protect these children against common hazards, 
and to conserve their vision. 

Children are generally classified as partially-seeing if they have 
less than 20/70 vision after all possible refractive aid has been se- 
cured. They can see only at 20 feet objects that they should see clearly 
at 70 or more feet. These children are very seriously handicapped in 
visual imagery. As illustrations of their distorted visual images' these 
children have many misunderstandings. They mistake b's and d's. 
They confuse words spelled much alike. They have difficulty in fol- 
lowing lines of print. They often conceive a tree to be something like 
a post with a huge blanket over it rather than a trunk with branches 
and a myriad of leaves. They may see the poles that support telephone 
and electric wires but the wires are never visible. They can hear the 


plane that flies in the sky but they can never see it. It is startling 
to know how distorted the visual images of some partially-seeing 
children really are. A myopic girl who put on her glasses for the first 
time remarked, "My but things look funny. Things are larger than 
I thought they were. The ground looks so far away. I keep wondering 
if my feet will reach the ground. Just think, Daddy, I'm bigger 
than I thought I was. I'll just have to learn to see things all over 

Partially-seeing children are also threatened with many more 
dangers than are their brothers and sisters who have normal vision. 
They are also restricted in their play and recreation. Often these 
children cannot see the approaching car. They are in danger when- 
ever they attempt to cross a street. Whenever visual perception in- 
volves moving objects, they are at a particular disadvantage. As a 
result, these children may play checkers but riding a bicycle or play- 
ing ball are hazardous and dangerous. In many games they are "left 
out" or, if they play, they make such flagrant errors that their play- 
mates "don ; t choose" them. It should also be noted that in many 
games the risks of accident and injury are so great that partially-seeing 
children should never be permitted to play them, particularly if they 
wear glasses. 

To improve the vision of partially-seeing children it is important 
to secure every possible benefit that can be gained through medical 
treatment and properly fitted glasses. To conserve vision in home and 
school it is important to plan periods of "eye work and eye rest." 
Children should not read or do close eye work over a long period of 
time. Partially-seeing children should have special visual materials 
such as large-type books, soft-lead pencils, widely ruled nonglaze 
paper, excellent lighting, and a minimum of detail in pictures, maps, 
and charts. Particular use should be made of auditory stimulation to 
compensate for loss of vision. Special group activities should be 
planned to include these children in order to provide experiences they 
can engage in safely and to compensate for their tendency to be "left 
out" in much of their play. Through these procedures and with some 
added facilities, partially-seeing children can generally make normal 
school progress and at the same time conserve their limited vision. 

Children with Defective Hearing 

Children who have defective hearing are classified as deaf, deaf- 
ened or heard of hearing. Deaf and deafened children are extremely 
handicapped and of these two groups the deaf suffer a far greater 


handicap than the deafened. Deaf children are defined and dis- 
tinguished separately on the basis that they lost all perceptual hear- 
ing before they had an opportunity to acquire normal speech and 
language. Deafened children are those who had an opportunity to 
develop normal speech and then lost their perceptual hearing at some 
later time. Hard-oj '-hearing children have seriously defective hearing 
but they do have some perceptual or usable hearing. 

Deaf and deafened children suffer a particularly serious lag in 
learning and in social adjustment because they are cut off from prac- 
tically all communication. They cannot hear or understand through 
auditory perception anything that other people say to them. In ad- 
dition and at the same time they are unable to communicate verbally 
to other people and be understood by them. This blocking hinders the 
development of language. Severe emotional difficulties tend to develop 
because these children so often and in so many ways are unable to 
make their wants and needs known. Too often deaf children are con- 
sidered mentally retarded when their intelligence is normal. Too often 
they are considered disobedient or anti-social when, in fact, their 
motives are most co-operative and conscientious, but they are unable 
to understand or to follow directions and make other responses ap- 
propriately. Obviously, it is an extreme handicap for any child to 
live and struggle against all these problems and difficulties from birth 
and during all his waking hours, at home, in school, and at play when 
he sees his parents, his playmates, and everyone around him com- 
municating so pleasurably and without difficulty. 

It is extremely important that loss of hearing be discovered in very 
early childhood, that treatment be secured to remove or minimize 
functional hearing losses, and that accurate diagnosis be secured to 
measure the extent of the child's loss of hearing. 

Next, parents need education and help in planning for the care, 
education, and protection of these children. It is a double tragedy for 
these children, or for any handicapped child, if in addition to his 
handicap he suffers parental or social rejection, neglect, ridicule, or 
overprotection. These children particularly need parental love and 
affection and many patient hours of individual attention and help to 
compensate for the fact that they are rejected by their playmates be- 
cause they cannot understand and "play the game." The Michigan 
School for the Deaf and, very probably, many other public and private 
residential schools have organized summer institutes for parents and 
their deaf children. These institutes are especially helpful in giving 
parents the assistance they need. 


All types of children who have defective hearing need lip-reading 
instruction to help them learn to understand what other persons say. 
Hard-of-hearing children can often get along in regular grades quite 
successfully if they receive lip-reading instruction, if they are seated 
in the front of the room, if some extra attention is given by speaking 
distinctly, and if each person who speaks is careful to face the hard- 
of-hearing child while speaking. Research findings are not in full 
agreement as to the advisability of using hearing aids with very 
young children. There is a general opinion that if a child has suf- 
ficient residual hearing that acoustic aids should be used. Pusfeld (16) 
questions the advisability of using them. Further research should be 
carried on in this area. 

Deaf and deafened children present a far more difficult educational 
problem than the hard of hearing. With the deaf and deafened it is 
common to find from two to five years of educational retardation. 
The extent of retardation is believed to be due chiefly to the child's 
language handicap rather than to mental retardation, for the extent 
of retardation has been observed to approximate closely the extent 
of hearing loss. In addition to lip-reading instruction these children 
need careful and scientific training by specially qualified teachers in 
oral speech and in language development. Miss Lillian Keller, As- 
sistant Principal of the Detroit Day School for the Deaf, describes 
vividly the problem of education of the very young deaf child. She 

When the deaf child enters the kindergarten at preschool age, he has no 
idea of speech and, therefore, does not associate names with anything that 
surrounds him. It is apparent that he must first be taught the most ele- 
mentary things that come within the daily experiences of the year-old normal- 
hearing child. This is accomplished through sense-training for cultivation of 
sight and touch, vibration in feeling the face of the teacher, in lip-reading 
and through memory-training. 

A preschool deaf child remains in the kindergarten for two years. Most 
of the first year is spent in doing vibration work in lip-reading and sense- 
training with emphasis on seeing likenesses and differences, since this is es- 
sential as a foundation in speech and lip-reading. He is taught nouns, colors, 
and commands through vibration in lip-reading. At the end of the first year 
he has learned to concentrate and lip-reading has developed meaning. Since 
this is mostly individual work, the rest of the children enjoy free play with 
blocks, dolls, beads, sand box, etc. These children have an hour a day for rest. 

During the second year speech is begun. Breath and voice consonants are 
taught through vibration. Next, the vowels "oo" and "a" are taught through 
vibration* By this time if the child is thoroughly familiar with the teacher's 
voice, which is acquired through months of concentration, the vowels are 


given in speech. When these have been mastered, nouns within the child's 
experiences are taught through vibration. Three or four vibration periods 
are given each day. When the child has acquired sufficient speech, he is given 
acoustic training. 

Since so much of the work of teaching deaf and deafened children 
must be individualized in developing speech and language, enrolments 
in "oral-deaf classes" must ordinarily be reduced to six or possibly 
eight pupils per teacher. 

The necessity for starting the education of children with defective 
hearing at a very early age is indicated by the fact that in most states 
these children may enter day schools or residential schools at three 
or four years of age. Heider (22) believes that nursery-school ex- 
perience is even more beneficial to deaf and blind children than to 
normal children. Stinchfield-Hawk (39) and Lane presented evi- 
dence to show that nursery-training raises the I.Q. level of both the 
deaf and the visually handicapped. Obviously the extent of educa- 
tional retardation is reduced if the education of these children can 
begin during the nursery and preschool years. And very probably 
the extent and seriousness of emotional disorders which affect these 
children so seriously in later years can be reduced by starting the 
educational program in nursery school. 

Children with Defective Speech 

Children with defective speech present particularly involved edu- 
cational problems. In many respects these problems resemble the 
problems of children with defective hearing. In many respects they 
are different and involve all the problems of educating crippled chil- 
dren. Along with the physiological factors that may cause the de- 
fects of speech, environmental and emotional factors are also involved. 

Speech defects are sometimes broadly classified as "functional" 
and "organic." They are also classified as lisping, lalling, infantile 
speech, and foreign accents which are more functional in character. 
Other defects, such as stammering, stuttering, malformation of the 
speech organs, paralysis, and aphasia, are considered organic in char- 
acter. Accordingly, the diagnosis is highly complex and the remedial 
procedures which must be employed are varied. Educationally, chil- 
dren whose speech disorders are functional in character respond to 
remedial instruction and correction much more rapidly and success- 
fully than when the defects are organic in nature. 

In attempting to do corrective work with children who stammer 
or stutter, who have malformation of the speech' organs, whose speech 


organs are paralyzed, or who are aphasiacs, the speech correctionist 
needs the help and advice of all kinds of medical specialists. The oral 
surgeon must first make every possible correction when the speech 
organs are deformed. The orthopedic surgeon is needed when paralyses 
are found, and the neurologist should advise in cases of stammering, 
stuttering, and aphasia. 

It is extremely important to secure medical correction beginning 
a few weeks after birth in cases of hare-lip and cleft-palate in order 
to effect maximum physical restoration. It is likewise important to 
secure speech training and to correct the child's speech at the earliest 
possible age. It has been observed that if the child can develop normal 
or acceptable speech before he reaches the age at which he becomes 
socially sensitive, he tends to be free from all the emotional disorders 
which are so severe and devastating to him. If, on the other hand, 
acceptable speech is not developed early, the child often inhibits and 
blocks his craving for expression, tends to withdraw, to be shy, and 
to feel inferior. These reactions tend to become especially severe if 
children experience rejection or ridicule from their associates. 

Children with Lowered Vitality 

Children with lowered vitality, often referred to as "physically 
below par," require brief consideration in this chapter. There are 
many of them, but ordinarily their exceptionality and their handicaps 
are much less serious than the types of exceptional children that have 
previously been described. Children with lowered vitality may be 
described as having lower physiological limits. They tire easily, and 
they have more than their share of illnesses. Usually these children 
appear quite normal. Their handicaps aren't obvious, but they just 
aren't strong. In this group we find children with weakened hearts, 
tendencies toward chorea, malnourishment, allergies, and sometimes 
family contact or history of tuberculosis. 

Excellent family care and protection supplemented by adequate 
medical treatment with frequent physical check-ups will usually 
satisfy the needs of these children. Except in more extreme cases, 
they can be educated safely and profitably in regular grades. It is 
important, however, to provide these essential services during the en- 
tire period of rapid physical growth in order to help these children 
develop the strength and stamina for normal advancement in school 
as well as the work capacity which they will need during all their 
adult years. Many who, in childhood, had low vitality were classified 
as 4-F's during the war. It is important to the general welfare, to 


these children, and to their families that every means and every safe- 
guard be employed from earliest childhood to help them build and 
maintain their physical health. 

Accordingly, these children need all possible immunizations against 
contagious diseases, adequate rest, protection against overexertion or 
exposure, the best possible nutrition, and excellent care during any 
illnesses that occur. A considerable portion of these children whose 
limitations are most severe need special school opportunities with 
provisions for lunches, rest, protection against overexertion and pres- 
sures of academic work which in ordinary school situations would 
result in grade failures. Nursery-school education would indeed be 
helpful to these children and their parents. 

Children with Glandular Imbalances 

Dr. C. J. Marinus, Endocrinologist and Consultant, Endocrine 
Clinic, Detroit Board of Education, reported that some 6 to 8 per 
cent of our population suffer glandular imbalance to the extent that 
they would benefit from endocrine treatment. The glandular system 
of the human body is a complex structure which changes markedly 
from infancy through adult life. In addition to the reproductive 
glands, the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands seem to have most 
effect in controlling growth and health. Such physical characteristics 
as obesity, extreme underweight, and unusual shortness or height fre- 
quently result from glandular imbalance. Hypoactive glandular func- 
tioning of the pituitary and thyroid glands tends to cause obesity, 
shortness of stature,- and slow reaction while hyperactivity of these 
glands tends to cause counter effects. 

Some years ago Marinus stated that particular concern was being 
given in the glandular clinic in the Detroit schools to hypothyroidism. 
It was his observation that hypothyroid conditions tended to retard 
mental as well as physical growth. His studies at that time indicated 
that by early initiation of glandular therapy the individual could be re- 
stored to normal physical and mental growth. From the information 
at hand it appears that a considerable part of the physical abnormality 
and mental retardation that previously existed can be reduced 
through proper endocrine treatment. 

Behavior-Problem Children 

Behavior-problem children are probably less well understood, and 
from a diagnostic-remedial standpoint our social institutions are prob- 
ably less sure that they can effect full rehabilitation for them than 


obtains generally for the different types of physically handicapped 
children- The problem of dealing effectively with maladjusted chil- 
dren is extremely complicated because the child's difficulty is often 
caused in large part by poor or inadequate home-community con- 
ditions involving neglect, rejection, antisocial attitudes, lack of af- 
fection, inferiority, and insecurity. 

Beginning about the middle of the last century, some of the states 
attempted to deal with the problem through "reform" schools. More 
recently they have become "industrial" and "vocational" schools. 
Since the turn of this century schools and social agencies in our 
larger cities have been making serious attempts to develop effective 
educational and recreational programs for these children. During the 
current decade state governments and city school systems have been 
developing visiting-teacher services to work with very young chil- 
dren, to engage the co-operation of parents, and to deal with the 
problem by using every possible technique for preventing delinquency. 
States are also developing child-guidance centers staffed with psy- 
chologists, psychiatrists, and social workers in an effort to help chil- 
dren and families where the problems of maladjustment are already 

Acquaintance with the field and the studies that have been made 
by Healy and Bronner and by the Gluecks all seem to indicate that 
if a child cannot become adjusted during his early years he tends to 
head into a lifetime of increasing conflict. As his conflict increases 
and as society holds him increasingly responsible for his acts, his stig- 
matization and, likewise, his rejection increase. In turn, he tends to 
be referred in succession from the truant officer or visiting teacher to 
the school for "junior ungraded," then to schools for the "senior un- 
graded," the juvenile court, state industrial or vocational school, and 
finally into our penal institutions. Our schools and social agencies 
appear to have been successful in rehabilitating maladjusted children 
in about the order and sequence in which they were listed above and 
according to how soon remedial work was initiated after maladjust- 
ment was observed. 

Evidence seems to indicate strongly that our schools and social 
agencies must find maladjusted children early. They must initiate 
programs of prevention and adjustment, if possible, before the child's 
problems become severe and before he has been rejected and stig- 
matized as "a bad boy." In general, these children need affection, 
security, protection, recognition, and responsibility. Mos^ behavior- 
problem children feel inferior and resentful. All too often their fail- 


ures have driven them into feeling the futility of even trying to suc- 
ceed in accomplishing worth-while goals. 

The writers believe that nursery-school training is particularly 
desirable and that it would be particularly beneficial for children who 
live under emotional tensions and who show tendencies toward malad- 
justment. Through nursery-school training these children will come 
under earlier study and observation. A whole new world of whole- 
some experience and motivation will be brought to them during early 
childhood when impressions are being formed and basic personality 
patterns are being developed. These children would be freed during 
a considerable part of their waking hours from the tensions and anti- 
social attitudes found in so many underprivileged homes. They would 
be protected from both the extremes of parental domination and 
parental neglect. Upon reaching traditional school age these children 
should enter kindergarten and first grade much better prepared for 
group work, to feel more adequate in the group and to participate more 
profitably in learning situations. The staff of the nursery school 
should also be able to assist parents in the home care and upbringing 
of their children. 


Despite the lack of a substantial body of research relating spe- 
cifically to the care and education of exceptional children at nursery- 
school and kindergarten age, the writers believe they have presented 
ample evidence to show that these children would profit even more 
through early training than do normal children. Facilities for medical 
treatment are organized to meet the needs of all types of the physically 
ill from birth throughout life. Similarly the agencies for vocational 
rehabilitation are organized to aid the physically disabled from the 
time they reach employable age throughout their lifetimes. But, for 
the most part, our society is not organized to begin meeting the edu- 
cational and social needs of our children until they become five or six 
years of age. Before that age children are left largely to the care and 
upbringing of their parents. 

The writers of this chapter believe that the concept of social re- 
sponsibility is being widened, that our educational philosophy is being 
advanced, that our schools and social agencies must not only provide 
education and training in a traditional sense, but in addition they 
must promote child development, they must provide or help secure 
diagnostic and remedial services, they must promote social adjust- 
ment, and in so far as it is possible these agencies should work at the 


level of ''prevention," of promoting "early discovery" and "maximum 
recovery." They believe that our educational institutions and social 
agencies must perform these functions and provide all the services 
necessary to accomplishing these purposes, if these agencies are to 
meet human need and fulfil their obligations in American society. 

In order to achieve these ends they believe nursery-school and 
kindergarten training are particularly necessary for exceptional chil- 
dren who suffer marked sensory defects, who come from underprivi- 
leged homes, who suffer severe emotional tension or show marked 
tendencies toward social maladjustment. To be adequately effective 
nursery-school programs must provide more than merely "child care" 
and a "program of activities." They need to function at a scientific 
level in child study and in providing or securing diagnostic and reme- 
dial services. They need, in addition, to function in a professional, 
social-service capacity by working with parents and with all public 
and private social agencies whose services may prove beneficial. 

Control studies need to be planned, and research needs to be carried 
on throughout the entire area of care and education for exceptional 
children below six years of age. Similarly, there is need throughout 
the country for organizing and extending public health programs to 
control and prevent contagious diseases. All agencies functioning in 
the areas of public health, education, and social work need to extend 
and make their parent-education programs more effective. 


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6. BRUCE, LULA M, "Suggestions for Teaching Speech Reading," Volla Review, 
XL (January, 1942), 5-9; (February, 1942), 93-98. 

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9. COLBY, MABTHA G. "The Early Development of Social Attitudes toward 
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10. COUGHLIN, E. "Some Parental Attitudes toward Handicapped Children/ 1 
Child, VI (1941), 41-45. 

11. CTTTSFOBTH, T. B. Blind in School and Society. New York: D. Appleton 
Co., 1933, 

12. DAVIES, S. T. Social Control oj the Mentally Deficient. New York: Thos. 
Y. Crowell Co,, 1930. 

13. DOLI*, E. A. "Growth Studies in Social Competence," Proceedings of the 
American Association on Mental Deficiency , XLIV (1939), 90-96, 

14. ELLIOTT, EUGENE B. Helping the Exceptional Child in the Regular Class- 
room. Bulletin of the Michigan Department of Public Instruction, No. 315. 
Lansing, Michigan: Department of Public Instruction, 1941. 

15. FRENCH, R. S. From Homer to Helen Keller. New York: American Founda- 
tion for the Blind, 1932. 

16. FUSFELD, I. S. Conference on Problems oj Deafness. Washington: National 
Research Council, May 17-18, 1940. 

17. GLTTECK, S. Juvenile Delinquents Grown Up. London: Oxford University 
Press, 1940. 

oj Children from- Two to Fourteen Years: A Study of the Predictive Value 
of the Minnesota Preschool Scales. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota 
Press, 1942. 

19. GUILDER, R. P. "Hearing Handicaps in Children of Today: Importance of 
Clinical Programs for Their Early Study and Remedial Guidance," New 
England Journal of Medicine, CCXXVH (1942), 619-24. 

20. HAABMS, ERNEST. "The Social Implications of Mentally Disadvantaged Chil- 
dren," School and Society, LXITE (April 27, 1946). 

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Graw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1940. 

22. EEIDER, FRITZ, and HEIDER, G. M. "Studies of Preschool Deaf Children," 
Volta Review, XL (May, 1943), 261-67. 

23. HENDERSON, P. "Investigation into the Health of 1,530 Preschool Children," 
Archives oj Disease of Childhood, XII (1937), 157-69. 

24. ETLDKETH, GERTRUDE H., and MARTENS, ELISE H. "Selected References from 
the Literature on Exceptional Children/ 7 Elementary School Journal^ 
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25. HOLMNGSWORTH, LETA S. Gifted Children. New York: Macmillan Co., 1929. 

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millan Co., 1926. 

27. KNIGHT, MAUDE H. "Emotions of Young Deaf Children/ 1 Volta Review, XL 
(February, 1942), 69-73. 

28. LAYCOCK, SAMUEL R. "The Mental Hygiene of Exceptional Children," 
Journal of Exceptional Children, VI (1940), 244-50. 

29. LOVE, H. S. "Influence of Nursery-School Education on School Achievement/ 1 
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30. MARTENS, ELISE H. State Supervisory Programs for the Education of Ex- 
ceptional Children. U. S. Office of Education Bulletin No. 6, Monograph 
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Handicapped Preschool Child/' Child Development, XIII (1942), 1-27. 

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Macmillan Co., 1926. 

33. MYER, M. F. "Fitting into the Silent World: The First Six Years of Life," 
University of Missouri Studies, IX (1934), 1-106. 

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Chicago: National Congress of Parents and Teachers, 1945. 

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the Literature on Exceptional Children," Elementary School Journal, XLIV 
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New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931, 1937. 

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39. STINCHFIELD-HAWK:, S. "Speed Training for Visually Handicapped Chil- 
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Assistant in Elementary Education 

State Department of Education 

Trenton, New Jersey 


Rural and urban children do not differ in their essential needs. The 
great problem in the education of young rural children lies in the fact 
that, on the whole, their needs are not being met. There have been 
no developments in rural areas to match in scope the rapidly in- 
creasing provisions for young children in the cities. 

Failure to provide for the education of young rural children is 
failure on a large scale, for more than half of the young children of 
the nation live in rural communities. According to the 1940 census 
there are more than seven million rural children under six years of 
age; there are more than eleven million children under nine years of 
age. Moreover, these children are widely distributed, for twenty-eight 
states are more rural than urban, and all states have rural areas. 


While the basic needs of children are the same wherever they live, 
the educational patterns provided to meet the needs must differ in 
different environments. Rural environments present certain distinc- 
tive problems. Such factors as sparsity of population, labor demands, 
cultural backgrounds, and economic levels create problems which 
markedly affect the living of young children. These problems must be 
recognized in planning effective programs of education. 

Sparsity of Population 

Young children in sparsely populated areas have sharply limited 
social experiences. Neighboring families live too far away for the 
children to play together. Some children have practically no social 
contacts outside the family. 



Limitation of social experience reaches its peak among such chil- 
dren as those in isolated mountain families where severe winters and 
almost impassible roads make traveling hazardous. Modern transpor- 
tation is gradually breaking down isolation, but little children who 
cannot travel far by themselves are the last to be provided for. 

Children who lack playmates necessarily spend much time with 
adults. The very isolation which prevents children from having play- 
mates tends to cut parents off from modern knowledge of sound child 
guidance. Children are likely to be held to adult standards. Repressive 
discipline may be used. Many farm families are composed not only 
of parents and children but of one or more grandparents, other grown- 
up relatives, and sometimes hired workers. In such situations, con- 
flict over methods of control are common. 

In sparsely settled areas, entering school usually does not ap- 
preciably broaden the young child's social experience with his age 
peers. In 1940, one rural school in four served fewer than ten pupils, 
and these were of wide age range (12). 

If studies (2) indicating deficiencies in rural children, such as in- 
articulateness, limited vocabulary, shyness, and aloofness are valid, 
lack of social experiences during these early years may well be a 
major cause. 

Farming as a Family Enterprise 

Farming is usually a family enterprise. When hired labor is scarce 
or the farm income too limited to permit its use, the family works 
too hard. Mothers do the milking, take care of poultry, and work 
in the gardens and fields. Even young children sometimes overwork. 
One study in a rural area (4) showed that farm work accounted for 
the absence from school of 16 per cent of the six-year-old boys and 
34 per cent of the eight-year-olds. In such situations, parents have 
little time to do more than feed and clothe the children, and the child's 
participation in family enterprises may be harmful rather than edu- 

Families Living at Submarginal Levels 

In areas where large numbers of rural families exist at submarginal 
levels, children live in home environments which seriously retard de- 
velopment. These children lack the bare essentials necessary to 
physical health and suffer the emotional ill effects of the insecurity 
which racial discrimination and poverty breed. 

Among the disadvantaged groups are those in the cut-over areas 


around the Great Lakes, the share-croppers in the cotton belt, the 
Negroes in the rural South, and the Spanish-speaking people of the 
Southwest. Included, also, are the agricultural migrants who follow 
the crops from harvest to harvest, traveling in crowded trucks. Usually 
their temporary quarters lack the minimum decencies of living. Be- 
cause both parents work, babies are locked in cars or taken to the 
field to lie on the ground without shade or protection. Often six- and 
seven-year-old children work in the fields. Most young children get 
little or no schooling because they move too frequently and because 
many local school districts bar them. 

Inadequate Health Services 

In many communities the specialized service needed for protect- 
ing and promoting child health are entirely lacking. Health centers, 
child guidance centers, mental-hygiene clinics, and family consulta- 
tion services are few. Physicians, dentists, and hospitals are, in some 
cases, inaccessible. Infant and maternal mortality rates, while de- 
creasing, are still consistently higher in rural than in urban areas. In 
1942, 76 per cent of the rural counties of the United States had no 
regular monthly prenatal clinics. There was no provision for regular 
child health services in 69 per cent of the counties (9). Few services 
are provided for handicapped children. A study in one rural county 
(1) showed only twenty- four out of three hundred handicapped chil- 
dren receiving needed care and education. 

As a result of the lack of specialized services, many parents are 
denied opportunity to learn to safeguard the physical and emotional 
health of their children. Often ignorance rather than deprivation 
causes children to suffer physical and emotional handicaps. 

Difficulties in Providing Group Experiences 

Distance from any center creates difficulties in providing nursery 
schools for children under five years of age. It is generally assumed 
that preschool children cannot be transported any considerable dis- 
tance without ill effects, although there is little evidence to support 
or refute this assumption. It is probably true, unless hours, housing, 
and program can be designed to offset the health hazards of a long 

At present, many school buildings are not fit to house a nursery- 
school program and most teachers in small schools lack training and 
time to provide adequately for children under the conventional age of 
school entrance. 


Difficulties of Providing Adequate School Programs 

Kindergartens may be legally established as part of the public 
school system in forty-two states, but they are the exception in rural 
schools. Most five-year-olds who enter school are placed in the first 
grade and given formal reading instruction. This practice is prob- 
ably a major factor in the extremely high rate of failure in many rural 
first grades. A study of ten school districts (6) showed 42 per cent of 
the first-grade children repeating. 

Distance from school is a factor which prevents many five- and 
six-year-olds from attending regularly or at all. The 1940 census 
showed that 91.4 per cent of five-year-olds and 40 per cent of six- 
year-olds were not attending school. School attendance of young 
children is extremely irregular. School transportation is increasing, 
but in 1940 only one rural child in four was being transported. A study 
of Negro children showed many children eight years of age and 
younger walking eight miles or more to school (3). Many children 
walk a long distance to meet a bus, wait for it without shelter, and 
ride a long distance to school. 

School programs for young children are too often characterized by 
a meager curriculum, lack of instructional materials, and failure on 
the part of the teacher to understand developmental needs of chil- 
dren. At a time when physical activity is essential to growth, little 
children in such schools sit still for long hours, their eager minds as 
well as their bodies denied fruitful activity. 

Numbers of rural children attend in substandard schools where 
proper sanitation, nutrition, rest, and ordinary comfort are difficult 
or impossible to provide. More than a million children are in school 
systems which spend less than $500 per classroom per year (10). 


Some progress has been made in extending educational opportuni- 
ties for young rural children. What has been done offers clues for the 
development of more effective and comprehensive programs and high- 
lights the great areas of unmet need. 

Parent Education as a Means of Progress 

Perhaps the most fruitful next step lies in parent education. Some 
programs are now operating. The Extension Service of the United 
States Department of Agriculture, through the county home agents, 
have for many years helped -parents in the guidance of children and 
the improvement of home environments. 


Some schools have effective programs. Teachers visit homes, seek 
parents' help in planning the curriculum, and co-operatively evaluate 
child growth through parent-teacher conferences which are substituted 
for report cards. The schools of Los Angeles County, California, have 
a county-wide program for helping parents understand children. Seven 
school districts held parent workshops which extended over a period 
of a year. Parents and teachers together studied the children and how 
teachers and parents can co-operate to facilitate child development 

One great weakness in most parent-education programs is their 
failure to reach the parents who need them most: those who live in 
remote homes, who lack travel facilities, who feel socially inadequate, 
or who feel no need for help. Skilled parent-education workers should 
be available to go to these people, workers who understand their prob- 
lems and aspirations, who can build on their felt needs and so help 
them to develop higher standards. 

Many rural homes have a dearth of cultural materials because 
parents do not know about or cannot afford such materials. Picture 
books, storybooks, music, toys, and other play materials might be 
supplied through traveling loan collections which parents could bor- 
row and, having seen their value, could purchase or make. Stores in 
shopping centers should be encouraged to carry educatiopal play 

More than anything else, parents need to learn to use the rich 
educational resources of the rural environment. Opportunities for mo- 
tor development abound for the rural child. There are fences and trees 
to climb. The child lifts stones to make his playhouse, helps father 
pick up potatoes from the row, rides the farm horse home from the 
field, rolls in the hay, rakes leaves, and digs in the garden. He engages 
in creative and manipulative activities plays in the snow, sails home- 
made boats in the brook, nails bits of wood together, makes mud pies 
or real little pies with scraps of dough left from mother's baking. He 
helps with the work of the family in caring for the pets, hunting eggs, 
scattering corn for the chickens, and bringing vegetables from the 
garden. He begins to acquire significant understandings as he ob- 
serves animals, birds, plants, soil, weather, -machines, and people. 

But the learning values in these experiences may be largely un- 
realized unless parents help the children in the learning process: un- 
less they know the fundamentals of a healthful daily routine and the 
fundamentals of guidance based on simple principles of mental hy~ 
giene; unless they encourage ra,ther than frustrate the child's eternal 
drive to question, "What is it?" and "Why?" 


Child Health and Guidance Services 

Services for child health and guidance should be made available 
to all young children. Beginnings have been made. Departments of 
education in at least five states, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Vir- 
ginia, and Michigan, have provided visiting teachers on a state-wide 
basis. Pennsylvania's county directors of child guidance bring serv- 
ices to handicapped children. State programs of maternal and child 
health, aided with funds from the Children's Bureau of the IT. S. 
Department of Labor, use field nurses and clinics to carry on a con- 
tinuous program of child health, beginning with prenatal care. 

County or regional health and guidance centers should be estab- 
lished, perhaps by co-operating agencies, and should provide family 
consultation services and the services of specialists in health, mental 
hygiene, dentistry, and nutrition. Mobile units to serve families who 
cannot reach a center should be widely used. 

Types of Group Programs for Young Children 

A few rural schools conduct nursery schools. Some rural high 
schools have nursery-school groups as laboratories for homemaking 
and child-care courses. 

Home-demonstration agents have organized informal neighbor- 
hood play groups. These play groups provide social experience for the 
children and help the parents to see what kinds of experiences and 
guidance are wholesome. 1 

A small church in Pennsylvania has a play group for children from 
eighteen months to four years of age. Church members made the 
equipment. The children play, rest, enjoy stories and music, and are 
served fruit juice and crackers. 

Nursery schools are operated in some migrant labor camps by 
growers, local or state school authorities, or church groups. In New 
Jersey, recent legislation has established a Division of Migrant Labor 
in the State Department of Labor. A project of this new division is 
the development of a demonstration center which provides a nursery 
school and a health clinic for babies. The State Department of Edu- 
cation provides educational guidance; the Agricultural Extension 
Service and local farm organizations are giving help and support. 2 

1 From account furnished by Marion MacDowell, Extension Specialist in 
Family Relations, Co-operative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home 
Economics, New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

* Account furnished by Monema Kenyon, Assistant in Early Childhood Edu- 
cation, State Department of Education, Trenton, New Jersey. 


These instances of group programs show that nursery schools can 
be provided in some rural areas. But urban patterns for nursery- 
school programs in rural areas do not suffice, especially in sparsely 
populated areas where transportation is required. Instead of operat- 
ing a daily program, the nursery school might have the children once 
a week or once a month or at the season of the year most favorable 
for transporting children and at a time which would be most helpful 
to overworked mothers. At other times the staff might work with 
parents in the homes. One account of an emergency nursery school 
showed the children traveling an average total distance of 14.4 miles 
daily. But a nurse traveled with them and gave physical inspections 
in the home before the children started to school The children's day 
was especially planned to compensate for the time spent in travel. 
Parents came to school and learned to make snow suits and other 
warm clothing for the bus trip. 8 

Advantage should be taken of any opportunities for bringing chil- 
dren together. For example, a center might be provided in town where 
rural parents could leave children while they shop, visit friends, and 
attend church or meetings of farm organizations. 

Improvement of School Programs 

Kindergartens and pre-first-grade programs are increasing with 
consolidation. In some states, buildings and transportation facilities 
are reasonably adequate. Some rural schools, including some one- 
teacher schools, have excellent programs. Grade lines are ignored, 
subject field barriers broken down, the rich environmental resources 
utilized, and the particular needs of the children studied and served. 

Bulletins recently published by state departments of education take 
the needs of young rural children into account.* The New Jersey 
Bulletin was prepared especially for small schools and begins "Five- 
year-olds do not belong in the first grade," 

State-wide workshops, as conducted in Georgia, Maine, and Ohio, 
are reaching rural teachers. Florida, which now has supervisors in all 
rural schools, reports that a number of workshops are being held to 
plan enriched programs for the younger children, 

'From an unpublished report supplied by Mary Dabney Davis, Senior 
Specialist in Nursery-Kindergarten-Primary Education, United States Office of 
Education, Washington, D. C. 

*A Good Start m School, Indiana State Department of Education, 1944; 
Working with the Child Two to Six, Ohio State Department of Education, 1944; 
The First Tear m School, New Jersey Department of Education, 1944. 


Much remains to be done. The practice of placing children of five 
years and younger in the first grade should be discontinued. The pro- 
gram should be greatly enriched $nd balanced to provide for all de- 
velopmental needs. Essential to this are in-service programs of edu- 
cation for teachers, including expert and sympathetic supervision. 

Attendance units should be planned with the needs of "the young 
children in mind. Careful thought should be given to centralization 
plans which take the young child out of his immediate environment 
and cause him to travel a long distance. Perhaps in some situations, 
the neighborhood school should be maintained for the preadolescent 
children and the older children sent to the central school. 


Parent education for all rural parents, health and guidance serv- 
ices for all young children, group programs for the preschool group, 
modern programs for young children in rural schools how are these 
to be provided for rural America? 

People Must Understand the Need 

The people must want educational opportunity for their young 
children. They need leadership to learn to want it. The leadership 
should be forthcoming from the outstanding rural education and wel- 
fare agencies. State departments of education, teachers' colleges, the 
agricultural extension service, parent-teacher associations, nurses, 
rural ministers, rural librarians, and others must acquaint themselves 
with the specific needs in their states and regions and interpret these 
needs to rural people. 

Appropriate Patterns To Be Determined 

Appropriate patterns should be based on research and study. Study 
is needed of the effects of rural environments on the experiences, be- 
havior, and thinking of young children. The effectiveness of present 
facilities should be studied and new patterns experimentally developed 
and carefully evaluated. Such study should take into account that 
there are many types of rural environments, each having its resources 
as well as its deficiencies. "" 

Financing the Program 

State and federal funds must be used to supplement the resources 
of the local communities. In disadvantaged rural areas where the 
waste of human resources is greatest, financial ability to support ade- 


quate programs is almost entirely lacking. Equalization of educa- 
tional opportunity is a sound investment for urban taxpayers, for 
probably 50 per cent of the young children now growing up in the 
country will become the city's citizens and workers. 

Responsibility Must Be Recognized 

Although the combined efforts and resources of all agencies are 
needed, the great areas of unmet need cannot be served until some 
agency, adequately staffed and financed, is charged with over-all re- 
sponsibility. The appropriate agency appears to be the public school, 
which is designed to serve all the children of all the people. Rural 
educators, working under tremendous handicaps, have in some areas 
of the country demonstrated outstanding creativeness and ingenuity. 
It is past time for rural education, strengthened by the financial sup- 
port it sorely needs, to concentrate nation-wide attention on young 
rural children. 

1. Are We Giving Them the Opportunities They Deserve f Beport of the New 
York State Council on Rural Education. Albany, New York: State Edu- 
cation Department, 1944. 

2. BALDWIN, BIRD T., and OTHERS. Farm Children. New York: D. Appleton- 
Century Co., 1930. 

3. CALOTB, AMBROSE. Availability of Education to Negroes in Rural Communi- 
ties. Office of Education Bulletin No. 12, 1935. Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1935. 

4. COOPER, R. W., and COOPER, HERMANN. The One-Teacher School in Dela- 
ware: A Study in Attendance. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware 
Press, 1925. 

5. DUNN, FANNIE W, "Rural Education in the Elementary School," Encyclo- 
pedia oj Educational Research. New York; Macmillan Co., 1941, 

6. FULLMER, HENRY L. An Analytical Study of a Rural School Area. South 
Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 320. Clemson, South 
Carolina: Clemson Agricultural College, 1939. 

7. Guidance in Rural Schools. Yearbook of the Department of Rural Educa- 
tion, National Education Association. Washington: National Education 
Association, 1940. 

8. IMITTEB, FAITH W., and LONSDALB, BARNARD J. A Public-Relations Program 
for Interpreting Education to Parent*. Bulletin of the Los Angeles County 
Schools. Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles County Board of Educa- 
tion, 1944, 

9. LENROOT, KAIHEBINE F. The Rural Child and the Children^ Bureau. Report 
of the White House Conference on Rural Education. Washington: National 
Education Association, 1944, 


10. NORTON, JOHN K., and LAWLER, ETTGENE S. An Inventory of Public School 
Expenditures. Washington: American Council on Education, 1944. 

11. A Policy for Rural Education. Washington: Department of Hural Educa- 
tion, National Education Association, 1940. 

12. Progress in Rural Education. Washington: National Education Association, 

13. WEBER, JULIA. My Country School Diary. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. 




Director, Child Welfare Research Station 

State University of Iowa 

Iowa City, Iowa 

Nearly everybody works and plays with children at some time 
in his adult life. The young of the species seem to be everywhere, 
and as time goes on they enter into more and more adult activities. 
Parents and policemen, teachers and preachers must all deal with chil- 
dren and participate in rearing them. Yet, until recently, there have 
been few formal opportunities for adolescents or young adults to 
learn what children are like and how they may be dealt with con- 
structively. In the days of larger families and the less isolated home 
life of small towns, there were better possibilities than there are today 
for the maturing person to experience children, many children, as a 
part of his every-day existence. But metropolitan living and small 
families have created a situation in which an intimate understanding 
of children has not been acquired by many people who should have it. 
This is serious, not only for parents but also for practitioners of a 
number of professions which must deal with the child and which are 
extremely important to him. 


The child is a special problem. Not only are his medical, dental, 
or other characteristics as a client or patient different from those 
of an adult but his personality and social status are not suited to 
the conventional relationships established for adults. The orthopedist 
working with a child patient is dealing with growing structures rather 
than stable ones. The technical effects of this for orthopedic practice 
form part of the specialized training in that field. The child has other 
characteristics, however, that do not have any immediate relevance 


SEARS 351 

to orthopedic techniques but which must, nevertheless, be understood 
and taken into consideration by those who care for him. Hospitaliza- 
tion for chronic illness is a very different experience for children from 
what it is for adults. Young children are more active, need more adult 
affection; they are more distractible and more limited in their ability 
to amuse themselves. They are in a period of rapid learning of new 
emotions, new ideas, and new social relationships. Immobilization, 
therefore, has quite different consequences for them and must be 
handled differently if they are to be comfortable and if they are not 
to be handicapped by hospitalization. 

For practitioners of the various professions that deal with chil- 
dren (e.g., nursing, pediatrics, orthopedics, orthodontia, social work, 
and clinical psychology) , it is essential that there be training in the 
more general field of child development as well as in the special as- 
pects of the child that are immediately relevant to the practitioner's 
technical job. Few training programs provide such content. The his- 
tory of medical practice, for instance, has been largely the history 
of treating adult disease; only in the last forty years has pediatrics 
come to be a recognized segment of the profession, and even the mod- 
ern pediatrician is carefully tutored in adult medicine before he 
begins to specialize. Dentistry has a similar history. Nursing as a 
profession is recent in origin and grew out of the need for the sur- 
vival of armies rather than for the protection and care of ill chil- 
dren. To a considerable extent the modern application of profes- 
sional services to the problems of children has been grafted onto 
already stabilized professions, the training programs for which are 
oriented in the problems of adults. Correspondingly, the newly trained 
practitioner is likely to be skilful with adults but not with children. 


It can almost but not quite go without saying that actual prac- 
tice is a fundamental feature of modern professional training. The 
apprentice system of an earlier day suffered a body blow, and rightly, 
with the development of laboratories, schools, and textbook education. 
In the creation of new training facilities in medicine, dentistry, law, 
and other professions, however, certain virtues of apprenticeship 
were sometimes lost. Most damaging was the reduction in practicum 

A practicum is a period of training during which the student learns 
by doing, by working with the very materials with which he will 
later be professionally concerned. 


In child development this means that he observes children with the 
intent of learning how they behave and that he participates in their 
care and training in order to learn how to interact with them to their 
benefit. The old-style lecture and textbooks are important, too; they 
provide theory to go with fact and systematization of the facts as well. 
But they do this in words and sentences, not in direct experience with 
a living child. Ultimately, the professional worker must recognize the 
meaning of behavior as it occurs shrieking or laughing, pouting or 
questioning, wiggling arms or rigid back not the meaning of mere 
descriptions of these things. Needless to say, he must learn such 
things under the supervision of people who, themselves, know chil- 
dren, and this requirement virtually dictates the use of schools for 
training materials and of school teachers as the supervisors of such 

In a suitable program, the professional student can learn facts 
of life about normal children. He can discover the child's limitations 
in motor skills, his reactions to fatigue, his methods of expressing 
likes and dislikes, his capacities at different ages in speech and reason- 
ing, his emotional responses to the commoner frustrations of life. 
Most of all, he will be quickly impressed with the fact that young 
children are not miniature adults, that their abilities, motives, and 
needs cannot be guessed by extrapolating downward from the behavior 
of adolescents or adults. 

Such knowledge is essential to the pediatrician who must cope with 
emotional crises in his office, with the planning of arduous treatment 
procedures or suitable chronic ward policies, and with physical hygiene 
problems whose solutions depend on an accurate assessment of one 
child's status as compared with normative status. To the social worker 
serving a family broken by death or economic disaster, the implica- 
tions of her methods for children in the family can be clear only if 
she knows what their needs are and how these may be met. And every- 
one who encounters children professionally is faced with the necessity 
of making low-level differential diagnoses in many specialties for 
purposes of accurate referral to other specialists. Just as the dentist 
must be able to recognize when his patient has some condition re- 
quiring a physician's care, so must the social worker, psychologist, 
and pediatrician be able to recognize behavior that warrants examina- 
tion by^ another specialist. These kinds of knowledges come only 
from intimate and thoughtful work with children who are living 
through the accidents and exigencies of a normal existence. 

SEARS 353 


Procedures by which these purposes may be met can vary in detail, 
but there are two basic 'essentials to be satisfied. 

Instructive Observation. The casual watching of children at play 
is of little value; behavior becomes significant to the observer only 
when he is able to interpret it in the light of developmental processes 
and in terms of the child's abilities and motives. For example, a four- 
year-old's effort to roll a hoop is simply a bit of repetitive activity 
unless the observer knows something of the way in which motor 
skills are changing at that age; and the duration of effort is mean- 
ingless without an understanding of the mastery motives that play 
such an important role in the four-year-old. 

For observation to be of value, there must be co-ordinated instruc- 
tion in the principles of child development, and the observations must 
be made under guidance. They should be planned with the intention 
of observing specified characteristics, not just "what the child does." 

Supervised Participation. In order to work effectively with chil- 
dren, an adult must not only know what to expect from them under 
various circumstances, and be able to interpret their behavior, but 
must have the necessary skills for interacting with them. It is one 
thing to know that a three-year-old has difficulty with his dressing and 
is slow at it; it is another to know just how to assist him without 
evoking either resistance or dependence, and in such a way as to create 
an optimal learning situation. 

Since the students are primarily concerned with becoming pro- 
ficient at dealing with children as clients or patients, the role adopted 
in this participation must necessarily be that of an adult. The student 
does not simply play with and amuse the youngsters; he is a respon- 
sible adult caring for and training them. Supervision by a teacher is 
essential for the children's welfare and for the students' guidance* 
Obviously the supervision must be given by a person who is skilled 
in these matters herself, and since the teacher must be present in any 
case, and is the properly trained professional, she ordinarily serves 
as the supervisor. 


The creation of such a program entails dual responsibility. The 
school possesses tHe facilities with which the professional training must 
be co-ordinated. On the school's side, arrangements must be made for 
introducing new adults (students) into the school setting, teachers 


must be trained as supervisors, and methods of instructing observers 
must be devised. The professional training institution must prepare 
a curriculum and integrate the practicum period itself into the train- 
ing program. 

These tasks must be undertaken deliberately. The school staff is 
normally built to a size and quality suitable for actual administration 
and operation of the school program. To add adult training represents 
a new responsibility for which the teachers must be specifically pre- 
pared. They must have opportunity, in staff discussions, to work out 
suitable methods for introducing strangers to the group, to analyze 
methods of supervision, and to evaluate various proposals having to 
do with record-keeping, schedules, and assignments of the new students. 
Such matters can rarely be imposed by administrators with any success ; 
as in any other teaching situation, the effectiveness of the work is 
a product of the teachers' own interest and intellectual involvement. 
There are no convenient rules to be followed in these various matters; 
what works with one staff fails with another. If able teachers have 
clearly in mind the purposes of the program, their own ingenuity will 
be sufficient for the development of techniques to fulfil them. 

From an administrative standpoint, a practicum requires divided 
control. The technical needs of the students, whether medical, dental, 
nursing or any other, can be evaluated best by the professional group 
itself. A school staff can give valuable help by suggesting areas of 
experience that other professional workers with children will find 
useful and by explaining clearly the need for specialized instruction 
and supervision. But the final decisions as to amount and kind of 
training must lie with the professional group rathef* than with the 

Once the general program has been outlined, its aims specified, 
and the amount of student time allocated, administrative responsibility 
must necessarily shift to the school. As in the case with all profes- 
sions dealing directly with the welfare of individual human beings, 
the teacher's first concern must always be for her clients. The child 
comes first; the school is for his welfare. The kind and amount of 
additional research or training must always be determined by ref- 
erence to the school's primary aim. 

Within this limitation a great variety of training procedure may 
be used. Lectures on child development, accompanied by observation 
of the children, are essential for reasons emphasized above. Assisting 
with the feeding, dressing, and toilet routines is useful. Language de- 
velopment can be observed, and adults can become accustomed to 

SEAMS 356 

communicating with children in such activities as story-reading, shop 
work, and outdoor play. The detailed study of an individual child 
appears to be one of the most effective devices for integrating ex- 
periences and principles gained through other forms of study. Se- 
curing data for such a project demands skills at interviewing teachers, 
observing behavior, and developing an effective social relationship with 
the child himself. 

Reading material and the various forms and instruction booklets 
required for implementing these studies must be prepared in large part 
by the school staff. Assistance can be gained from other institutions 
whose pioneering efforts have already created effective practicums, 
but, by and large, the training requirements for each situation are 
different. If the needs of the professional students and the aims of the 
training program are well understood, the school staff can develop its 
own working materials. 


Nursing. Perhaps the widest development of this kind of train- 
ing has been undertaken by the nursing profession. At the request 
of the schools of nursing, the National Association of Nursery Educa- 
tion appointed a Committee on Co-operation with Schools of Nursing. 
A subcommittee, entitled National Joint Committee on Criteria, has 
circularized nursing schools, colleges, and universities to determine 
the details of training programs in child development for students 
of pediatric nursing. Extensive programs are now in operation in a 
large number of schools, and the Joint Committee has actively sup- 
ported the creation of a number of new ones. 1 

One of the outstanding instances of this type of training is at 
the School of Nursing, Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, New 
York. As part of the experience in public health nursing, student 
nurses spend two full-time weeks in nursery school during their Senior 
year. The school is under the supervision of the board of education and 
was originally a Lanham Act day-care center. The training calls for 
the nurses to serve in approximately the capacity of assistant teach- 
ers, so far as participation is concerned, and, in addition, to prepare 
a detailed study of an individual child as well as to carry out a 
series of planned observations. The necessary instructions and sug- 
gestive outlines are provided for these activities. 

1 Details of this joint professional effort, together with sample curricular ma- 
terials from various institutions, may be obtained from Ethel Gordon, Chairman 
of the Committee, Child Health Association, 1001 Huron Road, Cleveland 15, 


Supervision of the actual participation with children is the re- 
sponsibility of regular teachers. During the first day the student 
mainly observes. Thereafter, increasingly during the first week, she 
takes over certain routine activities, such as helping with washing and 
dressing. During the second week she works with small groups of 
children at story time or possibly at music time. These activities 
are planned in advance with the head teachers. 

Each student is given a detailed manual to assist her in observa- 
tion. The excerpt produced below gives a sample of the kind of 
material available. 


This guide has been prepared to help you in observing the children in the 
nursery school and to call your attention to the procedures used by the 
teachers in guiding children's learning. It is important that you start your 
work in the nursery school with an open mind. With this attitude you will 
begin as a learner and attempt to question and discover some of the interest- 
ing things concerning children's behavior. When taking notes, describe the 
situation as fully as possible so that when notes are reviewed there will not be 
isolated bits but, rather, a picture of what really happened. Careful obser- 
vation of all the child does or says is of value if we are to understand children: 

1. Observation gives us an understanding of how the child's experiences af- 
fect his development. 

2. It gives us insight into the methods which should be used with children 
in guiding their behavior. 

3. It helps us realize the necessity for fitting procedures to each individual, 
since no two children are alike. 

A Nursery-School Day 

Your first day in the nursery school will be spent in getting acquainted 
with the program of activities for the day and with the physical arrange- 
ment of the school. 

Nursery-school program: 

Notice the program of activities through the day. Is tfte time-schedule 

What kind of atmosphere does the school have hurried, confused, orderly, 

Do the children know what is going to happen next? 

How much do the teachers need to remind the children? 

Getting acquainted with the children: 

Try to learn the names of as many of the children ae you can- Check 
yourself to see how many children you can call by name the second day. 

SEARS 357 

You will also need to know what emblem each child has to label his property 
at the nursery school. By the end of the week the child's name and his 
emblem should be familiar to you. 

Students' reaction: 

Write down any comments you may have at the end of your day. Did 
you think it a good, fair, or poor day? Why? 

What questions would you like to have answered? 

Beginning a Morning 

As the children arrive at the nursery school, notice whether they seem 
to be happy that they are coming to school. 

Are there any children who do not wish to stay? 

Do the children leave their parents or older brother or sister willingly? 

Health inspection: 

Are there any children who do not co-operate in the health inspection? 
What is the procedure in making the health inspection? 

Beginning play: 

Do the children find things to do immediately? 
Which children need help? 

If a child stands about doing nothing, how does the teacher help? 
Do any of the children search out special playmates? 
What kind of activities occupy the children at the beginning of the 

Play Outdoors 
1. What equipment and play materials are provided? Why are they placed 

as -fJhfiv fl.r< rm t.hfi TdAvornimd? 

as they are on the playground? 

2. Notice the following: 

Different ways the children use the material. 

Is there a relation between the age of the child and the use of the 


What supervision is given in the use of equipment and materials? 

Which materials are used by the greatest number of children? 

When does the teacher step in with suggestions or help? 

3. What responsibility do the children take in putting materials away? 
How do the teachers get their co-operation? 

Additional sections cover such matters as indoor play, play ac- 
tivities, observation in the bathroom/ lunch period, the child's use 


of creative materials and experiences with books. A case-study out- 
line is also provided. 2 

Pediatrics. The Clinic of Child Development, Yale University 
School of Medicine, is intimately associated with the Department of 
Pediatrics and its facilities are largely devoted to the training of 
pediatricians and child psychiatrists. Two services are maintained. 
The infant outpatient service has a diversified intake, including nor- 
mal infants who are referred prior to foster-home placement and 
adoption, infants and young children with developmental defects and 
deviations, and infants presenting behavior disorders. The diagnostic 
and guidance service for preschool children is conducted in connection 
with the guidance nursery of the clinic and deals with problems of per- 
sonality development and with child and parent guidance. The guid- 
ance nursery is attended each week by some seventy-five children. 

The training program is on an individualized basis. Undergraduate 
medical students devote six weeks to a study of clinical methods of 
infant-behavior examination. This includes observation of cases on 
the infant outpatient service and self -instruction by laboratory study 
of cinema records of normal and abnormal infant development. More 
advanced work is offered at the postgraduate level, externs being 
appointed for direct service in the diagnostic and advisory services of 
the clinic. The guidance nursery provides the children from ages two 
to five. 

This practicum program is closely related to the direct medical 
training. Emphasis is given to the study and evaluation of normal 
children, but with constant relating of these experiences to the pro- 
fessional task of the pediatrician, namely, the diagnosis and treat- 
ment of neurological and behavior disorders. Since the director of the 
nursery is also, in this almost unique instance, the director of the 
medical training done in the nursery, the administrative relationships 
are not sharply defined. 

General education. The need for experience with young children on 
the part of homemakers is as great as for professional workers. In the 
College of Home Economics, Cornell University, this has b^en met by 
the development of two courses, one called "Experience with Children," 
and the other, "Nursery-School Participation." Each of these is a 
one-semester course designed to bring home-economics majors (and 
liberal-arts students, too, when capacity permits) into participating 
contact with young children. 

* Further details about these materials may be obtained from Mra Eleanor 
R. Beach, Supervisor of State Youth Commission Nursery Schools, Board of 
Education, Rochester, New York. 

SEARS 359 

The nursery school has two groups: the Junior, including ages 
two to three and one-half; the Senior, from three and one-half to six. 
Each group has a head teacher or supervisor and an assistant teacher. 
Sophomores or older students are permitted to register for the work, 
and their time is blocked out in such a way that they can get con- 
tinuous contact with various parts of the nursery-school program. 
Opportunities are arranged for assistance and observation in eating, 
toileting, creative activities, indoor and outdoor free play, and other 
significant parts of the day's work. Conferences are held with the 
assistant teachers. 

A considerable number of students so trained go into home-eco- 
nomics teaching in high schools. Miss Reeves, head of the Nursery 
School at Cornell University, states: 

We attempt to give the student experiences with children which will yield 
both method and content in her work with students in high school and 
junior high school. These objectives could be arrived at without the nursery 
school, if other types of group and individual contacts were possible. We 
use the nursery school as an economical means for getting variety of ex- 
perience in a relatively short time. 

[In order to give wider experience, public school nursery groups are also 
used. They] bring the student in contact with girls in the high school and 
in the junior high school who are themselves learning about children by liv- 
ing with them in the nursery school. This experience gives the prospective 
teacher a double exposure to the interests, needs, and abilities of girls of 
the ago which she may be teaching. 

The course in nursery-school participation is not a course in nursery- 
school technique, except incidentally. Students must develop some skill in 
working with children within the framework of the nursery school and must 
have some knowledge of the basic factors to be considered in planning a 
suitable school regime. But the primary objectives for secondary teachers 
are the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of young children in 
the personal relation, and development of insights which will enable them 
to work effectively at other levels than the preschool. The student will ex- 
press this as "the chance to try myself out with children." The technique 
we aim toward is a technique of human relationship considering technique 
not as an end in itself but as a fluent and sensitive response to personality 
and human needs. 

Social Work. Training and experience with children is a part of 
the general program dealing with human development. At the School 
of Applied Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, a course, entitled 
"Growth and Change of the Individual" provides lectures and observa- 
tions covering the entire life span* It is planned so as "to help the 


student become aware of the interplay of physical, intellectual, and 
emotional forces which constitute the individual as he moves through 
life." Most of the lectures are presented by a psychiatrist, a psychol- 
ogist, and a physician. Observations of each age period are arranged 
after the lecturers have completed their discussion of the particular 
age under consideration. 

The observation of nursery-school children follows the lectures 
on the preschool child. The students are divided into small groups and 
take turns in observing a day-nursery school from behind a one-way- 
vision screen. Each student has in his hand an outline of the daily 
program at nursery school, and the small groups meet with the nursery- 
school teacher before and after the observation as a way of furthering 
their understanding of the purpose and meaning of the children's 
experience in nursery school Students are required to write up these 
observations, describing what they saw and understood in the light 
of the lectures they have heard and of the observation experience 

Four lecture periods are devoted to the preschool child and three 
to the school-age child. The lecturers and topics for the preschool 
period are as follows: 


Physician: Norms of development for the preschool child; diet, rest, and 
exercise needed. Dentition will be discussed. A program of preventive health 
care will be outlined in relation to illnesses common to this age period. 

Psychiatrist: Emotional development during the preschool period. Psy- 
cho-sexual development of the child during this time; the localization of the 
libido in the genital area; the significance of enuresis and of masturbation. 
Relationships with siblings and with parents; the meaning of the Oedipal 

Psychologist: Intellectual growth and change during the preschool period. 
There will be a presentation of intelligence tests for preschool children, what 
they test, their validity, etc. A preschool child will be tested before the class. 

Psychiatrist: A showing of the movie "Balloons/ 1 a talkie, showing ag- 
gression in the preschool child and different ways in which children express 
and manage their aggression. 

The nursery school used for observations is a part of the public 
school system and is housed in an elementary-school building. Arrange- 
ments for observations are made between the director of the course, 
the superintendent of schools, and the director of the nursery school. 
The students' reports are examined by the course director and then 

BEARS 361 

some of them are passed on to the nursery-school director for her 


To the school that is organized primarly as a school and not as a 
university training or research facility, the cost of establishing a 
practicum, in time and energy, is considerable. Staff meetings de- 
voted to planning for it necessarily cut in on planning for other school 
activities. What is to be gained? 

One advantage derives from the specialized training of the stu- 
dents. Although teachers ordinarily have a fair amount of knowledge 
from diversified fields, they are not specialists in public health or in 
dental, psychological, or social problems. The addition of students 
whose interests are oriented to any of these fields inevitably broadens 
the teachers' interests and information; they attend more intently to 
another of the child's many facets. The advantage to the children is 
evident; bringing specialists into the school increases the available 
technical information, and what is good for the children is a gain 
for the school. 

More important than these practical additions, however, is the in- 
creased community interest in the school. Society has officially allo- 
cated much of the job of socializing children to the schools, but this 
socializing cannot be done in a vacuum. The schools themselves must 
continue to be a part of society. Unless other groups which have the 
welfare of children at heart can integrate their work with the school 
activities, the socializing process will go on piecemeal. To the extent 
that it can draw together the child-interest of many parts of the com- 
munity, the school is fulfilling this broader function. Making the 
school available for other, but genuinely useful, educational purposes 
is a primary step in this direction. 



Deputy Commissioner of Education 

Connecticut State Department of Education 

Hartford, Connecticut 



Consultant, Nursery and Parent Education 

Connecticut State Department of Education 

Hartford, Connecticut 


Concern for the education of children between two and six years 
of age has been expressed in many countries and throughout the ages, 
certainly since the time of Plato. In America, however, little was 
done to organize and operate nursery schools until the second decade 
of the twentieth century. Since that time a heterogeneity of patterns 
and a multiplicity of supporting and controlling agencies have dotted 
the nation with institutions for the care and education of the young 
child. Catherine Landreth describes this development as follows: 

As the year opened in 1942 there were in existence in the United States 
many institutions for the organized care of young children outside their homes. 
These were variously called nursery schools, play centers, play groups, day 
nurseries, child development groups, and child-care centers. They operated 
three to twenty-four hours five or seven days a week. Some were staffed by 
college graduates with professional training in the care and education of young 
children, some by individuals with a grammar-school education and no pro- 
fessional training. The children were drawn from the homes of indigent par- 
ents, working mothers, families in migrant camps, housing projects, crowded 
urban areas, or families in the higher income groups who had only one or two 
children and no neighborhood facilities for their active play and association 
with other children. The services these institutions offered were either free 
or at a fee so high that only a small percentage of parents could afford to pay 
it. The institutions were variously sponsored by WJPA. family-life education 
projects, departments of social welfare, local philanthropic organizations, re- 


search centers, universities and colleges, adult education projects, housing 
projects, groups of parents, "women's penitentiaries, or individuals operating 
them for income. Some met standards and came under the supervision of a 
national or state organization, some operated as they saw fit, without even 
public health supervision. Objectives varied from keeping young children safe 
and 'dry* for a prescribed number of hours for a prescribed fee to offering 
them recreational facilities or promoting the physical, mental, and social 
development of each child in the school (13: 3-4). 

Since the functions of these enterprises varied, control and organi- 
zation differed also. When research in child development is the pur- 
pose, the control and support tend to rest with research groups, often 
associated with a university; when child care is the primary motive, 
welfare and philanthropic groups usually play a major role; when 
homemaking and preparation for family life are paramount, as, for 
example, in a unit supported by a college or university specializing 
in home economics, or when the school is established as a laboratory 
for educating teachers, the program is attached to and controlled by a 
school of education or teachers college and childhood education is 
frequently secondary; and when the program is organized for the 
purpose of aiding in the education and development of the child him- 
self, the nursery school in America has usually been private in nature, 
controlled by an independent agency and largely supported by tuition. 
In a few areas, however, such schools have been publicly controlled. 
Great impetus has been given to the publicly operated school since 
federal support became available, first, through W.P.A. funds and, 
later, by revenue from the Lanham Act. It may be noted, however, 
that federal support has been given not so much to educate the child 
as to assist the home or to release the mother for war work. 

One of the greatest obstacles to the establishment of nursery-school 
groups is the attitude on the part of some parents and many tax- 
payers who consider the nursery school merely as a place to "play." 
More understanding of the attitudes built through play and activities 
geared to the age and interests of young children is needed. The spirit 
of co-operation and fair play, independence, courage and self-con- 
fidence, initiative, and resourcefulness are some of the many qualities 
and basic attitudes that must have their roots in these very early 
years. Education and growth are in continuous process and, by ex- 
tending the age for entering school downward, it is possible to bring 
these processes tinder professionally trained guidance at an earlier 
time. Many values can be gained by young children only through 
group experience. There are also many advantages in establishing 
early contact with the parents of school children. 


Parents who are familiar with kindergartens and nursery schools are en- 
thusiastic about them, but many parents are not acquainted with preschool 
education and have not, therefore, accepted it as a part of their thinking 
and practice. Even after they become acquainted with the nursery school 
and kindergarten and acquaintance is usually tantamount to approval 
parents and their educational counselors will consider such matters as the 
accessibility of the nursery schools, transportation facilities, and the adequacy 
of the home environment (7: 37). 

It is safe to say, nevertheless, that the American people are aroused 
to the importance of these years in the life of each person. If this be 
true, the responsibility of establishing, administering, and financing 
a program would seem to rest upon all the people. The Educational 
Policies Commission states it this way: 

America is committed to the development of the individual. In fulfilment 
of this commitment, we have undertaken many large services. One of these is 
free public education for all the children of all the people. 

Through education we seek to enable the individual to develop those abili- 
ties, understandings, and traits which he must have to attain self-realization. 
The contributions of the school in former days were made largely in terms of 
reading, writing, and numbers. The need of these abilities has magnified with 
our advancing technological society. To these contributions we have now 
added many others, such as health and personal and social adjustment. It is 
also quite essential that the individual master the disciplines of the society 
in which he lives and grows. 

Democratic culture has disciplines quite as powerful, although not so 
overt and direct, as those of dictatorial society. The disciplines of democracy 
are those which are needed for (1) the full development of the individual and 
(2) the successful functioning of a democracy. Building these disciplines is a 
continuous process which should begun very early in life. 

The disciplines of American society are masked to some extent under such 
common phrases as: taking turns, being a good sport, playing the game, Uving 
up to what the family expects of you> not letting the other fellow down, hav- 
ing a sense of honor, being a good neighbor, considering what other people 
wtt think of you, and being a decent, law-abiding dtizen. Whether masked 
or not, the disciplines are ever operating as powerful forces in regulating indi- 
vidual participation and in insuring democracy as a going concern. 

Some of these disciplines have found partial expression in the law, but 
the greater number of them have not. They are rather self-disciplines which 
have originated in the mores and are maintained and nourished by popular 
acceptance. The initiation, growth, and development of democratic dis- 
ciplines constitute an essential part of education (7: 3-4). 

That the function of the early-age school tends more and more to 
coincide with the generally accepted purposes of the American public 


school is borne out by Bulletin 1932, No. 9, U. S. Office of Education, 
which states: 

Two general trends are largely responsible for the development of nursery 
schools during the past decade. First, the general concern that each individual 
be given opportunity to start life fortified with adequate emotional controls 
and social adjustments that may obviate many of the present difficulties in 
adolescent and adult life. That this is possible has been shown in the marked 
increase in knowledge of the potential learning abilities of younger children 
and in the development of techniques for the conditioning of behavior. The 
preschool years are being recognized as of more developmental importance 
than any succeeding period of life. Systematic care is needed to assure ade- 
quate growth and development for the many and varied phases of the young 
child's mental and physical being. 

Second, the movement of population toward cities has placed certain 
social and economic limitations upon family life. There is a larger proportion 
of "only" children and of small families. The children need a substitute for 
the wholesome "give and take" which living with other children affords. Play 
space is limited and an undesirable amount of adult supervision is found neces- 
sary. The excitements of city life are overstimulating for young children. 
Women are seeking employment outside the home both to add to the family 
income and to carry on vocations or avocations. Parents want the best en- 
vironment for their children and are seeking guidance in their profession of 
parenthood and co-operation in the supervision of their children's develop- 
ment (15:1). 

The evidence seems clear that the American people will soon make 
the decision to extend the public school system downward to include 
institutional training for very young children, just as, after long de- 
liberation, they decided to extend public education upward to include 
the secondary school. When this decision is made, new patterns of 
organization and administration will appear. 


Out of the various patterns of group programs for young children 
now in operation three basic types of organization are emerging. First, 
there is the occasional extension of the elementary school downward, 
a unit developed for children below kindergarten age. This unit has 
been developed in connection with both public and private schools 
as a nursery-school group or prekindergarten unit. In some cases it 
is a part of the elementary program. It has not been too difficult to 
add units for younger children under subsidies of the W.P.A. and 
the Lanham Act. Existing facilities within the school plant have been 
quite successfully adapted to the young child, or a near-by dwelling 


or other building has been used to house the group. This type of pro- 
gram is administered through the usual school channels, and super- 
vision is provided by the elementary-school principal supplemented 
by consultative services from the superintendent's office, the county, 
or state. It offers the opportunity for sequential development of group 
activities for the child from the age of three or four through the ele- 
mentary grades. Because most elementary schools are located in areas 
near the homes to be served, problems of transportation are not seri- 
ously involved. A few schools have inaugurated programs for younger 
children using existing kindergarten facilities and staff. Because the 
kindergarten was operating for a half-day, a younger group was ad- 
mitted and placed in charge of the kindergarten teacher for the other 

In units of this type one dangerous tendency appears. Administra- 
tors and teachers view the unit as an extension of the "kindergarten" 
downward and conceive of the curriculum in terms of traditional 
kindergarten patterns for five-year-olds. The result is to provide for 
the younger child a modified, formal "kindergarten" curriculum. 

A second type of unit is one which is part of a junior or primary 
school serving children from ages two or three through eight or nine. 
Many private schools are so organized. Frequently primary groups 
are developed as a continuation or extension upward of an established 
nursery school. Parents and teachers, convinced of the desirability 
of a broader and more flexible educational program, have encouraged 
the development of facilities for primary classes to follow the nursery- 
school program. The advantages in this type of organization grow 
out of the opportunities for consistent and sequential growth and 
progress for the children. Because facilities are likely to be planned 
around the young child and his growth needs, there is a greater likeli- 
hood of developing an appropriate curriculum. The unit can be 
planned as a complete school organization with playgrounds, cafeteria, 
activity space, and other needed facilities and with administration 
geared to the needs of young children. There is more opportunity in 
such units to guard against overwhelming or overlooking the young 
child in a situation arranged primarily for large numbers of older 

This type lends itself readily to a unification of community serv- 
ices provided for the family and the child. All such services might 
well operate out of such a school as a neighborhood center. Con- 
versely, it would be in easy reach of parents in need of assistance. 

A third type of school is that restricted to children under five or 


six years of age, popularly known as a nursery school. This type of 
unit may be classified in two groups which are differentiated in func- 
tion, one of welfare, the other of education. 

Schools in the welfare group are those in which child care, fre- 
quently custodial care only, is the chief function. Service is limited to 
children with particular social or economic needs and to cases where 
the family is considered inadequate, for one of several reasons, to care 
for the children. Many child-care centers, day-care centers, day 
nurseries, and children's homes fall in this class. They may be pub- 
licly or privately sponsored but, too frequently, are inadequately 
staffed and carry a program that centers largely about physical care 
of children with insufficient attention given to other basic needs and 
interests of children. Because of its functions, the welfare school must 
necessarily be discriminating and cannot provide service to all chil- 

The second group, whose function is primarily the education of 
young children, has emerged from several sources and has developed 
with varying emphasis, as noted previously in this chapter: 

a) There is the school that has been organized for the child him- 
self. Facilities and program are planned and developed primarily 
around child growth and development. Education of the young child 
is the function and goal. In general, only the "privileged few" can 
benefit by the service, since tuition and fees are the usual means of 
support. At scattered points, co-operative schools are increasingly at- 
tracting attention. They are generally organized on a neighborhood 
basis through the efforts of an interested group of parents or com- 
munity leaders who see the need of schools for early education. Al- 
though a fee may be charged to cover regular operational costs, it 
may be considerably lower than in many private schools of other types. 
Parents participate in the program and offset many costs through 
service. More children may be served through this type of school 
where parents in the area are in a position to give the time required 
for co-operative service. The most successful schools of this type 
are those which draw on experienced teachers and consultants for 
guidance in the handling and training of children. One of the greatest 
contributions that a school of this type makes is to point up the value 
of co-operative planning and action toward meeting the needs of both 
parents and children in the immediate neighborhood or community. 

b) Other schools serve various educational purposes but the child 
himself is not the single consideration. The "demonstration" school 
is a sample. It is organized for observation and training purposes for 

*mH atiiHpnfa of homemakinff. education, nsvcholoev. 


sociology, medicine, or nursing. Such schools are usually developed in 
colleges or schools and supervised by the department or groups di- 
rectly concerned. Education of the children is coincidental with edu- 
cation for the students under instruction. 

c) A third type of educational unit is that organized and operated 
mainly for research. The school is equipped for experimental pro- 
grams and for controlled experiments. To realize fully the function 
of the school, children admitted may of necessity be highly selected, 
with a result that the program cannot serve all children who may need 
or benefit from group activities. 

For obvious reasons, the programs to date have been able to reach 
only a selective few. The welfare schools are organized to serve a 
limited need. Private nursery schools, through their fees for service, 
necessarily preclude a large majority of children. Public nursery- 
school groups and co-operative schools are so rare as to fall far short 
of serving the widespread need for education of this age group. 

Planning for the education of young children has, so far, been a 
hit-or-miss affair. It is imperative that we face the need for co- 
ordinated planning and action. If we understand and accept the im- 
portance of the first six years of life and subscribe to the democratic 
principle that "America is committed to the development of the indi- 
vidual," we have a common ground on which to build our plans to 
extend educational advantages to all children at the earliest possible 
age. Although we have undertaken "free education for all the chil- 
dren of all the people," we have gone but a little way in providing 
the total service. The co-operative nursery school has most adequately 
undertaken the fundamental, dual responsibility of providing educa- 
tion for the child and his parents at the same time. It may point 
the way toward a solution of the problem of meeting the growing 
and changing needs in all education programs today. 

Wartime conditions have perhaps contributed most to awakening 
the public to needs of children that have always existed and that can 
be met by schools. Chaotic home conditions have brought us up 
sharply to give some consideration to purposeful planning for young 
children and their parents. 

Growing concern for the education and development of children 
in the first six years of life is bringing into play the findings of de- 
velopmental and psychological research of the past' twenty years. A 
common thread of emphasis is beginning to run through all of the 
programs described above. It is the realization that: 


The growth process during the first six years is foundational and tends 
to set the pattern of future health and adjustment. Healthy, well-adjusted 

persons are the product of an orderly process of growth The play and 

work of the child during these early years can include the basic elements of 
good social life: companionship, sharing, and good will. In the young child's 
world there can be the prototypes of all desirable living (7:6, 8). 

Many homes are inadequate to provide these values derived from 
group experience for children. Parents are not educated for parent- 
hood and are unaware of developmental needs of children and how 
best to provide them. We expect the teacher, doctor, accountant, or 
the engineer to be skilled and equipped for his profession, but we have 
largely overlooked education for the basic profession of life parent- 
hood, with the underlying values of human understandings, relation- 
ships, and responsibilities. The school for young children is proving 
its value in serving a dual function. It helps parents in the solution 
of problems relating to the care and development of children and "has 
functioned as a center for parent education. This emphasis on close 
relationship with the home was with the kindergarten from its incep- 
tion. Although, at times, this integral phase of the kindergarten, pro- 
gram has been neglected, it invariably comes back, for it is essential 
to the attainment of the objectives of early childhood education'? 
(7: 16), Parents of young children are of necessity much closer to 
the care and guidance of children than at any other period of life. 
"Much of the desirable relationship between home and school arises 
in their mutual concern for helping children grow and develop" (7: 16). 

There is increasing demand as well as need for schools for young 
children that will serve the needs of children and their parents. To 
meet the demand, "fly-by-night" schools are springing up throughout 
the country, inadequately housed, staffed, and administered but fol- 
lowing, in general, the organizational pattern of the units described 

There are no recipes which all people will find palatable. No one 
set pattern of organization can be expected to meet the needs in every 
community, but it is of the utmost importance that planning be done 
with an eye to developing that program which best serves the needs 
of the local situation and best utilizes the local facilities. 

It is evident that the nursery school and kindergarten should be 
considered as a sequential unit and that this preschool unit should be 
completely integrated with the primary- and elementary-school pro- 
grams which follow. The most logical; constructive, 'and workable 
pattern which seems to emerge from a study of existing facilities and 


their basic values in ultimate child growth would appear to be that 
of an early childhood educational unit. Such a unit, whether it be 
developed as a primary school sufficient unto itself or whether it be 
developed as an extension of the elementary school downward, offers 
the finest opportunity for sequential growth throughout the early years 
of childhood. 

In fulfilling our democratic heritage the service should be pro* 
vided through our public educational system and should be available 
to all children. Advantages lie in the possibility for integration of the 
entire school program, more efficient planning of space and facilities, 
and less expensive administration and supervision. The school can be 
a center for parent education and should represent co-ordinated plan- 
ning and provision for educational needs throughout the community. 
If adequately planned and administered, the school may meet wel- 
fare needs and serve as an observation center for training. Therein, 
lie the opportunities for co-ordinating the present, widely diversified 
types of service offered by small, scattered units of varying degrees of 


If we recognize the need and understand the value of the early 
childhood school as part of our public educational system, it is im- 
portant to plan for its establishment and organization. The superin- 
tendent of schools should refrain from introducing any noneduca- 
tional services for which the public has not seen the need. New serv- 
ices, which entail increased cost, should be added only when the aver- 
age citizen has been educated to believe in the program and has ex- 
pressed a willingness to support it. Nevertheless, the responsibility 
for leadership, planning, and promoting rests squarely on the heads 
of the public school system. They cannot escape the obligation of 
understanding and of interpreting the rapidly changing needs of so- 
ciety, particularly in those areas involving youth and children. Furth- 
ermore, the professional knowledge resulting from research in the field 
of child development should be his stock in trade. For him to fail to 
transmit a considerable portion of this to the lay public constitutes 
a neglect of duty. In this area, as in many others involving child 
welfare and, ultimately, the welfare of the nation, the superintendent 
and board of education must enlist the total community In the study 
of the needs of children and of ways and means of meeting these needs. 

(Community planning is of paramount importance. Its significance 
for the welfare of the young child can be matched only by its effect 


upon the education of adults. In such a community-wide enterprise, 
the behind-the-scene organizing, inspiration, and leadership should 
rest upon him who heads the community school system. In addition 
to the organizing and planning, the school executive must find talent 
and human resources for bringing truth and understanding plus a little 
enthusiasm to the lay people, the parents of these same children. Ways 
and means of combatting ill-founded attitudes and misconceptions 
present a significant problem in community education. The facts in 
the case once effectively presented will convince and clearly establish 
the need. Early childhood education can well stand on its merits. 
Educational leadership, if energetic, sane, assiduous, and yet patient, 
can by means of the resources in every community convince the pub- 
lic of the significance and worth of the program. 

The following must not be considered in any sense to be a blue- 
print of what should be done. It is meant merely to be suggestive of 
what might be done in a given community. The school administrator 
might, first of all, do preliminary ground work with a limited number 
of intelligent citizens. While this takes place, a preliminary inven- 
tory of resources, human and material, should be accumulated. Among 
the material resources, books, pamphlets, printed results of research 
on child development and parent education, and visual aids would 
loom large. Among the human resources available in most communi- 
ties would be parent organizations, clergy, teachers, school supervisors, 
parent leaders, pediatricians, psychologists, and specialists in mental 

Next, a careful sifting of key community leaderships will give the 
nucleus for a general inaugural and planning meeting. At this session, 
and at as many others as may be necessary, the general problems may 
be presented and explored and, if possible, a plan approved for in- 
augurating a community-wide educational program for acquainting 
people with the facts, for arousing them to study the problem, for 
helping them to reach reasonable decisions, and for assisting them to 
take action which will result in the establishing of adequate educa- 
tional facilities for the appropriate care and instruction of young 
children. Any program inspired by such purposes will involve much 
planning and organizing as well as machinery for correlating the work 
and information of the many groups involved. Ways and means of 
administering the resources so that any individual or group may have 
ready access to them is a matter of no mean importance. Parent- 
teachers associations may well be a part; school principals may be 
given specific responsibilities; librarians can be include;!; clerical as- 


sistance should be found. Certainly the board of education may well 
furnish the staff to transcribe and duplicate notes and minutes of 
meetings of many types for widespread use. Persons of demonstrated 
ability representing as many organizations and community groups as 
possible should be used at all stages of the work. Frequently valuable 
resources may be found in adjoining communities, and assistance from 
others who have worked through the problem can point up planning 
and help to avoid organizational pitfalls. Since the project involves 
"all the children of all the people," talent scouts should be designated 
and should pursue their purpose with success. Often a community- 
wide project owes its success to new and hitherto undiscovered person- 
alities of strength, vitality, and ability, rather than to old and recog- 
nized leadership. 


The great diversity of types of nursery schools and the variety of 
organizations represented in their control have resulted in extreme 
ranges of financial costs and a conglomeration of sources of revenue. 
Obviously, the function of the institution will, in large measure, de- 
termine the per capita cost of the service. The expense involved in a 
program of restricted child care may represent a limited outlay, 
whereas an institution primarily concerned with research is normally 
much more expensive. A school that is an integral part of the public 
school system, although likely to vary from community to community, 
can be operated on a relatively modest expenditure. Although it may 
be expected that the per-capita costs for educating the young child 
will be higher than for the child in the grades of the elementary school, 
it should be pointed out that there are some public school services, 
particularly in the areas of the secondary and vocational curriculum, 
where the per-capita costs are likely to run still higher. Another factor 
often lost sight of is the contributory educational services which are 
normally a basic part of early childhood education. Chief among these 
is parent education. The program provides the means by which par- 
ents can observe, study, and understand young children and, with the 
consultation of teachers, better guide the development of children 
through the early years. If the per-capita cost is figured by counting 
both children and parents, the per-person cost would not appear to 
be high. Costs figured on such a base would be more valid and more 
revealing, considering the basic functions of the school which serves 
both parents and children. 

Although presently established nursery schools receive income from 
sources such as gifts, tuition, grants, foundations, endowments, and 


fees, it is from public funds that the publicly administered program 
of the future must receive its principal support. The assumption has 
heretofore been made that the education of children at any age is the 
responsibility of the state. A corollary to this principle is that the 
state has a responsibility to support such a program from the public 
funds, both local and state. Only as the state-wide community has 
been apprised of the value of such education and desires to provide 
such services can public funds be so utilized. 

Few local communities are able to bear this added financial burden 
without state aid. It does not seem that state subventions or direct 
grants for nursery schools is a sound financial policy for meeting edu- 
cational needs. This method, while helpful in the past as a stimulus 
to new programs, is not a sound policy. State or national assistance 
should be made in terms of the total educational services required for 
all the children. Discrimination against some age groups has fre- 
quently been the result of ill-considered laws. Fortunately, a few states, 
either by direct stipulation or by general statement, permit com- 
munities to use revenue from general state aid in support of their 
nursery schools. Such general legislation undoubtedly permits the 
greatest flexibility in the operation of the total educational program 
and stimulates the greatest local initiative. A good example of this 

type of law is the Connecticut mandate which reads in part, " 

good public elementary and secondary schools and such other edu- 
cational activities as in their judgment will best serve the interests of 
the town" (5: 103). Under such a law a local community has state 
approval for extending its education upward, downward, and outward. 

In those states which have not yet passed legislation to permit the 
extension of previously established patterns of public education, im- 
mediate action is paramount. Once the state by law recognizes edu- 
cation as extending beyond traditional boundaries, support for an in- 
crease in state funds is likely to follow. The trend for more and more 
support of public education on a state-wide basis is a signal stimulus 
to the development of the public nursery school. Such aid is impera- 
tive and must be supplemented by federal aid for general support of 
public schools in many states. As state and federal assistance to local 
communities increases, the children between the ages of two and six 
must not be discriminated against. Support for the education of this 
age group should not require private assistance of any sort. Just as 
instruction, supplies, equipment, and other services are made avail- 
able for the child of the age of thirteen, so should they be given to the 
child who is three. 



In considering the responsibilities and obligations of the local 
school administrators, transportation of children may present serious 
difficulties. Inherent in the problem are the ever-present physical 
dangers, supervision, driver competency, numbers of children and 
their age range, distances to be traveled, timing, insurance, and operat- 
ing costs. 

When the school for young children is in or near the elementary 
school, which is frequently within walking distance of home in urban 
areas, the problem of transportation is not so acute. When distances 
between home and school extend beyond one-half mile for young 
children, transportation must be given serious consideration. Rural 
areas and consolidated school districts present the most severe prob- 
lem. It is not reasonable to expect parents to provide transportation. 
Many do not have the time, the daily freedom from home care of 
other dependents, or the facilities for regular transportation of their 
children. In cases where parents are working, hours for school and the 
job are not so scheduled as to permit the transportation of parent and 
child together. 

No single solution to the problem exists. The difficulties are as 
numerous and varied as the communities in which they arise. There 
are, however, certain fundamental considerations to be taken into ac- 
count. A few suggestions of solutions or partial solutions made in a 
few communities may serve as a springboard in resolving some of the 
difficulties. The school administrator or planning group must know 
the distance each child must travel to school and the family's plan, 
desire, willingness, or ability to provide transportation. 

Transportation is the responsibility of our public school system 
which has undertaken the education of all