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Instinctive Equipment In Infancy

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Two factors working with a third commonly termed self-activity determine what the child shall become. These two factors are heredity and environment. Heredity not only comprises family inheritance but the age-long inheritance of race dating back to primitive man, and, if we agree with Darwin, to lower forms of life from which the higher have evolved. This inheritance of original nature has been variously captioned by such names as reflexes, impulses, instincts, tendencies and capacities. Thorndike in Volume 1 of his Educational Psychology, Chapter 2, gives the following very helpful distinction between these terms, "When the tendency concerns a very definite and uniform response to a very simple sensory situation, and when the connection between the situation and the response is very hard to modify and is also very strong so that it is almost inevitable, the connection or response to which it leads is called a reflex. Thus the knee-jerk is a very definite and uniform response to the simple sense-stimulus of sudden hard pressure against a certain spot. It is hard to lessen, to increase, or other-wise control the movement, and, given the situation, the response almost always comes. When the response is more indefinite, the situation more complex, and the connection more modifiable, instinct becomes the customary term. Thus one's misery at being scorned is too indefinite a response to too complex a situation and is too easily modifiable to be called a reflex. When the tendency is to an extremely indefinite response or set of responses to a very complex situation, and when the connection's final degree of strength is commonly due to very large contributions of training, it has seemed more appropriate to replace reflex and instinct by some term like capacity, or tendency or potentiality. Thus an original tendency to respond to the circumstances of school education by achievement in learning the arts and sciences is called the capacity for scholarship." Then Thorndike continues with the statement that there is no gap between reflexes, instincts and tendencies and that it is impossible therefore to make hard and fast distinctions. It is more useful and more scientific to avoid such distinctions in thought, since in fact there is a continuous gradation.

In our consideration of the instinctive equipment in childhood as a basis for educational procedure we shall therefore not attempt to use distinguishing terms but have in mind only the contribution of original nature as the starting point. Upon this foundation supplied by heredity is erected the superstructure of learning. Education is an interacting process by means of the contacts between the nature of the child and the environing influences. Walt Whitman in poetic form very beautifully voices the importance of the second factor in this process :

"There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he looked upon, and received With wonder, pity, love or dread, That object he became. And that object became part of him for the day, For a certain part of the day, or for many years, Or stretching cycles of years."

The actual process of education is engaged in perpetuating some of the original connections, eliminating some and in modifying and re-directing others. To quote from Thorn-dike again : "They are perpetuated by providing stimuli adequate to arouse them and give them exercise, and by associating satisfaction with their action. They are eliminated by withholding stimuli, so that they disappear through disuse, or by associating discomfort with their action. They are re-directed by substituting another response for the undesirable original one or by attaching the original response to another situation with which it works less or no harm or even positive good." It is our purpose to suggest very simply and definitely some of the ways in which the parent may cooperate in this process of education.


Feeding is a dominant instinct from the beginning of life. Not only should wholesome food lie supplied suited to the needs of the developing organism but this food should be given at regular intervals, allowing sufficient time for digestion between feedings. The dangerous habit of "piecing" or of eating continuously is often formed before three years of age. For the future as well as the present welfare of the child such a habit is to be avoided. It is not alone the physical health that is involved but the control of an appetite, which makes for moral strength. Many a life has been wrecked later through the intemperate use of some article of food, narcotics or intoxicants because the basis for such weakness was laid in the early years in the failure to develop right and regular habits of eating. The enjoyment of food by the child is desirable, and he should be in a happy and contented mood when eating. If possible he should not be irritated or frightened and he should be encouraged to eat without haste, taking only a small amount of food in the mouth at a time. These habits will conduce to good digestion and will conserve nervous strength. Habits of proper social response when eating can be cultivated as soon as the child takes his food at the table with other members of the family. He can learn to wait patiently for his turn to be served, although the control of the little child must not be overstrained. He learns not to attempt speech with a mouth otherwise employed and to use correctly the spoon and in progressive series the other table appointments. There is no need for a little child to be a boor simply because he is little. If rightly approached he will take pride in mastering one by one the essentials of good breeding. Such training is a part of his moral-social equipment, and if acquired early these habits will persist and will make him the more welcome in any social group. The child, because he enjoys eating, considers his food one of his greatest blessings, and food is one of the first things for which a child spontaneously expresses gratitude to his parents and later to God. The grace which is said before each meal in the Christian home impresses the young child very much, and very soon he learns to participate by saying "Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this food." His earliest prayers may thus be connected with the homely act of feeding. Jack's little head was always bowed while his father said the blessing before each meal. On this particular day Jack had slept during the dinner hour and consequently had to eat alone. His mother placed him in his high chair, and as soon as his food was set before him, he bowed his head. He did not say a word, but his mother, observing the act, repeated a verse of blessing for him. As soon as she had finished he raised his head and started to eat his dinner. Jack was only one and a half years of age when this incident occurred.


The most noticeable fact about infancy is the ceaseless movement. Even as the child lies asleep there are some twitchings of the limbs. Every movement is in response to a stimulus from some inner bodily state or from some outer condition. Touch, sight, sound, taste, smell,—all bring their quota of sensations arousing the organism to response. Every stimulus tends to be immediately followed by movement. When this movement of the baby finds the check of the sides of the crib, of mother's hand or of the rubber ball, there is a fresh stimulus to activity.

The child grasps with the hand the opposing object or presses more strenuously against it. There is no purpose in this pursuit at first but if the performance be repeated time after time gradually a set habit of reaction to the particular situation is built up. There is an appearance of purpose on the baby's part so quickly does he pursue the usual course of action on presentation of the stimulus, just as the dog who has learned to jump for his food begins the performance when he sees the master with meat in hand. In this very wonderful provision of movement in response to stimulus, a continuous reaction of the organism to environing conditions, lies the possibility of education. Not only, as Bolton asserts, the entire brain and nervous system suffer if motor activity is lacking during the growing period; but the provision for abundant and fruitful activity through an environment rich in things for the investigation of the senses and the testing of muscular control, affords the opportunity for developing future mental power. Suitable playthings, pets, plants, household articles and simple apparatus should be supplied in every child's home. As we will show later, clear imagery is gained through the sense perceptions de-pendent upon motor activity, and keen thinking requires clear imagery. Activity characterizes all the life of the child and play characterizes his activity. The little child has in all that he does the play attitude. His goals are inherent in the activity itself ; the joy of doing is his sufficient reward. He chases the butterfly not for the sake of possessing the butterfly but for the fun of chasing.


Fear develops within the first few weeks. Helen Hoyt has written a poem on The New-Born which describes well the unlearned character of this response :

"I have heard them in the night—The cry of their fear, Because there is no light, Because they do not hear Familiar sounds and feel the familiar arm, And they awake alone. Yet they have never known Danger or harm. What is their dread? This dark about their bed? Where did they find Knowledge of death? Caution of darkness and cold? These—of the little, new breath— Have they a prudence so old?"

Some of the more common racial fears are those of darkness, loud noises, strangers, rapidly moving objects, high places. These fears manifest themselves at different ages with different children, and while one child may have one type of fear in an exaggerated form, he may be free from others. There are also the fears that are based upon experience but built upon the instinct of fear of which we have been speaking. These fears are the result of fright or of accident. Parents and servants who make a business of instilling imaginary fears have much to answer for in the injury to the child's nervous stability for which they are accountable. Fears of the policeman, the doctor, the bogey-man, ghosts, witches and the like are illustrative of what we have in mind. In a discussion on this subject in a class recently one of the men confessed that there was more of fear in his life than there ought to be because of this childhood incident. He was standing by an open window after dark. His father outside in the yard thought that it would be a joke to seize the child's hand as he reached up to pull the shade. The child was so terrified by this unknown clutch out of the dark that he was ill in bed for two weeks and to this day can hardly make himself approach an open window after dark.

Parents should of course teach their small children to be properly cautious about crossing the streets, lighting matches, playing with fire and the like, but there is a difference between sane caution and unreasoning fear. If when a wholesome fear of the harmful is established at the same time the child is taught how to protect himself, no undesirable results will follow. All unnecessary fears should be as far as possible eliminated and the child's life kept as happy and trusting as his safety will permit. Fear destroys confidence, often paralyzes action and has a very injurious effect upon the functions of the body. A child who continually suffers from nervous fears does not digest his food properly, does not sleep well and even his happy play hours are shadowed by passing dread. With the infant under three years of age, the parent should always show love and patience when fear is manifest. Sometimes the foolishness of his fear can be revealed to the child by the parent's own attitude toward the dreaded object. A little girl was very much frightened by a stuffed dog in a store. Her auntie who happened to be with her went up to the dog and stroked its head. The little one came closer and presently touched the dog timidly. Then she too stroked his head and finally threw her arms around his neck. After that experience she always approached the store with joy and immediately went to the dog. If the fearful object cannot be trans-formed into an acceptable one it ought to be removed if possible from the child or the child taken away from it, for the reasoning ability at this age is not developed sufficiently to struggle with such a situation and there is very little power of self-control. A child can sometimes be diverted when fearful by the substitution of some be-loved object such as a doll to hold or a pet to feed. His trust in his father or mother often serves to eliminate fear when they are present, and as soon as he gains a concept of God as an all-protecting greater father he is helped in meeting fear on all occasions. The story is told of Virginia, aged three, who was overheard to say after an especially loud clap of thunder which made her uneasy, "Say, God, cut that out." The saying was as near a prayer as a child of three often makes. The child realized that God was responsible for rain and thunder and she requested Him, in her brother's phraseology, to make it stop with perfect confidence in His power to do so. Yet the tendency in much of our early religious teaching has been to make the child fear God rather than love and trust him. The little girl whose mother had told her at the time of evening prayer that God was in the room illustrated this mistake when she said with quick pleading, "Please, mother, open the door and let him out."


Very early in life, in fact within the second month, instances are recorded showing that the child seems to be affected by music. Writers generally agree that the element of rhythm in music is the first one to appeal to the infant, although he is affected by intensity of sound as well. In the latter half of the first year the child begins to respond to the rhythm of music by muscular movements. With some small children this sense of rhythm is more marked than with others. Babies who have barely gained control enough over their limbs to walk will some-times perform queer little jigs to music which the family are pleased to term dances. The parents may through this interest in rhythm develop a love for good music and a habit of listening in these early years. Lullabies may be sung to the baby, records may be played on the victrola or suitable instrumental pieces on the piano. The folk tunes of various peoples are adapted to the little child because of their simplicity, their childlikeness, and their marked rhythm and melody. For the baby no very ex-citing music should be used but rather that which induces a feeling of quiet happiness and contentment. As soon as the child has sufficient control of his hands and feet to move them in time to the music the mother or father may suggest clapping or tapping to the rhythm of the music and later the child may march or run when the proper music is played. These little plays will give much pleasure and will develop grace and poise in bodily movement as well as contentment or harmony of spirit. In time the child will croon to the mother's lullaby and later will join in singing certain words of the songs. Songs which have tonal cries of animals or people or the repetition of natural sounds will appeal to the small child and he will catch and repeat such cries before he sings the song as a whole. A few hymns for the small child, such as Luther's cradle hymn, may be used at the time of evening prayer or when the child first wakens. The note of reverence and devotion in the music will arouse a feeling of wonder in the child and will induce the worshipful mood. Music has had so important a function in religious worship that it is one of the fundamental elements in developing religious expression in the child.


In speaking of activity we referred to the building of habit upon the basis of repeated response to stimulus. We referred also to the fact that every movement of the child brings him in contact with a fresh stimulus. In the second half of the first year the baby's surprise upon the appearance of a new stimulus may be termed curiosity. This attitude, Kirkpatrick says, is the "main basis of intellectual development." Curiosity or inquisitiveness shows itself not only as a feeling but on the side of activity in prying and exploring. If the child meets with success in the satisfaction of curiosity he is filled with delight ; if he is blocked, he evidences wonder or sorrow. In the period of infancy curiosity must be gratified through the opportunity to investigate with the senses, to see, to hear, to taste, to smell, to touch. A mother took her child of two and a half to the grocery. He reached for and handled everything in sight. The mother emphatically forbade handling anything. Whereupon the child held his hands rigidly at his side and proceeded to apply nose and tongue to the various articles. During these years the child is not satisfied to be told about things, he insists on the sense contact. If as Kirkpatrick suggests curiosity bears so important a relation to mental development, then the parent ought jealously to guard the curiosity of the child in order that it be not stifled by the continual prohibition, "Don't touch." He must provide an environment in which the child can safely touch, can profitably explore, and can take things apart without permanent injury to self or to property. A good illustration of a type of play material adapted to this end is the nest of blocks, one block fitting inside another in a graded series.


Within the first few months of the baby's life the manipulation of objects begins. Any object that permits is turned, poked, scratched in a purely aimless fashion. Manipulation, however, which means merely the responding by many different arm, hand and finger movements to many different objects, gives the possibility of the habits of using tools, of writing, drawing and of all other hand skills later on. Construction and destruction with reference to objects and materials proceed from this original source. There is little constructive use of material under three if we have in mind creative results in hand-work which are purposed by the child. Almost all of his handling of material is manipulative, gratifying curiosity and giving the joy of playful activity. However, the muscles of the arm, the hand, and the fingers are strengthened by this exercise and desirable coordinations are formed, which lay the basis for later skills in the arts and the trades. Because the restless little fingers will not be still if the child is not given wholesome employment for the hands, he forms bad habits in their use, such as the scratching, rubbing and picking of different parts of the body, of his clothing and of the furnishings of the house. The writer once visited a nursery where about twenty infants between one and three years of age were confined in a room barren of all furnishings save a carpet and a few chairs, with barred windows and no play objects or materials of any description. These children were constantly poking, punching and pulling one another, some of them had taken off their shoes and were playing with them, others were unfastening their clothing, tearing and chewing the ties and strings, while still others sat apart in the habits of personal abuse of which we have spoken. It is a picture indelibly painted on the memory as a lesson in the necessity of providing for small children materials to manipulate. When once bad habits in the use of the hands have been formed it is very difficult to eradicate them. Severe punishment often means recourse to the habit in secret. Talking does little good at this tender age when adult argument cannot be understood or followed. Far the best advice is to forestall bad habits by giving plenty of wholesome employment to the busy little hands. The wisest course in the event that the undesirable habit has been formed is to divert the child's attention, direct his interest to some other occupation. Sand and clay make an irresistible appeal to small children. They will pat and poke these materials by the hour. The sand may be sifted, it may be poured from one little pan or bottle to another, it may be patted by the threeyear-old into little cakes or mounds. Clay properly moistened affords endless simple employment. Paper (news-paper or wrapping paper) may be scratched and torn and later cut with blunt scissors, although the scissors should not be given until about three. A few odd blocks will be handled and piled ceaselessly, a box of objects will afford endless pleasure in taking out and putting in again, the ball will be grasped, tossed, rolled and hugged successively. Such manipulation not only develops the muscles, gives wholesome employment forestalling bad habits, creates happiness for the child, but it gives a growing knowledge of the world around him, information about the properties and possibilities of things, and is the necessary basis for self-expression through the manual arts.


In the first three years of the child's life there are two types of imitation according to Kirkpatrick's classification which are prominent, reflex imitation and spontaneous imitation. In the first six months reflex imitation only is observed. Kirkpatrick defines it : "Reflex imitation is shown when a child is caused to do something he has a physiological tendency to do by perceiving the act per-formed by another." Thorndike says that the most probable cases for the production of similar behavior are "smiling when smiled at, laughing when others laugh, yelling when others yell, looking at what others observe, listening when others listen, running with or after people who are running in the same direction, running from a focus whence others scatter, jabbering when others jabber and becoming silent as they become silent, crouching when others crouch, chasing, attacking and rending what others hunt, and seizing whatever object another seizes." Reflex imitation continues as an important form of suggestion all through life, but it is particularly potent in these early years. As Kirkpatrick says, all persons and children especially are like mirrors reflecting back what they observe. Ugly faces, cross tones, and irritable manners are duplicated by the imitative children in the home or in the school. The story is told by Elizabeth Harrison of the mother whose child echoed her exact tone of voice in speaking to him. When the mother was greatly irritated and said that she did not know how her child ever came to speak to her like that, Miss Harrison gently admonished her to listen to her own voice in speaking to the child. One of the greatest boons which can be conferred upon the child at this age is a home where he sees pleasant faces, bears quiet, gentle tones, feels a courteous, cheery manner and starts through imitation habits that correspond.

The early spontaneous imitations usually appear the second half of the first year. To quote Kirkpatrick again, "Spontaneous imitation is shown when acts not provided by other instincts are reproduced without any purpose other than the all-sufficient and unconscious one of an impulse to reproduce and to experience subjectively what has b en observed objectively." The early spontaneous imitations may be of single sounds and gestures or of more complex acts. They are often very amusing to the spectator as when the child tries to imitate the crow of the rooster, the scolding note in the cook's voice or daddy reading the newspaper. Waving the hand in good-by, nod-ding the head, bowing are all types of gestures attempted in the second year by most babies. Whatever attracts the attention and interest of the child in the way of movement as well as tone, inflection and word he spontaneously imitates. His imitations are therefore a guide to developing interests. Through these imitations the child not only gains control of his body but an understanding of movement and sound. In his own body he feels these sounds and movements as well as observing them without. He is thus storing up power for future creative expression. He should be encouraged in his imitation and should never be made self-conscious by being laughed at, ridiculed or shown off. Undesirable sights and sounds, such as the shriek of whistles, the reeling of tipsy men, the quarreling of his elders, should be shut away from him as much as possible. The little children of the poor in our congested city districts have so much that is unworthy for observation and imitation that the problem of education at school age is greatly increased by what has gone or has not gone before.


Self-preservation as the first law of nature may be applied to the unconscious self-seeking of the infant. All of his movements are for his own satisfaction and well-being. Long before he has a consciousness of self as distinct from others, he is as Kirkpatrick says "a natural and persistent beggar." In his utter helplessness and dependence he possesses an appeal to his elders that is well-nigh irresistible. Nature has made wise provision for the continuance of life and its development in the individualistic instinct. The little child under three very gradually grows to a consciousness of self as distinct from the other members of the family and in fact in the be-ginning from the objects of his environment. By the difference in sensation as he touches the different parts of his body with his hands and when he can do so with his mouth and as he senses other objects and people, he in time builds up a knowledge of hands, feet, and other parts of the body as belonging to baby. It is long be-fore he recognizes himself in the mirror. A child of one and a half in visiting an aunt always walked to the mirror to play with the other baby which she smiled at, called to and kissed. This little child endows inanimate objects as well as pets and plants with sensibilities like his own, talking to them and playing with them by the hour. Gradually numerous experiences in being thwarted by others, being sometimes approved of and at other times disapproved of, build up in him a knowledge of an individual self. The development of language also helps the growth in self-discovery as the pronouns and nouns emerge which designate objects and separate them. During all of this period, however, there is less self-assertion than in the later periods of childhood and there is an unconscious sharing of goods that is often very charming, as when all must have a bite of baby's cake or must stir his sand-pie. On the other hand there are occasions when baby wants the cake or the play toy for himself and when like a dog with a bone he glowers at anybody who attempts to molest.

While the individualism of infancy is very understand-able and very necessary, it is not too soon for the parent to begin to teach a consideration for others. The basis of self-control is laid when the baby learns that there are regular times for eating, for playful attention from his elders, for quiet amusement of himself, that a lusty yell does not bring forth forbidden goods. A little girl of a year and a half who had learned to suit her convenience to her mother's was wont to follow each request by the inquiry, "Mim a minute, muvver ?" Some parents make the mistake of insisting that the other children in the family give up to the baby. Any demand that the baby makes must be gratified immediately. The baby feels himself a puny tyrant and brandishes his scepter in triumph at the end of every conflict. The other children in the family are made to dislike the baby, to resort to secrecy in concealing their possessions and play places from him, and often bitterness of soul settles down upon them as the parent makes his unfair decisions in favor of the baby. On the other hand a wise parent will see that baby is properly interpreted to the other children when his stage of development is a mystery to them and they cannot understand why he should pull hair, scratch faces and drop articles. The wise parent will see too that baby has his just rights and that he is not teased and molested until he becomes cross and irritated, a misanthrope at three.


Man was not born to live alone either from necessity or choice. Normal development requires the social adjustments to other people, and the desire for companion-ship is a natural impulse. The infant soon shows a recognition of its mother's presence by smiling and cooing as she approaches and later by extending the arms. It often cries when isolated. Most children show a desire for other people before they can walk and even though shy in the presence of strangers will peep out at them from behind the mother's dress or over her shoulder. In time a hand is extended and the little face breaks into a smile. Frequently the baby will begin to kick violently at the appearance of a bigger brother or sister and will crow lustily. The hands are extended to grasp the clothing or pull the hair. Children are strongly attracted to other children, especially children of their own age. It is very amusing to watch babies of a year or two on a car making each other's acquaintance by the shy advances of which we have spoken, fascinated by each other's performances. Companionship with those older and younger means much to children, but every child should also have children of his own age to play with, beginning between one and two years of age. There is a give and take on an equal footing that is very necessary in stimulating growth and making for social adjustments. There is an understanding from another child of the same age that is most satisfying to the lonely little inhabitant of his own world, for no one at a different stage of development can ever quite live in baby's world, no matter how well he may pretend. The little plays in which baby and mother or father indulge help to develop the social side of the child's nature, as for instance the time-honored favorites, Pat-acake, This Little Pig, Peek-a-boo. At two, baby may be encouraged to take a handkerchief or a flower or a brush from one member of the family to another, receiving approbation from the recipient. Hide-and-seek may be played if baby is quickly found and if at first the hiding takes place in plain sight. By three the child is playing alongside of other children, copying their acts but not yet able to cooperate with them in social games.

Sympathy appears when the child not only weeps with those that weep and laughs with those who laugh but when he "consciously represents them as having feelings like his own." The child, as has been said, does not fully distinguish objects, pets or people from himself. Hence he easily attributes to them his own feeling. A child of three who had fallen from his bicycle and bumped his head greeted every person whom he met with perfect confidence in the sympathy he would receive. "Boy fell off cycle and bumped his head," he said each time, and then a few more tears would roll down his cheeks. The child at this age will weep over any injuries to others that are in his experience. The writer used to repeat Old Mother Hubbard and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe with the tears in her eyes.

Love of approval is very strong even in young children as well as distaste for disapproval. The tone of voice, the gesture, the expression of the parent's face convey to the infant or small child approval or disapproval ; and these two means of encouraging or checking undesirable activity are very efficacious from the beginning. The frown on the mother's face, the shake of her head, the stern tone in her voice as she says, "No, no," when baby puts his fist in the butter or runs out into the street are potent factors in stopping him. On the other hand, the happy smile, the loving pat and the pleased note in mother's voice when baby promptly obeys her or succeeds in saying distinctly a new word or walking by himself across the floor are even more effective in securing the desired activity. If parents realized that the most important principle in habit formation is the following up of desirable action by satisfaction and of undesirable by dissatisfaction there would be a more thoroughgoing and intelligent use of approval and disapproval.

The devoted love of a mother and father is the birth-right of every baby, and it has been proved that one element most needed in order that the baby thrive physically, is this love and the affectionate play that every parent indulges in with the child. Tagore says in one of his poems, The Baby's Way :

"Baby was so free from every tie in the land of the tiny crescent moon. It was not for nothing he gave up his freedom. He knows that there is room for endless joy in mother's little corner of a heart, and it is sweeter far than liberty to be caught and pressed in her dear arms."

There is more truth than fiction in the suggestion that the baby likes the love and the cuddling which he receives. The care and love bestowed upon him usually win for the mother the child's first smile and earliest signs of recognition. Later the father is included in the circle and gradually the other members of the family are added to the roll of baby's favorites. He shows his affection, if such it may be called, by the extended arms, the coo of delight, the nestling close when held and later by the moist kiss and pressure of the arms about the neck. To the parents especially it is inexpressibly delightful to receive these tokens of affection and to return them. How-ever care must be taken not to fondle the baby too much, as it is weakening to him physically to be handled often and caressed. Such indulgence lays the basis for sensuality later. Some expression of love should be given every day, usually when the baby wakens from his nap and before he falls asleep. He will enjoy play as a rule after his bath. Much quiet when he is apparently unobserved should be the rule, but baby's own demonstrations of affection should always be warmly received, although he should never be teased to bestow them. His little person should be respected at all times, and he should not be compelled to ward off the undesired familiarities of his relatives. The baby or small child is tormented by the caresses of strangers while their blows sometimes would be as welcome. When the little child is in the loving mood the mother may very early lead him to do something for her, as for instance to pick up her handkerchief or to bring her a flower. Such tiny efforts for another may begin a habit of serving others that should grow as the child does.


The first language of the baby is that of gesture and tone. When he is only a few months old he begins to experiment with sound. Later the inflection as well as the sound itself tells whether he is angry, hurt, sleepy, hungry or happy. In fact he expresses in this way, even after he has passed into the imitative stage of language acquisition, nearly all of his wishes and feelings. During the second half of his first year he babbles constantly and gradually he begins to reproduce almost every sound that he hears. In the last half of his second year, and sometimes considerably before, he repeats or uses words with a purpose. As a rule, he understands words before he says them but there are some exceptions. Gesture and tone do much to interpret the real meaning of words to the child, and he learns to associate certain tones with certain words. Kirkpatrick tells of a child who had been accustomed to lie down when the appropriate words were used and who proceeded to do so when the words sit 'up were substituted with the accustomed gesture and tone of voice.

Miss Palmer gives some very helpful suggestions to the mother in her Play Life as to the ways in which she may further language development. She may use nouns with the baby during his first year and may accompany his simple movement or rhythmic play with certain words as "up-down" when he falls back or rises in her arms. During the second year, when he is reproducing nouns chiefly, she may add some verbs, and in the third year she adds some contrasting adjectives and adverbs. She should always speak slowly and distinctly, and should on no occasion employ "baby talk," as such perverted English gives the child a wrong example for imitation and retards his language progress. She should interpret her words in these early years by gesture, facial expression, tone of voice and sometimes by dramatization and pictures. The child's use and understanding of language will be furthered too by the lullabies that are sung to him and the repetition of short rhythmic phrases. In his second year the lullabies are continued, and the mother may answer the baby in tone play by rising a note higher than he as he croons to himself. Picture books now be-come the first story books. The pictures used should be colored, should contain few characters or objects, and those should be of a familiar nature as babies or pets. The mother may talk very simply about the picture, making a tiny story. In the third year many little children begin to imitate the familiar air and words of the song, while the play of the mother and child in imitating tones may continue. Some of the shorter Mother Goose rimes, as Jack and Jill and Little Miss Muffet, may now be used and realistic stories told about the child's own experiences and those of other little children. The child should never be hurried into speech or song but should be stimulated to begin both in the several ways suggested. He should always feel that he has plenty of time in which to speak, so that stuttering and stammering may be avoided. He has great joy in the acquisition of this tool, and it is very important for mental growth because words and ideas naturally develop together.


There is often the emotional response of wonder during the second or third year of the child's life. It comes when he is blocked in some inquisitive act, when he observes some of the simpler phenomena of nature or of family activity, when the stone thrown in the water splashes, when the great waves roll up to his feet on the beach, when he hears thunder, when he throws the bottle and it breaks, when a hundred other so-called common things first impinge upon his consciousness. He greets the first blessing at table or the first prayer with the same wide-open eyes full of wonder. This wonder of the child is close kin to the awe which is the foundation of worship. It should not be brushed lightly aside, for it is the beginning of a feeling which later may deepen into God-consciousness.


1. In studying the toys and playthings suitable for a child of three, make a list of all the "nature" playthings, such as sand, acorns, stones. Of what great value are such play-things?

2. Notice and record instances of jealousy in very young children. A small girl slapped a dearly loved doll because her father pretended to pet and fondle it. What is the harm of arousing this emotion?

3. Keep record of the length of time it takes to form a definite good habit in a baby and compare this length of time with an attempt of your own to form a habit or to change a habit in yourself or in an older child. What is the very significant fact in this comparison?

4. Why is it essential not to permit an exception to occur when trying to help a child form a habit?

5. Suggest various ways of playing with a child which will be helpful. Contrast this activity with that of merely amusing him.

6. Ask several adults to describe some fear experienced in childhood which actually affected their later childhood, perhaps even extending into youth and adult life. Could such fears have been cured? Need the cautious child be a timid, fearful child?

7. What substitutes may supply the child's need when his investigative instinct leads him to destroy or injure other people's property?

Keep your list of harmful activities and helpful substitutions and send your "findings" to some educational magazine for the benefit of mothers and other educators. Miss Palmer's book is particularly helpful here.


BETTS, A. F., The Mother Teacher.

BOLTON, F. E., Principles of Education, 140-182; 397-430. DEARBORN, Moto-Sensory Development. (See index for dates of

first manifestations of certain instinctive tendencies.) FORBUSH, WILLIAM, Guide Book to Childhood, 105-112; 130-5. FREEMAN, FRANK, How Children Learn, 78-111.

GROOS, KARL, The Play of Man, 280-360.

HARRISON, ELIZABETH, Study of Child Nature, Chapter II, IX. HARTSHORNE, HUGH, Childhood and Character, 31-35; 64-65; 134-154.

KIRKPATRICK (1917 edition), Fundamentals of Child Study, Chapters IV, V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, XV.

KIRKPATRICK, Genetic Psychology, 92-109; 111-139.

LEE, JOSEPH, Play in Education, 74-106.

MUMFORD, ELIZABETH, Dawn of Character, 54-84; 149-161. NORSWORTHY & WHITLEY, Psychology of Childhood, Chapters I and II; 41-49; 70-74.

O'SHEA, M. V., The Dynamic Factors in Education, 99-109. PALMER, LUELLA, Play Life in the First Eight Years, III, 189-205.

STRAYER & NORSWORTHY, How to Teach, 55-72; 13-33.

SULLY, JAMES, Studies of Childhood, 133-228.

TANNER, AMY, The Child, 103-108; 335-354.

THORNDIKE, EDWARD L., Educational Psychology, Volume I, 108-122; Chapt VII.

TRACY, FREDERICK, The Psychology of Childhood, 166-194.


ANGELL, JAMES R., Psychology, 63-73.

ANGELL, JAMES R., Introduction to Psychology, 49-57.

JAMES, WILLIAM, Psychology, 134-150.

NORSWORTHY & WHITLEY, Psychology of Childhood, 187-205.

STRAYER & NORSWORTHY How to Teach, Chapter IV.

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