( Originally Published 1899 )
IF this book accomplishes its purpose, you are now fairly well prepared to enter upon the study of the child, for what has been said is in-tended simply to serve as an introduction to child nature and child problems. Many subjects discussed, as well as others not mentioned at all, are treated quite exhaustively in a scientific way by expert investigators, and their assistance will be found of much value upon any line which may at-tract you (See the brief bibliography on pages 211 to 215.)
The following additional topics are among those worthy a full chapter in any book on the child: The religious ideas of children, the sense of humor in children, the indications of genius, the tendency to deterioration, curiosity and wonder, the different intellectual activities as affected by race, reaction time, the artistic sense, illusions, dreams, hypnotic suggestions, the origin of fear, the child as the child's teacher, the pubescent period, the effect of idleness, mental differences of the sexes, prejudices of children, spinal curvature, its causes and remedies, children's pranks, children's ideas of number, children's drawings, children in storyland, books for children, the Sunday after-noon problem, the poetry and music adapted to child life, the function of fairy tales, the true office of the home.
Local clubs for child study are wonderful aids to its effectiveness. Each club of teachers will find the interest and profit greatly enhanced by enlisting the co-operation of specialists within its circle. Physicians, dentists, oculists, neurologists, nurses, ministers, psychologists, scientists, and authors are usually pleased to be asked for papers or addresses on subjects coming within the range of their experience. A few intelligent mothers will make invaluable members. The program at such club meetings should include reports on personal observations and investigations. It should bear a logical sequence to its predecessor, and the discussions should not drift off into aimless and profitless generalities. - A review of many subjects as outlined in this book will make a good year's work for a club. The tendency common in some clubs to spend most of the time in research concerning abnormal children is unwise. It is imperative that the normal child be made the center of the study and that he be the model to which all the others shall be conforming in their development. It is equally unwise for experiments and tests to be conducted in such a way as to destroy the naturalness of the child or to excite self-consciousness unduly, or to mention little peculiarities that by the attention thus given them become less easy for the children to outgrow. Follow the methods of the wise physician in it all.
Mothers' clubs, composed exclusively of mothers, are forming in some localities. The zest with which they enter upon the study of these problems shows that the homes of our land as well as the schoolrooms are soon to receive the direct benefit of this great movement. The ideal condition in education is to be realized when intelligent teachers and intelligent mothers are cordially co-operating in the training of the children.