ACHILDS first day at school 1 Interminable hours away from home, and all the dear, familiar things – a little stranger in a big, bare building with other little strangers who may, or may not, prove to be friendly – a tiny creature feeling lost and forlorn, trembling with the thought of all the difficult things he must try to learn, wondering what will happen if he fails. Will teacher punish severely? Will mother and father be cross? Or, more to be dreaded than anything, will all the other children laugh at him and think he is silly?
If only parents would think back to their own childhood days and try to recapture for a moment their own early thoughts and emotions, if they would only realize how easy it is for a childs sensitive feelings to be hurt, thoy would certainly wish to spare their boy or girl these painful yet totally unnecessary doubts and fears. It is such an easy matter if parents, especially the mother, will devote just a short timo each day to preparing the little one for his schooldays.
The simple rules of arithmetic, geography, botany and natural history in their earliest stages; the alphabet, easy reading and writing, correct pronunciation, poetry, oral expression, childrens Bible stories, observation and memory-training – ah these things can be taught, easily and simply, in the home.
The more advanced subjects should not be attempted. It is unwise to cram a child, and only those subjects that definitely appeal to the very young, and those that can be taught in the guise of a game, should be included. If the pill of learning cannot be sugar-coated and swallowed with pleasure, it is better not to administer it. A childs pre-school days should be sunny and happy ones, delightful to remember.
On occasion it may be good to discipline older children with hard tasks, but it is not advisable in the case of the tiny ones. Learning should be a pleasuro, something that they can come to eagerly – a game to be played with one another or with Mother, or else a thrilling voyage of discovery on which they adventure alone.
Then, when school-time comes, the 524 child will be really keen to go, to learn more, to pit its brains against others. There will be no sense of inferiority. It is this inferiority complex, as wo call it to-day, that often retards a childs progress, and persists with it, even in later years, to its great detriment. This painful shyness and self-consciousness is likely to have an adverse effect upon nerves and general health. The wise mother will avoid this – she will see that her child is prepared for school life.
The suggestions need not, of course, be carried out to the letter. They may be altered to suit varying temperaments and circumstances.