Froebel’s idea – the kindergarten idea – of the child and its powers, of humanity and its destiny, of the universe, of the whole problem of living, is somewhat different from that held by the vast majority of parents and teachers. It is imperfectly carried out, even in the kindergarten itself, where a conscious effort is made, and is scarcely ever attempted in the school.

His plan of education covers the entire period between the nursery and the university, and contains certain essential features which bear close relation to the gravest problems of the day. If they could be made an integral part of all our teaching in families, schools, and institutions, the burdens under which society is groaning to-day would fall more and more lightly on each succeeding generation. These essential features have often been enumerated. I am no fortunate herald of new truth. I may not even put the old wine in new bottles; but iteration is next to inspiration, and I shall give you the result of eleven years’ experience among the children and homes of the poorer classes.

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A recognition of the necessity for kindergarten culture, and its speedy adoption by all the States of the Union as a part of the public school system, is a most important and urgent necessity, and would prove of great benefit to the coming generations. It has been delayed, perhaps, not so much from a lack of appreciation of its beneficial results, as from the fact that the masses have not as yet been able to comprehend its educational value. They have looked upon it as a work of charity, and have been unable to grasp the fact that instruction and play can and must go hand in hand.

The Kindergarten takes hold of the child at the most important epoch of life,- the formative period. Impressions precede expressions, and we should be most careful that the child receive none but the best impressions, especially when we consider that these will be lasting and affect his whole after life.

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The whole design of the Kindergarten system is to rear virtuous, self-governing, law-abiding citizens. The Kindergarten system, if faithfully followed, would prevent criminals. And what estimate shall be placed upon an instrumentality which saves the child from becoming a criminal, and thus not only saves the state from the care and expense incident to such reform, but also secures to the state all that which the life of a good citizen brings into it?

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To the question, “Do you notice any beneficial effects of the kindergarten upon the children’s homes?” the testimony is enthusiastically in the affirmative from all who speak from close and personal observation. As upon the children, so through them, upon the homes, the improvement in cleanliness, tidiness, order, is marked; speech and manners grow gentle, the house becomes an attractive home. “Many mothers have assured the teachers that, through the effect of the kindergarten upon their children, their own thoughts and actions have been influenced. They have learned to realize the duty of being ‘good mothers.’ Fathers have noticed their boys’ interest in the shop-work, and have become more interested in intelligent observation of their own work. The family life has grown more happy.”

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“…it must be an axiomatic proposition that the State should educate all its dependent children. It is not charity: it is simply providing for those of its own household, as when it furnishes schools for the well-endowed. I can see no reason why the means for such education should not be appropriated from the general school fund, without lobbying or begging. The question, then, is, In what respects must this provision for the feeble-minded differ from that given to others?”

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The delegates wanted the world to understand what they were doing, and why. So they appointed a committee to write a document giving the reasons for their actions. One member of the committee was the Virginian, Thomas Jefferson. He had already written a report criticizing the British form of government. So the other committee members asked him to prepare the new document. They said he was the best writer in the group. They were right. It took him seventeen days to complete the document that the delegates approved on July fourth, 1776. It was America’s Declaration of Independence.

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At the age of 24, Elizabeth Blackwell had a revelation that changed her life, taking her far from her tiny Cincinnati schoolroom where she was teaching. She had gone to see Mary Donaldson, a family friend dying of what was probably uterine cancer. “My friend,” Blackwell later recalled, “died of a painful disease, the delicate nature of which made the methods of treatment a constant suffering to her.” A “lady doctor,” Donaldson told her young visitor, would have spared her the embarrassment of having male physicians examine her. Indeed, Blackwell believed, had a female physician been available, Donaldson might have sought treatment in time to save her life. For the idealistic Blackwell, moved by her friend’s plight, the idea of becoming a doctor “gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle.”

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The organization of municipal charities and corrections should be carried out in line with the principles of efficiency. The cities’ activities for social welfare should all of them be administered by a permanent staff of well qualified experts. This means a fair and practical merit system for the civil service. There is an increasing tendency to recognize the professional character of social work and to admit that training and experience are necessary, and this will receive increasing recognition on the part of all people who appoint workers to social service positions, whether they are civil service boards or not. One difficulty at the present time is that there is not an adequate number of qualified people seeking these positions or of people qualified to hold them if they got them. There must be increased training for public service. The difficulties connected with establishing the civil service of cities on a higher plane are not insurmountable and nobody is justified in dismissing this problem as a hopeless one. In fact, it is the special duty of social workers to see that the public service is improved and elevated in every possible way.

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Voluntary Health Insurance

On May 26, 2015 By

In many respects the most direct answer of all is found in the formation of a group health cooperative or similar type of group health association. Such an organization represents the practical realization on the part of its members that they cannot safely rely either for the presence of doctors among them or for adequate health facilities upon the fortuitous illness and generosity of well­ to-do people. Instead the potential need for health care on the part of an entire group of people is pooled, together with monthly payments to cover the esti­mated cost of such care. In other words, the principle of pre­payment, which everyone agrees is the central answer to the problem of en­abling people generally to pay for ade­quate health care, is applied.

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Certain broad concepts about community organization as carried on by social workers have been developed in the social work curriculum and in practice. We have developed certain values which give us a philosophical underpinning. In addition, we have a body of rough-and ready rule-of-thumb ideas about how to carry on our daily tasks. However, if our literature is a guide, we have moved very slowly toward the development of any precise or clear body of concepts to govern either the teaching or the practice of community organization. This gap is found primarily between the philosophy, which tempers our work, and the mechanics of day-by-day action. This fact becomes apparent when we try to translate our philosophy into operational theory.

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