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school-plot should be cultivated by the whole school, in common, for the production of all those vegetables which would be required in considerable quantities for the school-kitchen.
These crops should be so adapted to the seasons as to afford a constant supply, either in store or to be daily gathered from the ground.
In the labour and practical instruction of the garden they would learn the theory and practice of its culture, and the use of the crops of the different seasons in supplying the wants of a family.
The scholars' plot should be divided into allotments proportioned to the strength of the scholars. The sense of personal interest and responsibility would here be developed, and the pupil would cultivate habits of self-reliance, neatness, and perseverance.
In the large school-plot the combination of individual efforts for a common object, and the advantages of order, method, harmony, and subordination, would be exemplified.
For the management of the garden two or three parties could therefore be detached, according to the work appropriated to the season.
The repairs of the tool-house and of the implements of gardening, as well as the fencing of the garden, would sometimes employ a party in the carpenter's shop.
In the Colonies in which the slave population has recently been emancipated, and in those very recently settled, it might also be desirable to have at hand, as a part of the school stock, a quantity of the rough material of which labourers' dwellings are constructed. With this material a cottage might be built on an improved plan, with a due regard to ventilation, to drainage, to the means provided for the escape of smoke, to the nature of the floor, the provision of rude but substantial furniture, and the most healthy bedding, together with the out-buildings required for domestic animals and the family.
Such a cottage, when built, might be again altered, cnlarged, or pulled down and rebuilt, as a part of the industrial instruction, important in its civilizing influences.
The master would superintend, direct, and explain the garden operations.
While in the field or workshed, he would have an opportunity of improving the manners and habits of his scholars, not by the rigidity of a military discipline, exacting an enforced order, but by the cheerful acquiescence of a sense of duty and convenience arising from his patient superintendence. The harmony, industry, and skill of his scholars should be promoted by his vigilance, and encouraged by his example.
The garden operations of the month would form a subject of oral instruction in the school.
In these oral lessons would be explained the reasons for the succession of crops ; for the breadth sown; or the nature of the manure selected; for the mode of managing the crop; and the uses to which it was to be devoted.
The accidents to which the crop is liable, and the means of providing against them, might even lead the teacher into a familiar account of the habits of various insects; their mode of propagation; the peculiarities of season which favour their development; and the mode of detecting and destroying them, before their ravages are extensively injurious or fatal to the crop.
Familiar lessons on the effects of night and day, of heat and light, of dew and rain, of drainage and irrigation, and the various kinds of manure, and of the succession of the seasons on vegetation, would not only inform the minds of the scholars, but give them a more intelligent interest in the common events of the natural world.
In the school also would be kept an account of the expenses incurred on the garden. To this end the reception of all articles on which outlay had been incurred-as, for example, tools, manure, wood, seeds, &c.—should be attended with some formality; and the boys should be practised in examining or weighing them, and entering them in the account. In like manner the garden produce should be weighed before delivered at the kitchen, and an account kept of the quantity gathered daily, and of its market value.
The objects of outlay and the results of labour should be brought into one balance-sheet, showing the profits of the garden at the close of the year.
As a preparation for this general account-keeping, each boy might also enter, in a subordinate account, the outlay and produce of his own allotment.
In both cases the amount of labour should be daily registered, and its value fixed, as an element to be ultimately entered in the balance-sheet.
Once or twice in the week the girls and boys would bring from home early in the morning a bundle of clothes to be washed at the school.
The wash-house should be fitted up with the utensils commonly found in the best labourers' cottages, or which, with frugality and industry, could be purchased by a field-workman; and the girls should be employed in successive parties in washing, drying, and ironing their clothes.
They should likewise bring from home clothes requiring to be mended, and cloth to be made into shirts and dresses for their families, and the mistress should teach them to cut it out and make it up, and to mend their clothes.
The employments of the girls would co-operate with those of the boys as respects instruction in cottage economy, by the connection of the garden with the kitchen.
In the kitchen, the vegetables received from the garden would be prepared for cooking, and the girls would be instructed in the preparation of the cheap food which a labourer could afford to purchase, or could grow in his own garden.
For the sake of convenience and despatch, a large part of this cooking must be conducted in a wholesale manner for the school dinner, but, in order to give instruction in the preparation of a cottage meal, a separate dinner should daily be provided for the superintendents of working parties. This should be cooked with the utensils commonly found in cottages.
The employments of the girls should be accompanied by suitable instruction in the school. Thus an account should be kept of the clothes received from each scholar's family to be washed, and of their return to the boy or girl by whom they were brought.
The amount of garden-stuff and stores daily consumed in the school dinner should be entered, and the value estimated.
The purchase of utensils, stores, &c., should be recorded by the scholars.
Among the topics of oral instruction, cottage economy should be second only to religious instruction. The duties of a skilful housewife would be exemplified in the training in industry, but these practical arts should be accompanied with familiar lessons on the best mode of husbanding the means of the family, on the prices and comparative nutritious qualities of various articles of food; and on simple recipes for preparing them. Each girl should write in a book, to be taken with her from the school, the recipes of the cottage meals she had learned to prepare, and the familiar maxims of domestic economy which had been inculcated at school.
Such instruction might profitably extend to domestic and personal cleanliness, the management of children in infancy, and general rules as to the preservation of health.
On the subject of cottage economy, it would be well that a class-book should be prepared, containing at least the following heads :
1. Means of preserving Health. A. Cleanliness. B. Ventilation. C. Drainage. D. Clothing. E. Exercise. F. Management of children.
2. Means of procuring Comfort. A. The cottage garden. B. The piggery. C. The cottage kitchen. D. The dairy. E. The market. F. Household maxims.
The various industrial employment of the scholars would curtail the ordinary hours of school. Certainly, all that has been described might be accomplished, and at least two or three hours daily reserved for religious and other instruction.
The Holy Scriptures should be used only as a medium of religious teaching. They should not be employed as a hornbook, associated in the mind of the child with the drudgery of mastering the almost mechanical difficulty of learning to read, at an age when it cannot understand language too often left unexplained. On the contrary, the Holy Scriptures should only be put into the hands of those children who have learned to read with fluency.
To the younger children a short portion of the Scripture should be daily read, and made the subject of an oral lesson.
Those of riper age should be taught to receive and read the Scriptures with reverence.
The art of reading should be acquired from class-books appropriate to an industrial school. Besides the class-book for the more advanced scholars on cottage economy, the earlier reading lessons might contribute instruction adapted to the condition of a class emerging from slavery or barbarism.
The lessons on writing and arithmetic, as has been before observed, ought to be brought into daily practical use in the employment of the scholars. Nothing is learned so soon or retained so surely as knowledge the practical relation of which is perceived.
The scholars should thus be taught to write from dictation, as an exercise of memory, and of spelling and punctuation, as well as of writing.
They should be gradually trained in the composition of simple letters on the business of the school, the garden, or kitchen; and exercised in writing abstracts of oral lessons from memory. . The power of writing on the actual events and business of their future lives would thus be acquired.
Within these limits the instruction of the coloured races, combined with a systematic training in industry, cannot fail to raise the population to a condition of improved comfort; but it will also give such habits of steady industry to a settled and thriving peasantry as may in time develop the elements of a native middle class. This would probably be a consequence of an education within these limits; but if this were accomplished, and time permitted further instruction, an acquaintance might be sought with the art of drawing plans, and those of land-surveying and levelling. Some instruction in geography also would enable them better to understand the Scriptures, and the connection of the colony with the mother country.
The master and mistress should be assisted by apprentices, whose number should be proportioned to the size of the schools. These apprentices should be chosen from the most proficient and best-conducted scholars, who are also likely to have an example set them by their parents in harmony with their education. At the age of thirteen they should be bound by agreement for six years, and might receive in lieu of stipend a quantity of the garden produce sufficient to induce their parents cheerfully to consent to their employment in the school. Careful separate instruction should be given them by the master, at a period daily set apart for the purpose, and they should be furnished with books, as means of self-education.
With the aid of such apprenticed assistants, the school might be divided into classes varying in size, according to the skill and age of the apprentices, and the number of the scholars. In the early stage of their apprenticeship, it may not be expedient to intrust these youths with the management of a class containing more than twelve children. At the age of sixteen, they might teach sixteen children; and at the age of eighteen, probably twenty children. The master would instruct twentyfour, or thirty, or more children in a class, according to circumstances.
The school, therefore, will be divided into classes of twelve, sixteen, twenty, and twenty-four children.
The Model Farm School may be described with greater brevity, because much that has been said respecting the Day School of Industry is applicable to it.
The Model Farm School is intended for the class of labourers who have accumulated sufficient money to become small farmers, and for the small farmers who, with more knowledge and skill, would be enabled to employ their capital to greater advantage. Its object is to create a thriving, loyal, and religious middle class among the agricultural population. As the process of culture must differ in the various Colonies, it is not possible to give more than general indications respecting it.
As it would be improbable that a sufficient number of scholars could be collected from one neighbourhood, they should be boarders, and the cost of their lodging, maintenance, and in some Colonies also of their instruction, should be defrayed by their parents. The buildings therefore should provide A lofty dormitory divided by partitions, six feet high, into
separate compartments, each containing one bed, and
room from his own apartment.