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It is, however, hoped that, on the contrary, the members of this association will co-operate with the managers, to render the district included by the association such an example of the good effect, in a moral point of view, of the union of the richer and poorer classes of society, in so good a work, that benevolent persons may be encouraged to form similar associations in the neighbouring districts. The limits of this association will be confined, as nearly as can well be done, to those streets in the immediate neighbourhood of the school. The number of subscribers to the association is not to exceed 550; and whenever there are vacancies in the schools, those children who live nearest it, and within the bounds of the association, are to be preferred. The managers propose that those children who have received an education in the schools, and who shall have behaved to the satisfaction of the committees and managers, shall be under notice, as far as it is in their power to be useful to such children after they have left the school.
A library being attached to the school, every member of the association who shall have regularly paid his or her subscriptions during six weeks previously to application for a book, is entitled to borrow one volume upon condition of returning it uninjured at the expiration of a week. The master, or one of the committee of the association, attends weekly for the purpose of receiving and giving out books at the school-house. The number of applicants is considerable; and the Spitalfields weaver can now employ one of his children who has been taught in the schoo!, to read to the rest of the family while they are at work. In this way, suitable books having been provided, the minds of the poor in that district will be expanded, and they will rise in the moral and intellectual scale. The parents and friends of the poor children contribute above 150l. per annum, which is collected weekly by the sub-committees of particular streets.
By a similar arrangement of division into districts, education may be provided for the scattered population of villages, none of which singly could have afforded the expense of a teacher; and here schools of industry might be made to form part of the plan with great advantage, as will appear by the following sketch.
It is proposed to educate boys and girls, in reading, writing, and arithmetic, on the mornings of five days in the week, and to employ them in useful and profitable works of industry, on the afternoons of the same days; to give each child a meal of good and nutritious, though cheap food, twice in the days on which they attend the school, and to make them do as much as possible towards providing decent clothing for themselves.
The boys are to be taught, besides the usual elements of learning, to make their own clothes, to knit stockings, to plait straw for hats, to make and mend shoes; they are to work in classes in the kitchen garden; they are to make nets; and to be employed in any work that may be deemed useful.
The girls are to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, all the useful
kinds of needlework, knitting and netting, carding and spinning, and any other useful employment.
The children are to be divided into classes for their afternoon work, and a monitor appointed over each class.
A fund is to be raised by subscription, to be called The clothing fund, for the purchase of materials, &c. and the treasurer is to keep this fund quite separate from any other.
A fund is to be raised by subscription, to be called The provision fund ;— the treasurer is to keep this fund quite separate from any other.
The children are to be employed one hour in each afternoon in some work for which they may be entitled to small wages, and an account is to be kept of the earnings of each child. The rest of the afternoon they are to be employed either in the garden, for the benefit of the provision fund, or in works connected with the clothing fund.
In aid of the fund for provision, the patrons are to hire a piece of ground, of one, two, or three acres, or more if it shall be judged necessary, which ground is to be cultivated by the boys, as a kitchen garden, in which potatoes, cabbages, &c. &c. shall be raised: all the surplus produce shall be sold for the benefit of the provision fund, which is also to be charged with the rent of the land. The farmers in the neighbourhood of the school are to be invited to supply skimmed milk gratuitously; or where it is practicable, two or three cows shall be kept, and the butter sold to defray the expense of the cows; the skimmed milk and butter milk to be used in aid of the provision fund.
The girls, on the afternoons of the five days in the week, shall work one hour for small wages;-an account of which shall be kept for each girl. The rest of their labours shall be in aid of the funds for food and clothing,
By feeding children together in considerable numbers, and by purchasing the articles of food upon wholesale terms, the cost of a meal for each child would be reduced to a mere trifle. The cottager being in a great measure relieved from the expense of feeding and clothing his children, or at least being enabled to do it so much more cheaply than formerly, might be kept off the parish: his mind would gradually be relieved from his present degrading state of dependence; while his children would at the same time be receiving an education in moral and religious principles. If these measures were rendered universal, as they might easily be, by the co-operation of a few persons of influence in every district, we might, instead of a vicious and beggarly community as at present, requiring continual and increasing support from the parish, have a population instructed in their duties towards God and man, inured to habits of industry, and capable of supporting themselves and families in an economical and decent manner. Being brought under the immediate notice of their superiors, they would feel that they had a character to support; and being furnished with resources, they will feel the value of independence, and consider it a sort of degradation to apply for parochial relief.
The great object of the proposed establishment being to train up the children of the poor in moral and virtuous habits, and a knowledge of the funda mental principles of the Christian religion as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, and in a regular attendance on divine worship, especial care shall be taken that they are present on a Sunday at that place of religious worship which their parents may prefer, or that they attend some Sunday school.
All the children are to assemble at nine o'clock on the Sunday morning at the school-room;-the children are to be classed according to the religious denomination of their parents; and the patrons and patronesses are to take measures to insure the attendance of the children at religious worship. If this be, under any peculiar circumstance, deemed impracticable, then the Holy Scriptures shall be read publicly, and the instruction given shall be of that nature, as not to interfere with the peculiarities of any religious sect.
Such children as shall have attended the schools and divine worship regularly on Sundays, and whose general good conduct shall have rendered them worthy of particular notice, shall be entered on a list; and when of a suitable age to go out to service, the patrons and patronesses shall endeavour to procure situations for them.
The means by which such incalculable benefits are to be procured for our villagers are the following:-
A village is to be fixed upon, situated as nearly as possible in the middle of a square, three miles each way, and including so many villages as to afford 252 boys and 252 girls, more or less. In this case, the most remote of the children would only have to walk about two miles to school.
The group of villages having been fixed upon, a canvass is to be made among the inhabitants of most influence, to obtain their sanction and support to the plan.
: A few benevolent individuals having determined to carry the plan into effect, are to constitute themselves patrons and patronesses of the schools, and are to meet once a fortnight, or oftener if necessary: the patrons and patronesses to meet separately; the latter to send in written reports to the former, as occasion may require.
The patrons are to raise the necessary subscriptions, to appoint the treasurer, to receive the money of the association, and superintend the finances generally, taking care that regular accounts are kept and submitted to the subscribers from time to time; they are also to provide the suitable buildings, viz.
Two school rooms, one for boys, the other for girls, 77 feet long and 30 wide, capable of containing 21 desks, each 18 feet long, to seat 12 children; there must be a passage of six feet all round the schools, and eight feet at the platform end; the desks, with the forms, just three feet from the back of one to the front of the other.
A house is to be built for the master and mistress, in which there shall be a large kitchen, containing four iron boilers, capable of holding fifty gallons each, and two ovens.
A tool-house is also to be provided. The garden must, if possible, be close to the buildings.
The patronesses are to visit the girls' school, and superintend the female works of industry.
The establishment is principally to depend upon the subscriptions of the villagers themselves. It has been found, upon investigation, that their children cost them on an average not less than one shilling per week for foodthat many of them are so badly clothed, that their parents are ashamed to let them attend any place of worship or school.
The following are the conditions upon which the village school association is to be formed ;
Every subscriber of two-pence per week is to have the privilege of sending one child to the school, so long as the subscription shall be kept up, and shall have a right to be present and vote at the public examination of the children, and at public meetings of the association.
Every subscriber of six-pence per week may recommend a child to receive two meals per day, of nutritious though cheap food, on the days of attendance at school.
Every subscriber to the clothing fund of two-pence per week, which shall be kept up for one year, shall be entitled, at the end of that time, to the following articles of clothing, for a child of twelve years of age or under, made of the cheapest materials:—
A straw hat,
A cotton shirt,
A pair of trowsers,
A straw bonnet,
A cotton shift,
A petticoat of flannel,
A pair of stockings,
A separate account is to be kept of the earnings of each child in the time allotted for that purpose, and the amount is to be reported at each half-yearly public examination of the school. The different articles of clothing, or other things which the patrons and patronesses may think proper, are all to have tickets expressive of their value; and the parent or friend of each child, or the child itself, as the case may be, will be permitted to choose any article or articles to the amount of the money due to the child.
There shall be a public examination of the schools every half year, at which time prizes shall be distributed in the manner already described; after which, a report shall be printed, stating the names of the subscribers to the association; the names of the collectors and visitors in the different villages; the names of the children who receive prizes; and the names of all the scholars arranged alphabetically, under the head of the village to which they belong; the number of their class in the school-list is to follow each name; and an account of the state of the funds is also to be given.
In each village, two or three persons shall be chosen as a committee, to visit the families and collect the subscriptions. They shall be furnished with books ruled in columns, in which a correct list of the subscribers shall be kept; they are to collect the subscriptions every week and forward them to the treasurer: to these committees, the master and mistress are to report in writing the names of all absentees: the committee is to visit the family, inquire the reason, and return an answer to the master or mistress.
When the committee of a village find any family, from sickness or other distress, unable to belong to the association, they are to transmit a written statement of the case to the next meeting of the patrons or patronesses, and the patrons or patronesses shall have printed tickets with blanks, to be filled up for thirteen weeks' education, price two shillings and two pence-or for thirteen weeks' food, price six shillings and sixpence or for a suit of clothing, price sixteen shillings. They are to endeavour to get some benevolent persons to purchase such tickets, which are to be filled up with the name of the vil
lager, and signed by the treasurer, who is to receive the money and pass it to the credit of the account.
In order to have an easy reference to the case of every individual child, the master of the boys' school and the mistress of the girls' school shall each keep a ledger with an index-the ledger to be ruled with faint lines, one page is to be appropriated to each child—at the head of the page is to be the name of the child, which with the page is to be inserted in the index-next, the name and description of parents, their residence, occupation, religion, age, and class in the school; this is not to occupy more than three lines;-every month, a report not exceeding the length of one line is to be made, stating the class and progress of the child with short remarks;—these books are to be kept at the schools, and to be always open to every member of the association.
The children are to attend at the school every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning from nine to twelve o'clock; they are to come with their hands and faces clean washed, and their hair combed-they are to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, in the morning-between twelve and one o'clock they are to dine-they are to be employed in the afternoons of these days in works of industry, in aid of the fund for food and clothingand also one hour, from one to two o'clock, on their own account, as before provided. The children are to have supper before they are dismissed to their homes.
In this manner gentlemen of property might provide for the comfort and happiness of all the poor in their neighbourhood, they might powerfully promote the cause of religion and morality, and by thus diminishing crime and its consequence, misery, contribute to the safety of the state, and the comfort of all classes-while at the same time the poor's rates must be most materially reduced.
Great importance should be attached to the character of those who have the charge of forming the minds of children. On this point, we have lately met with the following excellent observations, in a work published on the subject of national education.
The persons selected for masters and mistresses must not only possess the most unblemished characters, with regard to moral conduct, but should also be imbued with a deep sense of the importance of religion. They should in all their actions give proof of the strictest regard to truth and sincerity; their disposition should be frank and open; they should have a perfect command of their own tempers and passions; and while they are capable of displaying firmness upon all proper occasions, their ruling dispositions should be benevolence and kindness; they should govern by love rather than by fear, and make it their constant endeavour to convince the understandings of their pupils of the reasonableness of every thing which is desired of them. Having in the first place secured the affections of the children, their government will become easy and delightful. An instructor should enter into the views and feelings of children, and make human nature his study, availing himself of little incidents as they occur, to improve the moral feelings of the pupil; to enlarge his views, and engage his affections on the side of virtue and truth. These are points of the highest importance, and a deficiency in these qualifications cannot be compensated by the most profound erudition.
As the education in these elementary schools, as far as regards mere learning,