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Benjamin Smith, Esq., Joseph Wilson, Esq., and about eight or nine other philanthropic gentlemen. Mr. Wilson soon afterwards established one at his own expense in Quaker Street, Spitalfields. He built the school-room, and supplied every thing that was ne cessary; and, on the 24th July, 1820, the school was opened. On the first day, 26 children were admitted, on the next day 21 and, in a very short time, the number of children amounted to 220 all of whom came forward unsolicited. Mr. Wilderspin, who has since distinguished himself by his unwearied zeal in promoting the establishment of such institutions, was appointed teacher. The Rev. Mr. Wilson, brother to J. Wilson, Esq., above mentioned, next established a similar school at Walthamstow, of which parish he was vicar; and an excellent lady, Miss Neave, opened one in Palmer's village, Westminster, for 160 children. In Duncan Street, Liverpool, the Society of Friends established, soon after, a very large one, and, in one day, collected among themselves, for this purpose, no less than one thousand pounds. All these schools were attended with complete success. A few years afterwards, namely, on the 1st of June, 1824, the Infant School Society was organized, at a meeting held at Freemason's Hall, London. The meeting was addressed, and powerful speeches delivered on the occasion, by the Marquis of Lansdowne, Mr. Brougham, late Lord Chancellor, Mr. Smith, M. P., Mr. Wilberforce, Sir J. Mackintosh, W. Allen, Esq., Dr. Thorp, Dr. Lushington, the Rev. E. Irving, and others; and, before the meeting had separated, a subscription, amounting to upwards of £700, was collected.
Since the above period, infant schools have been established in most of the populous towns, and even in some of the villages, of the British Empire; and, wherever they have been conducted with prudence and intelligence, have uniformly been accompanied with many interesting and beneficial effects. They have also been established in many towns on the continent of Europe, and even in Southern Africa, and in the Peninsula of Hindostan. The enlightened inhabitants of the Northern States of America, who eagerly seize on every scheme by which moral and intellectual improvement may be promoted, are now rapidly establishing such institutions, along with Maternal Associations, throughout every portion of their increasing and widely-spreading population; and, I trust, they will soon be introduced into every nation under heaven. But, before society at large feel the full influence of such seminaries, they will require to be multiplied nearly a hundred. fold beyond the number that presently exists.
On Schools for Young Persons, from the age of five or six, to the age of thirteen or fourteen years.
DURING a period of two or three centuries, we have had schools established among us for the instruction of the young, during the period of life to which I now refer. There are few countries in Europe where such institutions, for the instruction of the great mass of society, are more numerous and respectable than in the island in which we reside;-and had we not unfortunately stopped short at the very porch of the Temple of Science, we might by this time have been as far superior, in point of intelligence, to every other nation, as we now are to the savages of Patagonia and New Zealand. But, what is the amount of all the instruction generally furnished at our common initiatory schools? The elements of spelling and pronunciation-a jargon of abstract grammar rules crammed into the memory without being understoodthe art of writing-the capacity of repeating the vocables of a catechism,—and a mechanical knowledge of arithmetic, without understanding the foundation of its rules. This is the sum of all that tuition which is generally considered as necessary for enlightening the human mind, and carrying forward the great body of the community in the path of moral and intellectual improvement, a system of tuition by which the memory has been tortured, the understanding neglected, and the benevolent affections left waste and uncultivated. The effects it has produced, are visible to every intelligent mind that looks around and contemplates the ignorance, servility, and licentiousness, which still abound in every department of society.
If we, therefore, desire to behold knowledge and religious principle more extensively diffused, and society raised to its highest pitch of improvement, we must adopt more rational and efficient plans than those on which we have hitherto acted, and extend the objects of education to all those departments of knowledge in which man is interested, as a rational, social, and immortal being.— The following remarks are intended to embody a few hints in reference to such a system of tuition ;-and, in the first place, I shall attend to the
Plan, situation, and arrangement of School-rooms.
The efficiency of any system of intellectual education that may be formed, will in some measure depend upon the situation of school-rooms, and the ample accommodation afforded for the
scholastic exercises and amusements of the young. Every schoolhouse should be erected in an airy and pleasant situation in the outskirts of a town or village, detached from other buildings, with an ample area around it; and, if possible, should have a commanding view of the variegated scenery both of the earth and of the heavens,-to the various objects of which the attention of the young should be occasionally directed, in order to lay a foundation for general knowledge, and for a rational contemplation of the works of the Almighty. Both the interior of the school, and the surrounding area, should be arranged and fitted up in such a manner, as to be conducive to the pleasure, the convenience, and amusement of the young, so that the circumstances connected with education may not only be associated with agreeable objects, but rendered subservient to the expan sion of their minds, and to their progress in the path of knowledge.
The following is a rude sketch of what might be the plan and accommodations of a village school. The plot of ground allotted for the establishment, might be about 180 feet long, by 100 in breadth, or more or less according to circumstances. Nearly in the centre of this plot, the school-house might be erected, which should contain, at least, the following conveniences:-1. A large room, or hall, for general teaching, about 40 feet long, by 30 in breadth, and 12 or 14 feet high. 2. Two rooms, about 18 feet long and 15 broad, into which certain classes may occasionally be sent, to attend to their scholastic exercises, under the inspection either of an assistant or of monitors. 3. Two closets, or presses, ST, off the large hall, about 12 feet, by 4 in breadth, for holding portions of the apparatus, to be afterwards described, for illustrating the instructions communicated to the pupils. 4. At each end of the plot, or play-ground, should be two covered walks, A B, one for boys, and another for girls, in which the children may amuse themselves in the winter season, or during rainy weather; and, during winter, a fire might be kept in them, and a few forms placed for the convenience of those who come from a distance, who may partake of their luncheon, and enjoy themselves in comfort during the dinner hour. 5. The spaces CDEF might be laid out in plots for flowers, shrubs, and evergreens, and a few forest trees. A portion of these plots, as G H, might be allotted for the classification of certain plants, as illustrations of some of the principles of botany. They might be arranged into 24 compartments, as in the figure, each exhibiting a different class of plants. The remainder of the plot, particularly that portion of it immediately in front of the school-house,
might be smoothed and gravelled for a play-ground, and be ac commodated with a few seats, or forms, and an apparatus for gymnastic exercises. 6. Behind the building, two water-closets, IK, should be erected, one for boys, and another for girls, separated by a wall or partition. The roof of the building should be flat, and paved with flag-stones, and surrounded with a parapet, three or four feet high. The pavement of the roof should be formed so as to have a slight slope towards one corner, so that the rain which falls upon it may be collected in a large barrel or cistern, placed underneath. An outside stair conducting to the roof may be erected at the posterior part of the building
This flat roof is intended as a stage, to which the pupils may be occasionally conducted, for the purpose of surveying the terrestrial landscape, of having their attention directed to the several objects of which it is composed, and of listening to descriptions of their nature, positions, properties, and aspects, and likewise for the purpose of occasionally surveying the apparent motions of the stars, and of viewing the moon and planets through tele
Such are some of the external accommodations which every village school ought to possess. The plan here presented, is not intended as a model to be generally copied, but merely as exhibiting the requisite conveniences and accommodations--the plan of which may be varied at pleasure, according to the taste of architects, or the superintendents of education. The plot of ground should not, if possible, in any case, be much less than what is here specified; but where ground can be easily procured, it may be enlarged to an indefinite extent. I do not hesitate to