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Recently a talk was given before the Round Table of the Association to Promote Proper Housing for Girls, on “What Shall We Do with the Unstable Girl?”
The lecture course planned for the State Training School for Girls at Hudson is already under way. It was finally decided to limit the audience to the administrative staff which materially altered the character of the lectures.
THE FARM SCHOOL AND CHILDREN'S CLINIC The children's clinic under the direction of Dr. Blumgart has examined twenty-four children since November 28. These children were all brought by visiting teachers of the Public Education Association with the exception of two or three who came through the Social Service Department. The visiting teachers are getting excellent histories and doing the social service for their own cases under the doctor's direction. Once a month an evening conference is held, each case is reported on, and in addition, the teachers are reading and discussing Dr. White's book, “Principles of Mental Hygiene.” We have every reason to feel that the children's clinic is reaching not only individual children but that it is educating eight teachers to a mental hygiene attitude, and its influence is even penetrating to the eight schools where those teachers work.
The farm school, which I reported on at our last meeting, has become a reality. You will recall that we very much needed a place to which some of our children could be sent for intensive care and observation. Through the generosity of Mrs. Rumsey, Miss Rhett and Miss Matthews of Hartley House Settlement, this has been made possible.
Hartley House turned over to us its comfortable, roomy vacation house at Towaco, N. J., and we were able to raise sufficient funds to engage a teacher and pay expenses for five or six months. It is working far better than we had hoped. We have eight children there, ranging in ages from 8 to 13, and showing many varieties of conduct difficulty. Miss Madeline Moore, the young woman in charge, is unusually well fitted for the work temperamentally and by training. She has had case work in the Brooklyn Charity Organization Society and experience in a Montessori school in caring for a difficult child.
The children keep very regular hours, have a rest period, and plenty of wholesome food carefully planned by Hartley House. They are responsible for a certain amount of housework. In the morning Miss Moore has school for them and in the afternoon they do outdoor things. The clinic physician occasionally visits the school and Miss Moore comes in for the evening conferences with Dr. Blumgart and the visiting teachers. In this way the school keeps in direct touch with the clinic.
Already the farm school is arousing interest in many quarters. We have taken two children for observation at the request of outside agencies. One of these children has been a problem to the C. 0. S. for two years. She
has been the rounds of every clinic in New York but no solution was offered. They were delighted with this opportunity to get real information about the child and are paying her board at the farm. This child who has proved incorrigible everywhere else, we are happy to say, is behaving very well and showing marked improvement.
Another interesting case has been sent by Carson College for Orphan Girls, Philadelphia. This new and wealthy foundation could find no way of having this child under observation in Philadelphia as their own institution is not yet open, so they were very glad to pay her board at the farm, and will act on the final report and recommendations received.
It is easy to see that the farm school fills a long-felt want and that it has two distinct functions-one to re-educate children who are under the care of the clinic physician, the other to observe and report on problematic cases for other organizations.
organizations. The longer the school goes on, the more we feel we cannot give it up at the end of five months. Miss Matthews of Hartley House has grown so interested that she is quite determined to make it possible for us to stay all summer, even when their vacation groups are there.
The most interesting case at the farm just now from the medical standpoint is a child of thirteen who seems to present a typical picture of beginning dementia praecox.
raecox. We are awaiting developments with great eager
Mr. Wright expressed regret that Dr. Frankwood E. Williams, Acting Medical Director of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, was unable on account of illness to attend the meeting as planned and speak to the Committee about its coöperation in war work.
Mr. Wright announced that on the previous day the Board of Managers had acceded to the request of the National Committee for the services of Mr. Hastings on half time to assist in its important war work.
In the absence of Dr. Williams, Mr. Hastings described briefly the war work program which the National Committee has undertaken.
In general, the National Committee is aiding the government to provide facilities for adequate mental examination of men entering the army in order to sift out those who are nervously and mentally unfit and also to assist in providing adequate facilities for the treatment of neuroses and psychoses developing in military service.
The National Committee secured the establishment of a Division of Neurology and Psychiatry in the Surgeon General's office and has worked in close cooperation with that division. To date it has put the government in touch with about 300 medical men who have been commissioned in the Division of Neurology and Psychiatry in the Army Medical Corps. This Committee has also furnished the government with the names of about 1,400 men qualified by experience and training to act as nurses in the neuropsychiatric wards in base hospitals here and abroad.
Dr. Thomas W. Salmon, Director of the National Committee, is now abroad serving as Director General of Psychiatry in the American Expeditionary Force.
The National Committee's war work is under the direction of a Special War Work Committee of which Dr. Charles L. Dana is Chairman. Mr. Hastings will assist this special committee.
Mr. Hastings stated that plans are developing for coöperation by various State Societies of Mental Hygiene in the war work of the national organization.
Mr. Wright stated that the State Charities Aid Association is also interested in assisting in plans to prepare teachers to instruct disabled soldiers in occupational work and probably in vocational work. At the present time there are industrially disabled people in various private and public hospitals in New York City who are in need of occupational instruction. It has been suggested that these people be segregated in a special hospital and that they be given special re-educational training to fit them for selfsupporting vocations. This practical experiment would also train teachers who would then be ready when the wounded arrive from abroad in need of their services. A letter has been sent to a number of hospitals and replies have been received stating that work of this sort is just what is needed and expressing their willingness to coöperate. Mr. Wright stated that the injured men are liable to return in quite large numbers and we should be ready to receive them and to assist them in every way possible. Instruction should be given the soldiers as soon as they are physically able to prevent their becoming discouraged because of inability to do the work they did before their injury.
Prof. Monroe stated that he had visited hospitals in Canada and learned that the authorities held the men and paid them a salary until they were equipped for work. He also stated that on the other side very remarkable work is being done in this connection.
Mrs. Rice referred to the occupational work that the New York City Visiting Committee has been doing for many years. Mr. Wright cited instances where people in the City Home have been taught and are now self supporting.
A general discussion followed regarding the opportunities for helpfulness in connection with those suffering from mental and physical disabilities as a result of the war. There being no further business the meeting adjourned.
GEORGE A. HASTINGS,
SOCIALIZING THE WORK OF THE UNGRADED CLASSES IN
P. S. 64 MANHATTAN
LOUISE F. SPECHT
ASSISTANT TO PRINCIPAL In P. S. 64 Manhattan, of which Mr. Louis Marks is the principal, many of the teachers are trying to motivate the work along social lines in ways that will give school exercises definite life values. It may be interesting to note that the classes that have made the greatest progress in socializing the work are the opportunity classes for specially bright children (those having a high intelligence quotient), and the ungraded classes that are composed of high grade defectives. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the registers of these classes are smaller than those permitted in the average classes of the regular grades, and that it is possible to supplement the limited privileges of a very congested school by facilities in neighborhood organizations and institutions.
Officially the name “Ungraded Classes" must be used for reports and records. For social purposes, these classes are now called, “Junior Shop Classes.” These classes are organized on a departmental schedule based on a plan that makes it possible to get the maximum value of school equipment and neighborhood facilities. Four classes use two rooms in the school building, one for shop activities and one for academic work. The Christodora House, a neighboring settlement, and the Boys' Club offer accommodation for physical training and social development.
In physical training the games offer the greatest opportunity for expressing the social spirit. Basketball is the favorite because it provides the privilege of competitive tests of skill with other teams. The most interesting feature that the war has encouraged is the zest for military and naval drills. Under the supervision of their teachers the boys visited the military and naval recruiting stations and witnessed the drills given by soldiers and sailors. No further incentive was needed to create a desire to show the same power for controlled and prompt response to orders. A few of the boys are members of the Wingate Athletic League and take part in after school athletics. Bathing and swimming are conducted at the Boys' Club.
The experiments in socializing the academic work have offered many interesting features for study. In order to test the relative value of motivated work Group A was trained to study arithmetic on a social plan, Group B was taught in the routine formal way. One of the topics chosen for special study was the coal and heating problem, the high cost and possible ways of economy, and comparative profits shown by wholesale and retail prices. At present the cost and selection of food is occupying their attention. The selling of thrift stamps and liberty bonds provides another interesting topic. The cost of amusements, especially the motion picture entertainments will be studied in the near future. The formal work is taught as the need arises to use it in the solution of the problem studied. The Stone and Woody tests in the formal operations were given to both groups. Group A in which the work was motivated shows a higher percentage of attainment. The teacher who gave these tests states that so far as improvement was concerned one fact with motivation was worth twenty-two without. Spelling and composition were related to the topics in socialized arithmetic and results showed a greater degree of success because of the increased interest that was stimulated and the vital associations that were established. In the nature study room of the school the boys learn how to care for and to study the animals. They also conduct experiments in germinating seeds. A real live interest in farm opportunities is being created. The study of incubator has shown the boys possibilities in the poultry industry that can be developed right in the city. One boy discovered that during the war poultry may be kept in back yards. He has built a coop and ordered two hens to start the undertaking on a small scale. The breeding of guinea pigs, rabbits and white mice for hospital experiments offers them another opportunity for cultivating a hobby and earning some additional pocket money.
The industrial work provides many opportunities of social value. To do their bit the boys made candles for the soldiers and scrap books for destitute French and Belgian children. Now they are learning to knit. A short time ago they were making brushes for the supply department and caning chairs for the Christodora House Settlement.
To establish good social habits in their leisure hours is one of the biggest problems that presents itself in the training of children of the Ungraded Classes. The latest development along this line is an evening gathering at the Boys' Club. Twice a week the boys meet under the guidance of a grade teacher who volunteered to be their leader. The club is conducted according to simple parliamentary rules. The children play games and arrange to provide necessary equipment and costumes for athletic exercises and events. A few of the boys are also members of some of the clubs organized at the Christodora House. The good posture and excellent control of these children showed such progress that the classes were included in the junior assembly and they continue to remain a part of that group. Their military and naval drills were so well executed that they were asked to take part in the patriotic play used at the graduation exercises.
Activities such as these foster the self respect of the children in the Ungraded Classes. The improvement in poise and good manners that these children have acquired is commanding the respect of their fellow schoolmates in a way that all previous efforts failed to accomplish.