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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Games a Part of Education

Games a Part of Education.

Dr Woods-Hutchinson says : "Exercise is literally the mother of the brain. . . . Every play and sport worth the name develops not merely strength, endurance, and fleetness but also alertness, quickness of response, coolness, balance, wariness, and judgment that is both sound and swift. Games are a valuable part of education in the widest sense. . . . It is even impossible to draw the line precisely where physical education ends and mental development begins. . . . When the child plays it is literally organising its brain. . Is it wise to regard play simply as an interlude in the serious work of education? . . . Why not frankly recognise that when the boy or girl is engaged in vigorous, joyous play, he or she is carrying out an important part of the actual work of education."

Granting that play and games are developmental rehearsals—fundamental necessities for the proper growth of the being—we have no right to ignore these traditions received from past generations. The best and safest way to train a child is to keep to the broad lines laid down by Nature. That was precisely the kindergarten system.—(Hear, hear.)

In dealing with children one should always bear in mind the child's restricted field of observation and lack of be queathed knowledge. The child's interpretation of phenomena was usually natural, simple, and direct, and was worthy of thoughtful attention, however absurd the conclusions arrived at might seem in the light of a wider knowledge and experience. As parents, they were much inclined to look upon many of the sagest remarks of children as being devoid of sense, silly, and trivial. Every time parents and elders did that they showed ignorance of the nature of child-hood.—(Hear, hear.) He gave instances showing the force of this argument, and illustrated the ineffectiveness of the present education system by a statement of his experiences in asking boys in the State schools if they had any real idea what air was.