Some Child Guidance Principles From 1952

In my magazine collections I have the April 1952 edition of the American Childhood—The Magazine of Child Education in School and Home: 64 pages.  It was published by the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachusetts.

A single issue cost 50 cents or an annual subscription could be had for $4.00.  It was loaded with articles, art work, poetry, puzzles, plays, short stories, etc.

There was an article written by Katherine G. Stains of Lesley College in Cambridge Massachusetts. She was a faculty member in child study.

In the opening paragraph, Professor Stains stated:

The teacher of young children should have some general principles in mind to guide her in her work with them. These principles should be based on the understanding of the child, his characteristics, and his needs.  They should guide the teacher in the construction of the curriculum.

She proceeded to list 19 principles.

1)   Know the Child

2)   Know How Children Grow

3)   Plan an Environment That Is Conducive To The Growth Of Children On These Age Levels

4)   Study the Immediate Community

5)   Discover Parental Attitudes and Ideals

6)   Remember That Norms Should Be Used Guides, Not Yardsticks

7)   Realize That Play Is Educational and Make Provisions For A Rich Play Life

8)   Realize That Creative Expression Is Educational And That It Is Needed By Children

9)   Apply The Fundamental Principles of the Learning Process

10) Teach Children How To Think, Not What To Think

11) Use Real Life Situations In The Curriculum

12) Emphasize The Positive

13) Prevent Continued Problems That Disturb Children From Arising

14) Base Your Standards On Ideals Rather Than On Averages And Norms

15) Liberate The Child’s Capacities

16) Develop Healthy Attitudes In Children

17) Supply Small Children With Large Materials

18) Keep Daily Objective Records Of Each Individual Child So That You Can Follow His Growth And Prove To Others That He Is Growing

19) Evaluate Your Procedures And Methods Constantly

Back Cover


A few comments:

Children in many ways are the sum of their environment.  The home today is not the same environment as it was in the early 1950s.

Primary schools should not be based on the erroneous paradigm that every child in the classroom is the same and should have the same outcome. Unless a teacher understands each child individually, the goal of education for life and society cannot be fulfilled.

Each child brings his or her own abilities and talents.  Those abilities and talents can be enhanced for the future, but exaggerated expectations based on what a child should become can damage a child for life.

Not every child can bring a report card home each month with all A grades or green dots.  These children should be nurtured and encouraged to do their best and be accepted for their best.

Reality is not a friend to a child when they leave the school environs to face secondary and postsecondary avenues of learning or the work place.  The demands are strenuous.

Learning is a daily process, and most learning takes place outside of the classroom.  Today a teacher has a difficult task in competing with social media and home environment; inadequate resources and space; classrooms that are too cubical and overcrowded for the nurture needed by every child; and finally, the teachers are overworked, underpaid and not appreciated for the difficulties they face each day.

Society and parents demand a lot from teachers.  However, teachers deserve respect and deep appreciation from their community.

In closing the following statement is as true today as it was back in 1952:

A happy child is one who loses himself in work and play, learns to solve problems in his environment, builds up a wealth of good habits, associates with children satisfactorily, learns to express his difficulties in legitimate ways, creates a fund of healthy attitudes, and grows continually.


G. D. Williams © 2017

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Lesley University

I plan for us to be different; to consider the individual of basic importance; to inculcate the ideal of gracious living; and to foster the traditions of American democracy.”  Edith Lesley Wolfard, Founder

Perissem ni Perstitissem.
I Had Perished Had I Not Persisted.

The Lesley Motto