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The papers which constitute this volume have all been printed in my journals, most of them in the Pedagogical Seminary, but are here revised, condensed, or amplified, and provided with up-to-date bibliographies on each topic by Dr. Theodate L. Smith, for whose efficiency and careful work I desire to express my heartiest acknowledgments. Material for several other volumes has been gathered and grouped, all of them in the same general field, but each in a different part of it, and with a unity of its own. These may be published later, if the success of this volume warrants the undertaking. For many years the special studies that have emanated from this department of Clark University have been planned with reference to bringing them into ultimate unity in such a way that when published in book form the relations between the different parts of the wide and rapidly extending domain of child study might be exhibited in a systematic way, and their manifold applications, not hitherto apparent to the public, and often not to the individual investigator, might be set forth. Such a series as the above might have borne the collective title of Chips from a Psycho-Genetic Laboratory."
The papers of this volume have least unity of any in the contemplated series, but are upon topics of most popular and perhaps practical interest. The first paper, "The Contents of Children's Minds on entering School," appeared almost twenty-five years ago, and is often referred to as marking the beginning of child study in America. It was suggested by a somewhat similar test made some years earlier by Professor Lazarus upon a large group of children in Berlin.
The Boston study was made possible by the generosity of Mrs. Pauline Agassiz Shaw, the founder of the kindergarten system of that city, and by the devoted labors of four of the best of her experts, headed by Miss S. E. Wiltse and Miss L. H. Symonds, who under my direction devoted months of careful and conscientious work to collecting the material. This paper has been republished several times in English, and translated in whole or in part into several foreign languages. As here presented, I have enlarged it by incorporating the results of all other similar tests of value that I know of up to date. As children's mental content differs much in different localities, it has often been suggested that some such survey of children just entering school should be undertaken in every community, in order that the teacher may know just what knowledge and ignorance can be assumed as a basis of teaching. This has sometimes been done in such a way as to secure these practical advantages to the teacher, but by methods not accurate enough to give scientific results. A recent official report shows that children who enter the schools of London late tend to surpass those who enter early, because the former, under the educational influences of the street, have acquired a number of facts and concepts which constitute apperception organs that enable them better to assimilate the material of instruction.
The article on "The Psychology of Daydreams" shows how the spontaneous imagination of children often gives us a picture of the purest natural internal growth of the soul. Experiences and tales are not only rehearsed and amplified and sometimes idealized, but images are grouped into new combinations; and when we consider the favorite themes of childish reverie, and the modifications to which facts are subjected, my own conclusion from the data presented in the original paper, here condensed, is that to explain all these processes we must often go back of events in the individual
life of the child and invoke the inherited results of ancestral experience, and that this is true not only for adolescents but for young children. Vaschide1 well says in substance: "Creative imagination is by no means founded on memory or even sense. Indeed, its richness often seems inversely as these. The ordinary laws of association do not dominate here. Instead of explaining the unknown by the known, the child often reverses this process." Daydreams often seem the expression in semiconsciousness of the actual growth process of the cerebral elements, and this favors the suggestion that we sometimes have here the rehearsals of the experiences of our remote forebears. Archaic laws often rule even where the material digested is made up of the facts of individual life. The full demonstration of this interpretation, which is at variance with most current psychology, and, I think, with the view of the author of this paper, will be forthcoming elsewhere. All agree, however, that reverie, save in the few cases where it threatens to become morbid, is a natural function and should usually be allowed free course.
Curiosity and interest are themes of cardinal moment for both psychology and for pedagogy. The chapter here presented is a contribution to their natural history. Copious as is the recent literature upon these themes, they are still but imperfectly understood. After we have traced the stages of their development in the individual from infancy, and classified their various directions and the objects upon which they focus, there still remains the larger problem as to why they take on specific forms and are often so innately strong. To this question we can only here suggest the general answer that all their outcrops represent the ways in which the soul of the young strives to expand to the dimensions of that of the race, to know what the life of man in his world is and means, and where each person is to find his place and function in it. In
166 Recherches experimentales sur l'imagination créatrice chez l'enfant," IVe Congrès international de Psychologie, p. 251, Paris, 1900.