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may not we here in England obtain the like praise if we did but, as they, continue our children at the Latin school till they be well acquainted with that language, and thereby better fitted for any calling.
Thirdly, And I am sorry to add, that the non-improvement of children's time after they can read English any whit well throweth open a gap to all loose kinds of behavior; for being then (as it is too commonly to be seen, especially with the poorer sort) taken from the school, and permitted to run wild, up and down, without any control, they adventure to commit all manner of lewdness, and so become a shame and dishonor to their friends and country.
If these or the like reasons therefore might prevail to persuade them that have a prejudice against Latin, I would advise that all children might be put to the grammar school so soon as they can read English well, and suffered to con. tinue at it till some honest calling invite them thence; but if not, I would wish them rather to forbear it than to become there a hindrance to others, whose work it is to learn that profitable language. And that they may not squander away their time in idleness, it were good if they were put to a writing-school where they might be, first, helped to keep their English by reading a chapter (at least) once a day; and second, taught to write a fair hand; and thirdly, afterward exercised in arithmetic and such preparative arts as may make them completely fit to undergo any ordinary calling. And being thus trained up in a way of discipline, they will afterward prove more easily pliable to their master's commands.
Now, forasmuch as few grammar schools of note will admit children into them till they have learned their Accidents, the teaching of that book also becometh for the most part a work for a Petty School, where many that undertake to teach it, being altogether ignorant of the Latin tongue, do sorrily perform that task, and spend a great deal of time about it to little or no purpose. I would have that book therefore by such let alone and left to the grammar school as most fitting to be taught there only, because it is intended as an introduction of grammar to guide children in a way of reading, writing, and speaking Latin, and the teachers of the grammar art are most deeply concerned to make use of it for that end. And instead of the Accidents, which they do neither understand por profit by, they may be benefited in reading orthodoxal catechisms and other books that may instruct them in the duties of a Christian, such as The Practice of Piety, The Practice of Quietness, The Whole Duty of Man; and afterward in other delightful books, of English history, as The History of Queen Elizabeth, or poetry, as Herbert's Poems, Quarl's Emblems; and by this means they will gain such a babit and delight in reading as to make it their chief recreation when liberty is afforded them. And their acquaintance with good books will (by God's blessing) be a means so to sweeten their (otherwise sour) natures, that they may live comfortably towards themselves, and amiably converse with other persons.
Yet if the teacher of a Petty School have a pretty good understanding of the Latin tongue, he may the better adventure to teach the Accidents, and proceed in doing so with far more ease and profit to himself and learner, if he observe a sure method of grounding his children in the rudiments of grammar, and preparing them to speak and write familiar Latin, which I shall hereafter discover, having first set down somewhat how to remedy that defect in reading English with which the grammar schools are very much troubled, especially where there is not a good Petty School to discharge that work aforehand. And before I proceed further, I will express my mind in the dext two chapters touching the erecting of a Petty School, and how it may probably flourish by good order and discipline.
VI.-Of the founding of a Petty School.
The Petty School is the place where, indeed, the first principles of all religion and learning ought to be taught, and therefore rather deserveth that more encouragement should be given to the teachers of it than that it should be left as a work for poor women, or others whose necessities compel them to undertake it as a mere shelter from beggary.
Out of this consideration it is (perhaps) that some nobler spirits, whom God hath enriched with an overplus of outward means, have, in some places whereunto they have been by birth (or otherwise) related, erected Petty School-houses, and endowed them with yearly salaries; but those are so inconsiderate toward the maintenance of a master and his family, or so overcloyed with a number of free scholars to be taught for nothing, that few men of good parts will deign to accept of them, or continue at them for any while, and for this cause I have observed such weak foundations fall to nothing.
Yet if any one be desirous to contribute toward such an eminent work of charity my advice is, that he erect a school and dwelling-house together, about the middle of a market town, or some populous country village, and accommodate it with a safe yard adjoining to it, if not with an orchard or garden, and that he endow it with a salary of (at least) twenty pounds per anaum, in consideration whereof all such poor boys as can conveniently frequent it may be taught gratis, but the more able sort of neighbors may pay for their children's teaching as if the school was not free, for they will find it no small advantage to have such a school amongst them.
Such a yearly stipend and convenient dwelling, with a liberty to take young children to board, and to make what advantage he can best by other scholars, will invite a man of good parts to undertake the charge, and excite him io the diligent and constant performance of his duty, especially if he be chosen into the place by three or four honest and discreet trustees, that may bave power also to remove him thence, if by his uncívil behavior or gross neglect he render himself incapable to perform so necessary a service to the church and commonwealth.
As for the qualifications of one that is to be the teacher of a Petty School, I would have him to be a person of a pious, sober, comely and discreet behavior, and tenderly affectionate toward children, having some knowledge of the Latin tongue, and ability to write a fair hand and good skill in arithmetic, and then let him move within the compass of his own orb so as to teach all his scholars (as they become capable) to read English very well, and afterward to write and cast accounts. And let him not meddle at all with teaching the Accidents, ex. cept only to some more pregnant wits which are intended to be set forward to learn Latin, and for such be sure that he ground them well, or else dismiss them, as soon as they can read distinctly and write legibly, to the grammar school.
I should here have closed my discourse, and shut up this Petty School, were it not that I have received a model for the maintaining of students from a worthy friend's hand, (and one that is most zealously and charitably addicted to advance learning, and to belp it in its very beginning to come forward to its full rise,) by which I am encouraged to address my reluaising words to the godly-minded trustees and subscribers for so good a work, (especially to those amongst them that know me and my school endeavors;) and this I humbly request of them, that as they have happily contrived a model for the education of students, and brought it on a sudden to a great degree of perfection, so they should also put to their hands for the improvement of school learning, without which such choice abilities as they aim at in order to the ministry can not possibly be obtained. And for the first foundation of such a work, I presume to offer my advice, that in some convenient places, within and without the city, there may be Petty Schools erected, according to the number of wards, unto which certain poor children out of every parish may be sent and taught gratis, and all others that please to send their children thither may have them taught at a reasonable rate, and be sure to have them improved to the utmost of what they are capable. And I am the rather induced to propound such a thing because that late eminent, Dr. Bathurst, lately deceased, Mr. Gouge, and some others yet living did, out of their own good affection to learning, endeavor at their own charge to promote the like.
VII.—Of the discipline of a Petty School.
The sweet and orderly behavior of children addeth more credit to a school than due and constant teaching, because this speaketh to every one that the child is well taught, though (perhaps) he learn but little, and good manners in. deed are a main part of good education. I shall therefore take occasion to speak somewhat concerning the discipline of a Petty School, leaving the further discourse of children's manners to books that treat purposely of that subject, as Erasmus de moribus, Youth's Behavior, &c.
1. Let every scholar repair to school before eight o'clock in the morning, or in case of weakness before nine; and let him come fairly washed, neatly combed, and handsomely clad, and by commending bis cleanness, and showing it to his fellows, make him take pleasure betimes of himself to go neat and comely in his clothes.
2. Let such as come before school-time take liberty to recreate themselves about the school, yet so as not to be suffered to do any thing whereby to harm themselves or school-fellows, or to give offence or make disturbance with any neighbor.
3. When school-time is called, let them all go orderly to their own places, and here apply themselves diligently to their books without noise or running about.
4. When the master cometh into the school, let them stand up and make obeisance, (so likewise when any stranger cometh in;) and after notice is taken of those who are absent, let one that is most able read a chapter, and the rest attend and give some little account of what they have heard read. Then let him that read say a short prayer fitted for the school, and afterward let every one settle to his present task.
5. The whole school may not unfitly be divided into four forms, whereof the first and lowest should be of those that learn to know their letters, whose les. sons may be in the Primer; the second, of those that learn to spell, whose lesgons may be in the Single Psalter; the third, of those that learn to read, whose lessons may be in the Bible; the fourth, of those that are exercised in reading, writing, and casting accounts, whose lessons may be in such profitable English books as the parents can best provide and the master think fittest to be taught. 6. Let the lessons be the same to each boy in every form, and let the master proportion them to the meanest capacities; thus those that are abler may profit themselves by helping their weaker fellows, and those that are weaker be encouraged to see that they can keep company with the stronger. And let the two highest in every form give notice to the master when they come to say it, of those that were most negligent in getting the lesson.
7. When they come to say it, let them all stand orderly in one or two rows, and whilst one sayeth his lesson, be sure that all the rest look upon their books, and give liberty to him that is next to correct him that is saying it if he mistake; and in case he can say it better, let him take his place aud keep it till the same boy or another win it from him. The striving for places (especially) amongst little ones will whet them on to more diligence than any encouragement that can be given them; and the master should be very sparing to whip any one for his book except he be sullenly negligent, and then also I would choose rather to shame him out of his untowardnegs by commending some of his fellows, and asking him why he can not do as well as they, than by falling upon him with rating words or injurious blows. A great care also must be had that those children that are slow-witted and of a tender spirit be not any way discouraged, though they can not make so good a performance of their task as the rest of their fellows.
8. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they may say two lessons in the forenoon and two in the afternoon, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the forenoon they may also say two lessons; but on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings I would have the time spent in examining and directing them how to spell and read aright, and hearing them say the graces, prayers and psalms, and especially the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, (which are for that purpose set down in the New Primer) very perfectly by heart. And those that can say these well may proceed to get other catechisms, but be sure they be such as agree with the principles of Christian religion.
9. Their lessons being all said, they should be dismissed about eleven o'olock, and then care must be taken that they every one go orderly out of the school, and pass quietly home without any stay by the way. And to prevent that too common clamor and crowding out of the school door, let them rise out of their places one by one with their hat and book in their hand, and make their hon. ors to their master as they pass before his face, one following another at a distance out of the school. It were fittest and safest that the least went out the foremost, that the bigger boys following may give notice of any misdemeanor upon the way.
10. The return to school in the afternoon should be by one o'clock, and those that come before that hour should be permitted to play within the bounds till the clock strike one, and then let them all take their places in due order, and say their lessons as they did in the forenoon. After their lessons are ended, let one read a chapter and say a prayer, and so let them again go orderly and quietly home, about five o'clock in the summer and four in the winter season.
11. If necessity require any one to go out in the school-time, let him not interrupt the master by asking him for leave, but let him leave his book with the next fellow above bim for fear he should else spoil or lose it, and in case he tarry too long forth, let notice be given to the monitor.
12 Those children in the upper form may be monitors, every one a day in his turn; and let them overy evening, after all the lessons are said, give a bill to the master of their names that are absent, and theirs that have committed any disorder, and let him be very moderate in correcting, and be sure to make a difference betwixt those faults that are viciously enormous and those that are but childish transgressions. Where admonitions readily take place, it is a needless trouble to use a rod, and as for a ferule I wish it were utterly banished out of all schools.
If any one, before I conclude, should ask me, how many children I think may be well and profitably taught (according to the method already proposed) in a Petty School ? I return him answer, that I conceive forty boys will be enough to thoroughly employ one man to hear every one so often as is required; and 80 many he may bear and benefit bimself without making use of any of his scholars to teach the rest, which however may be permitted and is practiced in some schools, yet it occasioneth too much noise and disorder, and is no whit so acceptable to parents or pleasing to the children, be the work never so well done. And therefore I advise, that in a place where a great concourse of chil. dren may be had, there be more masters than one employed according to the spaciousness of the room and the number of boys to be taught, so that every forty scholars may have one to teach them; and in case there be boys enough to be taught, I would appoint one single master to attend one single form, and have as many masters as there are forms, and then the work of teaching little ones to the height of their best improvement may be thoroughly done, especially if there were a writing-master employed at certain hours in the school, and an experienced teacher encouraged as a supervisor, or inspector, to see that the whole school be well and orderly taught and disciplined.
What I have here written concerning the teaching and ordering of a Petty School was in many particulars experienced by myself with a few little boys that I taught amongst my grammar scholars in London, and I know those of eminent worth and great learning that, upon trial made upon their own chil. dren at home and others at school, are ready to attest the ease and benefit of this method; insomuch as I was resolved to have adjoined a Petty School to my grammar school at the Token House in Lothbury, London, and there to bave proceeded in this familiar and pleasing way of teaching, had I not been unhandsomely dealt with by those whom it concerned, for their own profit's sake, to have given me less discouragement. Nevertheless, I think it my duty to promote learning what I can, and to lay a sure foundation for such a goodly structure as learning is; and though (perhaps) I may never be able to effect what I desire for its advancement, yet it will be my comfort to have imparted somewhat to others that may help thereunto. I have here begun at the very groundwork, intending (by God's blessing) forth with to publish The New Dis. covery of the Old Art of Teaching, which doth properly belong to a grammar school.
In the meantime I entreat those into whose hands this little work may come to look upon it with a single eye, and whether they like or dislike it, to think that it is not unnecessary for men of greatest parts to bestow a sheet or two at leisure time upon so mean a subject as this seems to be. And that God which causeth immense rivers to flow from small spring-heads, vouchsafe to bless these weak beginnings in tender age, that good learning may proceed herice to its full perfection in riper years