Nature Study and Gardening for Rural Schools by Dr .George Washington Carver. Bulletin NO. 18, Experiment Station 1910, Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama
Since the publication of Teachers' Leaflet No.2, Nature Study and Children's Gardens, the work has not only grown in a satisfactory manner, but has advanced far beyond the most sanguine hopes of its promoters. Indeed the 1,500 copies of this leaflet which was published in 1901have been exhausted 'without satisfying the increasing demand.
The above facts in connection with a careful study of the needs of the rural teacher, we have thought wise to revise and amplify it, bringing the same more up to date.
The chief mission of this little booklet is that of emphasizing the following points:
1. The awakening of a greater interest in practical nature lessons in the public schools of our section. The thoughtful educator realizes that a very Iarge part of the child's education must be gotten outside of the four walls designated as class room. He also understands that the most effective and lasting education is the one that makes the pupil handle, discuss and familiarize himself with the real things about him, of which the majority are surprisingly ignorant.
2. To bring before our young people in an attractive way a few of the cardinal principles of agriculture, with which nature study is synonymous.
If properly taught the practical Nature study method cannot fail to both entertain and instruct. It is the only true method that leads up to a clear understanding of the fundamental principles which surround every branch of business in which' we may engage. It also stimnulates thought, investigation, and encourages originality.
Who has not watched with delight the wee tots with their to set of garden tools and faces all aglow with happiness and the yearning expectations of the coming harvest as they dug up the earth and dropped in a few seeds or illy set an equal number of plants—with what joy and satisfaction they called it their garden, or with what enthusiasm they hailed the first warm days of spring with their refreshing showers which bespoke emphatically the opening of the mud pie and doughnut season, and how, even though they were water soaked and mud bespattered from top to toe, how very happy they were at the close of each day’s work. So on through the whole list of childish amusements. Instinctively, they prefer to deal with natural objects and real things. It is the abnormal child that will feel just as happy with a piece of mud from which to make its cookie or pie crust as a piece of real dough. Neither is there the same instructive interest in a lifeless, irresponsible bundle of cotton cloth, ribbon and what not in shape of a kitten, puppy, etc., as there would be in the real, live, beautiful little animal which responds to every caress and which naturally seems to share in their joys and sorrows, successes or failures.
Thanks to the kindergarten method of education for coming to our rescue and the polytechnic and industrial schools which are supplementing it.