« PreviousContinue »
with special reference to the deaf. Some parents carry out the letter of the law by sending their children to the public schools regardless of the progress the child makes. This is unfair to the child especially when there are schools in the state where a child can receive proper training. It is also unfair to the public school teacher, who usually has her hands full with a large class of normal children. She can not do justice to the deaf child, no matter how conscientious she is about her work. In our school with our small classes, there is an average of nine pupils to a class—each child gets individual attention which would be impossible in larger classes. The saddest part about parents not sending their children to school is that it is the children who suffer in the end and that when the parents do realize their mistake the child is often too old to make the proper progress. He alsu resents being put into a class of children much younger than himself. All these complications could be avoided if we had a compulsory law concerning the education of the deaf child. The deaf child should be put in school and should be made to remain in school until he has finished the grammar grades or their equivalent. With the law allowing children to go to work when they are sixteen, many parents take them out of school just as soon as they have reached that age and put them to work regardless of the amount of education they have received. If the parents sent their deaf children to school when they were six years old the most of them would have a fairly good education by the time they were sixteeen but most parents do not send their children until they are eight or nine or until they have to do it, which of course delays the process of education. Those of us who have at heart the interest of the deaf children of the state can not but help deplore such circumstances.
The health of the children has been good. We had the misfortune to lose one of our intermediate boys last year because of heart disease. We had a light epidemic of mumps in the spring of 1923, which though not serious prevented us from having public visiting day near the close of school. Last spring we had an epidemic of scarlet fever among the teachers but not one child contracted the disease.
We have a regular school physician and in cases of eye, ear or throat trouble specialists in New London are employed. The eyesight of the children has been tested
oculist in New London for glasses. All dental work is done by a local dentist. With our younger children there is considerable more work to be done since so many of them are losing their first set of teeth when they come to us.
Our isolation from the village we consider is one of our greatest advantages for it spares us diseases which become prevalent in the community. Situated as we are on a high hill having both salt and country air, our children live in a most healthful atmosphere, which keeps them well. We have comparatively little sickness. As one of our former Governors upon seeing the school said, “This is God's spot for children."
We are so far away from automobile traffic that our grounds are an absolutely safe place for the chil play, so different from the street playground that many of our children have while at home. Because of the erection of our new building we were forced to change our playgrounds. We have now put them in front of the boys' dormitory. We feel this is a better place than our old location for the brick building shelters the grounds and the playground is warmer in the winter. We have added two steel lawn swings to our playground equipment and four steel benches. We have turned the field just below the front lawn into a special playground for the boys. Here we have put some playground apparatus but the main idea in the new playground is that the boys have a chance to play soldiers, Indians, etc., and such games that boys like so much without being cramped for room and where they can dig up the ground without hurting the appearance of the lawn. Such play is the natural play for children and allows them to develop in a perfectly normal way. The children are supervised at their play at all times.
We have our own pond on which the children skate. This pond is only about two feet deep, which makes it safe for even the younger intermediate children to skate on and coast. If the weather is sufficiently warm before the close of school, the children enjoy salt water bathing under the supervision of adults.
Situated in the country as we are, it is possible for our children with their supervisors to take walks in the woods on pleasant afternoons; a most healthful and pleasant diversion. Every spring they go on picnics to Lantern Hill. The older boys and girls hike there, a distance of seven miles, and the intermediate children
an open fire, fried bacon and sandwiches is the usual menu and it certainly tastes good after a climb to the top of Lantern Hill.
Through the kindness of the Y. M. C. A. of New London our boys are allowed to use the Y. M. C. A. Lodge on Long Pond over week-ends. The lodge affords protection at night and the days are spent in fishing, swimming or rowing.
The girls under the supervision of some of the teachers have spent several week-ends at the Y. W. C. A. Camp at Niantic overlooking the Niantic River. Here the girls had a most delightful time hiking, swimming and boating.
Parties are held once a month for the children. Two teachers are in charge of each party and all the teachers and officers are expected to be present and join in the games. These parties are held near some special day during the month as Hallowe'en or Thanksgiving, and the decorations and games are in accordance with the spirit of the occasion.
We have adhered to our same theories in regard to the children's diet. Plain wholesome food with plenty of it has always been our aim and with the help of our farm we are able to furnish an abundance of milk, eggs, fowl, pork and fresh vegetables. We have installed an electric ice cream freezer and we have ice cream for the children twice a week. The teachers and officers eat at the same tables and have the same food as the children. We expect them to supervise the children's eating and table manners. It is surprising how few of our children like green vegetables and milk when they first enter school—these being two very essential foods for children. We believe it is part of the training of the child to be trained in proper eating, especially in regard to mineral foods. The children soon learn to like all vegetables and when we see the change in their physical appearance we know such training has been good for them. The children are given something to eat every day at recess time.
Our water supply is procured from a spring on our own premises. Despite all the dry weather our water supply has never failed us. A member of the state health department made an analysis of the water, making doubly sure that the supply was pure. Our children with the help of the supervisors and all of the teachers are under supervision at all times whether they are asleep or awake, at work or at play indoors or outdoors. We believe that the regularity of school life is one of the main reasons for the physical improvement they make while under our care. Every child has regular hours for rising, eating, working, playing and retiring. We make sure each one has sufficient playtime, sufficient food and sufficient sleep. His day is carefully planned so as to promote his mental, moral and physical growth.
Our methods of teaching are purely oral. Subjects are taught through speech, speech-reading and writing. Every year we have made changes in our corps of teachers, some leaving to be married, others to teach in other schools. Though we have had an unusual number of applicants for our normal class, we can still take only two every year as we can not accommodate more in our present quarters.
As usual, a number of repairs and changes have been made in the buildings. Every summer the interiors of the buildings are painted and any other repair work which can be done to better advantage when the children are not at the school. Many improvements were made on the farm. A new laying house for our hens was built with the help of our large boys. We had the misfortune to lose our herd of cows when given the tuberculin test by the State Commissioner of Domestic Animals in 1923. We immediately disposed of the entire herd and replaced it by a new one. Our present herd is the same one bought a year ago. It has been tested three times since then and each time we have had no reactors. At the time we lost our herd we applied to the Board of Control for a special appropriation to build a new barn. This was denied us but feeling it was useless to put a new herd in the same barn we thoroughly disinfected the barn, tore down the old wooden partitions and put in cement. New stanchions were put in, extra windows, ventilators and another door and new water bowls. Our herd now consists of twelve Holstein cows and one bull. We have enough milk for all the pupils to have milk three times a day with ice cream twice a week.
This past winter we had a fine flock of five hundred White Pekin ducks and a few thousand Rhode Island Red chickens. The ducks we found were not as satisfactory in our school for eating purposes as chickens so we abandoned duck raising as part of our farm department. We exhibited some of our poultry at the Norwich Fair and our pen of Rhode Island Reds won first prize and our ducks second prize. We have found Rhode Island Reds most suitable for our purposes in the matter