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an infants' school room must be to place the little pupils, as far as may be possible, at an equal distance from the point from which the teacher may propose generally to address them.
I offer to the consideration of
readers two plans for school rooms, the latter of which (No. 2) appears to be the most conducive to the perfection of the system.
The area of the former of these (No. 1) is an oblong of such proportions as that, after a part has been divided off from one end for a gallery of raised seats, the forms for the children, when in their classes, may occupy the sides of a square.
AA are the seats round the room.
B is a double rostrum, in the front part of which the monitor who is to lead the rest, when the school is engaged in an united lesson, takes his stand; and on the back part of which the superintendant places himself whenever he may wish to obtain the attention of the whole school at once, and convey a lesson to them all.
(C) is the gallery, in which all the children may be occasionally assembled within a smaller compass for general examination. This gallery
must have seats, at least equal, altogether, in length to all the other seats around the room.
(D) are the seats against the wall behind the rostrum.
The advantages of a square room are manifest. The distance of the several seats from the rostrum approach more nearly to equality than could possibly be the case in a lengthened oblong, and the eyes of the children are more easily directed to that point.
The seats for the monitors (E) must be placed at a sufficient distance from the benches against the walls, to leave room for the free passage of the children when they walk round the school two and two. They should be placed at the terminating line of each class, and two monitors may take their place on each seat, turning each towards his own class. The seats (E) should be so broad as to allow the monitors room to stand upon them when the lesson is given out from the rostrum.
Two smaller rooms (F) should be adjoined to the school, which are called class rooms. The one will be principally occupied in receiving those things which would be incumbrances in the larger room, and may be used occasionally, if such be wanted, as a committee room.
The other is for the purpose of more exact and personal instruction of the higher classes, and for individual examination.
It will be seen that the children seated on one side of the school room (D), if the whole be employed, will be necessarily behind the rostrum, and therefore not so exactly under the eye of the teacher. This line of seats may be appropriated to the more advanced children, who are nearly prepared for the parochial schools; and, among them, it would be desirable to assimilate the mode of instruction, as far as possible, to that of the institutions to which they are to be removed, in order that the transition when it takes place may be more easy and natural. At this period, indeed, of their education, the influence of the eye of the superintendant is not supposed to be so constantly necessary to the good order and the ready attention of the children.
Of the two plans, however, which are before the reader, I prefer considerably the second (No. 2.)
The superior advantages are the following: With the exception of the children on the seats behind the rostrum, and who are supposed to be nearly prepared to leave the school, the
whole of the little assembly are so arranged in the circumference of a circle, that their
eye is necessarily, and without effort, directed to the rostrum, which is very little removed from the centre.
All the children are thus moreover at an equal distance from the acting monitor, or the superintendant, who may in consesequence address all in the same tone, without any attempt at elevation of voice.
There are other benefits arising from this plan of the school room. From the position of the scholars, the necessity of a raised gallery is removed
The more advanced, whose examinations will principally take place in the class room, will be seated along the straight wall (D). Those next in progress the inner circle of seats (G); and these are the individuals who will, for the present, reap most benefit from the examinations, which take place in the large room. The smaller children will take their seat on the benches attached to the circular wall, and, being on a raised floor, will be more exactly and constantly under the observation of the teacher, and may be learners by the repeated examinations of those below.
In the second plan (No. 2) it is proposed that the roof should be so constructed as to