Page images



The books which we first put into the hands of children, are generally dry and unentertaining. They are unentertaining to a child, because he cannot understand them : and if a child does not understand his lesson, he will learn it with difficulty. Books for little children should be printed on good paper, with a fair letter. The lessons should be short and easy, on subjects which are familiar to them; and written in language which they can perfectly understand. It is presumed that this book contains such lessons : and if they are suitably attended to, it may not be unreasonable to suppose, that children of all ages will be improved by them.

It is unhappy for society that men of genius have too frequently thought it beneath them to write books for little children ; and that men of abilities are too apt to consider the business of teaching children, as an employment too humble for them. If the foundation of a noble building is to be laid, men of the first eminence consider it as honourable to lay the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

corner stone : and why should it be thought less honourable to begin a work of much greater importance ? the mind is the noblest work of God; and is capable of infinite improvement; but for want of care in its first cultivation, its growth is often greatly retarded.

If parents could be persuaded to give due encouragement, their little children would undoubtedly be furnished with better books, and better teachers. And if they would rightly consider the matter; if they would consider how much the good of their own families, as well as that of society in general, depends on the education of their little children, they would certainly pay more attention to it. They would endeavour to employ suitable persons for teachers, and allow them a compensation more adequate to the employment,

The first impressions on the mind,are those which last longest; They grow with our growth and strengthen with our strength. Of how much importance is it then, that the first impression be good! ages of experience have confirmed what was divinely said-Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. These are truths which no one pretends to deny; yet,

how little are they regarded! We who are parents ought to consider that when we are old, we shall want a friend ; and do we not know that the affections of our children will be more grateful to us, than gold can be to the miser! We have it now in our power to secure to ourselves their affections ; But if we neglect them.-if we neglect our children now while they are young, we have nothing to expect but the like treatment from them when we are old. As, therefore, we prize our own happiness, as we regard the welfare of society, as we love our children, let us attend to their instruction.

In the present edition, some alterations were thought advisable, which are accordingly introduced.

The first chapter contains the alphabet repeated several times which repetition will greatly assist the child in learning his letters; a perfect knowledge of which is absolutely necessary :-a confused idea of the letters does often greatly retard his early progress

in learning. It is found by experience that a child will learn to spell the monosyllables when they occur in lessons which contain some mean

ing, much sooner than where the words are jambled together, without conveying any ideas; therefore the charm of drab, crab, grab, &c. is, in this book generally avoided.

The child should be taught to spell each word in his lesson before he is permitted to readit; and so continue on through the book -Indeed spelling is of such importance, that it should be most carefully attended to through the whole course of education.


« EelmineJätka »