z tie WHEN I called at the offices of
the Parents' National Educational Union I felt that L had stumbled upon something extremely valuable in the realm of education. It is concerned with helping parents to educate their children.
The P.N.E.U. is a non-Catholic but intensely Christian organisation founded in 1888 " in response to a demand by thoughtful parents who felt the need of intelligent guidance in the physical. mental, moral and spiritual development of their children." Its founder was Miss Charlotte Mason, who appears to have had a grasp of educational principles and child psychology far in advance of .her time.
Out of the P.N.E.U. arose the Parents' Union School. Its first work was to provide a correspondence course for parents educating their children at home. which it continues to do. Very soon a training college and numerous schools using the Charlotte Mason methodS of education came into being.
The essence of this method is that children will learn if they are interested and arc taught from the beginning to retain what they read or have read to them. 'this is achieved by getting the children to " tell back" their lessons as they go along.
HOW IT WORKS
ONE can perhaps summarise the
Charlotte Mason philosophy by saying that her educational programme provides a truly liberal education. Where it is impossible or difficult for parents to send their• children to school, to obtain this the P.U.S. Home School room correspondence course does seem to offer one solution.
Such parents will want to know "How does it work?" and "How do the results compare with those of children who are at school?" To the second question I would reply that from the evidence produced for me at the P.N.E.U. office, children educated by this method appear to take a very good place in any school to which they are eventually sent.
As to " How ?" 1 will quote a letter from Mrs. A., who is living in Germany at the moment and is educating her own children under the P.U.S.: "i have been leaching my two younger children at home for twoand-a-half years. 'The eldest, aged 11, has joined us this term. Although I do get tired. especially when I am without domestic help. 1 find the effort more than worth while. I strongly recommend this method to any mother prepared to undertake it. t.et me assure you that 1 am of only average intelli genre and minimum education. We have found that not only is it a practical answer, but that it integrates the family and widens the common interests in a re markable way ...We do lessons from 9 till 12 each day."
Parents who are not undertaking the education of their children are eligible to join the P.N.E.U. and thus become entitled to receive the Parents' Review, attend various talks and lectures and have the use of the library.
IN A VILLAGE
MRS. D. C. writes: "We were not able to get THE Ca mom HERALD for some weeks and now I seem to have rejoined in the middle of an interesting argument about Iwo vital subjects, both worries of mine.
"We five in a small village and have to choose between sending for groceries and meat and risking what is sent or buying from the only shop, which with no cornpetition is able to charge what it likes. Living in a town may not be so pleasant. but I am sure that it can be cheaper.
" We are the only Catholics in the village and the nearest church is four Miles away and there are no suitable buses. We are lucky enough to he able to attend the U.S.A.F. base chapel and the Americans are very kind. We now have a lift and are able to leave our babies 08 months and 4 months) in a free nursery. '1 here are a trained nurse and a friendly airman who take care of eight to 10 toddlers and about six small babies. They have a big cot for three babies and some space for small carricots.
" The children seem happy and the airman is always submerged bs children at the end of Mass.
" Perhaps this could he adapted in some parish churches'? I think it is good for the children as well as giving parents a chance of hearing Mass quietly together.
" Another idea which was used in a large High Anglican ( lunch I used to attend it to partition off part of the church. such as round the font. with kindergarten chairs, and all thc small children can go there after sermon and stay until after the consecration, under supervision.
"1 do feel that always to go to church alone, leaving husband and children. is a shame. but it often needs determination to stay in one's scat with a wriggling baby while everyone looks round. 1 once gave tip in despair and fled nearly in tears, daunted by the eagle c)e of an old lady, but 1 was fetched back by one of the congregation who said : 'Jesus loved little children and wants to sec them in His church.'"
ANOTHER reader writes : " I too have been turned out because my baby gave one (not loud)
shout. Indignation was coupled with my humiliation, as l have always frequented morning Mass and Benediction. Then because of having a baby one is turned out of church. As my husband is away most Sundays 1 am obliged to take the baby, which is no light task, dragging him from under benches, etc., or miss Mass."