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Medical Inspection in Schools

children become relaxed and quiet. They remain so for a little time; then another signal is sounded, the room is made light again, and the work progresses. Every schoolroom should have several brief periods during the day when the pupils should relax. There is no danger of overdoing relaxation in American life. The danger is on the other side,—that there will not be enough of it, no matter what program we may follow in the effort to secure it."

Reference has been made to the investigations being conducted by medical inspectors throughout the country. It should be added here that there are very few communities of ten thousand or more inhabitants in which there is not at least one physician or trained nurse who is employed to make physical examinations of school children and recommend proper treatment of defects, deficiencies, or diseases. In some of the largest citiesChicago, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, and the like there is a large staff of well-trained physicians and nurses who devote their entire time to promoting the health and physical development of school children. They examine every pupil at least once, and often twice, a year. They make reports to parents or guardians respecting the condition of the health and physical development of each child. When they find defects of posture and development, they outline a remedial program. If they discover that a child is suffering from adenoids, infected tonsils, carious teeth, or defective vision or hearing, they advise parents respecting the procedure which should be followed in order to correct the difficulties. Nurses visit the home to see if the recommendations of the medical inspectors are carried out. Some States have laws requiring that medical inspectors or nurses be provided for rural as well as for town and city schools, and it is probable that all the States soon will enact legislation of this character.

Not only do the medical inspectors and nurses make examinations in order to discover defects or diseases already contracted, but they are on the alert to prevent the spread of disease among school children and the contracting of diseases due to improper posture or misuse of the senses or members of the body, particularly the eyes. In consequence of very active investigation and discussion of these matters during the past two decades, there is to-day less strain put upon the eyes in an up-to-date American school than there was formerly. The print in text books has been improved and this has helped to correct bad posture of pupils in school work.


Education as a Regular

School Work

With a view to promoting sound physical development among our children, schools everywhere are adopting a program of physical education, which includes gymnastics Part of and games and plays of all sorts. States like Wisconsin require that there shall be a certain amount of physical training in all the schools of the State. New school buildings are being equipped with gymnasiums and sometimes with swimming pools, and teachers are engaged who have had special training in physical education with a view to teaching the young. Normal schools and universities are establishing courses in physical education for teachers in the public schools so that they may direct the physical training of the young, and the enrollment in these courses is increasing with extraordinary rapidity. There can be little doubt that we have entered upon a program which if carried through to completion will secure better physical development and better health among school children than has been the case in the past.

There is one movement which promises to accomplish a good deal in promoting the physical development and the health of our young people, and this is the establishment of playgrounds in towns and cities, and even in rural sections, and arranging the work of children of all ages so that every day they will have opportunity for plays

The Establishment of Playgrounds for all Children

Country Children are Least Well

Provided for

and games. There is apparently complete agreement among those who have charge of the care and culture of the young that health and physical development can be promoted more effectually by plays and games than by formal gymnastics, though the latter have a place in the child's physical education. Everywhere there is an insistent demand that a playground be established within the reach of pupils in every school, and that it be properly equipped and be under the supervision of a trained play leader. A slogan frequently heard throughout our country to-day is, "Playground facilities for every child in elementary and high schools!" High schools and universities are endeavoring to secure adequate playground space so that every student may have an opportunity to participate in games. Some high schools and colleges are requiring all students to play one or more games as a regular feature of their program. Swimming is being made a requirement for graduation in some places.

One often hears it said that the children in the city are greatly handicapped because they have no place for games and plays except the street, but that the children in the towns and in the country are more fortunate, since they have plenty of open space in which to play. But, as a matter of fact, most towns and country districts have inadequate facilities for play. In some such communities recently visited by the writer, little effort has been made to provide opportunities for games and plays. The children are often limited to a vacant lot; but even if vacant lots could be used for play, they are usually not suitable therefor, since it is rare that one can find such a lot which is adapted to baseball, football, or any of the tag games, and certainly not for any gymnastic activities.

The country school building is often located on a small plot of ground which does not afford sufficient space for the games and plays which children like and in which they should indulge. The farmers protest if the pupils make


Memorial Consolidated School, Hart County, Kentucky, provides for athletics

and games.

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