Movie evils

Exhibits in the centre of the hall at the Southland A. and P. Society's Winter Show in Invercargill. - Otago Witness, 23.5.1917
Exhibits in the centre of the hall at the Southland A. and P. Society's Winter Show in Invercargill. - Otago Witness, 23.5.1917
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Dunedin Free Kindergarten Association yesterday afternoon, Dr Siedeberg made reference to the evils of small children being taken in the evenings to picture shows.

She said that she knew she would be digressing from the subject in hand - namely, the splendid effect of the kindergarten system on the health and minds of the children - when she touched on the opposite picture.

Instead of the sunny garden, the sweet influence of good minds, and the subsequent refreshing sleep from 6 or 7 o'clock in the evening to rest the tired body, let them conjure up in their minds the hot, overcrowded, and ill-ventilated picture shows, the atmosphere laden with the breaths of two or three hundred people, many of them suffering from consumption, some from colds, influenza, and perhaps mild, unrecognised attacks of measles or scarlet fever.

The child of three or four years was taken out at night, tired after a long day's play. It got home at half-past 10, its eyes dazed and strained from the constant vibration of the pictures, its nervous system excited with the depiction of all the passions of adult life, so that it dreamt them all over again in its restless, nervous sleep, and thoughts were set going which should lie dormant for many years.

In the one case the desire for the beauties of Nature was implanted in the young mind, and the nervous system grew strong and stable; in the other case the desire for excitement and still more excitement was implanted, and the nervous system soon became a wreck, unfitted for the duties and strain of life. Rather make kindergarten compulsory for its good influence and picture shows forbidden to children under 10 for their bad influence.

Blackboard drawing

The Otago Education Board had before it yesterday a report from the Education Department somewhat severely criticising the standard of proficiency in blackboard drawing attained by teachers in recent examinations.

The department's conclusion was that while a small but gradually increasing proportion of candidates were able to produce work varying from excellent to fair, the bulk of the work could be characterised as distinctly weak. It was impossible to avoid the conclusion not only that a large proportion of the candidates had little or no conception of what blackboard drawing should be, but also that very many of them were wanting in ordinary skill in free drawing, such as might reasonably be expected of average pupils of secondary or even primary schools.

With a view to assisting prospective candidates to gain some idea of what blackboard drawing should be, the department proposed to forward for exhibition at convenient centres a selection of some of the best work done at the last teachers' examination.

The Acting Chief Inspector (Mr Bossence) said he had been rather disappointed at the blackboard work of candidates in view of the training they received. He could not quite understand why their work was not better. The matter was referred to Mr Hawcridge (of the School of Art) and Mr Bossence for report.

- ODT, 17.5.1917.



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