Amy E. (Amy Eliza) Tanner.

The child; online

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scientific and objective basis for education in all its
aspects. From the point of view of applied psychology,
that is, behavior is the significant thing, and the mental
state assumes importance only as an interpretation of
behavior and so as being of assistance in controlling
otherwise inexplicable changes in behavior.

General Remarks 15

We already have a large body of facts about children,
partly accurate and partly inaccurate. Systematic child
study should supplement and correct these by careful
observation and description and thus give a firm basis
for the science of education.

In this study, two methods are possible, each of which
may be pursued in two different ways: (i) We may
study some individual child with great care
and detail, or (2) we may collect statistics ^^/^°^f i*^
from large numbers of children. In both
cases we may get our material simply from observing
children, or experiment upon them by fixing certain
conditions under which they shall act.

(i) Individual study has the decided advantage of
accuracy in details. We become intimately acquainted
with some one child, and learn to see the various fine
shadings of his mind. We discern the gradually increasing
complexity of his mental processes. We can see the
close connection between mind and body in many details,
and trace to their origin numerous quaint ideas and
marked characteristics. In this way we can learn to
deal with this one child so that we shall make com-
paratively few mistakes, even though our theoretical
knowledge be not very wide.

On the other hand, such a study fails us in many
respects when we come to work with other children.
We cannot be certain which of this child's traits are
peculiar to him or his family and which are common
to all children of his age, nor can we be sure just what
importance to attach to certain traits. We cannot tell
whether to ignore them because they will naturally be
outgrown, or to repress them.

(2) Group study aims to give just this sort of informa-
tion. It collects data from large numbers of children of

i6 The Child

all ages, compares them, and finally is able to make a
statement about certain characteristics of the great major-
ity of children of each age. Such general statements,
when based upon sufficient data, rest upon the same kind
of foundation that the laws of any science do, and have
the same authority.

It is evident that such group study is strong where
individual study is weak and, vice versa, is weak where
individual study is strong. It lacks the detail and
vividness of the individual study, but is more generally
true and is likely to be a safer guide when difficulties come
up in treating the average child whom we have not had
the opportunity to study. The two methods should,
therefore, supplement each other. Each parent or
teacher should get a perspective for himself by a knowl-
edge of the general facts of child nature, and then fill in
details by a study of the Mary and Johnnie with whom
he lives.

This outline of child nature is what child study hopes
to accomplish, but as yet the outline is fragmentary.
More observations have been made on the
^^"id^^t *d physical nature of the child than on any-
thing else, but even here there is great
divergence of opinion as to the meaning of the facts
observed and as to their practical bearing. Good work
has been done on small groups of children in observing
most of the mental processes and some of the forms of
expression. From this we may get hints for an educational
theory, but it is valuable so far principally in giving
suggestions for further observations.

If, therefore, few conclusions are reached in the study
given here, it must be remembered that this is inevitable
under present conditions. It is easy to form a theory
if we have studied only a few children, but the more data

General Remarks 17

we gather from large niimbers of children the more
probable it seems that our present educational theories
must be considerably enlarged and altered before they
will be applicable to most children.

The object of this book is not, therefore, so much to
offer conclusions, as to outline what has been done, to
show breaks in the outline, and to point out places for
future work.


Growth of the Body

ALL weighing should be done with the child nude,
and all measuring without his shoes on.

1. Beginning with birth, keep a record of the changes
in weight and height. For the first month, weigh and

measure the baby every week; thence, to
Observa- ^j^g q^^ of ^j^g f^j-st year, every month;
tions , ,, . / ^,

thence, every three or six months. There

is very little material at present on changes between the
first and the sixth year, and any parents who will keep
such a record carefully will help to fill one of the gaps
in the subject of child study.

2. If you do not undertake any systematic record,
at least weigh and measure your children now and see
how they compare with the average weight and height
as shown in the tables.

3. In some schools it is possible for a teacher to get
statistics as to the height and weight of each child in
her room. Where she cannot do so, she can usually get
the height and weight of children who are peculiar, to
see how they compare with the average height and
weight as shown in the tables.

4. In cases where children fall below the average,
begin a little experimenting, if possible under a. physi-
cian's advice, with their food and work. Keep a record of
the changes you make in the food and the work, and of
the effect upon the children.


Growth of the Body


As our knowledge of the mind increases we see more
and more the close interrelation of mind and body,
and we realize that in trying to understand jj^portance
the condition of either at any time, we of the
must take into consideration the effect of subject
each upon the other. We have no right to expect the

Diagram i. Showing the Relative Proportions of the Body in Child
AND Adult. (Langer.)

same mental work or the same moral standards from a
child who is sick, or cold, or hungry, as from the one who
is healthy, well fed, and well clad. The parent whose
child is much below the average in growth or in the

20 The Child

control of his muscles, should be warned thereby to be on
the watch for various mental or moral abnormalities.
As there is no way of watching a child's mind except as
he reveals it through his movements, it becomes of great
importance that we should understand at least a little of
what his movements signify.

It is not uncommonly assumed that a child is simply
a little man or woman. How untrue this is as to his
body, a glance at Diagram i reveals. A
Child versus child who grew to manhood preserving his
childish proportions would be a monstros-
ity. What is so evidently true of the body as a
whole applies equally to details. The internal organs,
the bones, blood, fat, marrow, and nerves all dififer so
materially from the adult's that when similar chemical
structures are found in him, they are considered path-
ological. We cannot, therefore, believe that a child
can eat the same food, breathe the same air, wear the
same clothing, and take the same exercise as an adult,
and obtain the highest degree of health.

Considering first the increase in weight from birth to
adolescence, observations upon hundreds of thousands of
^ . , children show that at birth the average

weight of a boy is 7.3 pounds; of a girl, 7.1
pounds. The boys' weights vary from 3 pounds to 12
pounds, but 87 per cent of them weigh between 6 and 9
pounds. The weights of the girls come within the limits
of 4 and II pounds, with 85 per cent between 6 and 9
pounds. The limits of safety, then, for both boys and
girls, seem to be 6 and 9 pounds.

One of the most interesting characteristics of growth,
both in height and weight, is its rapidly diminishing rate
after as well as before birth. During the first three
months of embryonic life it is estimated that the weight

Growth of the Body 21

increases 400,000,000 per cent; during the second three,

5,182 per cent; during the last three, 252 per cent; while

from birth to maturity the child will grow ,

° Lessening

only about twenty-fold and during the first rate of
year after birth only about three-fold. By growth
the end of the first year the average boy weighs 21.9
pounds and the average girl 21.3 pounds. KoplLk gives
the following average rates of growth during the first
year: from the second week to the fourth month, one
ounce a day; from the fourth to the sixth month, one
half to two thirds of an ounce a day; from the sixth to
the twelfth, one half an ounce a day. At six months the
child should weigh about twice what he did at birth.

During the nursing period there is no one health index
more important than that of increase in weight. If a
baby begins to lose weight, or even remains station-
ary, no effort should be spared to find the cause and to
remedy it.

In the registration area of the United States in 19 10
the deaths of babies under one year constituted more
than one sixth the total number of deaths — infant
140,057 out of 732,538. As the registration mortality
area is only 55 per cent of the total population, nearly
twice this number of babies dies every year, and Irving
Fisher estimates that 47 per cent of these deaths are from
preventable causes. Thirty per cent, or nearly one third,
are due to diarrheal diseases, and only 15 to 20 per cent
to pneumonia and bronchitis.

These digestive disturbances have various important
causes. In breast-fed babies the mother's milk may not
be sufficient in amount or may be lacking in
food quaHties, so that it needs to be supple-
mented by other food. In babies not breast-fed, the
milk or food used may be indigestible for the baby; or

22 The Child

may be lacking in some of the necessary food qualities;
or, still worse, it may be impure, so that the baby gets
some bacterial disease. Numerous investigations show
that breast-fed babies have a great advantage over those
artificially fed. Their death rate is conservatively esti-
mated to be only one fifth or one sixth as large as that
of the artificially-fed babies; they are likely to weigh
more, their general health is better, and their develop-
ment is more likely to be normal.

Chemistry shows us why this is so. Milk is not just
milk. Its composition varies greatly even from one
breed of cows to another, and still more widely from
animals to man. With a healthy mother, the milk is
perfectly adapted to the needs of the child, and not only
this but its composition changes during the. months of
the nursing period so that it supplies the different sub-
stances needed for growth at different ages. Any arti-
ficial substitute is almost inevitably lacking in some of
these or else has them in excess, and the result is more
or less defective nutrition or indigestion.

Accordingly, we find physicians stressing more and
more the great importance of a mother nursing her child
as far as possible. Every three months that a baby gets
the proper food increase its chances of life and health
tremendously, and every possible means should be used
to increase and prolong the natural supply.

If artificial food is also needed, great care should be
used both in selecting the food and in keeping it pure.
In most cases a physician should be consiilted, and the
baby shotdd be carefully watched and weighed in order
to be sure that it is gaining the proper amount. Fortu-
nately, iii many of our cities now there are milk stations
where poor mothers may obtain pure milk either at cost
or free, and may also get the services of a physician and

Growth of the Body


nurse free. Such stations have done much to reduce the
death toll of babies during the summer months and de-
serve town or city support.

We have very few records of increase in weight from
one to six years. Hall states that during the second
year the child should gain four or five pounds and by two
and a half years weigh about one fifth the adult weight.

By the sixth year, the average boy weighs 45.2 pounds;
the average girl, 43.4 pounds. Thence to the seventeenth
year, the following table shows the weights Average

in pounds, with ordinary indoor clothing. weights

Burk's Table Showing Average Weight of 68,000 American
Children in Boston, St. Louis, and Milwaukee







in lbs.






12 .2

Per cent


in lbs.






Per cent


9 9

II. 9


According to this table, for boys there is a fairly regular
increase in weight up to ten and one half years; then a
slightly retarded one to twelve and one half, and then
the adolescent more rapid increase up to the end of the
observed ages, sixteen and one half. The most rapid
rate is put at fifteen and one half years by most observers.
With girls the retardation period is very slight, and the
adolescent acceleration runs from eleven and one half to
fourteen and one half with the greatest height at twelve


The Child

and one half. In general girls weigh slightly less than
boys of the same age, but from twelve and one half to
fourteen and one half slightly more.

After the sixteenth year measurements on college
students show a progressive diminution in the rate of
growth, though there is some increase at least up to
twenty-five years. College students, however, are a
picked class, and probably their gro^vth is greater, both
absolutely and relatively, than that of the general pop-

The average newborn boy measures 19.68 inches, with
the extreme limits at 15 and 24 inches; the newborn girl
19.48 inches, with the limits at 16 and 23
^^^ inches. The most rapid growth in height,

as in weight, is in the first months of life. In the first
month, a child adds something like 2}4 inches to his
length and by the end of the first year has increased from
7 to 8 inches. At the time of the first dentition Camerer
observed a lessening of the rate of growth. At the age of
six years, the average boy measures 44.10 inches, the
average girl, 43.66 inches. Thence to the seventeenth
year, their average heights in inches are shown in the
following table. ^













1 ;

Boys . .
Girls . ,




48. lO












iThese measurements were taken without shoes. As only
American children are included in them, the measures are slightly
larger than the average. The American-born child is slightly
taller and heavier than the English, Irish. German, or Scandinavian
child. No comparative measurements exist for other nationalities.
We should also note here that the periods of most rapid increase,
both in height and in weight, are put from one to two years earlier
by some writers. Doubtless food, nationality, and climate influence
this. This table is taken from Bowditch.

Groiuth of the Body 25

There is probably a slight increase in height up to
twenty-five years, but there have been relatively few
measurements after the seventeenth year.

Here again we note a rhythm of much the same nature
as that of the increase in weight. The boys, as a rule,
are taller than the girls except between the ages of thirteen
and fourteen. Their periods of growth are more sharply
defined, and individuals differ from each other within
wider limits. The differences between individuals also
increase with age. It is sometimes said that up to adoles-
cence a child lives the race life; at adolescence there is
a strong development of family traits, and thereafter the
child becomes more individual.

The most marked fluctuations in growth occur between

the years of six and nine for both boys and girls, and

again between eleven and thirteen for girls, „. ,,
^ b ' Rhythms

and fourteen and sixteen for boys. The of growth

first period is closely connected with the ^"^ ^^^^'^

• r 1 1 -, -,-■,■, changes

gettmg of the second teeth, and with the

fact that at this time the brain is rapidly developing
fibers of connection between its various parts. On ac-
count of this brain growth, there is usually a marked
mental change in each child. He has more interests, he
plays more kinds of games, and he has a wider range of
friends than before. The second change is the accom-
paniment of puberty and will be considered later.

It is most interesting to notice that, taking into con-
sideration all the observations made, periods of rapid
growth in height precede periods of rapid Relations
growth in weight, although this is not between
so marked with girls as with boys. This hdrfit and
is true not only of the larger periods in weight
of which we have spoken, but of shorter periods
as well.

26 The Child

R. Malling-Hansen of Copenhagen made observations
upon one hundred and thirty boys from seven to fifteen
„, years of age, for a period of two years, to

rhythms find out what rhythms of growth occur with-

of growth ^^ ^j^g cycle of the year. He found these
well marked both in height and in weight. The period of
most rapid growth in weight is from August to Decem-
ber; of average growth, from December to the end of
April, and of least growth from April to August. Con-
versely, the greatest increase in height is from April to
August, and the least from August to December.

Within each month he observed rhythmical alterna-
tions, a period of growth of perhaps fifteen days alter-
nating with one of comparative rest. He also found a
similar rhythm within the week, and noticed that during
the day children increase in weight and decrease in height,
while during the night the converse is true. Heat and
light seem to accelerate increase in weight. Camerer
corroborates Malling-Hansen in most of his observa-
tions; and Vierordt and Fleischmann also corroborate the
weekly rhythms.

None of these observers has dealt with large numbers
of children, and therefore we need further data before
we can be sure that these rhythms are universal ; but the
various observers agree as far as they have gone, and
there seems to be no good reason a priori why the facts
should not be generally true.

When we consider the growth of the various organs of
the body, and of the skeleton, muscles, and nervous sys-
tem, the most striking fact is that it is irregu-
different° 1^^- ^^ ^^y given time, certain parts will
parts of the be developing rapidly, and others slowly.
° ^ The details of this growth are much too

complex to be given here, and their meaning is not yet

Growth of the Body


understood. It need only be stated that at adolescence
the heart and lungs, as well as the reproductive organs,
are growing very rapidly, and that between seven and nine
the brain is developing numerous fibers of connection,
although it is increasing little if any in size.

Vierordt's Table, Showing the Relative Growth of Various
Parts of the Body, Counting Size at Birth as 100.


Length of head

Upper part of head

Length of face

From chin to upper end of breastbone .




Height of foot .
Upper arm . . . .


End of

21 MOS.






































Relation of
size to food

It goes without saying that a child that is well fed
will be taller and heavier than he would be if he went
hungry, but there is another and erroneous
idea connected with this. We often assume
that any well-fed child will be taller and
heavier than one poorly fed. This is not so. Size de-
pends not only upon good nutrition but also upon nation-
ality, climate, and family. There seems to be a certain
size for each individual, which his body will strive des-
perately to reach even under the most unfavorable con-
ditions, but which it is not likely to exceed under any
circtmistances. In this struggle, disease or insufficient
food before the age of six has the most permanently bad
effects. After that time, any drawbacks will retard
growth temporarily, but will be followed by an unusually
rapid growth. A child who has had good health up to
the sixth year has an excellent start in life.

Bowditch's Tenth Report seems to show conclusively

28 The Child

that children of the poorer classes are lighter and shorter
than those of the well-to-do, though the differences are
small. All observers find that the professional classes
are, at any given age, taller and heavier than the labor-
ing classes. This is true in England, Germany, Denmark
and Sweden.

The rate of growth, however, does not seem to be
markedly different; that is, the poor child grows as
rapidly as the rich, but is shorter and lighter to begin
with. This seems to indicate that the embryonic and
early conditions of nutrition are the most important for
absolute weights and heights.

Exactly what importance should be assigned in growth
to food, race, and climate is still unsettled. Americans
are taller and heavier than other nationalities, but this
is not due exclusively to race, for an Irish- American or
German-American recruit is taller and heavier than his
brother in the old country. Food and climate evidently
have considerable influence here.

It is significant that idiots and imbeciles are usually

shorter and lighter than normal persons; but on the

_ , ^. , other hand, we must not forget that men of
Relation of ' ^

size to men- talent, if not of genius, are not infrequently
tal ability small. We cannot maintain that men below
a given height and weight are stupid, any more than we
can hold that size has no relation whatever to mental
ability. The case should probably be stated thus: Any
child who falls much below the size of other members of
his family at the same age, is also likely to fall below them
in intelligence. A more direct relation between mind
and body is given in bodily control, which we shall con-
sider later.

In view of the well-marked rhythms of growth, the ques-
tion at once arises as to their bearing upon education.

Growth of the Body


Should the child, while growing rapidly, have more or
less school work? Should we stimulate him or quiet
him? The most diverse answers have been pej-ods *
given to these questions. The chief con- growth and
flict has raged about the proper treatment education
of the adolescent boy and girl. We find some physicians
declaring that girls from twelve to fourteen years old
should be taken out of school entirely, and boys from
fourteen to sixteen years old given much less mental
work to do. Many educators, on the other hand, claim
that this is the tirne when permanent interests in all
subjects must be established. The child now lives in a
new world — one of ideals — and we must introduce him
as speedily as may be to the best in literature, history,
science, art, music, religion, and everything that goes to
make up our complex life.

We may perhaps untangle a few of the threads from
this knotted skein by comparing the periods of greatest
susceptibility to disease with those of adoles- ~. . . ,
cence. Dr. E. M. Hartwell of Boston has age to
made tables based on the mortality returns disease
of Boston for 1875, 1885, and 1890. He finds that
specific life-intensity, that is, ability to resist disease,
varies as follows:


Per cent of
in weight



Specific life



Per CENT of




5- 6.

6- 7.

7- 8.
9-10 .

lO-II .

11-12 .





69 5


169 3



290. 1

188. 1











Online LibraryAmy E. (Amy Eliza) TannerThe child; → online text (page 2 of 39)