Wisconsin. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Suggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations online

. (page 3 of 9)
Online LibraryWisconsin. Dept. of Public InstructionSuggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations → online text (page 3 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

bulletin, "School Lunches" as a standard, determine whether individual
children whose parents are members of the club are obtaining sufTicient
nourishment. Get the teacher, on a certain day (the selection of which is
not known beforehand) to have the children write out in school, without
signing names, exactly what they ate at home for the noon lunch. Are there
any that had no lunch? Any whose lunches were obviously insufficient or
poorly selected? Pick out a number of the best lunches and place them on a

♦The topic of health is one on which any number of bulletin and book helps may
be secured easily. The outline here has therefore been made brief and suggestive
only, as associations can easily secure miich printed material.

Pupil Health and Hygiene


/ will:

— Venerate my body, but not baby it!

— Keep it clean with soap, water, and fresh air.

— Keep my mind clean and upon healthful out-door life
and sports.

— Let the air arid sunlight come freely into the house I live
in and the building I work in.

— Work hard and play hard.

And remember always, that to fulfill God's purpose, a human
being is entitled to living and working conditions at least
as good as are required by productive poultry and dairy




Copies of the chart from which this plate has been photographed may be secured
from the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The
chart is 20x25 inches.

24 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

chart as models for the home lunch, or, in case children eat at school, the
school lunch. (Sec plates V and VI. Menus are taken from U. S. bulletin
"School Lunches.") Make the same study with regard to the child's break-
fast or supper.*

It has been found that children in the lower grades do school work much
better if they have a light lunch jn the middle of the forenoon, such as
crackers and milk or cocoa. Work out the cost of such a lunch per day,
if instituted in the lower grades, and also the cost per parent per month.
May it not be well for the mothers involved, to try out this system for a
month or so with the consent of the school board to see how it works out?
In case it is successful, the school board will be likely to take it up as a
permanent thing.

Make a study of the number of children in the local school who carry
their lunch to school to eat at noon. In case there are large numbers of chil-
dren, the club will want to consider the hot noon lunch or the "penny
lunch." From your knowledge of marketing, of children's appetit(s, and
of the cost of preparation of a lunch, work out a schedule of prices at which
nourishing articles of diet might be sold to children at noon. "Will the
domestic science classes take this in charge, and the mothers help with
iinarcing of the procedure? The hot school lunch is often found a most
valuable activity to institute in a school.

3. Sleep and Fresh Air

The growing child in the grades should have at least ten hours sleep.
I. ate hours, many moving picture shows, and poor ventilation are direct
enemies of pupil elTiciency in school. What are the conditions in your
locality, and how can they be remedied?

Make a study of your own children and those of various other club
members to see how many hours of sleep each gets every night per week.
I low many have less than seven hours sleep? How many have seven hours,
eight, nine, ten, and over ten hours of sleep? What are the obstacles to
prevent the children with insufTicient sleep from getting more?

What conditions olitain in the sleeping rooms for your children? Are
children encouraged to open the windows? Do they have a warm place
to dress in during the winter? Are there always sufficient bedclothes above
and below children? Is the necessity for fresh air recognised and met?

In connection with this, find how many children study at home in the
evening. Do these children sleep as well as the others? Do they ever com-
plain of headaches? Can something be done to take away the necessity
for evening study on their part?

4. Teeth, Hair, Eyes, Ears, etc.


One county in Wisconsin multiplied the number of children using tooth-
brushes by two in two years, simply by making a study each year of the
number who were using this instrument and encouraging the spread of

♦In the preparation of this topic for the school exhibit, it will be well to have
eatables prepared for the various school lunches and grouped attractively under
the chart as object lessons in lunch preparation.

Pupil Health and Hygiene 25


Poached eggs, bread and butter, spinach or other greens, cake

Beef stew with vegetables, milk, tea biscuits, honey

Dried bean or pea puree, toast, baked apple, cookies

Vegetable soup, zwieback, rice with maple sugar and butter or
with milk or cream

Potato chowder, crackert% jelly sandwiches

Cold meat, creamed potatoes, bread and butter, frozen custard
and plain cake

Lamb chop, baked potatoes, bread and butter, sliced mixed
fruits, cookies



20 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions


Sandwiches with sliced tender meat for filling, baked apple,


Slices of meat loaf, bread and butter sandwiches, stewed fruit,
small frosted cake

Lettuce or celery sandwiches, cup custard, jelly sandwiches

Cottage cheese and chopped green pepper sandwiches, peanut
sandwiches, fruit, cake

Raisin or nut bread with butter, cheese, orange, maple sugar

Baked bean and lettuce sandwiches, apple sauce, sweet chocolate


pi.A ric VI

Pupil Health and Hygiene 27

its use. "Tooth Brush Drills" are held in many large cities. If the children
eat their lunches at school, this is a good time to have them practice
cleanliness of the mouth; if at home, mothers must cooperate to have this
work done.

Does your child own a toothbrush and use it regularly? Consult wth
the teacher as to the advisability of having a dentist come to the school to
examine the teeth of children. This would not necessitate the same den-
tist's doing the repair work, but would show to what extent attention to
the teeth is necessary in the grades. Some large toothpaste manufacturers
have special bulletins and offers for schools.


How many of the children in the various grades wear glasses? Ask a
teacher to report, or with her permission, visit and observe how many
children hold their reading books in reading lesson close to their eyes, how
many squint, and how many seem unable to see the front board clearly.
If possible, get an eye chart from the nearest optician and have the teacher
test the eyes of the children with it.

Frequently the lighting of the school as well as the lighting at home is a
source of eye trouble.* The child should not sit near an unshaded lamp
or globe to read or study. Get a few of the more careful mothers and teach-
ers to tell how they look out for the eye health of their children.


Some tests may l)e conducted with the hearing of the children. This
is ordinarily less of a problem than eyesight in the lower grades. Some-
times, however, it is found that what is supposed to be stupidity in a child
is really defective hearing. This makes it most necessary to determine
which of the children need special attention in this regard.

General Cleanliness

Through discussion, decide on the extent to which a child may keep
always cleah and neat. Is it possible that children will always be clean?
Can ragged clothes always be avoided? Is it possible to guard against
contagion of vermin, etc., at all times?

Bring out the fact that it is only through a general standard of neatness
in all the children in a schoolroom that any one child can be kept clean
and neat. I'he single child with vermin may communicate this pest to
many of the other children in the room, who would not otherwise be con-
taminated. If there are bad conditions along these lines, they may be
remedied by suggestions made by the teacher, by handkerchief drills,
regular "clean-ups" by the children at some given time during the school
session, or in extreme cases, by rulings of the school board.

5. Communicable Diseases

Study the rules of the State Board of Health relating to school children
and diseases. Notice especially the outline of suggestions to teachers
quoted here:

*See Section IV, Physical Conditions.

28 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

"1. Teachers should remember that infection enters and leaves the
body in the secretions of the mouth, nose, throat, intestines and through
the skin.

"2. Sunshine, pure air, good food, exercise and cleanliness are the best
aids to good health,

"3. The exchange or borrowing of all articles which might be used in
common, such as pencils, penholders and slates, which are liable to be
soiled with secretions of the eye, nose or mouth should be prohibited.

"4. When diphtheria or scarlet fever is present in the community, all
children with sore throats or discharging noses or ears should be excluded
from school, and no child returning to school, after an attack, with dis-
charging nose or ears or without a permit from the health officer should
be allowed to remain.

"6. When measles is present in the community, all children showing
symptoms of a marked cold in the head should be immediately excluded
from school.

"7. All children with whooping cough should be kept at home."

6. The School Nurse

Many cities and counties of Wisconsin find that it pays to employ a
school nurse to look after the health of the school children, visit homes
where visiting is needed and call the attention of parents to conditions
which should be remedied. Often because a community is itself small,
it feels that it cannot afford a school nurse, but by combining with other
communities, all can reap the benefit of this public official. Some women's
clubs in the east have employed a school nurse for a month to demon-
strate her usefulness, and the school board has continued the employment.
Literature on this subject may be obtained from the Wisconsin Anti-
Tuberculosis Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Have the local physician or health board member address the club on
the subject of keeping well. The University Extension Division and the
Anti-Tuberculosis Society also send out speakers in this field.


Note: In dealing with the topics under this section, three free bulletins should be
made special use of. These are "Rules Relating to the Sanitary Care of Schools,"
Wisconsin State Board of Health, Madison, and the two building codes, for new
buildings, and for existing buildings, issued by the Industrial Commission, Madison,
Wisconsin. The State Department of Public Instruction has in preparation a
bulletin on this subject.

This section quotes freely from the rules of all and has included also material
which none of these pamphlets as yet include. The rules mentioned in these three
pamphlets have the force of law, although a number of them are advisory rather
than mandatory.

The subject of physical conditions in the schoolroom is one which affects every
child, parent, and teacher. None of the children can be healthy or can do the best
work if they go to school in a building whose physical conditions are bad. None
of the teachers can do the best teaching work in such a building. None of the
parents should tolerate conditions other than the best, except where the local
situation makes it inexpedient to advance too rapidly.

1. Location

A. Standard. "All sites should be dry and should contain space
sufficient for ample and suitable playground. High ground should be
selected wherever possible. Made land or land impregnated wdth organic
matter should not be selected. No part of a school site should be within
500 feet of a steam railroad or manufacturing plants, which may be
sources of noise or smoke, swampy places, livery stables, saloons, or other
buildings which may be sources of unhealthful conditions."! The size
should be for a city at least 300 feet square, for a rural school not less
than one acre; for any school not more than 20 per cent of ground should
be used for building and 80 per cent should consist of playground and

B. Comparison. Give reasons for these standards. Compare the
local school in detail with them. Is the school located on high ground?
What sort of soil is the formation? (Consult local surveyor for plan
of plot and information as to ground conditions, etc.) Study the drainage
of the school site to be sure that it is healthful as a location for a school.
Make a diagram of the school building, together with land 500 feet dis-
tant on each side. Plot homes, stores, street car tracks, or other items
of evironment. If unfavorable conditions are found, can anything be

2. Building

A. Standard. The ground floor of the school building should be at
least three feet above the ground level. All brick school buildings and
others, if possible, should have a well-lighted, dry basement under the
schoolhouse. Basements should be 9 feet high in the clear and at least
4§ feet of this should come above the grade line. The basement should
not be used for classrooms, but may be used for industrial work, for
district gatherings, etc.

*See "Standard One-teacher School" in State Common School Manual, Dept.
of Public Instruction.

tQuoted from the Rules and Regulations for School Buildings of the state of

S. C— 2

30 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

In each school or classroora, the minimum floor space, exclusive of
cloakrooms, is — for primary grades, 12 square feet per person; for grammar
grades, 14 square feet per person, all others, 16 square feet per person.
A more liberal allowance of floor space (16 to 20 square feet per person)
is recommended. The room should be at least 12 feet high, and there
should be at least 200 cubic feet of air space per pupil. Adequate cloak-
rooms, library room, and toilets should be provided. Buildings of more
than one story should either be fireproof (built of incombustible or water-
proof material) e.vcept that fmished floors, frames, and the usual trim of
rooms are of ordinary wood construction, wdth a dead air space behind
wood, — or should have ample fire protection and an adequate number of
stairways. Specifications for adequate fire protection are:

a. Separate fuel rooms in the basement

b. No rubbish or inflammable material under stairways

c. Outside fire escapes for buildings two or more stories high

d. Frequent fire drills*

[Most fires resulting in deaths start in the basement.]

B. Comparison. Report on the local school building according to
these standards. How high is the first floor above ground level? Has
the school building a basement, and, if so, what is its condition? Where
is the fuel kept? Is there any inflammable material near furnace, which
might cause school iire? How are the stairways arranged? How large
are the classrooms? (Measure length and breadth and multiply to find
number of square feet). How many square feet of space per pupil? How
high are the rooms? Calculate the number of cubic feet of air in the
schoolroom, divide by number of pupils, plus teacher, and compare the
resulting amount of cubic feet of space per pupil with the standard. Do
all the doors open outward? How are the stairways arranged? Are
there outside fire escapes? If so, how many, and with possible exit in
what condition? Find out from the teacher how often fire drills are held,
how long it takes the pupils to get out of the building, how good the order
of exit is, and whether any sort of general instruction in fire prevention
and lines of action in case of fire are given in the school? (Write Fire
Marshal, Madison, Wisconsin.)

If the condition of the building is bad, there are a number of ways in
which a club may improve conditions. Perhaps the janitor has not suffi-
cient equipment to make good work possible for him. Talk to him in
a helpful way, to find out whether he cannot be induced to keep the
building in a better condition. In the case of needed equipment, the
board must be approached if the club does not wish itself to purchase this
for the school. An extreme measure to be used only in extreme cases is
requested condemnation of the school building. Upon application of a
local voter, local educational officer, or the county superintendent,
the state superintendent is instructed by law to appoint an inspector who
will report on the condition of the school building and, if necessary, order
its condemnation and the erection of a new building, when conditions
are so bad as to make school attendance dangerous to pupils' health.

♦See Building Code.

Physical Conditions 31

3. Heating and Ventilation

.4. Standard. For a common school, the stove should be inclosed
within a shield or jacket made of galvanized iron, or other suitable mater-
ial, and of such height and so placed as to protect all pupils from direct
rays of heat while seated at their desks. If possible, furnace or some
other system of basement heating should be installed. A jacketed stove
should have a direct fresh air inlet about 12 inches square, opening through
the wall of the schoolhouse into the jacket against the middle or hottest
part of the stove. (Why?) Each schoolroom should be provided with
foul air flues at least 16 inches square, with exit on the wall (at the floor
level) on the same side of the room as the stove. The temperature of
the schoolroom should be from 66 to 70 degrees, usually 68 degrees.
School should be dismissed when temperature falls below 60 degrees,
without immediate prospect of the correct temperature being attained.

In mild weather all windows should be kept wide open. In severe
weather window-board ventilators should make it possible to keep the
windows open at least 6 to 10 inches. Such ventilators consist of a plain
strip of board about a foot wide, nailed to the bottom of the window
frame. This board directs the air coming in at the window upward, and
is such an effective arrangement that one women's club made window-
boards its chief donation to the school. Ventilators are also made out of
verj'- coarse and open burlap or sacking stretched upon a frame, through
which some fresh air may pass.

The humidity of a room means the amount of moisture which is held
in solution by the air. When air is exceptionally dry, as often happens
in steam-heated houses in the winter months, it causes the lips to crack
and the skin to feel thin and dry. The humidity in a schoolroom should
be at least 40 per cent. It may be kept high by the introduction of fresh
air and by the use of large evaporating pans.

B. Comparison. Compare the schoolrooms in the local building with
this standard. Inspect the heating arrangements. If complicated, get
the janitor to explain them fully. Draw diagrams if necessary. Get
the opinion of the teacher on the efficiency of the heating system. If
there is inadequacy, discuss what can be done.

Locate fresh air inlet pipe and foul air outlet pipe, if they exist. If
there are none, what will you expect the air in the schoolroom to be?

Ask the teacher to have the children make a temperature chart for a
week during the winter months.* On visits during the class hours note
whether the ventilation pipes are open, note the condition of the windows,
whether affording any help in ventilating or not, and note also the tem-
oerature of the schoolroom. On a visit or two during recess, the noon
hour, or when school is not being held, note what is bfo'ng done to change
air and inject fresh air into the room. Note temperature of school
building on several diHerent occasions and report.

Has the school been dismissed any time during the past year on account
of the temperature falling too low, and, if so, how many times, and could

*Iii view of the frequent untrustworthiness of thermometers, it will be well
to have the teacher regulate the school thermometer from a thermometer known to
be correct — perhaps from a thermometer owned by the local doctor.

32 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

the condition have been remedied? What is the percentage of loss from
dismissing school on account of bad physical conditions? Visit a gymnastic
exercise and note ventilation provided.

Does the temperature record on several separated days show that the
heating should be regulated by adjustment of windows, heating apparatus,
or ventilators oftener than it is now done?

Each school should own a hygrometer, or instrument for the measure-
ment of humidity, which may be purchased for from $2 to $5. (Be sure a
hygrometer which does not require reference to tables is furnished).
With the hygrometer measure the humidity of the room on several occa-
sions and see where the conditions need changing.

Wrong conditions may be remedied by friendly suggestions, by purchase,
by suggestions to the board, and by newspaper publicity.

4. Sanitation, Seating, Etc.

A. Standard. Water. All schoolhouses must be supplied with pure
drinking water. If the drinking water is obtained from wells, satisfactory
troughs and drains must be provided, so as to carry away the waste water.
When the water is not supplied from pumps, from water faucets, or from
sanitary flowing drinking fountains, covered tanks or covered coolers
with free flowing faucets must be supplied. A common drinking cup is
always dangerous and should never be tolerated. Individual cups, as
practical experience has proved, when used more than once are unsatis-
factory and unhygienic. Sufficient pressure for running water for drinking
fountain or other uses in the school may always be provided from any
source without excessive expense by a storage tank or by a pressure tank
with force pump.

Toilets and water-closets should be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
Floors should be kept dry. There should be frequent disinfection to pre-
vent odors and unhealthful conditions, and it should be ascertained that
the method of disposing of refuse is efficient and in conformity with the
state laws of health.

Seating. Each child should have a seat which should be as far from the
floor as the distance from the sole of the foot to the joint of the knee. The
depth of the seat should be such that the child can sit against the back of
the seat in comfort. The desk for writing should be nearer the pupil than
for reading (from 6 to 10 inches from pupil when sitting against back of
seat). Aisles should be not less than 18 to 20 inches wide.

Every schoolhouse should have single adjustable seats and desks, and
these should be adjusted at the beginning of each school year, and durmg
the year if the growth of the children makes it necessary. The rows of
seats should be graduated in size by rows lengthwise and not crosswise of
the room — that is, there should be a row of small seats on the right hand
side of the room and rows of larger seats up to the row of largest seats to
the left of the schoolroom, rather than having the front seats small and
the back seats the largest.

Lighting. Light should be admitted from the left or from the left and
rear of the classrooms, and the south light is considered poorest. The glass
area of windows should equal at least one-fifth of the floor area of the

Physical Conditions 33

schoolroom, and no pupil should be farther removed from the principal
source of light than 22 feet. (See Plates VII, VIII, X, and XI).

Every window should be provided with shades. If possible, shades
should roll from either the top or bottom of the window, so that light may
be admitted from the top, making the best lighting condition. In a room
with, southern exposure shades should be of some dark material, preferably
green. For rooms using a northern light shades should be light tan. If
possible, it is well to have shades of both colors to allow for various con-
ditions of light. Shades should ordinarily be adjusted so that the
top half of the window is unshaded. Windows should be cut as nearly
as possible to the top of the schoolroom.

B. Comparison. Water. Report on the drinking conditions of the school-
house. Has any typhoid fever been reported among the school children
in your district during the last five years? (Consult local physician). Also
have local health officer write the State Laboratory of Hygiene, Madison,
Wisconsin, and secure an analysis of the water. How is water supplied for

1 3 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryWisconsin. Dept. of Public InstructionSuggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations → online text (page 3 of 9)