The New View of the Child
[T]he instinctive, impulsive attitudes and activities of the child . . . numberless spontaneous activities of children, plays, games, mimic efforts, even the apparently meaningless motions of infants -- exhibitions previously ignored as trivial, futile, or even condemned as positively evil -- are capable of educational use; nay, are the foundation-stones of educational method.
-- John Dewey58
Speaking before the First Annual Conference on Child Labor, Jane Addams, the founder of Chicago's Hull House, stressed the centrality of the new education theories to the child labor movement. Noting that it was "formerly assumed that a child went to school unwillingly," Addams asserted that the "new pedagogy . . . holds that it is a child's instinct and pleasure to exercise all his faculties and to make discoveries in the world around him, that it is the chief business of the teacher merely to direct his activity and to feed his insatiable curiosity."59 Speaking of the uniformity of interests between child labor activists and modern educational theorists, she noted that "advocates for child labor legislation, as all the sessions of this conference have testified, are most heartily in sympathy with this new standpoint . . . [and that] in several notable instances the advanced educator is he who is most conspicuously striving for adequate legal protection for the child." 60
An alliance with advanced educators was natural to the child labor activists not only because child labor laws forced children into the schools, but also because the advanced educational theories allowed child labor ac
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Publication information: Book title: The American Welfare System:Origins, Structure, and Effects. Contributors: Howard Gensler - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 23.
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