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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

J. William Harris


Thrift, that homely, old-fashioned virtue, is the theme of the following thesis. Webster defines it as "care and wisdom in the management of one's resources." Now, in our national emergency, we find it becoming the mode, and likely to be valued more and more as America assumes her world responsibility. If we have trained to thrift in the necessities of life, we have reserve with which to bring into it also. Often, to save an object calls forth resourcefulness and creative ability. Witness the antimacassars of a day gone by, lovely webs of lace and linen, made by the lady who wished to save her chairs and sofa from hair oil. During the twelve years it has been my privilege to conduct a kindergarten, the search for literature to bring home needed lessons in conservation to the small people in my care has been disappointing. Feeling deeply that we need to teach our children to save, I have been forced to create my own teaching material. After much thought upon the subject, the following stories and poems resulted. As they unfolded in my mind, I told them, orally, to my kindergarten children, to find how they reacted to them. Now, hoping that they may be of use to other teachers of the very young, I have attempted to catch them from the blue, and fasten them down by small black words on this white paper. Children, I have found, have a perception for the beauty of nature, approaching spirituality. "But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home Heaven lies about us in our infancy"1

Because the relation of the young child to nature is such a close and intimate one, there is little need for lessons in natural conservation. For this reason only four of the following stories deal with this subject: "The Search for Spring", "The Poppy Family", "Bird Friends" and "Seed Babies."

Little ones cannot save forests, but they can be lead to cherish flowers of the wild . A low shelf of vases and flower-frogs of various sizes and color pays big dividends in beauty. The flowers of the field which they pick in such abundance, take on a new interest. They are no longer cast aside, or left to wilt, but made into charming arrangements. "Great oaks from little acorns grow." May we hope these same little ones will be the adults who save our giant Sequoias from extinction? The bulk of the stories deal with lessons of thrift in the material environment of the little child. If we can lead him to save tangibles here, we add to his appreciation and creativeness. There is great pleasure for children in discarded things: milk tops, cheese cartons, berry-baskets, egg-shells or bright stripes of cloth. A "Rag-Bag-Rug" may be loomed by them, to be displayed with dancing eyes. Expensive toys are not needed for true happiness.

The child does not communicate with others in order to share thoughts; he does so in order to play. An adult thinks socially even when alone, but child under seven things egocentrically, even in the society of others.

So we are shown that for the child, the external world is perceived by means of schema of internal origin. Intellectual evolution requires that both mind and environment should make their contributions.

We are justified in meeting the small child on his own plane. "In the course of our studies on child psychology we had expected to fix seven to eight years as the age before which no genuinely physical explanation could be given of natural phenomena. Our present enquiry entirely confirms this expectation."2



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