The following rhythmic plays compiled by Mr. John N. Richards of the Newark Department of Physical Education have been devised to meet the needs in the transition of Physical Education activities between the kindergarten and the first few years of the primary school.
The physiologist tells us that the nervous organism of early childhood is injured by the strain of strict, immobile attention required in formal gymnastics. Therefore it is wise to hold the child's interest and attention by means of dramatized nursery plays. These make little strain on mental application and the child is able to dramatize in motion the words and music which are planned to develop his motor co-ordination. In this way the child is gradually and interestingly led from the freedom of expression, characteristic of babyhood to the more specialized formal activities of the third and fourth years in the school.
Mr. Richards' contribution merits widespread usage because he has clearly and definitely described his rhythm plays so that the classroom teacher can easily make use of them without having to draw on her imagination or having to guess at the written explanation.
The book should be useful and welcomed too, not only by the classroom teacher but also by the specialist and supervisor of Physical Education.
Randall D. Warden
Director of Physical Education, Newark, N.J., Public SchoolsINTRODUCTION
The young people of to-day are most fortunate in their opportunities and advantages. The home, the school, the shop, social life and play offer increasing fields for service. The ever increasing number of problems which must be faced, in this reconstruction period of our nation's life, demands leaders of broad intellect, clear vision and sound judgment. Coupled with these qualifications there must be developed a moral earnestness which will make for better citizenship.
The trend of society movement is undoubtedly toward congested city life. There is lamentable lack of playgrounds and properly equipped gymnasiums. The school buildings are crowded to capacity and there is a rush and hurry of life which challenges the attention of all educators who are interested in the physical well-being of children.
The priceless assets of our communities are the boys and girls who are growing into manhood and womanhood. We should spare neither expense nor energy in fitting them physically, mentally and spiritually for the great problems which will all too soon be theirs.
Exercise habits and a spirit of fair play must be a part of their training from the early school days. There is no better way of inculcating these lessons than through story plays and games during their first school years.
The material contained in this book is practical. The exercise movements have been set to music which is popular both in the schools and in the homes. It is carefully graded and should prove to be of great assistance to the teachers in the lower grades. It tends to bridge over the gap between the Kindergarten and the Primary Grade activities....