The subjects of this series of lessons are mainly such insects or other animals as the children may observe for themselves.
The lessons aim to give illustrations of some of the varied means of self-protection employed by animals; their methods of home-building and of caring for their young; the transformations they undergo; the adaptability to their surroundings as shown by their coverings and the “tools” with which the various animals are provided.
The purpose in attempting to bring these thoughts to the youngest readers is manifold.
It is hoped that such readers may become interested, while children, in the abundant life about them, and that when this interest is gratified by learning of the wonderful lives and habits of these “little people,” a respect for all life may be inculcated.
It is desirable that children acquire such feeling for lives weaker than their own, that they may never give unnecessary pain to any creature and never take a life except in self-defense or for some other very good reason. A child thus trained to feel for the lower forms of life cannot fail to be more considerate of his own kind.
By interesting children in the wonderful ways of insects, it is hoped that the timid, fearful children, who scream if a “bug” happens to come near them, may become less fearful and find pleasure where they once found only pain. Let them learn that in most cases these insects will do them no harm, if unmolested. Let the children see that it is possible for us to learn much about insects or animals without hurting, or even touching them.
The purpose is to discourage the study of any animal at the cost of its life, or of giving it pain. If the animal cannot be kept in the school-room with a home and comforts reasonable like its own, it should not be kept there at all. The children may be led to search and observe it in its natural environment. That is the place to study life.
Leave the collecting and pulling to pieces and naming of parts to older and more scientific people, if such work must be done. Do not ask it of the tender-hearted little children, and do not countenance it in the children more cruel by nature. All knowledge that children gain by taking life or giving pain to beings weaker than themselves, seems to me to be gained at the expense of their moral nature, and is therefore better done without.
Finally, it is surely impossible to become acquainted, even in a slight degree, with these expressions of the wordrous thoughts of God, without being drawn nearer to their Maker and ours.
Softcover, 172 pages.