f'agc 4 Mouwrnm I_n:r ANJ', Woox
The Minter Session at the John c Campbell J'olk School
The close of the fifth winter session of the John C. Campbell Folk School lea\ es us with renewed conviction of the wisdom of the general plan, a happy sense of progress made, and a variety of reflections as to what has proved practicable and what can be done in the future. That there are a large number of young people who need exactly such an ungraded, uncertified school as ours and who will increasingly patronize it, seems beyond
WHERE, THE STUDENTS LIVE
question, even if the public schools improve far more rapidly than they have done so far. If we fail to draw them, the fault will be largely in our lack of understanding of what and how to teach.
We have had twenty-two students this winter, the largest number so far, and all we could accommodate with any degree of comfort. Ten were girls and twelve boys. In age they averaged twenty-one; two of the boys were twenty-six, and two, whom we perhaps mistakenly admitted, only seventeen. We ourselves need no further experience to satisfy us that Grundtvig was right as to eighteen being the lowest age limit really desirable for a school of this type. Twenty or twenty-two is better. Younger boys and girls arc not ready for the lectures and discussion work which lead to a serious change in life. On the other hand we arc not willing yet to make an inflexible rule. We shall probably from time to time admit one or two of sixteen or seventeen for the influence of the general group life, and for special training in crafts or practical. work of house or farm.
We charge no tuition. Seventeen dollars and fifty cents a month covers board, including laundry.
This year no one was able to ana ke cash payments, and work hours during the four months' term arc not long enough to permit a full working out of the amount. The school, therefore, has had to arrange for the necessary extr a labor either before or after the term. Sonic of the group this year had worked several lveeks before the opening of the term, November first, and a number will be with us all summer in house, weaving room, shop, constrtzction work, or on the farm. We regard such experience and training as important parts of education for life. lndecd, we arc firm converts of Kristia.n Kold, the gr, at Danish folk-school man, who upheld the dignity of toil and the values inherent in the humble tasks of farm and home.
Three students had been through public high schools and the others had had from a very few grades to the eighth or ninth. Once cannot say in every case that those who have had the mast grades have gained the most out of the winter. Age has played an important part, also length of time spent at the school, and a variety of other factors having to do with personality and experience. While one cannot draw any final conclusions on the basis of age and previous education, the diversity has made group divisions necessary, especially in English and arithmetic. We have also found it desirable in some subjects to separate boys and girls on the basis of particular interests.
As far as possible we have tried to relate all the subjects to life and to the students' own experience and needs. For instance, one problem taken up in agriculture had to do with the getting of a farm, where to borrow money, and the various steps in the procedure. The boys hay a viewed history thrcugh the agriculture developed in arid or semiarid areas in the V/cst (Tndians, Mormons, Texans, cowboys, and irrigation), and have used this as a basis for a study of our local situation and possibilities. The story of weaving, illustrated by pictures and literature, has be--n the girls' approach to history. Present-day situations in Norway, Russia, and India may not seem at first glance to have much to do with Western ;`.forth Carolina, but this geography course has been developed with constant reference to our own life. One girl wrote: