This section is from the book "A Sewing Course For Teachers", by Mary Schenck Woolman. Also available from Amazon: A sewing course for teachers.
The present interest in the study of anthropology has had its effect on the course of study in the schools and has given an impetus to the revival of many primitive arts as a part of the curriculum. These are excellently fitted to the needs of early grades for intense interest is easily aroused in children by discussions and illustrations from the life of different peoples. The manner of living and the crafts of primitive nations such as the Esquimaux, the American Indian and the Filipino are being carefully studied therefore, with a view to utilizing their simple crafts as school work, at least for the early grades.
The Culture Epoch Theory, which was one of the educational results of the study of the evolution of various races, has greatly helped to develop a satisfactory manual training for young children. It has been largely instrumental, also, in eliminating the often pernicious handwork of the past. At that time uninteresting models or sectional parts of some article, often requiring over-fine adjustment, were alone to be found. This early manual training of the schools dealt with but one phase of handwork, i. e., manipulation, and failed to obtain the higher good inherent in the subject. Our more intelligent study of the child has shown us that such work often injured the mental, as well as the physical development. We have now, however, through the study of the occupations of primitive people, ample suggestions for real articles, simple in construction, fitted to the ability of the children and full of educational and social value in the hands of a wise teacher. Those who have watched and taken part in this movement have cause for much satisfaction that manual training has been thus enriched. It is, however, becoming clear to the more thoughtful that the evolution is not complete, and that further study and investigation are necessary, that the handwork may serve a still more important end than merely repeating race history.