The answer to the protest against too early and too constant confinement in school has always been: "Where will the child be if out of school? Will its environment at home not work a worse injury to its health? Will not the street injure its morals?" Because we have not yet worked out a method of supervising the health of those children who are not in school, it does not follow that such supervision is impossible. Perhaps the time will come when there will be state supervision over the health of children from birth, parents being expected to present them once a year at school for examination by the school physician. In this way defects can be corrected and health measures devised to build up a physique that should not break down under the strain of school life. For children whose mothers work during the day, and for those whose home environment is worse than school, it might be cheaper in the long run to assign teachers to protect them from injury while they play in a park, roof garden, or out-of-door gymnasium. If parks and playgrounds come too slowly, why not adopt the plan advocated by Alida S. Williams, a New York principal, of reserving certain streets for children between the hours of three and five, and of diverting traffic to other streets less suitable for children's play? So great is the value—mentally, morally, and physically—of out-of-door play that it has even been suggested that the substitution of such play for school for all children up to the age of ten would insure better minds and sounder physiques at fifteen. It is generally admitted that the child who enters school at eight rather than at six will be the gainer at twelve. What a travesty upon education to insist upon schooling for children because they are apt to be run over on the street, or to be neglected at home, to shoot craps, or belong to a gang and develop bad morals.

Educators will some day be ashamed to have made the schools the catch-all or the court-plaster for the evils of modern industry. Instead of pupils and mothers going to the school, enough hygiene teachers, and play teachers, and district physicians could be employed with the money now spent on indoor instruction to do the house-to-house visiting urged in many chapters of this book. Such a course of action would have an incalculable effect on the reduction of tuberculosis, not only in making healthier physiques but by inculcating habits of outdoor life and love of fresh air. The danger of those contagious diseases which ravish childhood would be greatly reduced. An ambition for physical integrity would make unnatural living unpopular. Competition in games with children of the same physical class develops accuracy, concentration, dispatch, resourcefulness, as much as does instruction in arithmetic. Smoking can easily be discredited among boys trying to hit the bull's-eye. A boy would sooner give up a glass of beer than the championship in rifle shooting or a "home run."

The influence of the "spirit of the game" on practical life has been described thus by New York's director of physical training, Dr. Luther H. Gulick:

Play is the spontaneous enlistment of the entire personality in the pursuit of some coveted end. We do not have to pursue the goal; we wish to—it is our main desire. This is the way in which greatest discoveries, fortunes, and poems are made. It is the way in which we take the responsibilities and problems of life that makes it either a deadly bore—a mere dull round of routine and drudgery—or the most interesting and absorbing game, capable of enlisting all the energy and enthusiasm we have to put into it. The people who accomplish things are the people who play the game. They let themselves go; they are not afraid. Under the stimulus and enthusiasm of play muscles contract more powerfully and longer than under other conditions. Blood pressure is higher in play. It is far more interesting to play the game than to work at it. When you work you are being driven, when you play you are doing the driving yourself. We play not by jumping the traces of life's responsibilities, but by going so far beyond life's compulsions as to lose sight of the compulsion element. Play up, play up, and play the game.