THE PLAYTIME OF THE POOR.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTAT0R.1
Smt,—As so much attention has been called of late to the "playtime of the poor," may I supplement Mr. Beckles Willson's short note of last week with a few particulars concerning the Children's Happy Evenings Association ? Thjs,Association may claim to be the pioneer of the work which has now enlisted so many capable supporters, some of whom advocate _schemes slightly differing indetail; but all having the same object in view. Over seventeen years ago it occurred to a few ladies and gentlemen that, whereas the school-children of London had little space for play save oourts suici_"ineen streets," the Board-schools might be turned to excellent account as playrooms after school hours. The Children's Happy Evenings Association was thereupon formed, and obtained permission from the London School Board to try the experiment in a few of their schools. The experiment was crowned with success, and the Education Committee of the London County Council have continued the facilities afforded by their predecessors. A hundred and thirty-four branches have now been initiated, amusing nearly twenty-two thousand London children weekly, besides many in large provincial towns which have followed the example of, and affiliated themselves to, the parent Association. Many more London branches are in contemplation as soon as helpers and funds are forthcoming. The Central Association has thirteen hundred voluntary helpers on its books, apart from the welcome assistance rendered at their own free will by the teachers. There are no office expenses whatever. The children are taught all sorts of games, old and new, while listening to stories, drilling, painting, doll-dressing, and numerous little handicrafts afford delightful change of °coupe- tion. All children are invited to evenings held in their own schools, as it is found easier thus to maintain the necessary discipline, and it is also desired to link these pleasant associations with the scenes of their daily labours. Moreover, the helpers, who are drawn from both sexes, and from almost every class of the community, have learnt to take a deep personal interest in children with whom they could never have come in contact had they not met them at the " evenings " ; and their interest is manifested in many ways quite apart from the regular work of the Association, with great advantage to helpers and children alike. Should any of your readers desire to hear more of the Association, all information will be gladly given by the honorary secretary, Mrs. Bland- Sutton, 47 Brook Street, Grosvenor Square.—I am, Sir, &o.,
M. E. JERSEY,
Council President C.H.E.A.
Middleton Park, Bicester.
[We are glad to publish Lady Jersey's interesting letter, but cannot continue this correspondence.—En. Spectator.]