23 JULY 1927, Page 11

The Cinema


THE British Instructional Films, Ltd., have recently made a film of the activities of the Malting House School, Cambridge, in order to place on record the methods employed. For ten days the children were " stalked " by the photographer, with the result that a remarkably interesting and altogether

delightful film has been produced.

For a short half-hour I watched children of from four to nine years of age having the time of their lives, wading up to their knees trying to fill a sandpit with water, mending a tap with a spanner, oiling the works of a clock, joyously feeding a bonfire, dissecting crabs, climbing on scaffolding, weighing each other on a see-saw, weaving, modelling, making pottery, working lathes—in fact doing all those things which every child delights in doing. At Malting House School children's dreams come true.

The school is equipped with the most extensive apparatus.

which will stimulate the natural curiosity possessed by every child. The system of education adopted here is based on precisely the opposite principle to that suggested by the old moral tale of Harriet and the matches. It is a system of education by discovery, aiming at the preservation of this precious gift of curiosity. At present there are seventeen children at the school, some boarders and some day children, and it is hoped that they will continue their education there ur to university age.

No child is ever told anything that he can find out for himself. For the very young children at any rate there are no set lessons. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are learnt theoretically after their practical value has been realized. For instance, the cook would give notice if she were perpetually bothered with countless verbal requests for favourite dishes (she will only pay attention to written menus), and so the children must somehow learn to put their requests on paper.

There is no discipline. There are no punishments. Children may hit one another so long as they only use their hands, but I believe quarrels are rare and, though it seems almost un- believable with the unending opportunities which must occur, there has never been an accident of a serious nature. The children are left to form their own opinions, tastes, and moral codes. After having seen this film, on the photography of which the British Instructional Films are to be congratulated, I came away wishing with all my heart that my own dull schooldays had been as theirs are, and that education could be made such an adventure for every child. C. S.