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linist, went with her to fiddle Romany tunes and to teach the children Gypsy songs. Her little niece and nephew, visiting from the Belgian Congo, thought they, too, would like to be Gypsies, so they donned bandanna and sash, and lo, a real Gypsy Band had evolved! Usually a stray dog or two tagged along and added to the atmosphere, and on one occasion a live parrot added his bit to the story-telling.

But what real Gypsies travel a-foot these days? Before long, the town was combed for an old cart and horse, and from that time on the story-teller traveled in true Gypsy style-in an old black cart with a fine old horse and a quaint old driver who fitted perfectly into the picture.

In connection with her story-telling program, Mrs. Shollenberger made herself available for conferences with the leaders on questions pertinent to the work, and acted as hostess at the citywide story-telling contest.

Last Summer on the Playgrounds However, the Gypsy was merely part of the story-telling program used on the playgrounds of Reading this year. In fact, for the past few years, story-telling has been one of the major activities. Time is allowed on the program of the annual Institute for leaders for the discussion of the art and science of telling stories. Leaders are encouraged to conduct a daily story hour. Bibliographies of stories are prepared and distributed to the leaders. The Public Library cooperates in placing on reserve for the special use of the recreation workers, books of stories and story-telling. One of the chief duties of the Supervisor of Dramatics is to plan and conduct a story-telling program to be used throughout the season-this program culminating in a city-wide story contest.

The program of story-telling for 1936 began with three Institute lectures given by Mrs. A. L. MacKinnon, then President of the National Story League. Since the general plan for the year included a definite attempt to appeal to boys, one lecture was devoted entirely to stories for boys. The other two were on story selection and storytelling methods. Further, each leader was given opportunity to tell a story to Mrs. MacKinnon, who gave constructive criticism and practical help to the individuals.

A story hour was part of the daily schedule, the time of the day chosen for this being left to the discretion of the leader. In some cases, a twilight story hour proved most successful, while in others

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the afternoon or morning was more satisfactory for the activity.

Story games and dramatizations of stories were very popular, especially with the little tots. Music was incorporated into the story hour on many grounds, the boys and girls entering heartily into the motion songs and stunt songs. Music and stories seem a logical combination and were therefore encouraged.

It was the experience of most leaders that at first the children preferred to listen to the stories rather than tell them. Before long, however, the boys as well as girls enjoyed participating, and by the time scheduled for the contests there was great enthusiasm for story-telling among the children. In some cases, where there was little guidance or direction on the part of the leader, the story hour became an experience meeting; but on the whole, where leaders themselves were interested, stories were well chosen and well told. It was a joy, on the hottest of afternoons, to come upon groups of girls and boys "swapping varns" and telling stories to each other. Story-telling is an activity that lends itself to playground situations, no matter what the weather may be.

At the annual "Play Day" when boys and girls of various playgrounds gathered for cooperative play, story-telling was one of the featured activities. It proved a most delightful interlude between active games and strenuous contests.

The Story Contest

The story contest has, for several years, been one of the chief events in the city-wide program. At a scheduled time, local contests, judged by leaders and members of the playground associations, are held on every ground. Any girl or boy is eligible for entrance in the local contest. This is usually made a gala affair in order to attract the children, whether or not they intend to tell stories. For frequently those listening to others will be inspired and will prove very excellent story-tellers. The contestants are divided into three age groups:

Those up to 9 years of age
Those from 9 to 12

Those from 12 to 16

The leaders may give as much help as they see fit to any contestant, that is, in story selection and hints as to delivery, posture while telling stories, memorization. Of course, no hints are given during the contest.

(Continued on page 48)

Play for Handicapped Children


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puzzle may not seem on the face of it to have a definite curative value for a child who is hospitalized because of a fractured leg, a stubborn case of eczema, or any other of the many ills. However, with the placing of each small part of the puzzle in its correct. place comes a concentration and, in the end, a satisfaction at having completed his task that leads definitely toward a healthful mental hygiene

and an ability to solve other and more weighty problems. There may come a time in the working of the puzzle when the pieces seem a jumble, and in that case a teacher in the Special Education Department is willing, anxious and able to give just the needed amount of help. The problem must be sufficiently difficult to challenge the interest of the patient but not too difficult for him to grasp.

So it might be said that the Special Education Department of the University of Michigan Hospital is composed of teachers whose function it is to aid and assist the child toward his definite objective which he has set for himself, and which he recognizes as his own problem. The entire program might be designated as the Activity Program for children, for it is our aim to correlate our work with the Activity Program for normal children in the public schools and to supplement the actual Academic program offered by the Hospital School.

The Objectives

As in the public schools, our goal is modified to fit the needs of the type of child with whom we come in contact. The child grows in the very facing of difficulty; much more in solution and accomplishment. In other words, we attempt:

1. To give the handicapped child confidence in himself and a sympathetic understanding of other

By EDITH WHEELER Supervisor of Special Education University of Michigan Hospital

human beings in order to lead a well-balanced enjoyable life.

2. To approximate the normal in so far as possible, that the child may not lose contact with the normal home, school, and social environment during the abnormal period of hospitalization. There may be abnormalities in the child's own life which he does or does not face or realize. Such growth as he may make may be in a very circumscribed


3. To continue in so far as possible, the special activities of the public schools; that is, nature study, children's literature, rhythms, music, games, handwork, and through these subjects to broaden the child's horizon so that his own small world may include many interests in spite of his handicap.

4. To provide a program for the hospitalized Ichild which will lessen the mental discomfort accompanying illness and to make the child's period of hospitalization as profitable and as pleasant as possible. In other words, to assist in obtaining a healthful mental hygiene.

Children are introduced to the program as soon as they have received permission from the doctor.



Every child is enrolled whether he is in the hospital for one day or over a period of years. Last year 2,667 children were enrolled in the Special Activities program, of these 1,838 were here from one to ten days, the balance ranging from ten days to two hundred ten days during the year. Over half of these children were below seven years of age while most of the balance were between seven and thirteen, a few over thirteen.


The present staff is composed of licensed teachers who are residents of the state continuing their professional development and contacts through a definite program of reports, visiting days in local schools, analyses of situations, and exchange discussions. This is a special field in education which requires a great deal from the individual, but she in turn makes a definite contribution to the child in particular and the field in general not widely recognized to date except very conservatively, as would be expected. A definition of the problem has been made and certainly we have made progress on the road toward solution, but the problem is never solved finally for the situation changes as soon as conclusions have been reached.

The teachers, as those of the Hospital School, are financed through the Michigan Crippled Children's Commission, and two private organizations -the Galen Medical Society and the Kiwanis Clubs. Other assistance is given by many organizations and private individuals.


All children who have received permission to go to the roof playroom and playground or the Galen Shop are taken there either in beds and wheelchairs, or walking. The roof program is carried on morning and afternoon for all children, girls or boys up to 13 years of age, and is sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Michigan who provide one and one-half time recreation teachers to carry out the program discussed later. Further advantages of this roof program are that the children receive the benefits of a complete change of atmosphere, sunlight and fresh air in addition to their educational program. During the summer months recreation is emphasized, but during the winter months we find a well rounded project planned which includes stories, handwork, nature study and music, following the unit study idea.

The Galen Shop is a general workshop for boys sponsored by the Galen Medical Society, an hon

orary medical organization composed of Junior and Senior medical students. In this shop many boys and a few girls learn to make useful and attractive articles from scrap materials, trying out many activities more fruitful in experience than results. The majority of children coming to the shop are below twelve years of age and have had no previous experience in this type of work, therefore a most elementary program of wood, metal, cement, and electrical work is planned. For the boys who have had experience new materials are provided and more complicated projects planned and executed. A child is quite free to select and follow through his own interests with quite general guidance.

During the time when some children are on the roof, other teachers on the wards teach the children who cannot leave the sixth floor. Children from floors other than sixth either go to the roof or are taken care of by Occupational Therapy.

Similar services are offered at Convalescent Hospital and South Department when and if needed. Convalescent Hospital offers a service on the wards, in the playroom and on the outdoor playground. The children in this unit are more active and have more freedom so that a varied program may be planned for them similar to that of the public schools.

Besides these regular activities there are special programs which will be discussed later.

The General Program

The general program may be discussed under special headings:

Individual Occupation. It is sometimes necessary to find an individual occupation for a boy or girl who is so handicapped that he is not able to participate in group activity. This was true in the case of Mike, age 10, a chronic osteomyelitis case. Mike is deaf and cannot enjoy stories or games. His interest was aroused by a new erector set in a shiny red box. He was so intrigued by his work that he asked to keep the set over night and in his spare time he built an original design of a wrecking truck. His truck was so clever that it was entered in the Gilbert contest for original designs built with erector sets.

Nature Study. Nature study has been introduced to our children by the live material displayed in the playrooms and in the wards. For the younger children we have a group study program which includes observation, discussion, illustrative art work and reading. It is our object to create in


these children the ability to observe the wonders and beauties of the living, growing world about them; in other words, a backdoor nature study. It is interesting to note that only two children out of an entire ward knew what horse chestnuts were and one recognized milkweed.

Music. The music program is carried on in the playrooms and wards. Our teachers have emphasized rhythm games with each child taking part and rhythm bands for which we have made many of our instruments, the singing of new and familiar songs, and also the appreciation of music in the study of some of the composers, the operas, and the music itself. As a conclusion for one period of study, the rhythm band gave a concert in May for which the children made new drums, badges and caps.

Games - Individual and Group. In the playgrounds and in the playrooms we are teaching games and plays that children learn in school so that these handicapped children may find out for themselves in what games they may participate without feeling the embarrassment of a disability. We have also taught games which are played on the sidewalk and in the home yard. Some games have used such homey materials as cardboard boxes, clothespins, coffee cans, jar rubbers, etc., so that the children may find these things at home. and by knowing the possibilities may help to solve the toy problem in many families.

We use many individual and couple quiet games for both bed and ambulatory children such as checkers, dominoes, spinning games, ball games, and balls. Many shy, homesick children make friends and become leaders with the help of toys and games. It also helps to teach these children the use of leisure time during long periods of convalescence.

Children's Literature and English. There are various methods by which we have introduced our Children's Literature plan. In the playrooms we have inaugurated a story hour twice each day. Whenever it is possible the children are grouped according to age level. Sometimes the younger children are read to by the older


to individual children as often as possible when the time allows.

Through picture study and projects we carry on conversation periods the outgrowth of which is often original stories and poetry. The dramatization of original or familiar stories adds to the children's knowledge and enjoyment. This has been worked out with a delicacy of feeling by our teachers who sometimes must enact various parts themselves while bed children speak the lines. Puppets, marionettes, story figures, and miniature theaters increase interest in children's stories. With some children we leave books so that they may read when they find leisure time.

Art Work. In conjunction with our projects, we carry on all types of industrial and fine arts. Free art is emphasized in painting, drawing, and coloring. This is done through finger painting, easel painting and drawing, coloring on paper and cloth. For modeling we use clay, soap, paraffin, wall paper cleaner and soft wood.

No craft work is taught for the sake of the perfect product in itself but rather as the child's own form of expression. Woodworking is carried on for the most part in the Galen Shop. Sewing and weaving are also used as a medium of expression in both individual and group projects. Paper construction, cutting, pasting and all forms of elementary art work such as are carried on in the public schools are given these children in conjunction with their project and academic work.

For a small group of special students one teacher is giving a course in Fine Arts for which some of the students are receiving high school credit.

Free Play. Sand tables, the pool, and housekeeping equipment have aided us materially in the furthering of free and dramatic play by these handi

capped children. Through them they have kept in contact with the outside world which soon fades in their memories after months of hospitalization. Many construction toys such as erector sets, tinker toys, building sets, preschool peg boards, towers and the like have




these children to choose their own plaything. The vehicles on the roof and the playground have caused some difficulty and the traffic problem became acute in several instances. The boys handled this themselves by signing up for vehicles, issuing driver's licenses, appointment of a traffic cop and taking into court the unruly drivers. It is a gala day for everyone when a boy tries out his new artificial foot and finds that he, too, can ride a tricycle.

The Project Plan

Practically, our program is very definitely outlined. The first of each month the workers on the various units plan projects which will fit the needs of the individual child as well as those of the group. The project must be so designed that the child who comes into the hospital after the project has been launched will feel an integral part of the activity, and the child who leaves will feel that he has gained from having been included in this program. It must not only provide an occupation for the long days of hospitalization, but must also give actual knowledge and act as a stimulus for further study.

Stafford H.-, age 5, was unable to use his hands but started beginning reading with us by dictating a group of poems to the teacher and learning to read them. He became a leader in the group as he was included in each project to help with suggestions and plans. Later we discovered from his home school that the shy child had become a leader there also. Upon his return to the hospital he brought us many new and interesting songs which he taught the children here.

Albert, age 13, had outgrown the group and was having difficulty adjusting himself. He organized the police department to take care of traffic regulations in the group. As Chief of Police he learned to issue orders, to use his own judgment, to employ self-control, and to handle other people. It was distinctly a case of the development of social intelligence.

If a child becomes interested in some phase of the monthly project he may go on with this as an individual study. This is exemplified by a boy of twelve who became intrigued by the study of astronomy, and of stars in particular, as an outgrowth of the study of the shape of the stars on the kite he was making. The group was studying the toys of the children of Holland, and this one boy wanted stars of "real shape" on his kite. This

led to the arousing of interest, the seeking for information, and the further study of the planets.

Extra Services

Besides the regular service, for the Youth Group last year we offered a short course in prevocational education which included instruction in watch repairing. This course was given by an expert in watch repairing who gave a bird's-eye view of the inside of a watch as well as the skills needed by a watchmaker. It was an interesting and worthwhile experiment.

During the winter months, a movie service is offered to many patients and special holidays are celebrated with emphasis placed on Christmas. At this time each patient receives a remembrance with well filled Christmas stockings for the children.

The hospital now boasts of two Scout troops, one at Convalescent and one at Main Hospital. This represents an attempt to link the patients of the hospital with outside life. While they are here they are given the opportunity to continue in some degree their Scouting activities, or if they have never participated in a Scouting program, an attempt is made to point out to the handicapped boy the various phases of Scouting in which he can participate.

Thus it may be pointed out that the function of the Special Education Department of University Hospital is twofold that of the home and that of the school. As the small child playing in the home is building up a socially useful personality, and as he carries to his school work the same serious attitude which he has developed through his play at home, so we continue to lay the foundations for a good mental hygiene. Play should never be considered as an extra-curricular element in education. Play is education and through play the child develops his habits of life, and his adjustment to the social situations in which he is and will be involved. The play of the child is the preparation for good citizenship in the developing of patriotism, loyalty, fair play, which are learned and relearned by the adult according to his training. It is through play that we are helping these handicapped children to continue their adjustment to life which may be far more difficult than that of the normal child. The handicapped child is forced to make a complicated adjustment which includes not only the mental, mechanical and personality development but also the adaptation to his own handicap.

(Continued on page 51)

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