THE occultist and spiritual co-founder of the Theosophical Movement, Helena Blavatsky, was a tireless advocate of a wide range of social justice issues that are still conflicting society today.
Women’s rights, early childhood education, animal cruelty, environmentalism, industrial materialism, were some of the many concerns close to her heart.
Critical of early childhood education, and of the”infusion of (useless) intelligence,” Blavatsky declared:
“You have opened a subject on which we Theosophists feel deeply.”
A Washington Post article: “Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children,” confirms Mme. Blavatsky’s strong position on early childhood academics.
The report, written by Lilian G. Katz, professor emerita of early childhood education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, titled “Lively Minds: Distinctions between academic versus intellectual goals for young children,” offers a new way to look at what is appropriate in early childhood education.
Professor Katz, sounding like a modern Helena Blavatsky, says that “intellectual dispositions” of young children may actually be “weakened or even damaged by excessive and premature formal instruction.”
They are “not likely to be strengthened by many of the mindless, trivial if not banal activities frequently offered in child care, preschool and kindergarten programs.”
Mme. Blavatsky insisted in her Key to Theosophy that children should be “placed daily in a bright, clean school-room hung with pictures, and often gay with flowers.”
“They should be taught ‘to be clean, gentle, orderly … learn to sing and to play; have toys that awaken its intelligence; learn to use its fingers deftly; is spoken to with a smile instead of a frown’ …
“All this humanises the children,” she wrote, “arouses their brains, and renders them susceptible to intellectual and moral influences. The schools are not all they might be and ought to be …”
And of the schools she complained: “your system deserves the worst one can say of it.” (Nothing much has changed!) 😦