In the preparation of a book of this nature, to be used in the grade schools, we realize that the one fundamental thing to keep in mind is the economic importance of the insect, be it good or bad. The child wants to know what is good and what is bad and how he can make use of the good and how he can get rid of the bad. And yet there is something more associated with the life, work and development of each tiny insect. There is a story—a story of growth, not unlike that of the developing child, a story of courage, strife and ultimate success or failure, which is as interesting and of greater value to the child than many of the stories of adventure and of historical facts. Snatches of these stories will appear in the following chapters along with the studies on insects and their economic importance.
In the development of our grade school system, especially in the rural districts, there is a growing demand for some practical work along with the regular cultural studies. To the child in the rural schools, practical knowledge naturally tends toward agriculture. Many of these boys and girls do not have a chance to pursue studies beyond the grades and it therefore becomes necessary to introduce some elementary agriculture into the grades to supply the natural craving of this vast assemblage of children in the rural schools of our land.
In the search for a study which will give unlimited scope for independent thought and observation and which will lead the child to understand better the forces of nature that affect agriculture, nothing is so readily available and attractive to the child as nature study, an elementary study of the natural sciences. In fact agriculture is primarily a course in nature study where we study how plants and animals struggle for existence.
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