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THE AIMS OF COLUMBA COLLEGE

The following address was delivered to the Presbyterian General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon by Miss M. J. Ross, M.A.:— Rev. Moderator, fathers, and brethren, —In appearing before this august Assembly, I desire to thank von for the groat honor you have conferred upon mo in appointing mo to the responsible position of Principal .in Columba Girls’ College. The Presbyterian Church of Scotland has always been tho advocate of education, and it is gratifying to know that tho strenuous efforts of tlio Presbyterian Church of New Zealand have thus far succeeded'. lona College in tho North Island and Columba College in tho South Island are tho outward and visible expression of the eager desire of our beloved Church that her daughters should bo trained up in “ the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” and that they should, during tho formative period of their lives, be surrounded with the religions atmosphere of the Church. That I should bo chosen to bo the head of one of these establishments fills me with deop gratitude and wonder, though I must confess it cost me much to say 1 would leave Girton. The chief qualification 1 can claim is a groat love for girls. I shall do my best to promote the well-being and happiness of those entrusted to our caro, and I feel sure that tho day is near at hand when the Church will have cause to rejoice that sho has followed tho traditions of the Church of Scotland in establishing these church schools. Here, no doubt, it would be well that you should have some idea of our views' with regard to tho education of girls. Believing as wo do that the welfare of tho nation depends to a largo extent upon tho quality of its women, wo feel that it is for the girls of to-day to realise thoir own importance in tho great scheme of things, and to begin to equip themselves while young for tho work of their mature life in whatever station they may find themselves. For that reason every branch of work suitable for girls will in due time find a place in our college curriculum. In a girls’ college of this kind tho first and chief place will bo given to the study of tho Book of Books, which is ahlo to make them wise mjto salvation. Girls of all denominations may be enrolled, and will, according to tho liberal principles of our Church, bo allowed perfect freedom of worship. Special religions instruction however, will be given to girls from Presbyterian homes. They will learn what it was that made tho religion of their Presbyterian forbears such a vital force in their lives. Moral education must have its basis in religion. (Loud applause.) It has been well said the soyj of all culture is the culture of the soul. Tho training of each girl to a full and perfect woman must ever be tho ideal wc have before us. Any intrusion into her education of mere intellectuality as an aim is a wrong to herself and to the community, for we must never forget that tho girls of to-day are tho women of to-morrow. (Hear, hear.) Realising that tho first years of a child’s life are all important wo give tho kindergarten its due place. In it we strive to form habits of body, mind, and conduct, which will bo invaluable in later life. Tho best education grows from tho broadening intelligence that comes through eye and ear and tho simple experiences of life. Wo

desire that physical fitness, quick imagination, woll-dovoloped powers of attention and concentration, alertness of observation, and a desiro for knowledge may bo the characteristics of this, “Our Garden of Children.” This spirit is to bo maintained throughout the college from tho kindergarten to tho classes preparing students for a university course. A good general education is given before a girl specialises in any direction. _ From careful observation and investigation the teacher will kno\v_ the special aptitude of each pupil. No girl will bo expected to spend hours of apparently fruitless toil on a subject for which she lias no inherent capacity. Only the few proportionately will follow a univer sity career, but for them the college will provide instruction in classics, mathematics, science, etc., as required. For those who have already had a good general education, but whose talents lie in tho direction of the home, wo are arranging a course in practical house-keeping. (Hoar, hear.) Tho full value of home life depends largely upon the home-making and home-keeping capaeitj’ of tho woman. To manage a homo successfully requires the highest qualities of mind and heart, combined with perfect physical strength. (Hoar, hear.) Tills course will include dressmaking, hygiene, physiology, and bookkeeping in its relation to household details, science in its hearings on domestic life, practical cooking, and other homo duties. All pupils of Columba College will bo encouraged to study English

in its various branches, language and literature, reading and elocution, so that they may come, under the influence of the master minds. To make their education wider and more liberal they should not remain in ignorance of the aspirations, truths, and revelations breathed forth by the great writers and thinkers of their race. The importance wo attach to physical culture, deportment, dancing, gardening, games ami outdoor exorcises indicates our belief that ihe preservation of health is a duty—(“Hear, hoar ”)—for our health in the main determines the efficiency of our lives. In the same way wo might enlarge upon the other subjects of our curriculum; Music (vocal and instrumental), arts and crafts, modern languages, needlework (plain and fancy), commercial subjects (bookkeeping, shorthand, typewriting) for each subject is to bo taught by a specialist, thoroughness and quality being the watchwords; but I think enough has been said to give you a general idea of the scope and plan of our work. Whatever the course selected for the pupil may be—whether university, commercial, or practical housekeeping—our great aim and desire is the formation of character. Personal worth and womanhood are much more than intellect. Each girl conies to us a new creature, full of delightful and mysterious possibilities. _ It is the privilege, and should bo the joy of the teacher to help her to realise these. I think it is Emerson who says; “It does not matter much what your subjects of study are: it all lies in who your teacher is,” With same modifications this is true. The

supreme essential of a true educator is character and personality. Greater than the lesson, greater than the teaching is the silent moral contagion that passes every hour of the day, from the personality of the teacher into ihat of the pupil. This character can only become strong, true, and rich in blessing as it is brought into communion and contact with others greater than itself. These may be books, they may bo friends or companions; hut the great source of all inspiration is vital fellowship with Him who creates and' enriches all the noblest personalities. “ I am come that ye may have I fo, and that ye may have it more abundantly,” are the words of the Master Himself. Our sincere hope is that each teacher in Columba Girls’ College may have this Life, and thus inspire into the pupils a desire for that wisdom which has its beginning in the fear of the Lord. So shall we nave growing up in our midst' girls who seek a complete self-1 realisation, submitting themselves in I humility, gratitude, and long service to the Teacher of teachers, who can reconcile all the varied capacity and divergent powers of each nature into one consistent whole. “ Blessing she is: God made her so, And deeds of week-day holiness Fall from her noiseless as the snow, Nov hath she ever chanced to know That aught were easier than to bless.”- i

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141126.2.8

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THE AIMS OF COLUMBA COLLEGE, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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1,319

THE AIMS OF COLUMBA COLLEGE Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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