New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1911.
Hardcover. "It has been said that the two greatest discoveries of recent times are the value of children and the virtues of an open-air life...there can be no question that there has been in the last few years a wonderful public awakening along both of these lines..." So introduces American educator Leonard Porter Ayres' (1879 - 1946) his enthusiastic and professional study of the outdoor school movement. First started in 1904, these open-air schools were originally founded to teach and cure ailing students at the same time. Though students with a variety of maladies (as well as those in perfectly good health) were served by open-air schools, the initial urgency behind the founding of such schools was the tuberculosis epidemic and indeed many open-air schools were modeled after tuberculosis sanatoriums. As Ayres writes, the first open-air school, the Waldschule für kränkliche Kinder (translated: Forest School for Sickly Children), was established in 1904 in Charlottenburg outside Berlin with the express purpose of aiding in the recovery of students with pre-tuberculosis. When these students showed not only outstanding recovery from illness but, despite reduced classtime and courseload, surpassed students in regular classrooms academically, the outdoor school movement expanded rapidly from Germany to England and across the Atlantic to the United States. Ayres himself established a school without walls in San Juan, where he served as superintendent of Puerto Rico schools. Open-Air Schools explores the origin and development of the outdoor and open-air school movement and contains studies of open-air schools in Germany, England, and the United States, an analysis of physical results in children's health due to open-air schools from weight gain to haemoglobin tests, a survey of open-air school lunch menus, cost analysis, construction and clothing guidelines, a sampling of physical records, and a final assertion of the need for open-air schools summarizing their results, fully illustrated in 65 photographs of open-air schools around the world. Open-air schools faded out of mainstream education by the 1970s; now with grave concerns over reopening schools in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, many are calling for safer, open air alternatives to schooling in America and beyond. Perhaps as Ayres concluded in his introduction to this 1911 book on the subject: "It is entirely too soon to prophesy what the future of the open-air school may be....it seems not improbable that the open-air school will be recognized by future historians of education not merely as a therapeutic agent, but rather as marking one long step toward that school of the future..."
7 5/8" X 5 1/8". xvii, 171pp. Ex-Meadville Theological School Llibrary, with labels, markings, stamps, and check-out slips to spine, endpapers, and title page. Sage green cloth over boards, with pictorial label of an outdoor classroom to upper board and upper board and spine lettered in white. Spine darkened from adhesive, with library markings in white and small tears to tail. Moderate edgewear and bumping to binding, with slight lean to spine. Front hinge a touch tender and text block a bit shaken; binding remains sound. Soiling to bottom edge of text block. Bumping to tail of spine has creased the bottom gutter of most pages. Pages are clean and unmarked. Illustrated in tissue-guarded frontispiece and 65 monochrome photographs throughout. Good. Item #5998