About five years ago there was not a single manual training school in Portland or in the state of Oregon.
To-day the public schools of this city are thoroughly equipped to train the hands as well as the head and manual training is a part of the school curriculum.
The local Association was partly instrumental in the introduction of this work into the schools of the city through the successful operation of its own work, through a campaign of education which was carried on, and by the Association management going before the school board and showing the importance of manual training for the schoolboy.
The actual work done at the Association carried the greatest weight. About ten years ago the educational and boys* departments united in equipping shops with about $2,500 worth of tools and benches and employed a man to devote his entire time to the promotion of manual training. Classes were held in the afternoons after the public school hours. As many as six different classes per week, lasting two hours each, kept the instructors busy. On Saturday mornings the class combined shop with gymnasium work, many boys spending half their time in the training shops and half in the gymnasium. This co-ordination was ideal. The same shops were used at night for the carpentry classes, and thus were unoccupied for only a small amount of time.
Economies in time and space can as well be obtained by maximum use of equipment and hours as by cutting down actual expenses.
Manual training in the public schools was first established at five different centers and the former Association instructor became principal of all that work in the city. All the teachers under him received their training in the Association shops. As soon as this work became a part of the regular public school instruction the Association classes became smaller7, but this did not occasion any unusual concern. Our experience and judgment leads to the conclusion that where the public schools of a city make manual training a part of their regular course of instruction and thereby restrict and narrow the field for the Association, still we are justified in equipping and running shops for the sake of the smaller number of boys who desire more of this kind of work and who show special efficiency in handling tools.
Acting on this basis we have sought to specialize along particular lines and have given boys with peculiar aptitudes opportunities to develop in that direction in which they are particularly interested. In addition, also, to using the shops for these purposes we still have them for the extremely important shop work at night.