"When a schoolboy has diligently used his faculties and energy for eight or ten months of the year in learning those good things assigned to him, then he usually has a vacation that means a rest from school.
It has been learned that a man's faculties need such a rest of change of surroundings and activities with which the body and mind have been busied.
Many believe that a school vacation should not be used in laziness, idleness or freedom from hard work. The body must and will breathe as long as it lives. Likewise the mind must be active every day in one way or another.
If the body does not really exert itself in exercise that also occupies the mind and leads it in a different direction than before, thereby giving rest on the one hand and on the other sound development during vacation, then the body becomes indolent or only eats, drinks and sleeps while mental activity continues in the same direction as in school with the only difference that it believes it should have light and very often harmful reading material. When that boy or girl begins school after a vacation, it is found that neither body nor mind has received any notable rest or growth during vacation. There is no noticeable change other than that they associate with parents, brothers, sisters, friends and relatives instead of with teachers and companions in school. The activity of both mind and body is essentially the same at all times, both in school and during vacation.
Such school attendance and vacations may well explain the fact that after some years even stout farm boys appear to be nervous, absent-minded, helpless louts who among farmers hardly know "beans from buckshot," or can harness a horse. When such parlor philosophers go out into the work as pastors or teachers they are in many ways an amusing spectacle or comedy in which many might see themselves. In our opinion parents and teachers do not serve students well when they make them believe that hard work during vacation is not good for them. This harmful belief has crept into our society more and more. Good, hard, busy reasonable and useful physical work is the best vacation, ordained by God, for students. We believe the work should rather be in the free air and so hard that the mind loses almost all desire for other mental activity except for what family devotions and church services supply together with the most necessary newspaper reading. Not only my experience as a youth, but also the hard work during the last year and a half while on a difficult journey into the goldfields of the Yukon have strengthened me in this belief."
Rev. Bjug Harstad (my great-great-grandfather), Founding President of PLU
Aug. 18, 1899 (Dr. Montessori would have been 29 years old at the time)