THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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xviii                         INTRODUCTION
hand. It is remarkable, also, because it springs from a combination of womanly sympathy' and intuition, broad social outlook, scientific training, intensive and long-con­tinued study of educational problems, and, to crown all, varied and unusual experience as a teacher and educational leader. No other woman who has dealt with Dr. Montes-sori's problem—the education of young children—has brought to it personal resources so richly diverse as hers. These resources, furthermore, she has devoted to her work with an enthusiasm, an absolute abandon, like that of Pestalozzi and Froebel, and she presents her convictions with an apostolic ardour which commands attention. A system which embodies such a capital of human effort could not be unimportant. Then, too, certain aspects of the system are in themselves striking and significant: it adapts to the education of normal children methods and apparatus originally used for deficients; it is based on a radical conception of liberty for the pupil; it entails a highly formal training of separate sensory, motor, and mental capacities; and it leads to rapid, easy, and sub­stantial mastery of the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic. All this will be apparent to the most casual reader of this book.
None of these things, to be sure, is absolutely new in the educational world. All have been proposed in theory; some have been put more or less completely into practice. It is not unjust, for instance, to point out that much of the material used by Dr. Walter S. Fernald, Superintendent of the Massachusetts Institution for the Feeble-Minded at Waverlev, is almost identical with the Montessori material, and that Dr. Fernald has long maintained that it could be used to good effect in the education of normal children. (It may interest American readers to know that Seguin,
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