THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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HISTORY OF METHODS
45
The sense organs, such as the power of accommodation of the eye, are not yet completely developed; the language is primordial and shows those defects common to the speech of the very young child. The difficulty of fixing the atten­tion, the general instability, etc., are characteristics which the normal infant and the deficient child have in common. Preyer, also, in his psychological study of chil­dren has turned aside to illustrate the parallel between pathological linguistic defects, and those of normal chil­dren in the process of developing.
Methods which made growth possible to the mental per­sonality of the idiot ought, therefore, to aid the develop­ment of young children, and should be so adapted as to constitute a hygienic education of the entire personality of a normal human being. Many defects which become permanent, such as speech defects, the child acquires through being neglected during the most important period of his age, the period between three and six, at which time he forms and establishes his principal functions.
Here lies the significance of my pedagogical experiment in the " Children's Houses." It represents the results of a series of trials made by me, in the education of young chil­dren, with methods already used with deficients. My work has not been in any way an application, pure and simple, of the methods of Seguin to young children, as anyone who will consult the works of the author will read­ily see. But it is none the less true that, underlying these two years of trial, there is a basis of experiment which goes back to the days of the French Revolution, and which represents the earnest work of the lives of Itard and Seguin.
As for me, thirty years after the publication of Seguin's second book, I took up again the ideas and, I may even
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