THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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INAUGURAL ADDEESS
55
perhaps an earthquake which has afflicted this quarter. Then, looking still more closely, we see that in all this thickly settled neighbourhood there is not a shop to be found. So poor is the community that it has not been possible to establish even one of those popular bazars where necessary articles are sold at so low a price as to put them within the reach of anyone. The only shops of any sort are the low wine shops which open their evil-smelling doors to the passer-by. As we look upon all this, it is borne upon us that the disaster which has placed its weight of suffer­ing upon these people is not a convulsion of nature, but poverty — poverty with its inseparable companion, vice.
This unhappy and dangerous state of things, to which our attention is called at intervals by newspaper accounts of violent and immoral crime, stirs the hearts and con­sciences of many who come to undertake among these peo­ple some work of generous benevolence. One might almost say that every form of misery inspires a special remedy and that all have been tried here, from the attempt to intro­duce hygienic principles into each house, to the establish­ment of creches, " Children's Houses," and dispensaries.
But what indeed is benevolence? Little more than an expression of sorrow; it is pity translated into action. The benefits of such a form of charity cannot be great, and through the absence of any continued income and the lack of organisation it is restricted to a small number of per­sons. The great and widespread peril of evil demands, on the other hand, a broad and comprehensive work di­rected toward the redemption of the entire community. Only such an organisation, as, working for the good of others, shall itself grow and prosper through the general prosperity which it has made possible, can make a place
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