66 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
We have in the " Children's Houses " a demonstration of this ideal which is unique in Italy or elsewhere. Its significance is most profound, for it corresponds to a need of the times. We can no longer say that the convenience of leaving their children takes away from the mother a natural social duty of first importance; namely, that of caring for and educating her tender offspring. No, for to-day the social and economic evolution calls the working-woman to take her place among wage-earners, and takes away from her hy force those duties which would be most dear to her! The mother must, in any event, leave her child, and often with the pain of knowing him to be abandoned. The advantages furnished by such institutions are not limited to the labouring classes, but extend also to the general middle-class, many of whom work with the brain. Teachers, professors, often obliged to give private lessons after school hours, frequently leave their children to the care of some rough and ignorant maid-of-all-work. Indeed, the first announcement of the " Children's House " was followed by a deluge of letters from persons of the better class demanding that these helpful reforms be extended to their dwellings.
We are, then, communising a " maternal function," a feminine duty, within the house. We may see here in this practical act the solving of many of woman's problems which have seemed to many impossible of solution. What then will become of the home, one asks, if the woman goes away from it ? The home will be transformed and will assume the functions of the woman.
I believe that in the future of society other forms of communistic life will come.
Take, for example, the infirmary; woman is the natural nurse for the dear ones of her household. But who does