THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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92               THE MONTESSORI METHOD
outside the circle, alone, and it was easy to see that he was filled with intense curiosity. I watched him from a dis­tance with great interest; he first drew near to the other children and tried to force his way among them, but he was not strong enough to do this, and he then stood look­ing about him. The expression of thought on his little face was intensely interesting. I wish that I had had a camera so that I might have photographed him. His eye lighted upon a little chair, and evidently he made up his mind to place it behind the group of children and then to climb up on it. He began to move toward the chair, his face illuminated with hope, but at that mo­ment the teacher seized him brutally (or, perhaps, she would have said, gently) in her arms, and lifting him up above the heads of the other children showed him the basin of water, saying, " Come, poor little one, you shall see too!"
Undoubtedly the child, seeing the floating toys, did not experience the joy that he was about to feel through con­quering the obstacle with his own force. The sight of those objects could be of no advantage to him, while his intelligent efforts would have developed his inner powers. The teacher hindered the child, in this case, from edu­cating himself, without giving him any compensating good in return. The little fellow had been about to feel him­self a conqueror, and he found himself held within two imprisoning arms, impotent. The expression of joy, anx­iety, and hope, which had interested me so much faded from his face and left on it the stupid expression of the child who knows that others will act for him.
When the teachers were weary of my observations, they began to allow the children to do whatever they pleased. I saw children with their feet on the tables, or with their
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