THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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REFECTION                               133
water. To rich children might be allowed the so-called table waters which are slightly alkaline, such as those of San Gemini, Acqua Claudia, etc., mixed with syrups, as, for example, syrup of black cherry.
It is now a matter of general knowledge that all fer­mented beverages, and those exciting to the nervous sys­tem, are injurious to children; hence, all alcoholic and caffeic beverages are absolutely eliminated from child diet. Not only liquors, but wine and beer, ought to be unknown to the child's taste, and coffee and tea should be inac­cessible to childhood.
The deleterious action of alcohol on the child organism needs no illustration, but in a matter of such vital im­portance insistent repetition is never superfluous. Al­cohol is a poison especially fatal to organisms in the proc­ess of formation. Not only does it arrest their total development (whence infantilism, idiocy), but also pre­disposes the child to nervous maladies (epilepsy, men­ingitis), and to maladies of the digestive organs, and metabolism (cirrhosis of the liver, dyspepsia, ansemia).
If the " Children's Houses" were to succeed in en­lightening the people on such truths, they would be ac­complishing a very lofty hygienic work for the new generations.
Instead of coffee, children may be given roasted and boiled barley, malt, and especially chocolate which is an excellent child food, particularly when mixed with milk.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE MEALS
Another chapter of child diet concerns the distribution of the meals. Here, one principle must dominate, and must be diffused, among mothers, namely, that the chil­dren shall be kept to rigorous meal hours in order that
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