THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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Muscular Education                  139
that in the first years of the child's life the torso still remains tremendously developed as compared with the limbs. In one year the height of the torso corresponds to 65 per cent of the total stature, in two years to 63, in three years to 62.
At the age when a child enters the infant school his limbs are still very short as compared with his torso; that is, the length of his limbs barely corresponds to 38 per cent of the stature. Between the years of six and seven the proportion of the torso to the stature is from 57 to 56 per cent. In such a period therefore the child not only makes a noticeable growth in height, (he meas­ures indeed at the age of three years about 0.85 metre and at six years 1.05 metres) but, changing so greatly the rel­ative proportions between the torso and the limbs, the latter make a most decided growth. This growth is re­lated to the layers of cartilage which still exist at the extremity of the long bones and is related in general to the still incomplete ossification of the- entire skeleton. The tender bones of the limbs must therefore sustain the weight of the torso which is then disproportionately large. We cannot, if we consider all these things, judge the manner of walking in little children by the standard set for our own equilibrium. If a child is not strong, the erect posture and walking are really sources of fatigue for him, and the long bones of the lower limbs, yielding to the weight of the body, easily become deformed and usually bowed. This is particularly the case among the badly nourished children of the poor, or among those in whom the skeleton structure, while not actually show­ing the presence of rickets, still seems to be slow in attain­ing normal ossification.
We are wrong then if we consider little children from
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