THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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142             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
This is a kind of swing, having a very wide seat, so wide, indeed, that the limbs of the child stretched out in front of him are entirely supported by this broad seat. This little chair is hung from strong cords and is left swinging. The wall in front of it is reinforced by a strong smooth board against which the children press their feet in pushing themselves back and forth in the swing. The child seated in this swing exercises his limbs, press­ing his feet against the board each time that he swings toward the wall. The board against which he swings may be erected at some distance from the wall, and may be so low that the child can see over the top of it. As he swings in this chair, he strengthens his limbs through the species of gymnastics limited to the lower limbs, and this he does without resting the weight of his body upon his legs. Other pieces of gymnastic apparatus, less im­portant from the hygienic standpoint, but very amusing to the children, may be described briefly. " The Pendu­lum," a game which may be played by one child or by several, consists of rubber balls hung on a cord. The children seated in their little armchairs strike the ball, sending it from one to another. It is an exercise for the arms and for the spinal column, and is at the same time an exercise in which the eye gauges the distance of bodies in motion. Another game, called " The Cord/' consists of a line, drawn on the earth with chalk, along which the children walk. This helps to order and to direct their free movements in a given direction. A game like this is very pretty, indeed, after a snowfall, when the little path made by the children shows the regularity of the line they have traced, and encourages a pleasant war among them in which each one tries to make his line in the snow the most regular.
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