THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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CHAPTER X
Nature in Education Agricultural Labour : Cul­ture of Plants and Animals
Itard, in a remarkable pedagogical treatise: "Des premiers developpements du jeune sauvage de l'Aveyron" expounds in detail the drama of a curious, gigantic edu­cation which attempted to overcome the psychical darkness of an idiot and at the same time to snatch a man from primitive nature.
The savage of the Aveyron was a child who had grown up in the natural state: criminally abandoned in a forest where his assassins thought they had killed him, he was cured by natural means, and had survived for many years free and naked in the wilderness, until, captured by hunt­ers, he entered into the civilised life of Paris, showing by the scars with which his miserable body was furrowed the story of the struggles with wild beasts, and of lacerations caused by falling from heights.
The child was, and always remained, mute; his men­tality, diagnosed by Pinel as idiotic, remained forever al­most inaccessible to intellectual education.
To this child are due the first steps of positive pedagogy. Itard, a physician of deaf-mutes and a student of philoso­phy, undertook his education with methods which he had already partially tried for treating defective hearing — believing at the beginning that the savage showed char-
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