THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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NATURE IN EDUCATION                 155
day to the child who, for example, is running about in a flower garden is the counsel not to touch the flowers, not to tread on the grass; as if it were sufficient for the child to satisfy the physiological needs of his body by moving his legs and breathing fresh air.
But if for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature. The method for arriving at this end is to set the child at agricultural labour, guiding him to the cultivation of plants and animals, and so to the intelligent contemplation of nature.
Already, in England Mrs. Latter has devised the basis for a method of child education by means of gardening and horticulture. She sees in the contemplation of de­veloping life the bases of religion, since the soul of the child may go from the creature to the Creator. She sees in it also the point of departure for intellectual education, which she limits to drawing from life as- a step toward art, to the ideas about plants, insects, and seasons, which spring from agriculture, and to the first notions of house­hold life, which spring from the cultivation and the culinary preparation of certain alimentary products that children later serve upon the table, providing afterwards also for the washing of the utensils and tableware.
Mrs. Latter's conception is too one-sided; but her insti­tutions, which continue to spread in England, undoubt­edly complete the natural education which, up to this time limited to the physical side, has already been so efficacious in invigorating the bodies of English children. More­over, her experience offers a positive corroboration of the
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