156 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
practicability of agricultural teaching in the case of little children.
As for deficients, I have seen agriculture applied on a large scale to their education at Paris by the means which the kindly spirit of Baccelli tried to introduce into the elementary schools when he attempted to institute the " little educative gardens." In every little garden are sown different agricultural products, demonstrating practically the proper method and the proper time for seeding and for crop gathering, and the period of development of the various products; the manner of preparing the soil, of enriching it with natural or chemical manures, etc. The same is done for ornamental plants and for gardening, which is the work yielding the best income for deficients, when they are of an age to practise a profession.
But this side of education, though it contains, in the first place, an objective method of intellectual culture, and, in addition, a professional preparation, is not, in my opinion, to be taken into serious consideration for child education. The educational conception of this age must be solely that of aiding the psycho-physical development of the individual; and, this being the case, agriculture and animal culture contain in themselves precious means of moral education which can be analysed far more than is done by Mrs. Latter, who sees in them essentially a method of conducting the child's soul to religious feeling. Indeed, in this method, which is a progressive ascent, several gradations can be distinguished: I mention here the principal ones:
First. The child is initiated into observation of the phenomena of life. He stands with respect to the plants and animals in relations analogous to those in which the observing teacher stands towards him. Little by little,