THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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NATURE IN EDUCATION                 157
as interest and observation grow, his zealous care for the living creatures grows also, and in this way, the child can logically be brought to appreciate the care which the mother and the teacher take of him.
Second. The child is initiated into foresight by way of auto-education; when he knows that the life of the plants that have been sown depends upon his care in water­ing them, and that of the animals, upon his diligence in feeding them, without which the little plant dries up and the animals suffer hunger, the child becomes vigilant, as one who is beginning to feel a mission in life. Moreover, a voice quite different from that of his mother and his teacher calling him to his duties, is speaking here, exhort­ing him never to forget the task he has undertaken. It is the plaintive voice of the needy life which lives by his care. Between the child and the living creatures which lie cultivates there is born a mysterious correspondence which induces the child to fulfil certain determinate acts without the intervention of the teacher, that is, leads him to an auto-education.
The rewards which the child reaps also remain between him and nature: one fine day after long patient care in carrying food and straw to the brooding pigeons, behold the little ones! behold a number of chickens peeping about the setting hen which yesterday sat motionless in her brooding place! behold one day the tender little rabbits in the hutch where formerly dwelt in solitude the pair of big rabbits to which he had not a few times lovingly car­ried the green vegetables left over in his mother's kitchen!
I have not yet been able to institute in Rome the breed­ing of animals, but in the " Children's Houses " at Milan there are several animals, among them a pair of pretty little white American fowl that live in a diminutive and
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