THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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EDUCATION OF THE SENSES 175
didactic system. This presents objects which, first, at­tract the spontaneous attention of the child, and, second, contain a rational gradation of stimuli.
We must not confuse the education of the senses, with the concrete ideas which may be gathered from our en­vironment by means of the senses. Nor must this edu­cation of the senses be identical in our minds with the language through which is given the nomenclature cor­responding to the concrete idea, nor with the acquisition of the abstract idea of the exercises.
Let us consider what the music master does in giving instruction in piano playing. He teaches the pupil the correct position of the body, gives him the idea of the notes, shows him the correspondence between the written notes and the touch and the position of the fingers, and then he leaves the child to perform the exercise by him­self. If a pianist is to be made of this child, there must, between the ideas given by the teacher and the musical exercises, intervene long and patient application to those exercises which serve to give agility to the articulation of the fingers and of the tendons, in order that the co­ordination of special muscular movements shall become automatic, and that the muscles of the hand shall become strong through their repeated use.
The pianist must, therefore, act for himself, and the more his natural tendencies lead him to persist in these exercises the greater will be his success. However, with­out the direction of the master the exercise will not suffice to develop the scholar into a true pianist.
The directress of the " Children's House " must have a clear idea of the two factors which enter into her work — the guidance of the child, and the individual exercise.
Only after she has this concept clearly fixed in her
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