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

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176             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
mind, may she proceed to the application of a method to guide the spontaneous education of the child and to im­part necessary notions to him.
In the opportune quality and in the manner of this intervention lies the personal art of the educator.
For example, in the " Children's House " in the Prati di Castello, where the pupils belong to the middle-class, I found, a month after the opening of the school, a child of five years who already knew how to compose any word, as he knew the alphabet perfectly — he had learned it in two weeks. He knew how to write on the blackboard, and in the exercises in free design he showed himself not only to be an observer, but to have some intuitive idea of perspective, drawing a house and chair very cleverly. As for the exercises of the chromatic sense, he could mix together the eight gradations of the eight colours which we use, and from this mass of sixty-four tablets, each wound with silk of a different colour or shade, he could rapidly separate the eight groups. Having done this, he would proceed with ease to arrange each colour series in perfect gradation. In this game the child would almost cover one of the little tables with a carpet of finely-shaded colours. I made the experiment, taking him to the win­dow and showing him in full daylight one of the coloured tablets, telling him to look at it well, so that he might be able to remember it. I then sent him to the table on which all the gradations were spread out, and asked him to find the tablet like the one at which he had looked. He committed only very slight errors, often choosing the exact shade but more often the one next it, rarely a tint two grades removed from the right one. This boy had then a power of discrimination and a colour memory which were almost prodigious. Like all the other children, he
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