THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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CHAPTER XIII
Education of the Senses and Illustrations of the Didactic Material: General Sensibility; the Tactile, Thermic, Baric, and Stereognostic Senses
The education of the tactile and the thermic senses go together, since the warm bath, and heat in general, render the tactile sense more acute. Since to exercise the tactile sense it is necessary to touch, bathing the hands in warm water has the additional advantage of teaching the child a principle of cleanliness — that of not touching ob­jects with hands that are not clean. I therefore apply the general notions of practical life, regarding the wash­ing of the hands, care of the nails, to the exercises pre­paratory to the discrimination of tactile stimuli.
The limitation of the exercises of the tactile sense to the cushioned tips of the fingers, is rendered necessary by practical life. It must be made a necessary phase of education because it prepares for a life in which man exercises and uses the tactile sense through the medium of these finger tips. Hence, I have the child wash his hands carefully with soap, in a little basin; and in another basin I have him rinse them in a bath of tepid water. Then I show him how to dry and rub his hands gently, in this way preparing for the regular bath. I next teach the child how to touch, that is, the manner in which he should touch surfaces. For this it is necessary to take
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