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            213
their eagerness. I smiled at them, showing them the " pupa." They understood and skipped about me looking at me with eyes brilliant with pleasure, but did not touch me through respect for the little one that I held in my arms.
I went into the schoolroom with the children clustered about me. We sat down, I seating myself in a large chair instead of, as usual, in one of their little chairs. In other words, I seated myself solemnly. They looked at my little one with a mixture of tenderness and joy. None of us had yet spoken a word. Finally I said to them, " I have brought you a little teacher." Surprised glances and laughter. " A little teacher, yes, because none of you know how to be quiet as she does." At this all the children changed their positions and became quiet. " Yet no one holds his limbs and feet as quietly as she." Everyone gave closer attention to the position of limbs and feet. I looked at them smiling, " Yes, but they can never be as quiet as hers. You move a little bit, but she, not at all; none of you can be as quiet as she." The children looked serious. The idea of the superiority of the little teacher seemed to have reached them. Some of them smiled, and seemed to say with their eyes that the swaddling bands deserved all the merit. " Not one of you can be silent, voiceless as she." General silence. " It is not possible to be as silent as she, because,— listen to her breathing — how delicate it is; come near to her on your tiptoes."
Several children rose, and came slowly forward on tip­toe, bending toward the baby. Great silence. " None of you can breathe so silently as she." The children looked about amazed, they had never thought that even when sit­ting quietly they were making noises, and that the silence of a little babe is more profound than the silence of
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