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 223
actions, it may still be considered as a fundamental key explaining the phenomena of the more complex nervous mechanisms. Man, with the peripheral sensory system, gathers various stimuli from his environment. He puts himself thus in direct communication with his surround­ings. The psychic life develops, therefore, in relation to the system of nerve centres; and human activity which is eminently social activity, manifests itself through acts of the individual — manual work, writing, spoken lan­guage, etc.— by means of the psychomotor organs.
Education should guide and perfect the development of the three periods, the two peripheral and the central; or, better still, since the process fundamentally reduces itself to the nerve centres, education should give to psycho­sensory exercises the same importance which it gives to psychomotor exercises.
Otherwise, we isolate man from his environment. In­deed, when with intellectual culture we believe ourselves to have completed education, we have but made thinkers, whose tendency will be to live without the world. We have not made practical men. If, on the other hand, wishing through education to prepare for practical life, we limit ourselves to exercising the psychomotor phase, we lose sight of the chief end of education, which is to put man in direct communication with the external world.
Since professional work almost always requires man to make use of his surroundings, the technical schools are not forced to return to the very beginnings of education, sense exercises, in order to supply the great and universal lack
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