228 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
and began caressing, lightly, my hands, and my clothing, saying, " It is smooth." " It is velvet." " This is rough." A number of others came near and began with serious and intent faces to repeat the same words, touching me as they did so. The directress wished to interfere to release me, but I signed to her to be quiet, and I myself did not move, but remained silent, admiring this spontaneous intellectual activity of my little ones. The greatest triumph of our educational method should always be this: to bring about the spontaneous progress of the child.
One day, a little boy, following one of our exercises in design, had chosen to fill in with coloured pencils the outline of a tree. To colour the trunk he laid hold upon a red crayon. The teacher wished to interfere, saying, " Do you think trees have red trunks ? " I held her back and allowed the child to colour the tree red. This design was precious to us; it showed that the child was not yet an observer of his surroundings. My way of treating this was to encourage the child to make use of the games for the chromatic sense. He went daily into the garden with the other children, and could at any time see the tree trunks. When the sense exercises should have succeeded in attracting the child's spontaneous attention to colours about him, then, in some happy moment he would become aware that the tree trunks were not red, just as the other child during his play had become conscious of the fact that the sky was blue. In fact, the teacher continued to give the child outlines of trees to fill in. He one day chose a brown pencil with which to colour the trunk, and made the branches and leaves green. Later, he made the branches brown, also, using green only for the leaves.
Thus we have the test of the child's intellectual progress. We can not create observers by saying, " observe?'