THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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230             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
instead, may be compared to the process of winding, which sets the entire mechanism in motion.
This motion is in direct relation with the machine, and not with the work of winding. So the spontaneous psychic development of the child continues indefinitely and is in direct relation to the psychic potentiality of the child himself, and not with the work of the teacher. The movement, or the spontaneous psychic activity starts in our case from the education of the senses and is main­tained by the observing intelligence. Thus, for example, the hunting dog receives his ability, not from the educa­tion given by his master, but from the special acuteness of his senses; and as soon as this physiological quality is applied to the right environment, the exercise of hunting, the increasing refinement of the sense perceptions, give3 the dog the pleasure and then the passion for the chase. The same is true of the pianist who, refining at the same time his musical sense and the agility of his hand, comes to love more and more to draw new harmonies from the instrument. This double perfection proceeds until at last the pianist is launched upon a course which will be lim­ited only by the personality which lies within him. Now a student of physics may know all the laws of harmony which form a part of his scientific culture, and yet he may not know how to follow a most simple musical composi­tion. His culture, however vast, will be bound by the definite limits of his science. Our educational aim with very young children must be to aid the spontaneous devel­opment of the mental, spiritual, and physical personality, and not to make of the child a cultured individual in the commonly accepted sense of the term. So, after we have offered to the child such didactic material as is adapted to provoke the development of his senses, we must wait
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