THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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INTELLECTUAL EDUCATION             235
sets, the directress may begin the lessons in nomenclature. She should begin with two strongly-contrasted forms, as the square and the circle, and should follow the usual method, using the three periods of Seguin. We do not teach all the names relative to the gRometric figures, giv­ing only those of the most familiar forms, such as square, circle, rectangle, triangle, oval. We now call attention to the fact that there are rectangles which are narrow and long, and others which are broad and short, while the squares are equal on all sides and can be only big and little. These things are most easily shown with the in­sets, for, though we turn the square about, it still enters its frame, while the rectangle, if placed across the open­ing, will not enter. The child is much interested in this exercise, for which we arrange in the frame a square and a series of rectangles, having the longest side equal to the side of the square, the other side gradually decreasing in the fie pieces.
In the same way we proceed to show the difference be­tween the oval, the ellipse, and the circle. The circle enters no matter how it is placed, or turned about; the ellipse does not enter when placed transversely, but if placed lengthwise will enter even if turned upside down. The oval, however, not only cannot enter the frame if placed transversely, but not even when turned upside down; it must be placed with the large curve toward the large part of the opening, and with the narrow curve to­ward the narrow portion of the opening.
The circles, big and little, enter their frames no matter how they are turned about. I do not reveal the difference between the oval and the ellipse until a very late stage of the child's education, and then not to all children, but only to those who show a special interest in the forms by
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