236 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
choosing the game often, or by asking about the differences. I prefer that such differences should be recognised later by the child, spontaneously, perhaps in the elementary school.
It seems to many persons that in teaching these forms we are teaching geometry, and that this is premature in schools for such young children. Others feel that, if we wish to present gRometric forms, we should use the solids, as being more concrete.
I feel that I should say a word here to combat such prejudices. To observe a gRometric form is not to analyse it, and in the analysis gRometry begins. When, for example, we speak to the child of sides and angles and explain these to him, even though with objective methods, as Froebel advocates (for example, the square has four sides and can be constructed with four sticks of equal length), then indeed we do enter the field of gRometry, and I believe that little children are too immature for these steps. But the observation of the form cannot be too advanced for a child at this age. The plane of the table at which the child sits while eating his supper is probably a rectangle; the plate which contains his food is a circle, and we certainly do not consider that the child is too immature to be allowed to look at the table and the plate.
The insets which we present simply call the attention to a given form. As to the name, it is analogous to other names by which the child learns to call things. Why should we consider it premature to teach the child the words circle, square, oval, when in his home he repeatedly hears the word round used in connection with plates, etc. ? He will hear his parents speak of the square table, the oval table, etc., and these words in common use will