240 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
The boy had never made these observations; he had studied the angles, the sides and the construction of outlined gRometric figures, but without thinking beyond this, and feeling only annoyance at this arid work. At first he laughed at the idea of man's massing gRometric figures together, then he became interested, looked long at the buildings before him, and an expression of lively and thoughtful interest came into his face. To the right of the Ponte Margherita was a factory building in the process of construction, and its steel framework delineated a series of rectangles. " What tedious work! " said the boy, alluding to the workmen. And, then, as we drew near the garden, and stood for a moment in silence admiring the grass and the flowers which sprang so freely from the earth, " It is beautiful! " he said. But that word " beautiful" referred to the inner awakening of his own soul.
This experience made me think that in the observation of the plane gRometric forms, and in that of the plants which they saw growing in their own little gardens, there existed for the children precious sources of spiritual as well as intellectual education. For this reason, I have wished to make my work broad, leading the child, not only to observe the forms about him, but to distinguish the work of man from that of nature, and to appreciate the fruits of human labour.
(a) Free Design. I give the child a sheet of white paper and a pencil, telling him that he may draw whatever he wishes to. Such drawings have long been of interest to experimental psychologists. Their importance lies in the fact that they reveal the capacity of the child for observing, and also show his individual tendencies. Generally, the first drawings are unformed and confused, and the