THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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TEACHING HEADING AND WRITING 247
to the description of the design which prepares for, and which includes writing. This method of design is full of difficulties and was only established by the combined at­tempts of Itard and Seguin.
" Chapter XL: Design. In design the first idea to be acquired is that of the plane destined to receive the design. The second is that of the trace or delineation. Within these two concepts lies all design, all linear creation.
" These two concepts are correlative, their relation . generates the idea, or the capacity to produce the lines in this sense; that lines may only be called such when they . follow a methodical and determined direction: the trace without direction is not a line; produced by chance, it has no name.
" The rational sign, on the contrary, has a name be­cause it has a direction and since all writing or design is nothing other than a composite of the diverse directions followed by a line, we must, before approaching what is commonly called writing, insist upon these notions of plane and line. The ordinary child acquires these by instinct, but an insistence upon them is necessary in order to render the idiot careful and sensitive in their applica­tion. Through methodical design he will come into ra­tional contact with all parts of the plane and will, guided by imitation, produce lines at first simple, but growing more complicated.
" The pupil may be taught: First, to trace the di­verse species of lines. Second, to trace them in various •directions and in different positions relative to the plane. Third, to reunite these lines to form figures varying from simple to complex. We must therefore, teach the pupil to distinguish straight lines from curves, vertical from
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