THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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252             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
insets. He finally had large print letters made of wood and proceeded in the same way as with the gRometric figures, that is, using the design upon the wall and ar­ranging the nails in such a way that the child might place the letters upon them and then take them off again. Later, Seguin used the horizontal plane instead of the wall, drawing the letters on the bottom of a box and hav­ing the child superimpose solid letters. After twenty years, Seguin had not changed his method of procedure.
A criticism of the method used by Itard and Seguin for reading and writing seems to me superfluous. The method has two fundamental errors which make it in­ferior to the methods in use for normal children, namely: writing in printed capitals, and the preparation for writ­ing through a study of rational gRometry, which we now expect only from students in the secondary schools.
Seguin here confuses ideas in a most extraordinary way. He has suddenly jumped from the psychological observation of the child and from his relation to his en­vironment, to the study of the origin of lines and their relation to the plane.
He says that the child will readily design a vertical line, but that the horizontal will soon become a curve, be­cause " nature commands it" and this command of nature is represented by the fact that man sees the horizon as a curved line!
The example of Seguin serves to illustrate the necessity of a special education which shall fit man for observation, and shall direct logical thought.
The observation must be absolutely objective, in other words, stripped of preconceptions. Seguin has in this case the preconception that gRometric design must pre­pare for writing, and that hinders him from discovering
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