TEACHING BEADING AND WRITING 261
torn. I thus came to think of the analogy between the two exercises, and became much interested in my observation of the girl. When she had become skilled in the Froebel weaving, I led her back again to the sewing, and saw with pleasure that she was now able to follow the darning. From that time on, our sewing classes began with a regular course in the Froebel weaving.
I saw that the necessary movements of the hand in sewing had been prepared without having the child sew, and that we should really find the way to teach the child how, before making him execute a task. I saw especially that preparatory movements could be carried on, and reduced to a mechanism, by means of repeated exercises not in the work itself but in that which prepares for it. Pupils could then come to the real work, able to perform it without ever having directly set their hands to it before.
I thought that I might in this way prepare for writing, and the idea interested me tremendously. I marvelled at its simplicity, and was annoyed that I had not thought before of the method which was suggested to me by my observation of the girl who could not sew.
In fact, seeing that I had already taught the children to touch the contours of the plane gRometric insets, I had now only to teach them to touch with their fingers the forms of the letters of the alphabet,
I had a beautiful alphabet manufactured, the letters being in flowing script, the low letters 8 centimetres high, and the taller ones in proportion. These letters were in wood, % centimetre in thickness, and were painted, the consonants in blue enamel, the vowels in red. The under side of these letter-forms, instead of being painted, were covered with bronze that they might be more dur-