272 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
But in this case, the child can freely use the pieces, where before, he arranged them in the wooden frame. He first takes the metal frame, places it upon a sheet of white paper, and with a coloured pencil draws around the contour of the empty centre. Then, he takes away the frame, and upon the paper there remains a gRometric figure.
This is the first time that the child has reproduced through design, a gRometric figure. Until now, he has only placed the gRometric insets above the figures delineated on the three series of cards. He now places upon the figure, which he himself has drawn, the metal inset, just as he placed the wooden inset upon the cards. His next act is to follow the contour of this inset with a pencil of a different colour. Lifting the metal piece, he sees the figure reproduced upon the paper, in two colours.
Here, for the first time is born the abstract concept of the gRometric figure, for, from two metal pieces so different in form as the frame and the inset, there has resulted the same design, which is a line expressing a determined figure. This fact strikes the attention of the child. He often marvels to find the same figure reproduced by means of two pieces so different, and looks for a long time with evident pleasure at the duplicate design — almost as if it were actually produced by the objects which serve to guide his hand.
Besides all this, the child learns to trace lines determining figures. There will come a day in which, with still greater surprise and pleasure, he will trace graphic signs determining words.
After this, he begins the work which directly prepares for the formation of the muscular mechanism relative to the holding and manipulation of the instrument of writing. With a coloured pencil of his own selection, held as