THE METHOD AND THE MATERIAL 273
the pen is held in writing, he fills in the figure which he has outlined. We teach him not to pass outside the contour, and in doing so we attract his attention to this contour, and thus fix the idea that a line may determine a figure.
The exercise of filling in one figure alone, causes the child to perform repeatedly the movement of manipulation which would be necessary to fill ten copy-book pages with vertical strokes. And yet, the child feels no weariness, because, although he makes exactly the muscular co-ordination which is necessary to the work, he does so freely and in any way that he wishes, while his eyes are fixed upon a large and brightly coloured figure. At first, the children fill pages and pages of paper with these big squares, triangles, ovals, trapezoids; colouring them red, orange, green, blue, light blue, and pink.
Gradually they limit themselves to the use of the dark blue and brown, both in drawing the figure and in filling it in, thus reproducing the appearance of the metal piece itself. Many of the children, quite of their own accord, make a little orange-coloured circle in the centre of the figure, in this way representing the little brass button by which the metal piece is to be held. They take great pleasure in feeling that they have reproduced exactly, like true artists, the objects which they see before them on the little shelf.
Observing the successive drawings of a child, there is revealed to us a duplicate form of progression:
First Little by little, the lines tend less and less to go outside the enclosing line until, at last, they are perfectly contained within it, and both the centre and the frame are filled in with close and uniform strokes.
Second. The strokes with which the child fills in the