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

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THE METHOD AND THE MATERIAL 287
way in which writing was taught, and we have had from this school most beautiful specimens of writing, and for this reason, perhaps I cannot do better than to describe the development of the work in this school.
One beautiful December day when the sun shone and the air was like spring, I went up on the roof with the children. They were playing freely about, and a number of them were gathered about me. I was sitting near a chimney, and said to a little five-year-old boy who sat beside me, " Draw me a picture of this chimney," giving him as I spoke a piece of chalk. He got down obediently and made a rough sketch of the chimney on the tiles which formed the floor of this roof terrace. As is my custom with little children, I encouraged him, praising his work. The child looked at me, smiled, remained for a moment as if on the point of bursting into some joyous act, and then cried out, " I can write! I can write! " and kneeling down again he wrote on the pavement the word " hand." Then, full of enthusiasm, he wrote also " chim­ney," " roof." As he wrote, he continued to cry out, " I can write! I know how to write! " His cries of joy brought the other children, who formed a circle about him, looking down at his work in stupefied amazement. Two or three of them said to me, trembling with excite­ment, " Give me the chalk. I can write too." And in­deed they began to write various words: mama, hand, John, chimney, Ada.
Not one of them had ever taken chalk or any other in­strument in hand for the purpose of writing. It was the first time that they had ever written, and they traced an entire word, as a child, when speaking for the first time, speaks the entire word.
The first word spoken by a baby causes the mother
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