318 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
upon which we can directly act, rendering the motor channels permeable, and establishing psycho-muscular mechanisms.
This indeed is what is done by my method, which prepares the movements directly; so that the psycho-motor impulse of the heard speech finds the motor channels already established, and is manifested in the act of writing, like an explosion.
The real difficulty is in the interpretation of the graphic signs; but we must remember that we are in the age of perceptions, where the sensations and the memory as well as the primitive associations are involved precisely in the characteristic progress of natural development. Moreover our children are already prepared by various exercises of the senses, and by methodical construction of ideas and mental associations to perceive the graphic signs; something like a patrimony of perceptive ideas offers material to the language in the process of development. The child who recognises a triangle and calls it a triangle can recognise a letter s and denominate it by the sound s. This is obvious.
Let us not talk of premature teaching; ridding ourselves of prejudices, let us appeal to experience which shows that in reality children proceed without effort, nay rather with evident manifestations of pleasure to the
recognition of graphic signs presented as objects.
And with this premise let us consider the relations between the mechanisms of the two languages.
The child of three or four has already long begun his articulate language according to our scheme. But he finds himself in the period in which the mechanism of