THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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348             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
A very surprising result of this discipline came to our notice during the examinations of the teachers who had followed my course of lectures. These examinations were practical, and, accordingly, groups of children were put at the disposition of the teachers being examined, who, according to the subject drawn by lot, took the children through a given exercise. While the children were wait­ing their turn, they were allowed to do just as they pleased. They worked incessantly, and returned to their undertakings as soon as the interruption caused by the examination was over. Every once in a while, one of them came to show us a drawing made during the interval. Miss George of Chicago was present many times when this happened, and Madame Pujols, who founded the first " Children's House " in Paris, was astonished at the pa­tience, the perseverance, and the inexhaustible amiability of the children.
One might think that such children had been severely repressed were it not for their lack of timidity, for their bright eyes, for their happy, free aspect, for the cordiality of their invitations to look at their work, for the way in which they take visitors about and explain matters to them. These things make us feel that we are in the pres­ence of the masters of the house; and the fervour with which they throw their arms around the teacher's knees, with which they pull her down to kiss her face, shows that their little hearts are free to expand as they will.
Anyone who has watched them setting the table must have passed from one surprise to another. Little four-year-old waiters take the knives and forks and spoons and distribute them to the different places; they carry trays holding as many as five water-glasses, and finally they go from, table to table, carrying big tureens full of hot soup.
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