THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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352             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
Thus, for instance, it is necessary to teach the child the various degrees of immobility leading to silence; the movements connected with rising from a chair and sitting down, with walking, with tiptoeing, with following a line drawn on the floor keeping an upright equilibrium. The child is taught to move objects about, to set them down more or less carefully, and finally the complex movements connected with dressing and undressing himself (analysed on the lacing and buttoning frames at school), and for even each of these exercises, the different parts of the movement must be analysed. Perfect immobility and the successive perfectioning of action, is what takes the place of the customary command, " Be quiet! Be still! " It is not astonishing but very natural that the child by means of such exercises should acquire self-discipline, so far as regards the lack of muscular discipline natural to his age. In short, he responds to nature because he is in action; but these actions being directed towards an end, have no longer the appearance of disorder but of work. This is discipline which represents an end to be attained by means of a number of conquests. The child disci­plined in this way, is no longer the child he was at first, who knows how to be good passively; but he is an indi­vidual who has made himself better, who has overcome the usual limits of his age, who has made a great step forward, who has conquered his future in his present.
He has therefore enlarged his dominion. He will not need to have someone always at hand, to tell him vainly (confusing two opposing conceptions), "Be quiet! Be good!" The goodness he has conquered cannot be summed up by inertia: his goodness is now all made up of action. As a matter of fact, good people are those who advance towards the good — that good which is made up
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