THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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GENERAL REVIEW OF DISCIPLINE 353
of their own self-development and of external acts of order and usefulness.
In our efforts with the child, external acts are the means which stimulate internal development, and they again appear as its manifestation, the two elements being inex­tricably intertwined. Work develops the child spirit­ually; but the child with a fuller spiritual development works better, and his improved work delights him,— hence he continues to develop spiritually. Discipline is, therefore, not a fact but a path, a path in following which the child grasps the abstract conception of goodness with an exactitude which is fairly scientific.
But beyond everything else he savours the supreme delights of that spiritual order which is attained indi­rectly through conquests directed towards determinate ends. In that long preparation, the child experiences joys, spiritual awakenings and pleasures which form his inner treasure-house — the treasure-house in which he is steadily storing up the sweetness and strength which will be the sources of righteousness.
In short, the child has not only learned to move about and to perform useful acts; he has acquired a special grace of action which makes his gestures more correct and at­tractive, and which beautifies his hands and indeed his entire body now so balanced and so sure of itself; a grace which refines the expression of his face and of his serenely brilliant eyes, and which shows us that the flame of spirit­ual life has been lighted in another human being.
It is obviously true that co-ordinated actions, developed spontaneously little by little (that is, chosen and carried out in the exercises by the child himself), must call for less effort than the disorderly actions performed by the
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