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 355
in their evolution by the activity of the spirit, since the upward path for soul and body is one and the same.
By analogy, it can be said of the intellectual develop­ment of the child, that the mind of infancy, although characteristically disorderly, is also " a means searching for its end,'' which goes through exhausting experiments, left, as it frequently is, to its own resources, and too often really persecuted. Once in our public park in Rome, the Pincian Gardens, I saw a baby of about a year and a half, a beautiful smiling child, who was working away trying to fill a little pail by shoveling gravel into it. Beside him was a smartly dressed nurse evidently very fond of him, the sort of nurse who would consider that she gave the child the most affectionate and intelligent care. It was time to go home and the nurse was patiently exhorting the baby to leave his work and let her put him into the baby-carriage. Seeing that her exhortations made no impres­sion on the little fellow's firmness, she herself filled the pail with gravel and set pail and baby into the carriage with the fixed conviction that she had given him what he wanted.
I was struck by the loud cries of the child and by the expression of protest against violence and injustice which wrote itself on his little face. What an accumulation of wrongs weighed down that nascent intelligence! The little boy did not wish to have the pail full of gravel; he wished to go through the motions necessary to fill it, thus satisfying a need of his vigorous organism. The child's unconscious aim was his own self-development; not the external fact of a pail full of little stones. The vivid at­tractions of the external world were only empty appari­tions ; the need of his life was a reality. As a matter of fact, if he had filled his pail he would probably have
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