THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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356             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
emptied it out again in order to keep on filling it up until his inner self was satisfied. It was the feeling of work­ing towards this satisfaction which, a few moments before, had made his face so rosy and smiling; spiritual joy, ex­ercise, and sunshine, were the three rays of light minister­ing to his splendid life.
This commonplace episode in the life of that child, is a detail of what happens to all children, even the best and most cherished. They are not understood, because the adult judges them by his own measure: he thinks that the child's wish is to obtain some tangible object, and lovingly helps him to do this: whereas the child as a rule has for his unconscious desire, his own self-development. Hence he despises everything already attained, and yearns for that which is still to be sought for. For instance, he pre­fers the action of dressing himself to the state of being dressed, even finely dressed. He prefers the act of wash­ing himself to the satisfaction of being clean: he prefers to make a little house for himself, rather than merely to own it. His own self-development is his true and almost his only pleasure. The self-development of the little baby up to the end of his first year consists to a large degree in taking in nutrition; but afterwards it consists in aiding the orderly establishment of the psycho-physiological func­tions of his organism.
That beautiful baby in the Pincian Gardens is the sym­bol of this: he wished to co-ordinate his voluntary actions; to exercise his muscles by lifting; to train his eye to es­timate distances; to exercise his intelligence in the rea­soning connected with his undertaking; to stimulate his will-power by deciding his own actions; whilst she who loved him, believing that his aim was to possess some pebbles, made him wretched.
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