THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

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

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360             THE MONTESSORI METHOD
What would become of us if we fell into the midst of a population of jugglers, or of lightning-change imperson­ators of the variety-hall ? What should we do if, as we continued to act in our usual way, we saw ourselves as­sailed by these sleight-of-hand performers, hustled into our clothes, fed so rapidly that we could scarcely swallow, if everything we tried to do was snatched from our hands and completed in a twinkling and we ourselves reduced to impotence and to a humiliating inertia ? Not knowing how else to express our confusion we would defend our­selves with blows and yells from these madmen, and they having only the best will in the world to serve us, would call us haughty, rebellious, and incapable of doing any­thing. We, who know our own milieu, would say to those people, " Come into our countries and you will see the splendid civilisation we have established, you will see our wonderful achievements." These jugglers would admire us infinitely, hardly able to believe their eyes, as they ob­served our world, so full of beauty and activity, so well regulated, so peaceful, so kindly, but all so much slower than theirs.
Something of this sort occurs between children and adults.
It is exactly in the repetition of the exercises that the education of the senses consists; their aim is not that the child shall know colours, forms and the different quali­ties of objects, but that he refine his senses through an exercise of attention, of comparison, of judgment. These exercises are true intellectual gymnastics. Such gym­nastics, reasonably directed by means of various devices, aid in the formation of the intellect, just as physical ex­ercises fortify the general health and quicken the growth
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