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 361
of the hody. The child who trains his various senses separately, by means of external stimuli, concentrates his attention and develops, piece by piece, his mental activ­ities, just as with separately prepared movements he trains his muscular activities. These mental gymnastics are not merely psycho-sensory, but they prepare the way for spontaneous association of ideas, for ratiocination de­veloping out of definite knowledge, for a harmoniously balanced intellect. They are the powder-trains that bring about those mental explosions which delight the child so intensely when he makes discoveries in the world about him, when he, at the same time, ponders over and glories in the new things which are revealed to him in the outside world, and in the exquisite emotions of his own growing consciousness; and finally when there spring up within him, almost by a process of spontaneous ripening, like the internal phenomena of growth, the external prod­ucts of learning — writing and reading.
I happened once to see a two-year-old child, son of a medical colleague of mine, who, fairly fleeing away from his mother who had brought him to me, threw himself on the litter of things covering his father's desk, the rectan­gular writing-pad, the round cover of the ink-well. I was touched to see the intelligent little creature trying his best to go through the exercises which our children repeat with such endless pleasure till they have fully committed them to memory. The father and the mother pulled the child away, reproving him, and explaining that there was no use trying to keep that child from handling his father's desk-furniture, " The child is restless and naughty." How often we see all children reproved because, though they are told not to, they will " take hold of everything." Now, it is precisely by means of guiding and developing
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