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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"


the experimenter, and offers instead activity freely chosen by the
subject; it follows that in this very choice there is manifested
spontaneously the individual mental needs. Second, because the
stimuli, although they are the means analogous to those of experi-
mental psychology, have, however, as their object the stabilization,
in the subject of reactions which are enduring, that is, which are
capable of modifying his personality. Education cannot exist
other than in a dynamic state, in a continuous transformation of
the individual who is to be raised to a higher level; and this process-
must develop in accordance with the inner dictates of life. It is
the creative forces which must develop, and we must not make
ourselves substitutes, in an arbitrary manner, for the divine work
which is accomplished in every living being. Indeed we cannot
be more than co-operators in educational work with creation; we
cannot, therefore, force the child to follow our promptings, but we
must provide the means best adapted to help the child in his-
voluntary work.

%In the first edition of my book, I not only explained the
dynamic idea of a " material for development," in place of that
of the stimuli of experimental psychology, but I propounded a
simple theory about the value of the voluntary activity of the
child. I set forth a series of facts and an experiment carried out,
sufficiently extensive to deduce from it a whole practical method
of education *

,, My experiences, however, far from being rigid, were logical
conclusions corresponding to the application of an exact and
positive method. The behaviour of the children, being uncon-
trolled by rigid research, gave new evidence, something living,
which issued from my experiments as a spring of water gushes
from a rock.*. In good faith, like the simple Aladdin, I thought
that I held in my hand a lamp which at the most could lead
me into a place hitherto unexplored, but what I discovered
unexpectedly was the treasiire hidden in the depths of a child's
soul, and it is this new, surprising revelation, and not what
might be called " the importance of my contribution to official