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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

12                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

child can never rise to his feet. But, because the seat falls when
•a certain movement is made, the desk rises, the footrest is over-
turned and behold! the child has the exact space needed for stand-
ing erect.

Moving along this track the benches progressed towards
perfection. All the followers of the so-called scientific pedagogy
-evolved a model one; not a few nations were proud of their
national bench. In the competitive struggle, diplomas were
.awarded and patents were bought.

Undoubtedly this bench was based upon the findings of many
sciences—anthropology, with the measuring of the body and the
•diagnosis of age; physiology, involving the study of muscular
-movements; psychology, in respect of precosity and perversion
of instincts; and, above all, hygiene, in trying to prevent scoliosis.1

Here, then, was a really scientific bench, showing distinctly
.a morphological study of the child.

Here was an example of the literal application of science to
the school.

But I believe that it will not be long before we shall be struck
•with wonder by what seems to be an incomprehensible fact, namely
that so many students of child-hygiene, anthropology and socio-
logy, in the course of the progress in thought made in the first
'decade of the twentieth century, in all nations where a movement
for the protection of the child seems to have been revived, have
failed to recognize the fundamental error of the bench.

I believe that not for long will people run their hands over
those model benches wondering at their perfection, or study about
them in books illustrated with words and figures, scarcely trusting
their own judgment.

The bench—it was intended to prevent curvature of the spine
In the pupils!

Yet the scholors were subjected to such a regime that, even
if they had been born healthy their vertebral columns would have
contorted and they would have become hump-backed 1

* Curvature of the spine.