THE HISTORY OF METHODS 23
which it has given, will be made to continue in an extended
Although this educational system of which experience has
proved the excellence is not yet definitely completed, nevertheless
it already constitutes an entity sufficiently organic to be usefully
adopted in infant schools and in the first classes in elementary
I am not really exact when I say that the present work is
founded on a few years' experience; I do not think that these
last efforts of mine could have given rise to all that I am about
The educational system of the Children's Houses did not
come into existence without prolonged preparations, and, though
the present experience with normal children is so short, it has
its origin in previous teaching experience with abnormal children,
and this presents a very long course of thought.
About twelve years ago, when I was an assistant doctor in
the Mental Clinic in the University of Rome, I had occasion to
frequent the asylum to study sick people to be chosen for the pur-
poses of clinical teaching, and in this way I became interested in
the idiot children maintained there. At this time medical treat-
ment of the thyroid was in full favour; therefore, in the midst of
the confusion and exaggeration about therapeutic successes, the
interest of doctors, to a greater extent than previously, was focussed
on meantally afflicted children.
It was through my interest in deficient children that I came
to know the special method of education devised by Edwaxd
Seguin, and also to investigate in a general way the treatments
for various forms of abnormality such as deafness, paralysis, etc.
The fact that teaching must be linked up with medicine in therapy
1 The method has now been extended, and is largely experimented with
in elementary classes: it is described in the book, iSAutosducazione nelle
scoule Elementari (The Advanced Montessori Method). In more recent times
it has extended backward to birth and forward to adulthood. Several secon-
dary Montessori schools are in existence and have obtained State recognition.