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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE HISTORY OF METHODS                   41

of exceptional conditions, as these were, for the San Lorenzo
•Quarter came into existence as a consequence of the displacement
of population which had followed the War of Independence in
Italy, when crowds flocked unexpectedly into Rome as being the
capital.

Here we have then the meaning of my teaching experiment,
carried on for two years in the Children's House.   It represents
the results of a series of trials made by me in educating young
children according to new methods.    It certainly is not a matter
of the pure and simple application of Seguin's method to infant
schools, such as anyone could find out by consulting that author's
works; it is nevertheless true that under these two years of experi-
menting there lies an experimental basis which goes back to the
time of the French Revolution and which includes the assiduous
labours of Seguin and Itard. As for me, thirty years after Seguin's
second publication, I took up again the ideas, and, if I may venture
to say so, the work of this author, with the same enthusiastic
feeling with which he had inherited the ideas and the work of his
master Itard, who died in his filial care.   For ten years I experi-
mented practically and meditated on the work of these distinguished
men who had sacrificed themselves, leaving to humanity the most
fruitful proofe of their obscure heroism.   To my ten years of study
there may also be added the forty years of the work of Itard and
Seguin.   There had already been spent fifty years of active pre-
paration, distributed over more than a century of time, before this
trial was attempted, so short apparently, of only two years; I do
not think that I am making a mistake in saying that it represents
the succession of labours of three doctors who, from Itard to
myself, took the first steps in the paths of psychiatry.

NOTE—This group of children not only received an education but they
furnished surprising revelations- which roused interest throughput the whole
.world, and the Children's House became a centre of pilgrimage for
people from all countries, especially from America. Today there have been
founded in India Children's Houses in the desert of Rajputana, where camels
and dromedaries are numerous and still form the only means of communica-
tion between the villages, and carry visitors to the Children's Houses.