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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

68                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

schools. To have discovered and demonstrated a hitherto unsus-
pected evil is a work founded on hygiene and experimental
psychology, but it is not the building up of a new pedagogy.

As for child psychology itself, it cannot have discovered the
natural characters and therefore the psychological laws which
govern child development, because in schools there exist con-
ditions of life so abnormal that they give rise to characters of
defence and weariness instead of revealing the expression of creative
energy which belongs to life.

Wundt himself, the founder of psychological physiology,
agreed that " the psychology of the child is unknown ".

I had thought of taking into account other research work,
whilst keeping myself independent of it. I retained as essential
only the affirmation, or rather the definition made by Wundt:
" All the methods of experimental psychology can be reduced
to one single method, that is, to observation which is regulated
with precision."

When it is a question of children, another factor must cer-
tainly come in—the study of development. Here also I retained
the general rule, but without confining myself to dogmas relative
to the activity of children as depending on age.

MORPHOLOGICAL GROWTH

$ In my schools I have taken great care from the very beginning
to follow the growth of the child's body, studying and measuring
it in accordance with the practice fixed by anthropological research.
However, I simplified the measurements considerably and adopted
an order which made it easier to record data. I tried also to
interest the children directly in the proceedings. There were sent
out periodically to the families the measurements relating to their
own children, together with the average normal measurements
according to age; and the result of this was that the parents
followed intelligently the physical development of their children.

I caused to be constructed a measuring machine for children
which had a metric scale ranging between 0.50 m. to 1.50 m.;