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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

TEACHING METHODS                          75

reveal to us needs and aptitudes which remain hidden and repressed
when there does not exist an environment which allows free scope
for their spontaneous activity. It is essential that together with,
an observer there should exist something to be observed; and if it
is necessary that the observer should be trained to see and to recog-
nize the truth, it is, on the other hand, also necessary to prepare
conditions which render possible the manifestation of the natural
characteristics of the children.)

This last part of the problem, which no one had yet taken
into consideration, seemed to me the one which was supremely
important, and the one most directly connected with education,
seeing that it relates to the active life of the child.

I began then by getting manufactured school equipment which
was made in proportion to the child and which provided for his
need to move about intelligently.

I had constructed little tables of various shapes, which would
be quite steady but which would be extremely light so that two
children, four years old, could carry them easily. I had also madfr
small seats, some straw-bottomed, others of wood, light and
with some attempt at elegance; they were not a small version of
seats for adults but were made in proportion to the child's body.
In addition I ordered little wooden armchairs with wide arms, and
also wicker-work armchairs. There were also included small square
tables for one person, as well as tables with larger dimensions,
which were covered with little white cloths and decorated with
vases of flowers and foliage. Part of the equipment consisted of
a wash-bowl placed so low down that it was accessible to a child
thfee~or four years old; it had its side ledges, all white and wash-
able, to hold soap, brushes and towels. The side-boards were low,
light and very""simple. Some were closed in by a simple curtain,
others had doors each of which closed with a different key, the
fastening being within the reach of the child's hand so that he caa
open and close them and place objects within the compartments. On
the top of the long, narrow side-board was spread a white linen cloth,,
on which was placed a bowl containing live fish, or other ornaments..