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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

76                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

All round the walls, low enough to be within easy reach of little
children, were arranged black-boards, and many small pictures
representing pretty family-Scenes, or objects of nature like animals
oTflowers, as well as historical orjsacred pictures which coukTbe
changed from day tgjHy,

A large coloured picture, a reproduction of Raphael's Madonna
of the Chair, bung high up on the wall. We had chosen it to
stand as the emblem, the symbol of the Children's Houses.
Indeed the Children's Houses represent not only social progress
tut also the progress of humanity; they are intimately bound up
with the elevation of motherhood, with the advancement of
women, and with the protection of posterity. The Madonna
idealized by the divine Raphael is not only lovely and sweet, a
sublime virgin and mother with her adorable baby, but beside this
perfect symbol of real, living maternity, was the figure of John
the Baptist, who represents for us in the fresh beauty of baby-
hood the cruel sacrifices of him who went before to prepare the
way. Further, it introduced a work of art by the greatest Italian
artist, and if, some day, Children's Houses are scattered through-
out the world, Raphael's picture will be there to speak eloquently
of the land of its origin.

The little ones may not be able to understand the symbolic
meaning of the Madonna of the Chair, but they would see in it some-
thing greater than in other pictures which show fathers, mothers,
grandparents and babies. They would enfold it in their hearts with
•religious feelings.

That is the teaching equipment.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS

Let us begin with the first objection which presents itself to
the minds of followers of the old methods of discipline. The
-children, as they move about, will overturn chairs and tables,
producing noise and disorder; but this prejudges the matter. Think-
ing in the same way, most people believed that the new-born
"baby.should be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and that children