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TEACHING METHODS 93
practical act, it leads to the creation of an environment in which
the child can employ himself in a series of interesting objectives
to be attained—thus directing into orderly and well-executed
actions his unbridled activity.
EXERCISES IN PRACTICAL LIFE
In the environment described above, bright and gay and fur-
nished according to the proportions of the child, there exist objects
which are designed through their use to achieve some definite
purpose, as for example, certain simple pieces of cloth which the-
child can learn to button up, to lace up, to hook up, to tie, etc.
Or there are wash-basins in which the child may wash bis hands;
brooms with which to sweep the floor, dusters and other things*
suited for removing dust from furniture, various brushes for clean-
ing shoes and garments—all objects which invite the baby to do
something, to carry out a real piece of work having- a practical
goal to be aimed at. To spread out carpets and roll them up
again after they have been used; to spread the tablecloth for the
actual setting of the table at the dinner hour, and to fold it up and
replace it accurately when the meal is over, or to lay the table-
completely and afterwards clear away, to wash up the dishes and
replace every item in its own place in the cupboards—these are-
pieces of work which are planned and arranged in an order not only
as regards successive difficulties of execution, but which demand a
gradual development of character because of the patience which
is necessary for carrying them out and the responsibility which
they involve in order that they should be carried into effect.
The activities which I have just indicated are called " exercises
in practical life," because in the Children's Houses real everyday
life is carried on in which all housework is entrusted to the little
ones, who execute with devotion and accuracy their domestic duties,
becoming singularly calm and dignified.
Besides those objects which introduce into the instruction all
the doings of practical life, there are many others (vide following.