NATURE IN EDUCATION 105
They want to do big things, and to bring their activity into n
diate connection with the products of Nature. Without a dout>T~
children love flowers, but they are very far from being satisfied
with remaining among flowers, with brooding for long over their
•coloured blossoms. Children are profoundly content if they can
act, make discoveries, explore, even apart from external beauty.
As the result of experiments which we have made, various
•conclusions, different from those with which I myself had begun,
lave been demonstrated by children left with free choice.
The work which pleases children most is not so much that of
•sowing seed as that of harvesting: work, as one knows, not less
intense than the other. It is harvesting, one might say, which
intensifies the interest in seed-sowing. Anyone who experiments
•with gathering in the crops will feel more keenly the hidden
fascination of sowing.
One of the most brilliant experiments was that of harvesting
^grain and grapes. The reaping of a field of corn, the making up
•of this into sheaves to be bound together with bright-coloured
ribbons has had great success and can be made the occasion of
delightful field festivals. The care of the vines, the cleansing of
the grapes, as well as the collecting of the beautiful fruit in baskets
may also be turned into gala days of all kinds.
All the fruit trees lend themselves to work of this kind. The
.gathering in of the almonds interests even the smallest children,
who do a really useful bit of work, so diligent are they in seeking
out the hidden almonds and gathering them into baskets. Hunting
•out the strawberries lurking under the leaves is work not less
pleasing than that of seeking for sweet violets.
There follows from these experiments an interest in seed-sowing
•on a large scale, as for example in a corn-field, with all its opera-
tions. Only the adult can prepare the furrows, but the children
'Can pile up the various heaps of grain to be sown, which are placed