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118              THE pJSCOVERY OF THE CHILD

things look disorderly, we may be certain that it will be the smallest
children who will take notice of it. Before the age of three the
work of arranging furniture and putting everything in order forms
the highest and most improving work, and for that reason also,
it makes the loudest calls for action.


The teacher superintends, it is true; but it is the things of
various kinds which call to children of various ages. Truly the
brilliancy, the colours, the beauty of gaily decorated objects are
no other than voices which call the attention of the child to them-
selves and urge him to do something. Those objects possess an
eloquence which no mistress can ever attain to: " Take me," they
say, " see that I am not damaged, put me in my place." And
the action carried out at the instigation of the things gives the child
that lively satisfaction, that access of energy which prepares him
for the more difficult work of intellectual development. Very
often there is more than one voice of things which is calling; the
call gives a complicated order; some important pieces of work
require not one child but an organized band of them and require
long training and preparation. Such are the tasks of laying the
table, serving dinner and washing up pots and pans.


It would be a mistake, before testing it, to make an estimate
of the capability of children as based on their ages and to exclude
any of them helping on the supposition that they are not capable
of giving help. The teacher ougjit always to open the doors of
opportunity, never discourage anyone by lack of trust. Even the
tiniest children want to be doing things and are possessed of an
urge to exert themselves, more vigorously than the bigger ones.
The wise mistress will therefore be on the look-out for any
contribution which even the smallest child can give. Perhaps the