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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                   123

Japanese dance, are none other than a selection of the movements
absolutely necessary in the analytical succession of actions. But
all this is not confined to art; it is a general principle which
concerns every act of life. A clumsy, ungraceful movement is
generally overburdened by acts unnecessary for its object. Anyone
who, when about to get out of a carriage, opens the door a little
before the carriage has stopped and extends his foot towards the
step, is unconsciously doing two or three useless things, because
he cannot alight yet. But all that is not only useless for the
purpose of alighting, but it is a sign of an uneducated person.

These seem to be difficult things for us to teach* But there
is an age when movements possess a fascinating interest, when
the muscular .and nervous . apparatus responds to exercise, and
when are laid down for the future the differences between a
cultured and an uncultured individual—it is the age of infancy.


Pieces of cloth which can be fastened together serve the child
as objects for practising analysis of movement; they are fixed on
a frame which carries two rectangles of material which can be
joined together. Every frame illustrates a different kind of joint—
buttons, hooks, laces, ribbons, buckles, patent fasteners, etc. These
objects of development enter into the dressing of ourselves. The
two pieces of stuff must be placed edge to edge so that the things-
to be used for joining them lie immediately opposite each other.
These may be eyelets into which a lace has to be threaded, or a
button and button-hole, or ribbons to be tied—all needing mani-
pulations diverse and complicated enough to enable the child
to distinguish the succession of acts, each, one of which has
to be completed before proceeding to the next. For example:
The button must be tilted with one. hand, whilst the other
hand moves the button-hole till it lies over the button held
edgewise; then the button is passed through; after that it is made
to lie horizontally. After the teacher has demonstrated with the