124 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
.utmost exactitude the mode of procedure, the child tries again and
^gain indefinitely, buttoning and unbuttoning a great many times
until he acquires skill and speed.
The following list may supply examples of similar activities:
One is locking and unlocking doors, distinguishing between the
acts of inserting the key, which should be held horizontally, of
turning it, then drawing it out of the box or the door. Another
is opening a book properly and then turning over the pages one
by one, touching them delicately. Others are—rising from and
sitting down on a chair; carrying things (stopping before putting
•them down); avoiding obstacles while walking, that is,, not knock-
ing against people or things. These form a set of the examples
which are in use in the Children's Houses.
Besides these, another series of actions is introduced in the
•course of the everyday life of the child—those relating to formal-
ities in social intercourse, such as saluting, picking up and holding
•out to others an object which has been dropped, avoiding passing
in front of anyone, giving way to others, and so on.
In everything there exists the multiple expression of one single
idea; it is this unique and fundamental thought which must be
•sought for as being the key to a general problem. The perfecting
-of the most varied movements also has its key, the governing
essential with which all perfection is bound up. This is the equili-
brium of the body. We have therefore thought out a method for
.helping little children to maintain their balance safely, whilst at
the same time perfecting the movement which above all others is
-essential, that is walking.
A line in the shape of a long ellipse having been drawn on the
floor (either with chalk or painted to make it more durable) the