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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                  125

child walks on it, placing the foot completely on the line, so that
the line lies along the axis of the flat part of the foot. The
exact placing of the foot is the first point which has to be shown;
the toe and the heel must both be on the line. Moving the feet
forward in this position, as anyone can prove, gives the impression
of falling. That means that an effort has to be made in order to
preserve equilibrium. When the child is beginning to be sure of
his walking power, he is taught to overcome another difficulty;
the feet have to advance in such a way that the foremost is planted
with the heel in contact with the toe of the other foot. The-
exercise not only demands an effort to maintain balance, but it
exacts from the child the closest attention in order that the feet
may be placed in the position required. There results from this
the ordinary utilization of that instinct which everyone has noticed
in children, the desire to walk on a plank or any narrow bar; and
that explains the keen interest which little children take in our
exercises on the line, and in the development of them which has-
taken place in our schools.

A mistress plays the pianoforte or a violin or a small organ;
not to get the children to walk according to a musical rhythm, but
to give some animation to the movement, so useful when one has-
to make an effort.

CONCURRENT EXERCISES

In all our schools there is today, as part of the standard
apparatus, a stand to which are attached many different little-
banners, all attractive because of their bright colours. It is well
known how much the children like to hold them in their hands..
Those walking on the line, directly after they have overcome their
first difficulties and acquired equilibrium, may take one of the little
flags, provided they can hold it aloft. If they do not pay great
attention to controlling the arm, the flag will drop little by little.
Attention therefore has to be divided between controlling the feet^.
which have to be placed without fail on the line, and guiding the
arm which holds up the banner.