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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                   131

school, or kneels in church, it is he who places in the right order
the actions learnt and perfected. In this there is a knowledge as
well as a power which raises the understanding. The child who
has finished his first plate of soup will not ask for more if he has
learnt that he ought not to do it, that his natural desire is forbidden
at this time. He will wait patiently till the waiter, anxious like
himself to do the right and to practise at the right time everything
learnt, begins his second round, inviting all who have finished to
have their plates refilled.

As guest or waiter, artist or student, the inward satisfaction
of the child consists in doing the right knowingly, according to
high principles.

GYMNASTICS AND GAMES

What opinion ought we to have about games in the open air?
It is a way of expending an overflow of energy, that is the residue
of energy. They ought to be the gay, unfettered employment of
a strength which the demands of daily work have not used up.
This is a very different thing from considering games and gymnastics
as being in themselves the sole means of physical exercise—almost
as a reaction which saves us from the dangers of inertia.

Nowadays we talk about the great moral influence of sport,
not only because it uses up with definite purpose energy abnormally
penned up and constituting a danger to the equilibrium which the
will has to preserve in man's actions, but—and this is one of the
most important points—because organized games demand the
exact use of apparatus, and therefore the exact co-ordination of
movements as well as disciplined attention. Exactitude is the
basis of perfection in movements and the point which requires
the co-operation of the attention. It follows that games foster
the spirit of co-operation and maximum effort. This, by com-
parison with aimless play, represents moral progress.

Now everyday tasks include part of these advantages, as for
example, accuracy in the use of objects, the discipline of attention,
and the final perfection which is, arrived at by movements. The