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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                   133

I then had a similar apparatus made which was the first
gymnastic instrument for tiny children.

Afterwards I had a special kind of swing made. It was like
a small chair, raised above the ground with a long seat so that
their feet also could rest upon it. This swing moved towards a
vertical wall. The child, after an initial push, could keep the
swing moving by pushing with its feet against the wall every time
it came near it. This was a gymnastic exercise to strengthen the
knees without the effort of walking.

Other simple instruments were also prepared, e.g. the " round
stairs " with lines painted upon them to learn to come down the
stairs in a correct manner, keeping to the same direction without
swerving either to the left or the right.

Finally there were various contraptions for jumping from
different heights.

1 was then severely criticized for giving a gymnasium to
children of only three years of age! Afterwards, however, the idea
made headway and was perfected in every country. Also in our
own schools greater perfection was achieved and new applications
were found.

Children of about 5-6 years of age love to climb the branches
of trees, and this is a very good practical exercise for them. I there-
fore had some instruments built that were similar to empty prisms
with boards fixed at regular distances. These were used as stairs
or ladders to reach the trees. In California we also had small huts
built with balconies resting on the branches of trees. They gave
an opportunity to the children to stay up there and even to
work there.

As a last example I wish to mention the " pagoda ". This is
an application of those contraptions that are everywhere in use on
which children go up a ladder on one side and then slide down on
the other. Instead of the small platform at the top, serving merely
to pass from the ladder to the slide, I had a much larger platform
laid out, so that they could also bring their chairs there and sit
down. It is reached on one side by either a ladder or by simple