EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT 137
the silent breathing of the newly born. - Human life renewed, rest-
ing in silence, what majesty! Compared with that how colourless
are the words of Wordsworth about the silent peace of Nature—
" How calm, how quiet! One single sound, the drip from the
Even the children feel the poetry of the silence of the tranquil,
new-born human life.
THE SILENCE LESSON is ESTABLISHED
After this surprising experience I felt a desire to repeat it, but
how to achieve this? One day I decided in favour of simplicity and
asked the children: " Shall we make silence? " To my astonishment
all the children seemed happy at the prospect and answered:
" Yes, yes!"
I then began my attempt. " In order to obtain silence nobody
should move. . . ." " Even a foot that moves, makes a noise,. . ,"
" Also loud breathing may make a noise. . . ." All tried to keep
still and so did I with them. .
During these attempts the children remained enchanted, all of
them competed in.the effort to avoid even the slightest movement.
Thus the attention of the children was drawn to every part of
Whilst these doings are going on, and my short, excited
speeches are being interrupted by intervals of immobility and
silence, the children listen and watch with great delight. Very
many of them are interested by the fact which they had never
noticed that they make many noises of which they are not aware,
and also that there are many degrees of silence. There is an
absolute silence, in which nothing, absolutely nothing, moves,
They look at me in astonishment when I stop right in the middle
of the room; it is really as if I were not there. Then they all set
themselves to imitate me and try to do the same. I point out that
here and there a foot is moving about almost inadvertently. The
attention of the children is fixed on every part of their bodies, in