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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

EDUCATION IN MOVEMENT                   141

conditions characteristic of his age. Indeed an adult would never
maintain an interest in such things to such an extent as to repeat
their displacement dozens of times and find pleasure in doing it;
still less would it be possible for the inner faculties of an adult to
concentrate on these doings in such a way to make him insensible
to external events. The teacher therefore exists on quite a different
psychical plane compared with the child and could not in the
smallest degree influence such a phenomenon. We are face to
face then with a veritable revelation of the inner world. External
stimuli like a great calamity call forth some manifestations belong-
ing to the depths of the soul. Here we find ourselves in front of
a phenomenon of development, pure and simple.

The fact is very clearly evident when we observe the behaviour
of very young children. They sometimes show a similar symptom,,
though only in the motor field; it consists in carrying similar objects-
one by one from one place to another. Only at a later age does
the child love to transport things actuated by an external purpose
to be attained, like laying a table, replacing things in a cupboard,
etc. There exists then a formative period in which actions are-
apparently aimless, have no external application. Analogous facts
are met with in the course of the development of speech, when
the child for a long time repeats sounds, syllables and words
without yet using language, far less applying it to external objects.

This phenomenon, so general in all manifestation of the deve-
lopment of mental life, therefore possesses the highest interest.

It necessitates that the child should be allowed free choice of
objects. It will develop the more readily in proportion as there
can be eliminated any obstacle which may interfere between the
child and the objective to which his mind is unconsciously aspiring^

Every external thing, in particular every external activity,
will be an obstacle hindering that frail and mysterious vital
impulse, which acts as a guide though still unconsciously. The
teacher may therefore become the principal obstacle, because here-
is a more energetic and intelligent activity than that of the child.
In that environment in which the sense stimuli are set out for the: