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148 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
In the same way, when buttoning is being done, if the pro-
cedure is bungled or one button is forgotten, the fact is revealed
at the end by an empty button-hole. In other materials, as in the
three series of blocks, the colour, size, etc. of the objects and the
fact that the child has already accustomed himself to recognizing
errors, bring mistakes into evidence.
The material control of error leads the child to apply to his-
doings his reasoning power, his critical faculty, an attention which
grows more and more interested in exactitude and an intelligence
growing more alert to distinguish small differences. In this way the
mind of the child is prepared to control errors, even when these
are not material and apparent to the senses.
Not only the objects are set apart for the education of the senses-
and for general culture, but the whole environment is prepared in
such a way as to make the control of mistake an easy matter. All
objects, from the furniture to the special material for development^
are informers whose warning voices cannot be ignored.
Bright colours and shining surfaces denounce spots; the light-
ness of the furniture tells of movement which is still imperfect and!
clumsy by noisy falls and scrapings on the floor. Thus the whole
environment forms a stern educator, a sentinel always on the alert,
and each child hears its warnings as if it stood alone in front of
this inanimate teacher.
2. Esthetics. Another character of the objects is that they
are attractive. Colour, brightness and harmony of form are
sought after in everything which surrounds the child. Not only
the sensorial material, but also the environment is so prepared
that it will attract him, as in Nature brilliant petals attract insects-
to drink the nectar which they conceal.
" Use me carefully," say the clean, polished tables; " Do not
leave me idle," say the little brooms with their handles painted
with tiny flowers; " Dip your little hands in here," say the wash-
basins, so clean and ready with their soap and brushes.
The pieces of cloth for fastening up having silver buttons-
placed on green material, the beautiful pink cubes, the tablets of