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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

164               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

But this * touching everything,' besides being a verification of
vision, is, according to our experience, the visible expression of a
very acute muscular sensibility which exists in the small child
during that period of its life when are fixed the fundamental co-
ordinations of movement.

It is not then a question only of verifying vision, but of per-
forming the movement itself, and of building up that physiological
edifice which is the co-ordination of movements necessary for
preparing the organs of expression.

Furthermore, the fact that nearly all the sensorial exercises
are accompanied by movements shows how the muscular sensi-
bility may possess, in early years, a pre-eminent function. For
this reason we have used extensively in our method the stereo-
gnostic sense, for the furthering of education itself, in the matters
of its expressive manifestations (drawing, writing, etc.), and to
attain this end, which for us implies special value in these
sensations, we have paid particular attention to the development
of it in the formative period of early childhood.

On this subject we have conducted wonderful experiments
with educational success, which deserve to be described that they
may offer help to the teacher.

The first material used consisted of Froebel's cubes and bricks.
Having called the attention of the child to the shapes of the two
solids, we made him feel them over carefully with his eyes open,
whilst we repeated some sentences with which to keep his attention
fixed on the details. After that the child was told to put the cubes
on the right hand and the bricks on the left, fingering them all the
time without looking at them. Finally the exercise was repeated
by the child blindfolded. Almost all the children succeeded in
doing the exercise and after a few repetitions every error was
eliminated. The bricks and cubes were twenty-four in number;
therefore the attention could be kept fixed for a long time on this
kind of game. But without a doubt its maintenance is assisted by
the child's knowledge that he is being watched by curious com-
panions ready to laugh at his mistakes and also by his own pride