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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

196               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

the mistress many objects (the means of development) which
co-operate in the education of the child.

The profound difference which separates this method from
the so-called 6 object lessons* of the old style, is that the objects
are not an aid for the mistress wTho has to explain, that is they
do not constitute means of teaching.

But they are an aid for the child who chooses them himself,
rates possession of them, uses them and employs himself with
them according to his own tendencies and needs and just as long
as he is interested in them. In this way the objects become means
of development.

The objects and not the teaching given by the mistress form
the principal agent and as it" is the child who uses them, it is he,
the child, who is the active being and not the teacher.

The mistress, nevertheless, fulfils many functions. Her co-
operation is very far from being excluded, but it becomes prudent,
delicate and takes a varied form. There is no need for her words,
her energy, her severity, but what is needed is wisdom, keen-eyed
in observing, in serving, in approaching and in withdrawing, in
speaking and in keeping silent, in accordance with the occasions
and needs. She must acquire a moral alertness which has not
been demanded by any other method, a mingling of calm,
patience, love and humility. Virtues and not words form her
main qualification.

Summing up her principal duty in school practice, one may
state it thus—the mistress must explain the use of material* She
is, in the main, a connecting link between the material (the objects)
and the child. A simple, modest duty and yet much more deli-
cate than when, in the old schools, the material was, on the other
hand, a simple connecting link helping to establish intellectual
correspondence between the mistress who had to pass on her ideas
and the child who had to receive them.

la our system, the mistress does nothing more than facilitate
and make clear to the child the very active and prolonged work
which is reserved for him in. choosing objects and employing