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198               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

been experimentally determined for the presentation of the material
and for the treatment of the child that he may be guided aright.
This is the pan with which the training of the teacher is chiefly
concerned. She will be able to study theoretically certain general
principles of the highest importance for guiding her in practice,
but only through experience will she acquire those delicate varia-
tions which vary in the training of different individuals. She will
learn that she must not hold back minds already abnormally
developed by giving to them material less than their individual
powers can handle, which creates boredom; she will learn not to
offer objects which are beyond the capacity of the child, thus dis-
couraging and destroying the first childish enthusiasm.


In order to know the material the mistress ought not to
content herself with looking at it, studying it with a book as guide,
or learning the use of it through the explanations of a teacher.
She must exercise herself with it for a long time, trying in this way
to form an estimate by her experience of the difficulties or the
interest which every piece of material may present, trying to inter-
pret, however imperfectly, the impressions which the child may
receive from it. If the mistress has sufficient patience to repeat
the exercise as often as a child might do, she is able to measure
in herself the energy and the endurance of which a child of a
definite age is capable. For this last purpose, the mistress will be
able to grade the materials and thus test the activity which the
child is able to exert at successive ages, (vide later chapter on the
order for the exercises.)


The mistress, besides putting the child in touch with the
material, also puts him in touch with the arrangement of his sur-
roundings. She imposes on him the rule on which is based an
external, disciplinary organization, very simple in character, but