Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats

THE TEACHER                               19?

sufficient to ensure peaceful work. It is that every object must
have a definite place, where it is kept and where it remains when
it is not in use. The child may take a piece of material only from
the place where it is exposed for free choice, and when he has
finished using it he must put it back in its place, in the same
condition in which he took it out. That is to say, no child may
leave off just when he has satisfied his own desires, but must
continue the work to the end, giving willing attention to the
environment and the rules wrhich keep it in order. He must never
pass on his material to a companion, still less take it from one.

In this way, from the start, all competition is eliminated. The
object which is not exposed does not exist for any one who is
seeking it. If he desires it intensely there is nothing to be done-
but be patient and wait till the companion has finished using it
and has put it back into its exhibition place.


Finally., the mistress keeps watch so that the child who is-
absorbed in his work is not disturbed by any companion, and this
office of guardian angel of minds concentrated in efforts which
are to elevate them is one of the most solemn duties of the teacher*


The mistress, whilst she is guiding the work of the child with
the material (the lessons of the mistress) must distinguish between
two different periods. In the first, she puts the child into com-
munication with the material, initiates him into its use. (Time of

In the second, she intervenes to enlighten the child who
has already succeeded through his spontaneous exertions, in dis-
tinguishing the differences between things. It is then that the
teacher can best make definite the ideas acquired by the child by
himself, if that be necessary, and supply the terms relative to the
differences observed.