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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

208              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

recognized by the children spontaneously much later, for example,
in the elementary schools.)

The Child's Guide. The work of the new mistress is that of
a guide. She guides in the choice of material, in finding exact
words, in facilitating and explaining work, in preventing waste of
energy, in quelling chance disturbances. Thus she affords the
help necessary for proceeding surely and swiftly along the road to
intellectual development.

A sure guide on the path of life, she neither urges forward
nor holds back, satisfied that she has done her work when she
has guaranteed to this precious traveller, the child, that he is on
the right road.

In order to be a sure and practical guide the mistress needs a
great deal of practice. Even after she has grasped the fact that
the periods of initiation and intervention are very diverse, she very
often is uncertain about the condition of the child's mind in
passing from one to the other. She waits too long whilst the
child is faiding out differences by himself before intervening to
teach nomenclature.

I once found a child five years old who could already make
up all the words, knowing the alphabet very well (he had learnt it
in fifteen days); he could write on the blackboard; in free drawings.
he showed not only that he was an observer but that he intuitively
grasped the idea of perspective by the way in which he had drawa
a house and a table. As for the exercise in colour sense, he mixed
together the seven shades of the nine colours we used, that is, he
mixed sixty-three tablets each covered with silk of one colour of
a different shade; he rapidly separated all the groups, and then
arranged in a graduated scale the individuals of each group, filling
up a whole table with the classification of them and partly extend-
ing if over a coloured mat. I made the experiment of showing
the child in the full light of a window a coloured card, telling him
to look at it well that he might remember; I then sefri him to
the table on which were spread out all the shades'in order to find
tte same shade* He made only very slight mistakes; often he