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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"


independent mental development of the child continues indefinitely
and is in direct dependence on the mental powers of the child
himself and not on the teacher's work.

The movement which is independent mental activity, arises in
our case, from the education of the senses, and is maintained
by  intelligence   as   an  observer.   The  sporting  dog  owes  his.
cleverness  to  the  special  acuteness  of his  senses and not to
education given by his master; moreover, the practice which he
gets in hunting by continually sharpening the sense faculties, gives.
the dog pleasure in the chase and then a passion for it.   The same-
may be said of the pianist who, improving his musical sense as
well as his manipulative skill, develops a growing love for extract-
ing new harmonies from his instrument whilst the exercise is stilE
further strengthening the sense and the dexterity.   He is thus
launched on the way to a perfection which will have as its limits-
only his own personal powers.   A physicist, on the contrary,
might know all the laws of harmony which will form part of his.
scientific training, yet he may not be able to execute the simplest
musical composition; his culture, however extensive, will have
limits  defined by the branch of his science which deals with

Our educational aim for early childhood should be that of
helping development, not conferring culture. Therefore after having,
offered to the child the material suitable for the development of
the senses, we ought to wait for the faculty of observation to
unfold itself.

The Touchstone.   Very often one is amazed by the fact that
children not only make independent observations on their environ-
ment, noticing things which at first they did not distinguish in it,,
but that they seem to observe and to compare them with what
they remember.   They express opinions which seem marvellous,,
for they reveal to us that some children form within themselves a
kind of * touchstone' which we do not possess.   They compare
external things with the images which they have fixed in their
minds, and they show judgment which is surprising in its accuracy..