254 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
they were taught to read and write they would learn quickly and
-would be spared a great deal of trouble in the elementary school."
This belief of the mothers that with us the little ones would
learn reading and writing without trouble struck me forcibly. And,
ithinking of the results obtained in the schools for defectives, I
decided, during the August holidays, to make an attempt when the
school opened in September. But then I reflected that in September
it would be well to resume the interrupted teaching, and to begin
reading and writing only in October when the elementary schools
-opened, which would give ours the advantage of beginning the
same teaching at the same time as these.
In September, therefore, I began to look for some one to make
the material, but found no workers disposed to do it. A professor
-advised me to place orders in Milan, and that led to a great waste
Ľof time. I wanted to make a line alphabet like that for the
-defectives in wood, covered with enamel paint and metal. Then
I would have contented myself with single letters of enamel similar
to those used for inscriptions on shop windows, but I found none.
In a professional school, I was on the point of obtaining letters
hollowed out in wood (for touching along the groove with a rod),
but the workers were discouraged by the difficulty of the work
.and it was suspended.
In this way the whole of October passed. Already the children
-of the first elementary class had filled pages with strokes, and mine
were still waiting. Then I decided, in consultation with the mis-
tresses, to cut out from simple sheets of paper very large letters
of the alphabet, and one mistress coloured them roughly on one
side with blue and red respectively. For the purpose of tracing
the letters, I thought of cutting out the letters in sandpaper and
gumming them on smooth paper, thus making objects very similar
to. those used in the first exercises in the sense of touch.
fc .,, Only after having made these simple things did I realize the
:great superiority of this alphabet over the magnificent affair made
^ot the defectives, which I had sought for in vain for two jnonths.
If I had been rich, I would have used for ever the superb but sterile