Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats


heavy and thin. He first of all takes out the frame and places it on
a sheet of white paper; then with a coloured pencil he draws the
outlines of the empty centre of the frame. Next the frame is
removed, and on the paper there remains a geometrical figure.

This is the first time that the child reproduces a geometrical
figure by drawing it; up till now he has done nothing but super-
impose the plane insets on the cards of the first, second and third

Then, on the figure which he himself has drawn, the child
places the inset piece, as he did with the plane insets on the cards
of the third series. He outlines it with a pencil of a different
colour; then he takes it away: on the card there remains the figure
doubly outlined in two colours.

After that, the child, with a coloured pencil. of his own
•choosing, held like a writing pen, fills in completely the outlined
figure. He is taught not to pass outside the outline.

The exercise of filling in a single figure demands that the
child should carry out and repeat hand-movements such as would
be needed to fill ten pages with ' strokes'; and it would be done
without causing weariness, for the child, in thus co-ordinating pre-
cisely the muscular contractions necessary for the work, does it of
his own free will and in any way he pleases, whilst under his eyes
there comes to life a big, beautifully coloured figure.

At the beginning the child fills many sheets of paper with these
great squares, triangles, ovals, trapeziums—in red, orange, green,
purple, blue, pink.

When we examine the successive figures executed by the same
child, a double form of progress is revealed. First, by degrees,
the lines begin to project less beyond the outline, until they
are perfectly enclosed, and the. filling-in is steady and uniform
all- round the edge as well as in the central part. From being
short and confused the lines of filling become longer and more
nearly parallel, until sometimes the figures are filled with a perfectly
regular system of strokes which go across from boundary to
boundary.' In any case, it is certain that.the.child is master of the