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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE MECHANISM OF WRITING                283:

It is also an educational idea to prepare oneself before making,
attempts, and to perfect oneself before going further. To go on
correcting one's own errors encourages one to attempt imperfectly
things for which we are not ready, and it also deadens the sensi-
tiveness of the mind towards its own mistakes. My method of
teaching writing includes as an educational conception teaching
the child the prudence which makes one avoid error; the dignity
which gives foresight and is a guide to perfection; and also the
humility which keeps one constantly in touch with the sources of
goodness, from which alone one obtains and maintains mastery
over oneself; getting rid of the illusion that, once success has-
been reached, it is quite enough to go on just as we have been,
doing.

Because all the children, those who have just begun the three
exercises, as well as those who have already been writing for many
months, are always repeating the same movements, they are united
and fraternize on an apparently equal level. Here there are no classes
for beginners and advanced; they are all to be seen filling up figures-
with coloured pencils, tracing sandpaper letters, composing words
with  the  movable alphabets; the smallest work alongside the
biggest, the latter helping the former—all imagining that they are-
doing the same thing.   There is no one who is preparing himself^
there is no one who is perfecting himself; all are moving along the
same road; running deeper than any social differences there exists
a similarity in which all men are brothers, just as on the spiritual,
path all, whether aspiring or perfect, are carrying on the same-
exertions.

Writing is learnt in a very short time, because we begin to*
teach it only to children who show a desire for it, paying voluntary
attention, to the lessons which the mistress is giving to other children
and to the doings of other children. Some learn without eveis
having received lessons, merely by having heard the lessons given
to others.

In general, children from four years of age onwards are keenly
interested in writing. Some of our children have even begun at-