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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE SPEECH OF THE CHILD                   323

M. Montessori was the builder of a magnificent construction, and
in about twenty years of observations, has given us such a picture
of the intellectual possibilities of the child that one might speak
of it as a real educational monument.

There is no doubt that the child absorbs an enormous number
of impressions from his environment, and external help given to
this natural instinct rouses the greatest enthusiasm in him. With
this, education gives real aid to natural mental development,

Although as already mentioned it is impossible to give here
particulars of a colossal work which would need several volumes
for its description in such a way as to make it of general use,1 it is
useful to state that written language leads not only to knowledge
of grammar and of syntax at an apparently abnormally early age,
but that there may also be made of this language, which delights
the child so much, a vehicle of general education.

In the first period of our work, with which this volume is
concerned, one sees how the mistress has to busy herself with
finding more and more new names, in order to satisfy the insatiable
requests of the children. This insatiability which education has
revealed through the medium of written language, is certainly one
which exists in nature, which spontaneously enlarges the voca-
bulary from 300 to 3,000 or more words in the period of three to
five years of age, as has been ascertained by psychologists, who,
however, have confined themselves to observing, counting and
setting out the developments which have taken place, and not to
point out the way in which to assist this natural development.

Still another fact has been demonstrated by our methods,
which have shown themselves to be the means of gaining psychologi-
cal information. It is that children are even interested in foreign
words, and remember them in a surprising way during all the time

1 Indeed, every subject requires a book to itself. There have already been
printed in Spanish two volumes: Psycho-Arithmetic and Psycho-Geometry,
Two others are in-course of preparation: Psycho-Grammar, and a volume
illustrating and explaining all the educational apparatus for the use of teachers
who are preparing for practical work: The Apparatus Book by Maria M.
MontessotiL