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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

368              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

Hours pass, and all is silent.

Some who have visited the Children's House call its inmates
** little men," others, " senators in session ".

Whilst all this keen interest in work is in evidence it never
happens that children get into disputes about objects. If anyone
achieves something extraordinary, he will find some other who will
admire and be delighted with it; no one is annoyed when another
succeeds, but the triumph of one rouses wonder and pleasure in
the others, often stimulates eager imitators. They all seem quite
happy and satisfied with doing what they can, without the doings
of others arousing envy and selfish emulation, without encouraging
vanity and pride. The little one of three works peacefully along-
side the boy of six, just as if he were contented with his lower
stature and felt no envy for the tallness of the older boy. They
alt grow up in the most profound peace.

If the mistress wishes to engage the attention of the whole
assembly, perhaps to get them to leave off all the work in which
they are so much absorbed, she has only to say one word in a low
voice, to make one gesture and everything is suspended; they turn
their eyes to her full of interest, anxious to know how to carry out
her wishes.

Many visitors have seen the teacher write some directions on
the blackboard, and have watched how joyfully they have been
carried out.

It is not only the mistress who is obeyed; but whoever asks
anything from the children wonders at seeing how scrupulously
they obey, how calmly and complacently. Often visitors would
like to hear the singing of a child who is painting; the child leaves
his painting to comply, but directly he has fulfilled the act of
courtesy he returns to his interrupted work. Often, before obeying,
the very little ones finish the work which they have begun,

One of the most wonderful examples of discipline happened
during the teachers' examinations which we held after my first
training courses. We then followed the practice of ordinary
teachers* training colleges and part of the examination consisted